Ottawa Congregation leaves historic Anglican church after same-sex marriage battle

It was a historic moment in Ottawa as a subdued crowd of about 300 filed out of St. Alban’s Anglican Church on King Edward Avenue on Sunday, leaving behind a place where some have roots going back to Confederation.

Founded in 1865, the church where Sir John A. Macdonald worshipped has been in the spotlight ever since a showdown over same-sex marriage and other issues led the congregation of St. Alban’s to leave the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, and, after a bitter battle, the building they have called home for 146 years.

“This is kind of historic. We’re in a new era,” said Sheila Lang, 79, as her grandchildren ”” the seventh generation of her family to attend the church ”” played in the reception hall of the Ottawa Little Theatre, where the congregation, now called the Church of the Messiah, will meet until it finds a permanent home. Meanwhile, the diocese will establish a new congregation at St. Alban’s, with a relaunch planned for Friday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

5 comments on “Ottawa Congregation leaves historic Anglican church after same-sex marriage battle

  1. AnglicanFirst says:

    “Meanwhile, the diocese will establish a new congregation at St. Alban’s, with a relaunch planned for Friday.”

    Just like Star Trek. Just ‘fire up’ the good ol’ congregation replicator, and Poof!, a new congregation, That’s all it takes.

  2. Sarah says:

    But think what fun it will be to watch them try, AnglicanFirst! ; > )

  3. jamesw says:

    Sarah is right – this will be fun to watch. The Canadian dioceses are even in worse financial shape than most American dioceses, and they don’t seem to have bothered to learn the hard financial lessons learned in TEC about the massive expense of propping up Potemkin parishes. And so in Ottawa, Niagara and New Westminster, there will be Potemkin parishes that will cost their dioceses big dollars over the next year or so – draining more money from already cash strapped organizations and hastening their gradual collapse. Oh and some of the Canadian building are historic and won’t be able to be disposed of very easily. I think that the Anglican Church of Canada is about to learn a very hard lesson on what Pyrrhic Victory means.

  4. MichaelA says:

    I concur with the last two posts. I am glad to see that this congregation fought hard before being evicted from their building. I regret the pain and trauma that they have had to go through, but I trust they will go from strength to strength, as so many before them have done.

    If past form is any guide, the diocese may not even attempt to establish a new congregation. And if they do, it is most unlikely to last more than a year or two.

    As for the departing congregation, we have seen time and again that orthodox Anglicans can worship anywhere if they have to – gyms, schools, halls, private homes. As their numbers and finances grow, they will eventually be able to purchase their own building.

  5. MichaelA says:

    Sorry, I agree with the last *three* posts!