Just over a year ago, I arrived in Montreal to take up the post of Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of Montreal. I knew that that was going to involve a lot of rolling up of sleeves, and in that I was neither surprised nor disappointed. On my first morning, I was greeted by the now very familiar green Capital Campaign banners above our St Catherine Street entrance, and scaffolding slowly being erected around our tower. Many construction and campaign cabinet meetings later, here we are early 2019 with scaffolding still present, and the tower wrapped in a gigantic scarf like white tarpaulin. Yet, there is currently not a great deal of activity on the site. So, what is happening at Christ Church Cathedral, your cathedral and the mother church of the Diocese of Montreal? Continue reading “What is under that scaffolding? An update on the Capital Campaign”
What brings a French-born, former church organist, businessman-turned-priest to pull up stakes in central London, UK and put down roots in Montreal? The short answer is Christ Church Cathedral. For the longer answer, read on. The Very Reverend Bertrand Olivier became the new Dean of our cathedral on February 8. He preached his last sermon at his former parish, All Hallows-by-the-Tower on February 4, hopped on a plane headed for Montreal, and hit the ground running – an appropriate analogy, as he is also a keen marathon runner. Not that it was a hasty decision. Dean Olivier was very happy at All Hallows, actively involved in the local community, and married to Paul, who has a good job in London. But he was raised in France, and only later joined the Anglican Church and became a priest in England. “My spiritual journey has all been in English. I felt called to bring my two life journeys to completion together, and Montreal is a good place to do this.”
Montreal offered the opportunity to work in a bilingual city, in a church with a growing bilingual congregation. “I’m also interested in the North American experience. I was involved in the twinning of All Hallows with a parish in New York. I wanted to fill my eyes with different landscapes and fill myself with the can-do spirit. Montreal seemed the ideal cross between Paris, London and New York.”
Reshaping ministry in a new culture
“I’m excited at learning a new culture,” says Bertrand, who has lived and worked in several countries. “It energizes me. I feel a drive to refresh, to reshape my ministry.”
But the main pull was the Deanship at Christ Church Cathedral. Bertrand was attracted to the cathedral because of its varied congregation—children, young adults, families, elderly. He was also impressed by its focus on social justice, inclusiveness, liturgy, and rich musical tradition: “I want to continue working on these issues and learn more about how it’s done here.”
On the last Sunday of February, students and parents from Selwyn House School served over 250 guests a hearty hot lunch in Christ Church Cathedral’s Fulford Hall. It’s been a tradition over the past number of years for students and parents from local private schools to get involved with the Last-Sunday-of-the-Month lunch program. The involvement of younger people in the program has been a wonderful way to bring new communities together and raise awareness about the issue surrounding homelessness in Montreal.
By Olivia Laidlaw
For the past 30 years, the Last-Sunday-of-the-Month lunch has fulfilled one of Christ Church Cathedral’s most important Christian values: feeding Montreal’s less fortunate. Started by Marjorie Sharp, and continued by Adrian King-Edwards, the lunch program has grown and now can feed over 200 people, thanks to the help of local students and parents in the community.