The Diocese of Huron has financial problems, its cathedral is starting to fall down and its churches are being closed and sold.
An example from an annual vestry report from St. James Westminster serves to illustrate the aura of doom and pessimism that has settled over the diocese. The rector of the parish at the time of the report was Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi. In 2011 Nicolosi prepared a document called Twelve Steps to Church Growth; in his 2016 vestry report he bemoaned the “state of the church in these times emphasising decreased attendance” and that that the ACoC “will probably have to decrease the number of dioceses in the future”. So much for the twelve steps to church growth – perhaps its readers failed to recognise the existence of a Higher Power.
A vestry report for St. Paul’s, the diocesan cathedral, is equally sombre. The diocese is failing to meet existing financial commitments, still owes $5Million in court costs and the cathedral can’t find the money to fix the roof and doesn’t have enough toilets. The one bright note in all this is that a “gender neutral washroom” is on the horizon; at least that may attract some peeping toms and boost the numbers.
To counter the falling away of parishioners, the financial problems and the wavering faith of the few remaining faithful, the cathedral’s Rev. Deacon Pat Henderson recently led an expedition to a local Mosque to learn about the five pillars of Islam. If that doesn’t reverse the tide, nothing will. Come to think of it, perhaps Henderson is looking to the future when the cathedral finally falls down and the last parishioners still managing to cheat death need to find somewhere compatible to worship.