SKETCH OF A PARISH
The Church of the Resurrection Walkerville Ontario
There was, in times past, a large Anglican community
in this area, the most southern part of Canada. Perhaps
its distance from the Cathedral in London Ontario was a
blessing as, for the most part, it was ignored or at
least left alone and hence Prayer Book Anglicanism survived
here longer than in many other places. Gradually, the
revisionists infiltrated this part of the Anglican
Diocese of Huron and by the late 1970's there was only one
thoroughly traditional parish left in the entire
Deanery; St. George’s Walkerville. The Matriarch of
Resurrection Parish Mrs.Paul (Margaret) Lefebvre,attended
St. George’s a Tractarian parish in a 'low church' diocese.
She belonged to The Council for the Faith, The Society of Mary
and the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. Not long after
the formation of the Anglican Church of North America Margaret
wrote the Rev’d Dr.C. J.de Catanzaro and made her declaration of
loyalty to the Continuing Church. At the time of her declaration
of loyalty there were only four small congregations of the
ACNA in Canada: Victoria, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa. There
were no congregations in nearby Detroit Michigan either so
Margaret remained at the ‘holdout’ parish in the now impaired
In 1983 an ACNA group formed in Detroit: The Guild of the Holy
Trinity, and Margaret became a long distance associate of that
group until the establishment of St Boniface’s Mission which
worshiped in the recreation room of an apartment building on College
Avenue in Windsor Ontario. This was 1985 and as yet Canada had no
Bishop.The Bishop of the Midwestern United States, who in his
defense was inexperienced and charged with looking after far too
large a territory with far too few priests, sent a man not up to the
job and too far from the Bishop to keep an eye on. Despite some
initial success, the mission failed and the Continuing Church’s
reputation was badly damaged.
Margaret retreated to St. George’s where she was soon joined by
others fleeing their parishes in the Anglican Deanery of Essex.
They began to consider how they could preserve and grow the remnant
of faithful Anglicans in the area, and they reconnected with the
Canadian continuers who now had their own Bishop. The small group
‘holed up’ at St. George’s helped to found a branch of The Prayer
Book Society of Canada and they set about teaching the faith. Things
were still done the old way at St. George’s but almost everywhere
else, things were getting very bad fast. The Conscience Clause for
priests opposed to the ordination of women was revoked,the last
traditionalist Bishop retired, Prince Edward Island traditionalists
failed in their attempts to become a diocese separate from Nova
Scotia, and there was talk of consecrating a woman Bishop in Ontario.
The local PBSC chapter began to contrast what the impaired Church
taught with what the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada taught and
slowly the reputation of the ACCC was rehabilitated.
The oldbelievers who had fled to St. George’s realized that their
parish had, in fact, become congregationalist, even though it
remained quite conservative. The Anglican Church of Canada’s
innovations made it nearly impossible to attract newcomers and even
in their conservative parish, there were signs that the innovations
were making inroads. In 1995, two families from St. George’s: James
and Norma Chantler and their son Heath and their older son, James,
along with his wife Mary and their four children left St. George’s
and began to meet in their homes on alternate Sundays for Morning
Prayer.James Jr. had, for years, been in contact with the ACCC’s
Rural Dean and Bishops Woolcock and Mercer and conversations began
about establishing a Continuing Church mission. Early in 1996, Fr.
David Walsh SSC and Mrs. Walsh joined the Anglican Catholic Church
of Canada and with the two Chantler families they founded an ACCC
mission which was dedicated to the Resurrection of Our Lord. Not
long after, Margaret Lefebvre joined them,and the little group of
oldbelievers has never looked back.
This March marks the 15th anniversary of the re-establishment
of a traditional Anglican presence here in Canada’s deep south.
Growth has been slow but steady and now there are even hopes of
acquiring a Church. Fr.Walsh and Mrs. Walsh moved to Ottawa to be
closer to their son, Michael, and his family. In time James
Chantler Jr. was ordained and named Fr. Walsh’s successor. From
the beginning Fr. Walsh made children’s ministry an important part
of the life of the parish and it has continued and expanded thanks
to the good example he provided.
Fr. Chantler, with the help of our parish secretary, has developed a
comprehensive Sunday school curriculum and made it available to
parishes throughout Canada and to missionary priests in India and
Africa. Resurrection Parish, by ACCC standards, is poor but it
manages to send ‘care packages’ to India and Africa. These contain
toiletries, paper, pens and pencils,diapers, dry cereal, used
eyeglasses, prayer beads and whatever else that can rounded up
including holy hardware,linens, etc. We also maintain a food cupboard
which we use to respond to calls for help from those in our community
who have fallen upon hard times.
Fr.James and his wife Mary's home has a large Oratory which seats
twenty-six people. It has served the parish well but is now too small.
At times the Oratory can get quite crowded.It is necessary to rent
worship space for special occasions such as weddings. Resurrection/
Walkerville meets in the Oratory, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary,
on Sundays and Prayer Book Holy Days. If you have a chance to visit
we’d love to have you with us. Mass and Church school on Sundays is at
10:30am. Mid week services are at 10:30am or if Fr. Chantler has to
work that day, at 7:30pm.
It has always been the earnest hope and expectation of the Resurrection
Parish that the faithful remnant of traditional Anglicans would be
reunited in a global Communion. With a united voice traditional
Anglicans could look forward to reviving ecumenical talks with the
Orthodox Churches and Rome, which prior to the Anglican Communion’s
descent into false belief and practice, seemed to be making real
progress. The Bishops of the ACC of C and their brother Bishops in the
TAC chose to revive the stalled talks with Rome rather than expend any
more effort on reuniting with other Continuing Anglicans and the
oldbelievers remaining in the Canterbury Communion. This was a shame
because they had a great deal to contribute to such talks! The decision
taken by the TAC’s College of Bishops was of great concern to many,
including Resurrection/Walkerville, but assurances were given that the
intention was to pursue the reunion of sister Churches and that the
Bishops would have nothing to do with submission to Rome.
In 2007 the TAC’s College of Bishops met at Portsmouth England; signed
a copy of The Catechism Of The Catholic Church and brought it to Rome
with a letter seeking full unity with her. In 2009 this led to Rome’s
offer of the Apostolic Constitution with its complimentary norms: which
many traditional Anglicans both within and without the TAC found to be
nothing like the ‘reunion without absorption’ we had longed for. In fact
it was simply a process for submission to Rome which we had been
assured was something our Bishops would never accept.
When it became clear that the TAC’s Bishops were enthusiastic about the
Apostolic Constitution,Resurrection’s growing dissatisfaction with the
TAC led it to conclude that it needed to find a home where it could
carry on in the faith of our fathers; a place where our goodly
inheritance was not considered a failed experiment and where the Book
Of Common Prayer would continue to be the Church’s standard of doctrine
and worship. This led to a unanimous vote to disaffiliate from the
Anglican Catholic Church Of Canada.
Since 2007 the Parish had been in contact with Archbishop Mark
Haverland; Metropolitan of the ACC’s Original Province and Acting
Primate of the entire ACC. When Resurrection/Walkerville approached him
about re-establishing communion with the ACC/OP (something we had
always valued and were unhappy about its being ruptured in the past) we
were graciously received by the Archbishop into the Patrimony Of The
Metropolitan.Despite the pain and confusion caused by the events
that led to Resurrection’s disaffiliation from it’s former
jurisdiction these same events have turned out to be a blessing as they
have served as a catalyst for reunion amongst oldbeliever Anglicans.
We thank GOD that He has preserved us in our time of trial and provided
us with a faithful Father in GOD; His Grace Mark.