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Newsletter, January 19, 2017

Dear Friend of the Cathedral

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Annual Vestry – Information about pledge shortfall – socks, an appeal & a meditation on giving – scaffolding ’round the chancel arches – new rate for parking passes – new opening hours for building – L’Oasis musicale – Lunch n’ Chat – Book Group – Snowmobiles on Union

We are in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an exercise in ecumenical fellowship which was started by two Anglican priests in 1908. As Cardinal Mercier wrote in his Testament

In order to unite with one another, we must love one
in order to love one another, we must know one another;
in order to know one another, we must go and meet one another.

In the spirit of this week, the Cathedral invited Sabrina Di Matteo, directrice du Centre étudiant Benoît-Lacroix, to preach at the 10 am and 12:45 services this Sunday. Her Catholic centre is affiliated to the University of Montreal. It offers a space where students can grow their faith and live it out in an intelligent manner, whatever their religious background. The publicity for the centre echoes the point made by Cardinal Mercier : « Au CEBL, la rencontre de Dieu se fait d’abord par la rencontre de l’autre!» To find out more about the centre, come to church on Sunday and/or visit the CEBL website

An important date to note: The annual vestry meeting of Christ Church Cathedral will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in Fulford Hall after the10am Eucharist. (Approximate start time 11:45) All members of the Cathedral are asked to attend. This is the important meeting where we receive reports on 2016, study the budget for the coming year, and appoint Synod representatives and members of Forum and Corporation.

Jane Aitkens, our treasurer, gave Forum a preliminary look at the budget on Tuesday. We are in great shape as a community but suffering somewhat financially. Please take a careful look at the facts presented here by Jane:

As of January 18, 2017: 46 pledges have been received, totalling $92,548. That averages out to a weekly donation of $38.70, which for the whole year adds up to $2,011. Last year, for comparison purposes, we had 61 pledges for $125,252 ($39.50 weekly / $2,053 annually).

Of those 61 people, we know of 7 who have moved out of Montreal and so will no longer be pledging to the Cathedral. We hope the remaining 54 people who pledged last year will do so again this year – that means we are hoping to receive 8 more ‘repeat’ pledges. Are there 7 ‘new’ pledgers who could raise us up to last year’s max of 61?

Editorial note: the average pledge of $38.70 is of course an average – some people pledge more, some less. Corporation is well aware that people’s circumstances vary widely so nobody should feel that the amount they can afford is too small to make a pledge. We either need 8 people making the average pledge to fill the nearly $33 000 between last year and this, or we need 15 people with $20 pledges or 30 with $10 pledges – well, you do the math! One advantage of being an identified donor is that you get a receipt for tax purposes.

The end of the month lunch takes place on January 29. As usual, a delicious hot meal will be offered to people in need of a good lunch, but this month is special because the Social Service Society is hoping to give every guest a pair of warm winter socks. Please consider donating socks – bring them on Sunday, or give them to one of the vergers during the week.

These two calls for generosity–annual giving and the sock drive–inspired Vivian to write an essay: “Socks and Sustenance: The Why Of It” The invitation to read and reflect on it is offered as this week’s spiritual practice.i

One way in which we are spending money is on repairs to the church. Alas, effective Monday, January 23rd, and until the week before Palm Sunday, exploratory work will be undertaken on two of the Cathedral’s interior arches: the first in the St. John of Jerusalem Chapel and the second in the Baptistry.  This is with a view to upcoming major work on the steeple. Care will be taken by the contractors to minimize inconvenience. Nevertheless there will be scaffolding and I believe the sermons will be delivered from the lectern rather than the pulpit for a time.

Financial belt-tightening has had two immediate consequences:

  1. PARKING PASSES:  Please note that, due to budgetary constraints, Corporation has decided to increase the annual forecourt parking passes to $130 for 2017.  Passes can be obtained from the vergers.
  2. Also due to budgetary constraints the cathedral building will open later. Consequently, from Monday, January 23rd, morning prayer will be held at 9:15 instead of 8:15.  Evening prayer remains unchanged at 5:15.

On a lighter note, here are three fun dates for your diary:

  1. L’Oasis Musicale concert, Saturday at 4:30. Described for her “mature vision” for Rachmaninoff by the Washington Post, American pianist Kara Huber will showcase Sergei Rachmaninoff’s epic 13 Preludes Op. 32.
  2. Lunch n Chat: February 7, 2017 : potluck fellowship, noon till 2 pm in the Bishop Hollis Lounge. We will be making Valentine cards for the Veterans Hospital. All welcome.
  3. The book group will hold its next meeting on February 19 at 7 pm to discuss Our Souls at Night by Ken Haruf. Thanks to the Westmount Library’s books in a bag scheme we have a few copies available to borrow, – first come, first served. Speak to Ann

And a reminder:  Meeting for anyone interested on Jan.22 after the 10 am service in Fulford Hall, for an update on the status of our family from Syria and discussion about what to expect.. Syrian snacks, visuals, and volunteer opportunities. All welcome.

Under the heading of “Whatever will the city dream up next?” – or perhaps “Can it get any more difficult to navigate the streets of Montreal?” there will be an international snowmobile jumping competition on Union Street, February 4th and 5th. The street will be closed and parking will be affected. Parishioners are strongly urged to use public transport. The organisers have agreed not to disturb our services or the Saturday concert.

Never a dull moment at or near the Cathedral! Happy winter sporting to you all and enjoy the photo of the Cathedral owl taken by Jeffrey Mackie



Ann Elbourne



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