Around Town: White Rock Pride apology, shading St. Augustine, Mission Central

Ernie Klassen, president of the White Rock Pride Society (left), and James Borkowski, Delegate for Operations of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.

A complaint which had been filed with the BC Human Rights Tribunal has been settled by the parties.

White Rock Pride filed the complaint in June 2019, stating that Star of the Sea Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver had discriminated against it on the basis of sexual orientation, contrary to Section 8 of the Human Rights Code.

The parish denied White Rock Pride’s application to book the hall for it annual ‘Love is Love’ fundraising gala. A hearing had been set for this spring.

Here is the bulk of a statement posted June 14 on the archdiocesan website:

Over the course of the past several months, the parties agreed to meet to discuss each other’s perspectives, beliefs and experiences in an open-minded and respectful manner.

These discussions were aimed at repairing the relationship between White Rock Pride and the Parish, together with fostering mutual understanding and respect for each other’s perspectives and beliefs, and the right to hold these beliefs.

At the heart of this shared dialogue was an emphasis on the respect for the dignity of all people.

In reaching this resolution with White Rock Pride, the Parish and Archdiocese have jointly issued a Statement of Commitment and Apology to White Rock Pride and the LBGTQ2+ community (copy attached), acknowledging and apologizing for those instances where their actions have caused members of the LGBTQ2+ to feel unwelcome and excluded.

Going forward, the Parish and Archdiocese have committed to implementing guidelines to improve their interactions with the LGBTQ2+ community and to provide greater clarity on the management of rental requests by non-Catholic groups.

A dispute over rental of the hall at Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Surrey has been settled.

In addition, White Rock Pride and the Archdiocese have committed to engaging in further consultation with each other and other members of the LGBTQ2+ community and Catholic community in order to share their perspectives, and identify opportunities for further growth and collaboration, in a manner consistent with Catholic teachings and the beliefs of White Rock Pride.

“We formed the White Rock Pride Society to build understanding, support and inclusiveness in the community for people who identify as LGBTQ2+ and other at-risk groups. This is a huge step forward in creating an inclusive and diverse society”, said Ernie Klassen, President of the White Rock Pride.

“We are extremely appreciative of the Parish and Archdiocese’s willingness to listen, change and work constructively towards identifying further opportunities for support, inclusion and dialogue within the Catholic Church. In the true spirit of reconciliation, the two groups have reached an agreement far better than what a ruling from the Human Rights Tribunal could have achieved.”

“In recent years, the Church has grown in its understanding and pastoral approach to members of the LGBTQ2+ community, through an emphasis on loving all people and treating them with dignity and respect. Archbishop Michael Miller echoes recent Popes as he calls for local Catholics to make room in their parishes and their hearts for members of the LGBTQ2+ community,” said Archbishop’s Delegate, James Borkowski.

“This resolution is an important step forward in our relationship with our local LGBTQ2+ communities. We look forward to engaging in further dialogue to share in our perspectives, beliefs and ideas, and to identify opportunities to grow together in a manner guided by our faith.”

For a couple of news stories go to The B.C. Catholic, CTV News and Peace Arch News.

While the agreement settles this particular dispute, and offers real potential for cooperation and reconciliation, the issue of what right religious groups have to control who has access to their services or space remains somewhat unclear.

Several groups had been granted intervenor status for the hearing that was to have taken place this spring: the Canadian Secular Alliance and the BC Humanist Association, along with three Christian groups – the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Christian Legal Fellowship.

A June 15 post on the BC Humanist site stated, “The BCHA intended to argue on the extent to which an organization can rely on freedom of religion to justify discrimination when participating in the public, commercial sphere.”

St. Augustine in the shadows

This illustration by Stephen Bohus shows how much shadow will be on the school, even under the best of conditions.

Architect Brian Palmquist posted a comment June 13 which raises serious questions about a six-storey low barrier development planned directly across the street from St. Augustine School.

In Forever in the Shadows on his ‘City Conversations’ site he said:

Leading up to the public hearing for a proposed high-rise spot rezoning development at 8th & Arbutus, we look at how the proposal works for its proposed residents, for the adjacent St. Augustine School and the neighbourhood Delamont Park. Spoiler alert – not well!

