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.
Always ready to actively engage in the life of the city, Christ Church Cathedral has prepared a virtual feast for Mix Music, A Night at the Cathedral, its contribution to the Nuit Blanche segment of the annual Montréal en lumière festival. Settle in for the evening or choose among a recital of Bach’s organ music performed by Patrick Wedd; a plainsong religious service; four films by Aboriginal filmmakers; or performances by the Montreal Gay Choir and Sympholies Vocales. Visit booths and talk to the volunteers involved in the Cathedral’s social justice action groups. Take in an exhibition of religious clothing or a timeline featuring photos of the Cathedral through the years. What a great way to learn all about the Cathedral’s traditions and daily activities! From 4:30 pm on Saturday until 1 am Sunday, enjoy a cup of fair trade hot chocolate ‘on the house’ and experience the warm welcome characteristic of the Cathedral and its people.Continue reading “Feast your eyes, fill your ears, lift up your heart during Nuit Blanche at Christ Church Cathedral”