Armchair discovery a ”˜godsend’ for struggling British Columbia Anglican church

They’d been there, in a quiet spot along the back wall of Victoria’s St. Matthias Anglican Church, for decades ”” possibly since the parish opened the doors of its new home in the B.C. capital nearly 50 years ago.

But two elegantly designed wooden armchairs, their origin unknown to clergy or even the eldest members of the congregation, may prove to be the salvation of the financially-challenged church ”” nothing less than a “godsend,” according to St. Matthias’s rector, Rev. Robert Arril.

An antique-furniture buff’s fortuitous visit to the church two years ago for a Bible study session has led to the identification of the chairs as rare and valuable Qing dynasty treasures, expertly crafted in 17th-century China before making their way somehow ”” thanks to a long-forgotten donor evidently unaware of their significance ”” to the Vancouver Island parish.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, History, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Stewardship

5 comments on “Armchair discovery a ”˜godsend’ for struggling British Columbia Anglican church

  1. TomRightmyer says:

    A 200K windfall. I wonder what percentage of the annual budget that represents.

  2. Marie Blocher says:

    God provides in mysterious ways. And sometimes far ahead of the perceived need.

  3. Ralph says:

    This is a remnant parish in a liberal diocese, after nearly all the parishioners left to join a conservative diocese.

    Like the loaves and fishes, this windfall will satisfy for a while. But they will be hungry again.

  4. Betsybrowneyes says:

    Lovely story. What struck me was that the article mentions how outreach projects at St. Matthias can now continue. God bless the folks of the parish, those whom they help, and the buyer at Sotheby’s who ultimately has the winning bid on the chairs. God does provide in marvelous ways…

  5. jamesw says:

    Ralph is right. This money won’t be used to support “outreach projects” but to keep open a “technical” parish that lost 95% of its parishioners a year or so back. In other words, it will pay for the priest’s salary and church upkeep for a few years, and then the parish will close (unless the diocese closes it first and scoops the money).