Here are some of his findings:

    • The site’s current zoning (RM-4) already allows a maximum 19.9m high building (6 storeys) with a maximum floor space ratio (FSR) of three times the site area – for comparison, the FSR of False Creek North averages 2.75;
    • The proposal asks for a 50m high building with an FSR of 4.42 – that more than 2-1/2 times as high and almost 50% more space than the maximums allowed by the existing zoning;
    • The building will accommodate 129 singles (no women or kids need apply), each housed in a prefab metal unit, kind of like a 330 square foot shipping container with a bathroom and 190 square feet for all the rest – the units are stacked atop each other in such a way that there is no flexibility for future rearrangement should the clientele change;
    • The residences will be low barrier – take away the fancy explanations and that means there are no impediments to drug usage or sale, and no background checks;
    • The building’s height and massing guarantee that every child will have most of their morning recess in shade.

Go here for all the points and the full comment. Palmquist is a member of TEAM for a livable Vancouver, and has cooperated with City Hall Watch as they monitor and critique Vancouver’s Broadway Plan.

St. Augustine has a special section on its website devoted to the Broadway Subway Project, including reference to the legal action filed in BC Supreme Court last last year. (I wrote about it here.)

Mission Central at Convention Centre

I have always loved the annual weekend Missions Fest (now Mission Central) experience downtown. John Hall, Executive Director of Mission Central, wants to make it happen again early next year, following all the disruptions of the pandemic

He sent out this request for support June 10:

Mission Central is so excited to be planning for SERVE and CREATE to be in-person at the Vancouver Convention Centre in January 2023. It’s been a while since we could all meet together.

In the Old Testament the festivals of Israel were opportunities for God’s people to remember his mighty works. They were also big parties and events that helped to unify the community. In our current cultural moment we need these unifying events more than before. Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) is honored to be able to be a unifying event for the people of God in the Pacific Northwest.

To make SERVE and CREATE happen we need the support of the whole community. Instead of tithes of cattle and sheep we could use donations. Our financial forecast predicts that June and July will be difficult months for our ministry as we make deposits to the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC).

This June would you help us cover the $15,000 deposit to the VCC and get us closer to being all together again?

Jun 2022

Kate Miller: Kaleidoscope – June 16, 2022 at All Day
New Roots Festival: Works in Process – June 16, 2022 - June 19, 2022 at All Day
City Impact Tour: Vancouver – June 16, 2022 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Where Are the Churches in China? And Why? – June 16, 2022 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
A Slain Lamb Standing: Remembering The Future of Religion – June 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Implications of Bill C-4 on Families and the Church – June 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Welcome Home: Dessert Night for Neighbours of New Hope – June 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Nowheresville, BC by Chantal Gallant – June 16, 2022 - June 18, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Anton Dolfo-Smith: The Long Goodbye – Opening Reception – June 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Pathways to Reconciliation – June 18, 2022 at 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
A Concert for Peace: Fundraiser for Ukrainian Refugees – June 18, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
VOS 2022 Summer Concert: Our Heavenly Father《天父我神》 – June 18, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
World Refugee Sunday 2022 – June 19, 2022 at All Day
Juneteenth with Marcus Mosely Ensemble – June 19, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:15 pm
SIMinar: Explore Cote d'Ivoire – June 23, 2022 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
The Wolves are Coming for You – June 23, 2022 - June 26, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Worship Central Conference 2022 – June 24, 2022 - June 25, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Brandon Isaak & the Saints of Swing – June 24, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tax Clinic – June 25, 2022 at All Day
One With Them: A Day for Christian Captives – June 26, 2022 at All Day
KAIROS Blanket Exercise – June 26, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
AC Literary Expedition: Revelation – The End of the World as We Know it? – June 26, 2022 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Ron Rittgers: 'You Have Torn Away a Piece of My Heart': A Widower's Lament from the Christian Past – June 27, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Faculty Roundtable: Leading in Difficult Times – June 29, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Jeffrey Greenman: The Perverse Logic of Evil – Putin's War on Ukraine in Theological-Ethical Perspective – June 29, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
A Rocha Talks: Responding to the Groaning of Creation in a Changing Climate – June 30, 2022 at 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm

