For Immediate Release: The Venerable Bill Gray, Executive Archdeacon, Diocese of Montreal
Announced Closure of Trinity Memorial Church, N.D.G.
Anglican Diocese of Montreal Engages Major Repurposing of Church Buildings
The Anglican Diocese of Montreal seeks ways to direct resources to empower congregations towards a new future, and create churches that address current needs. Our 2020 Vision Plan expresses our desire to be motivated by ministry and mission rather than maintenance, to be courageous in order to take risks and make difficult decisions for the sake of God’s mission. Changing demographics and populations affect the sustainability of local congregations. A major repurposing of some of our buildings is required as we enter a new phase of ministry and mission.
As part of this repurposing, a decision has been made to close Trinity Anglican Memorial Church, N.D.G.in 2017 at a date yet to be determined. Despite a decade of investigating, in partnership with the parish leaders, viable alternatives for this congregation, a solution could not be found that would ensure financial substantiality. Plans are underway with the leadership of Trinity Memorial Church to help its parishioners find a new spiritual home. As a diocesan family we are indebted to the parishioners and leadership of Trinity Memorial for their faithful community presence in N.D.G. The tri-parish refugee sponsorship project with St. Thomas and St. Philip's Anglican Churches will continue through the other two parishes. Additionally, the N.D.G. Food Bank has been informed about the impending closure, but it is unclear at this time when or if they will need to relocate.
We are aware that profound grief accompanies such times of loss, especially for those directly affected. We are also hopeful for future possibilities of re-engaging with the peoples of Montréal in a manner that is relevant to the 21st century.
For more information, please contact the Executive Archdeacon Bill Gray firstname.lastname@example.org
It is understandable that members who are losing their spiritual home experience and express profound grief and hurt. The Anglican Diocese is aware of the pain resulting from the difficult decision to close Trinity Church, NDG. The Anglican Diocese of Montreal offers care and support to non-viable ministries as we help them transition to a different future and relocate. It was announced at Sunday services at Trinity that we have established a pastoral care team of clergy and lay leaders from area Anglican churches to assist them with this expressed need. Area churches offering a welcoming spiritual home to Trinity members include St. Thomas Anglican Church on Somerled, NDG; St. Philip’s Anglican Church on Sherbrooke in Montreal West, St. Mathias Anglican Church in Westmount; St. Lawrence Anglican Church, LaSalle; Epiphany Anglican Church, Verdun; and St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Cote des Neiges.
As with Trinity Memorial Church, NDG, many of our Anglican churches also have significant Caribbean memberships. At least two other area churches, St. Lawrence, LaSalle and St. Paul’s, Cote des Neiges; have majority memberships of people of Caribbean descent. Trinity is also largely now a destination church, rather than a neighbourhood church, meaning that many members attend from other parts of Montreal well beyond NDG. This means that as the parish population ages it will become more difficult for many to manage the long commute to church with the resulting requirement for them to attend a church nearer to where the parish member lives. As with many other churches, Trinity has few youth and younger adult members attending church. There is a congregation of 35 to 70 people attending services in a building that was built to seat 1,000 people.
Trinity Memorial Church, NDG is a small, vibrant, loving church that is no longer financially viable, is in serious debt and has deferred significant and costly maintenance on their building that has proven impossible for them to repair and maintain. For the past six years, the Diocese of Montreal has subsidized this church to an extent beyond any other church in the diocese by paying 50 % of the clergy stipend, spending diocesan capital reserves for neglected property repair, financing parish indebtedness, and providing diocesan paid staff and consultants resourced to help establish financial viability. Unfortunately, this support has not overcome the impediments to financial health.
We have been trying for over a decade to partner Trinity Church with another community enterprise, including but not limited to, the NDG Food Security Depot. We have also attempted merging the church with other parishes. None of these efforts have succeeded.
In addition, existing parish income has depended on external resources such as rent from The NDG Food Security Depot who are actively looking for a new permanent home, so we are aware their time as a tenant of Trinity Church is limited and will eventually end.