When St. Matthias in Victoria B.C. voted to join ANiC, 250 people departed and 30 remained, leaving the diocesan residuum in a financially parlous state. Last year, some furniture came to the rescue: a pair of 17-century Chinese chairs that had been collecting dust in the church for decades sold for $630,000 at Sotheby’s.
The Rector, Rev. Robert Arril mused: “this [windfall] will allow us to do some creative things that we couldn’t do before.”
And, true to his word, Rev Arril did a very creative thing with his church sign. He put a rainbow flag on it. Of course, the Diocese of B.C. has approved the blessing of same-sex couples, so a rainbow flag on the sign is actually de rigueur, if not positively humdrum. But the flowing of Arril’s creative juices did not end with a rainbow flag. Not at all!
In an effort to become yet more inclusive – and with the sobering realisation that a rainbow flag did not cause hundreds of homosexuals in committed monogamous relationships to inundate his pews – Rev. Arril has taken inspiration from St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto. He is inviting dogs to Holy Communion.
Fears that a generous pastoral response to the canine community will lead to unwelcome territorial marking – just as well those chairs have gone – uninhibited poochly greetings at the peace, and a general diminishing of respect for the dog collar may not be entirely without foundation. But at least Rev. Robert Arril will finally have an audience whose grasp of theological niceties is such that its members will truly appreciate his sermons. As long as he throws them an occasional bone.