Archbishop Michael Miller asked that the following letter – regarding a clergy abuse report due November 22 – be read aloud in all Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Vancouver last weekend:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Although the Archdiocese of Vancouver has not seen the volume of tragic cases experienced elsewhere, we have taken the problem very seriously. I mandated a Clerical Sexual Abuse Case Review Committee to examine the situation here.
We have been studying the work of this committee for more than three months, developing a detailed and comprehensive response. We will publish their 31 recommendations and the responses of the Archdiocese in a special issue of The B.C. Catholic, available online this Friday. As well, a pastoral letter from me will be read at all Sunday Masses next weekend.
I am writing now to ask for your prayers as we move forward with the protection of children and vulnerable adults and to encourage you to read carefully the Case Review Committee’s report and our response as soon as they become available.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver
One member of the Case Review Committee has received a considerable amount of media attention in the past few days. Leona Huggins was one of 13 people named by the archbishop to the committee, along with lawyers, a psychologist and three other abuse survivors. They reviewed 36 abuse cases dating back to 1950.
Huggins believes the report should name the offending priests, though it is unclear whether that will happen. Interviewed for The Vancouver Sun November 18, she said:
“Absolutely, I believe (naming priests) is definitely important,” said Leona Huggins, a member of the Vancouver committee, who spoke on Monday as BC spokeswoman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP].
Huggins was sexually abused as a teenager in the 1970s by a parish priest, Jack McCann. She reported it as an adult. He pleaded guilty and was jailed for 10 months. He died last year.
She called Miller’s committee and recommendations “a good start.”
“He certainly has taken a big step and I applaud the courage he has shown by taking this step. It’s certainly more than any other Canadian bishop has done,” said Huggins. “There is still a long way to go, but he has opened the door.”
She said she would like all Canadian dioceses, including the other four in BC, to release abuse data.
Huggins and other SNAP members were featured on CBC TV The Fifth Estate’s half hour investigation The List: Unravelling Church Secrets, November 17.
The show featured SNAP’s persistent efforts to exert pressure on the Catholic Church for more answers and accountability. It filmed a SNAP strategy meeting with lawyer Rob Talach, whose nickname, they say, is ‘the priest hunter’; he has taken the Catholic Church to court more than 400 times. Quoted at some length, he makes some strong statements, such as: “Let’s not fool ourselves, they’re up against the oldest and most wealthy corporation on this planet. I mean the Catholic Church is a formidable foe.”
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement November 15 “on the implementation of the guidelines on Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse”:
In light of questions recently raised regarding the efforts of the Catholic Church in Canada to respond to the legacy of clergy sexual abuse, for example by way of the publication of names of the “credibly accused,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) wishes to provide an account of some of the steps the Bishops of Canada are currently taking on this transformative journey.
Go here for the full statement.
Christ City / Pacific Spirit
The church in Metro Vancouver is embattled – spiritually of course, but really on every front. One key challenge is for space. Joel Heng Hartse eloquently laments the loss of the St. Mark’s building in Kitsilano in one of the other Church for Vancouver articles posted this week.
But there is good news, too, from time to time.
Christ City Church announced it has reached an agreement with the United Church to purchase one of the two Pacific Spirit United Church sites, on the west side, just north of King Edward and east of Dunbar. (The other site is the former Ryerson United Church in Kerrisdale; go here to read about how they joined.)
The building will now be home to Christ City Kitsilano.
Christ City senior pastor Brett Landry announced the agreement in a video released earlier this month. He explained that Christ City South Vancouver was planted in east Vancouver six years ago and has since fostered two other churches:
We had the honour of partnering with South Hill Church as we moved into their 75 year old historic building. On Palm Sunday 2017, we partnered together with Fred Eaton and The Bridge Church, to establish Christ City Kitsilano and just this September we planted Christ City East Vancouver in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood.
The video strongly promotes the importance of working in particular neighbourhoods and the permanence of the move to Dunbar.
Christ City Kitsilano associate pastor Brandt Vanroekl stated:
This space . . . allows us to be present 24/7 in an incarnational way in a neighbourhood in Vancouver. It lays a gospel foundation in one of the most secular cities in North America.
The associate pastor of Christ City South Vancouver, Dave Little added:
The impact of having a building, on kids, on youth, on families, on the entire neighbourhood, this is amazing for Christ’s sake.
I can testify to that. As a young child of about five, raised in a non-Christian family, I somehow found my way to into the Dunbar Heights United Church (as it was called at the time) Sunday School program. For several months, I learned about the Bible – memorizing the names of the five books of the Pentateuch, for example – and experienced warm Christian community (the church was booming, as I recall it, back in the late ’50s). Who knows what role that played in my eventual conversion, half a world away in Zambia, at 25?
It certainly didn’t hurt, and I still have a soft spot for the church. Best wishes to Christ City as they move in.