Jul 2022

Revival Langley Conference – July 1, 2022 - July 3, 2022 at All Day
Voices Together from Sea to Sea – July 1, 2022 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Anton Dolfo-Smith: The Long Goodbye – July 4, 2022 - July 9, 2022 at 12:00 am
Christian Climate Observers Program 2022: Application – July 4, 2022 - July 25, 2022 at All Day
Kickers Soccer Camp – July 4, 2022 - July 8, 2022 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
FLO Summer Soccer Camp 2022 (two camps) – July 4, 2022 - July 8, 2022 at 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Janet Soskice: 'Who am I?' Self-love in the Days of Self-obsession – July 4, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Wesley Hill: Reading Romans in a Time of Upheaval – July 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Growing Season: Book Launch Party – July 5, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Faculty Roundtable: Gender Dynamics in the New Testament – July 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Jules Martinez-Olivieri: Reconciled to Reconcile – a Visible Witness in a Divided World – July 6, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Gary Hall: Tensions, Disruptions and Incompleteness: Thomas Merton on Sustaining Hope in the Face of Social Crisis – July 7, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Bez Open Mike, with Russ Rosen (Thursday evenings) – July 7, 2022 - July 14, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
BC Christian Ashram: Thy Will Be Done – July 8, 2022 - July 10, 2022 at All Day
Lance Odegard – July 8, 2022 at 8:15 am - 10:15 am
July Contemplative Prayer Retreat – July 8, 2022 at 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Perspectives on Truth, Reconciliation and the Catholic Church, with Deacon Rennie Nahanee – July 8, 2022 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Adult & Teen Challenge BC Open House – July 9, 2022 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
A Rocha's Market Summer Celebration – July 9, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
C. Stephen Evans: The Fear of the Lord & the Virtue of Accountability – July 11, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Faculty Roundtable: Q & A – The Enduring Relevance of Kierkegaard – July 13, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Lynn H. Cohick: God Shows No Favouritism – the Body of Christ & the Household Codes in Ephesians – July 13, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Thomas Oord: Overcoming Obstacles to Love – July 14, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Peter Cheng on Laozi's Dao De Jing – July 18, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Yohanna Katanacho: Theology of the Land from a Palestinian Perspective – July 18, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Faculty Roundtable: Q & A – Palestinian Christianity – July 20, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Susan Phillips: To Make an End is to Make a Beginning – Marking Completion in Perilous Times – July 20, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Chelle Stearns: 'With Sighs Too Deep for Words': Silence, the Holy Spirit & Music in the Processing of Traumatic Experience – July 25, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Bach Festival 2022 – July 26, 2022 - August 6, 2022 at All Day
Dennis R. Edwards: Reimagining Humility – July 27, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Lunchtime Concert: Rebecca Collett – July 28, 2022 at 12:30 am - 1:15 am
GCN Partner Dinner – July 29, 2022 at 5:45 pm - 9:00 pm
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1 comment for “Around Town: White Rock Pride apology, shading St. Augustine, Mission Central

  1. Re: St. Augustine in the Shadows – It disappoints me to see Church for Vancouver give platform to a tendentious critique of the potential shadowing associated with the proposed development of deeply affordable social housing on Arbutus Street. This occurs at a contentious moment in Vancouver politics.

    Careful review of that critique, with reference to the shadow studies appended to the City of Vancouver rezoning report, shows that the critique indulges in more than one misrepresentation. First, a shadow presented as cast at “about 9 am” is used to claim that a mostly non-existent shadow would impact “recess” use of the outdoor space. Recess does not occur at 9 am. Second, claim about shadowing of adjacent Delamont Park selects a date of October 21 and fails to specify time of day. The shadow study in the City of Vancouver report uses the equinox standard date of September 21 and shows zero shadowing of the park at either of 2:00 pm or 4:00 pm.

    Lux et veritas.

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