In the Anglican Community Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Quebec (Canada) and its Bishop, Right Revd Dennis Paul Drainville.
The Anglican Diocese of Quebec covers approximately 720,000 km² (larger than France or Afghanistan) and took its present shape in 1850 with the carving off of what is now the Diocese of Montreal. From west to east it stretches from Magog to the Gaspe and the Magdalen Islands; from south to north it stretches from the United States border to Kawawachikamach and the communities of the Lower North Shore.
Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières are the three urban centres located within the diocesan boundaries. However, in general, the diocese consists of large areas marked by scattered towns and villages. The largest geographical portion of the diocese is home to unfettered wildlife, unseen forest vales, and streams never navigated by man, giving a sense of what God’s vast creation looked like centuries ago.
The diocese has 54 parishes with 93 congregations. These are divided into five deaconries:
- St Francis
- North Shore
- Gaspe, and
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City is the first Anglican cathedral built outside of the British Isles. Built in 1804 in the heart of Old Quebec, it is the Mother Church of the Diocese of Quebec and home to two parishes: the Parish of Quebec and the Paroisse de Tous les Saints.
Anglicans have been worshipping in Quebec City since at least 1759. In 1793, the Anglican See of Quebec was established, and in 1821 The Parish of Quebec was created by “letters patent” under King George IV. Under those “letters patent”, the congregation may worship at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity until such time as they build their own church within the parish boundaries. Such a church has never been constructed, nor is it likely to be. The Parish of Quebec continues to worship in the Cathedral and remains the custodian of the Cathedral, looking after its upkeep, maintenance and repair, with assistance from the Foundation of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, various government bodies and private individuals.
Right Revd Dennis Paul Drainville
Dennis Paul Drainville is the twelfth Anglican bishop of Quebec. He began his episcopate on 31 May 2009 (Pentecost Sunday).
Issues facing the Diocese and Canada
1) Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
For over 100 years, Aboriginal children were removed from their families and sent to institutions called “residential schools”. The government-funded, church-run schools were located across Canada and established with the purpose of eliminating parental involvement in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of Aboriginal children. The last residential schools closed in the mid-1990s.
The TRC is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools (IRS). The Commission set out to document the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the IRS experience. The Commission was officially established on June 2, 2008, and was completed recently in June, 2015. The closing events were held in Ottawa from 31 May to 3 June 2015. This newspaper article describes it as a “landmark week for Canada”.
During this chapter in Canadian history, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were forced to attend these schools, some of which were hundreds of miles from their home. The cumulative impact of residential schools is a legacy of unresolved trauma passed from generation to generation and has had a profound effect on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians. The efforts resulting from the Commission are intended “to revitalize the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society – reconciliation is the goal. It is a goal that will take the commitment of multiple generations but when it is achieved, when we have reconciliation – it will make for a better, stronger Canada.”
Project of Heart was created by a teacher, Sylvia Smith, in Ottawa, to commemorate the lives of the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of the residential school experience. Since the inception of the project over one hundred schools from across Canada have implemented Project of Heart in their own classrooms.
The Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee is dedicated to helping all residents and visitors to their community to learn to work and live together while respecting and celebrating their differences. The goal is to develop a just community where the future will be better for all.
2) Dwindling numbers
The diocese covers about 720,000 km² and has approximately 7,200 people on the parish rolls of its 52 parishes. This averages to about one member per 100 km². With both the dioceses of Quebec and Montreal having less than 10,000 members and decreasing numbers, discussions are underway for the eventual merger of the two dioceses. Before 1850 they were one diocese.
In a newspaper article (1 Feb 2015), Rev Yves Samson says that without radical change, the Anglican Diocese of Quebec could soon be extinct. He says that becoming ecumenical and bilingual is “the new reality” for former anglophone Protestant churches outside the Montreal area. Several Protestant churches across Quebec have closed rather than turn bilingual. The new reality reflects the fact that in most regions outside Montreal, Anglo-Quebecers — and much of their culture — are on the verge of disappearing.
The Anglican Diocese of Quebec includes three of the province’s main cities —Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke and Quebec City. People who speak English at home in both Trois-Rivières and Quebec City make up about 1% of the population. In the 1860s Quebec City used to be 40% anglophone. In Sherbrooke, less than 5% of residents speak English at home. In the 1860s that number was almost 60%.
- Please pray for the continuing reconciliation between the various peoples of Canada. Here is a prayer translated from the ceremony marking the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Une prière pour les enfants
Dieu, réconciliation est un grand mot.
A prayer for the children.
Oh Lord, reconciliation is a big word.
- Please pray for the choices the Diocese of Quebec needs to make regarding its continued existence.
- Please pray for problems they have with violence against women. See the article “Truth, beauty & goodness” in the June edition of their Gazette. It is a short article about a sculpture called “Crucified Woman”, followed by an article about violence against women
Sources and further reading:
- Anglican Diocese of Quebec (their website)
- Anglican Diocese of Quebec (Wikipedia)
- Bishop Drainville
- Canada’s residential schools cultural genocide
- Canadian Anglican cathedral exhibit extends truth and reconciliation spirit
- Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
- Gazette of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec (June 2015)
- Project of Heart
- Quebec Anglican Church challenged by exodus of parishioners
- Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (their website)
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Wikipedia)
- Truth and reconciliation: Looking back on a landmark week for Canada