Pray for Hong Kong
If you’ve never been to one of the Pray for Hong Kong gatherings, this would be the one to take part in (at the Vancouver Christian Short-Term Mission Training Centre this time, rather than at Tenth Church in Vancouver).
Here is how the Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace and Justice frame their invitation:
In light of what is still unfolding in Hong Kong, we invite you to another prayer meeting on November 24, Sunday from 3 – 4:30 pm. Everyone is welcome, particularly if you feel depressed, sad, angry, powerless or hopeless about Hong Kong.
We will read together the Scripture, and offer a chance for you to share your feelings, burdens and hurts. There will be opportunities to pray for each other and to pray together for Hong Kong. If one-on-one prayer support is needed, pastors will be available as well. We hope to provide a space for mutual support and encouragement amidst the chaos and trauma in Hong Kong, and to pronounce the hope we have in Christ.
Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace and Justice is “a group of Christians from different denominations in Vancouver who are concerned about Hong Kong. We are committed to promoting love, peace and justice in Hong Kong through prayer and other social actions.”
(Last Wednesday evening I was in Hong Kong for a few hours on a layover, following the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly in Jakarta. After taking the ferry to Kowloon and back, and watching the sun set over the city, I walked up into the centre of the city. Before I’d gone two blocks, I came across protesters, who had blockaded several streets. Some more serious confrontations were taking place elsewhere in the city. It is hard not to imagine that things could go badly for the young people standing up for their rights – but we can pray for God’s intervention.)
A couple of very relevant articles have been published in the last few days:
- Praying for Hong Kong can be politically disruptive – even in America. Or Canada. The Christianity Today article begins by referring to earlier Prayer for Hong Kong events in Vancouver, and refers to Tenth Church, Justin Tse, the Eastern Catholic Church in Richmond, and Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace and Justice.
- Hong Kong’s protest pastors: as violence escalates, churches struggle to find a place between religion and politics. A young law student I met in Hong Kong told me that Christians are now less active in the protests than they were at the beginning, as they have became more violent, then warned me to head back to the airport before the train line was shut down.
More than 80 pastors joined Mission Central and Darrell Johnson at Glad Tidings November 14. Claudia Rossetto wrote about it on behalf of Mission Central:
This gathering was in preparation for Missions Fest Vancouver 2020. The conference theme, “Altar Vision,” is an invitation to explore what it means to live a surrendered or consecrated life to Jesus.
Darrell beautifully unpacked Matthew 11:25-30 and Ephesians 3:14-21. The first part of Darrell’s exposition focused on Matthew, where he shared about the yoke that Jesus’ himself wore and is inviting us to wear. Darrell furthered his exposition on consecration where he argued that apostle Paul’s great preaching was likely due to his great praying. . . .
Her notes of Darrell’s talk end with this:
So, to live a surrendered life to Christ is to accept his invitation to go to Him and to take on His easy yoke that will help us rest. It is to come to a relationship with Jesus’ Father and our Father. It is to give up any other yokes that feel difficult and heavy. The yokes of power, pleasure, honour or wealth are heavy and difficult. They keep us moving in life-draining rhythms. May God’s Spirit enable us to hear and to say “Yes” to the call of Jesus today.
Go here for Rossetto’s complete notes.
Mission Central is hosting ‘a culinary journey through the story of Christmas’ at its Christmas Feast Fundraiser December 1 at Cariboo Road Christian Fellowship.
November 21, 2019Designing for Transformation: Where Do We Go From Here? – November 21, 2019 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Learning from the African-American Church: Engaging Justice for the Common Good – November 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The Snow Queen – November 21, 2019 - November 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
November 22, 2019604 Conference 2019: Into the Awakening – November 22, 2019 - November 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Men Arise Conference – November 22, 2019 - November 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Dreams – November 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
November 23, 2019Aging Matters: Reframing Retirement & the Spiritual Journey – November 23, 2019 at 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Impact National Men’s Conference / Surrey | Promise Keepers Canada – November 23, 2019 at 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Community Café – November 23, 2019 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Equipping Seminar (by Equipping Youth & Children's Worker Seminar) – November 23, 2019 at 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Christmas Fayre – November 23, 2019 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Fair Trade Christmas Market @ St. Andrew's United Church – November 23, 2019 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
XMas Market & Keen Shoe Sale – November 23, 2019 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Christmas Bazaar – November 23, 2019 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Family Christmas Funtastic – November 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sounds of Christmas – November 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Youth Unlimited Presents Westcoast Formal – November 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Dreams – November 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Gloria Dei Chorale: Handel's Messiah – November 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
November 24, 2019Christmas Artisan Fair – November 24, 2019 at 11:15 am - 1:00 pm
Pray for Hong Kong – November 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jazz Vespers @ St. Andrew's United Church on the North Shore – November 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley: Deanna Knight TREE-O – November 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Fleetwood Gospel Hall Community Dinner – November 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Way Worship Night – November 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
November 27, 2019Jazz Night – November 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
November 28, 2019The Snow Queen – November 28, 2019 - November 30, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
November 29, 2019Movie Night – November 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Awaiting Christmas: Sacred Music for Advent – November 29, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Handel's Messiah: Pacific Baroque Orchestra – November 29, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
November 30, 2019Christmas High Tea & Bake Sale – November 30, 2019 at 12:00 am
Emerging Communities: a Learning Party – November 30, 2019 at 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Immanuel, God With Us – an Advent Day Retreat – November 30, 2019 at 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Book Signing: Ed & Janice Hird – Blue Sky – November 30, 2019 at 10:00 am - 11:45 am
Christmas Bazaar – November 30, 2019 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
St. Stephen's Christmas Market – November 30, 2019 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Christmas Fair – November 30, 2019 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Christmas Lunch & Treasures – November 30, 2019 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
'Twas the Month Before Christmas – November 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Natural Cosmetics Beauty Workshop – November 30, 2019 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Christmas Tales – November 30, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Gloria Dei Chorale: Handel's Messiah – November 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Worship Invades Vancouver! – November 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Early Music Vancouver: Handel Messiah – November 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
December 1, 2019Dr. Arlene Taylor: 'Aging with Grace' and 'Laugh to Last' – December 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
United Voices Sing-Along Messiah – December 1, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Christmas at the Chan – December 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir and Winter Harp present Christmas Traditions around the World – December 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Messiah: an Oratorio by George Frideric Handel – December 1, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Christmas Tales – December 1, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas Feast Fundraiser – December 1, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Chasing Christmas with Ross Breitkreuz – December 1, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
December 3, 2019Mission Possible Gala – December 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Big Band Christmas: the Vancouver Groove Orchestra – December 3, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
December 4, 2019Business By the Book Christmas Breakfast – December 4, 2019 at 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Christmas Artisan Fair – December 4, 2019 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
December 5, 2019Concert with Sam Rocha: Anamnesis – a new concept album – December 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Gifts in the Darkness – December 5, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
December 6, 2019A Christmas Carol – December 6, 2019 - December 8, 2019 at All Day
Regent Bookstore Christmas Sale – December 6, 2019 - December 7, 2019 at All Day
The Favorite (movie) – December 6, 2019 at All Day
CIF Breakfast: Home for Christmas – December 6, 2019 at 7:15 am - 9:30 am
Christmas Tales – December 6, 2019 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Christmas Oratorio – December 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Male Orpheus Choir: Christmas Concert – December 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
December 7, 2019Christmas Fair – December 7, 2019 at 12:00 am
Lighthouse Harbour Ministries Advent Breakfast – December 7, 2019 at 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Christmas Bazaar – December 7, 2019 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Santa Shuffle – December 7, 2019 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
15th Annual Vigil with the Silenced: for a Just Advent – December 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Christmas Village – December 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Care of Creation Workshop: Truth, Lies, Love & Action – a Christian Response to the Climate Crisis – December 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
A Rocha: Christmas Open House – December 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
St. John the Evangelist Café Church: The Three Amigos, 'What an Adventure Means to Me' – December 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Pilkey Singers Christmas Concert & Sing-along – December 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Advent Vespers at Immanuel – December 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Christmas Tales – December 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Traditions Around the World – December 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
December 8, 2019The Christmas Connection – December 8, 2019 at 10:30 am
Jazz Vespers in the Valley: We Three Queens & Brad Turner – December 8, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Abendmusik Advent Vespers – December 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
VOS Christmas Concert: My Soul Magnifies the Lord – December 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
December 10, 2019Creative Life Christmas Market – December 10, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir: Christmas Traditions Around the World – December 10, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
December 11, 2019Virtual Book Launch with N.T. Wright & Michael F. Bird – December 11, 2019 at 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Winter Harp – December 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
December 12, 2019ACMV Christmas Gathering & Dickens Dinner – December 12, 2019 at 11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Winter Harp – December 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
December 13, 2019Christmas Concert: The Arrival (several events) – December 13, 2019 - December 16, 2019 at All Day
Night of Wonder Christmas Concert (five shows) – December 13, 2019 - December 15, 2019 at All Day
Singing Christmas Tree: Illuminate (10 performances) – December 13, 2019 - December 15, 2019 at All Day
ACTS Seminaries Christmas Tea Open House – December 13, 2019 at 9:30 am - 11:00 am
musica intima: Sing Lullaby – December 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Good Tidings! a Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 13, 2019 - December 14, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
December 14, 2019A Thrill of Hope, by Coastal Church (three events) – December 14, 2019 - December 15, 2019 at All Day
Memorial Service for Miranda Harris – December 14, 2019 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Christmas and Missions – December 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Alzheimer Café – December 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Annual Christmas Social & Silent Auction – December 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Good Tidings! a Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 14, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm