St. Patricks Anglican Church
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PARISH HISTORY

Our Beginnings:

The Right Reverend E. Kent Clarke, Anglican Bishop of Edmonton, announces the formation of St. Patrick's Mission in Millwoods.
With the kind co-operation of the Catholic Community of Millwoods and their new priest Fr. Don Stein, services will be held in St. Clement's School Chapel, 7620 Millwoods Road South, each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. The first service will be held on September 7, 1980 with Bishop Clarke presiding. For the time being, Canon Russell Sayer of St. David's and Fr. Tom James of the Synod office will be working part-time with the laity of the mission.

With this news release in August, 1980 St. Patrick's journey in Millwoods began.  The journey has at times been joyful and at times distressing. the first goal of St. Patrick's was to provide the area with a full time priest. This was achieved in December, 1980 when the Bishop appointed The Reverend Robert C. Wild as incumbent.

 

The rest of the story follows...

ST. CLEMENT'S SCHOOL:

St. Patrick's began as a mission supported by the Diocese of Edmonton. Sunday services were held in St. Clement's School Chapel at 9 a.m. There was a nursery available from the very first service and Sunday School started in October.  The coffee/social time was held in various parishioners' homes following the service. Initially 20 - 30 families of the 120 families in the area showed interest in attending St. Patrick's. At this time there were no plans for a permanent church building in Millwoods, rather the goal then was to provide the area with its own full-time parish priest. This goal was achieved in December of 1980 when the Bishop appointed Reverend Robert C. Wild as Incumbent of St. Patrick's Mission. A rectory was purchased at 1048 Knottwood Road East. This became the Mission Centre with the basement being used for the Church office, special services, meetings, and the coffee hour following Sunday service.

MEYONOHK PUBLIC SCHOOL:

In 1981 changes in the Catholic Community necessitated St. Patrick's move from St. Clement's. The parish, which now had 80 families on its list, moved to the music/drama room at Meyonohk Public School, 1850 Lakewood Road South. The Sunday service now began at 10 a.m. The worship centre had to be portable and storable. This was accomplished through the donations and hard work of several of the parishioners. In the first year there were 28 baptisms, 8 adult candidates confirmed and a servers' guild of 17 young people.

By 1984 the worship service had moved into the gymnasium of the school and The Reverend John Mash was Incumbent. The years since have been challenging for St. Patrick's with many ups and many downs.

1986 was a year of growth in active parish membership and financial commitment. The vestry started planning a goal of self-sufficiency and an official Building Fund.

In 1987 St. Patrick's was a community in crisis with unresolved difficulties. The vision of the Mission had been replaced by a multitude of directions and goals that served only a limited constituency. Fr. Mash continued to emphasize the need to rediscover the importance of regular worship, the truth of God's word, the unlimited power of prayer, the joy of giving and the letting go of the past. For a few months that year The Reverend Jim Dudley was an Honorary Assistant. There were 71 names listed on the Parish list.

Following the departure of Rev. Mash in late 1988 and beginning of 1989, The Reverend J. Martin Hattersley was appointed as interim rector on a part-time basis. His first comments were that he was "impressed with the toughness of those who had remained at St Patrick's" with all the ongoing difficulties of a Church without its own building. There were 30 active families in a parish list of 90. January and February saw vestry struggle with a deficit budget and the possibility of closing St. Patrick's. An urgent appeal at the Annual General Meeting, the salary of a part-time clergy and a successful stewardship campaign in the Fall helped the financial situation. September saw The Reverend Terry Dunn appointed as the Incumbent. The Book of Alternative Services (BAS) was introduced to the congregation and put into regular use in December.

CEDARWOOD SHOPPING MALL:

In 1989 the vestry felt that once St. Patrick's had its own presence in the Millwoods Community, the parish would experience the growth required to make it truly self-supporting. With this in mind the pressing issue of 1990 became the commitment to move to a "store front" location. September first found St. Patrick's achieving another goal as it's new address became Cedarwood Shopping Mall, 9261-34 Avenue. It now had 4,100 square feet with every foot put to good use. There was now a formal Church office staffed with a part-time secretary, a kitchen and common area, a large worship area and a nursery off the worship centre. The parish list rose from 70 to 90 names with an attendance jump of one third.

In 1991, with 125 names on the Parish list, the stewardship campaign took a new direction to the delight of everyone involved. The campaign did not dwell on the budget, rent, salaries, or utilities but rather on our commitment to God, to give back to Him because we have been blessed by Him.

1993 became in Father Terry's words "The Agony and the Ecstasy". "The Ecstasy" was a definite growth in spirituality, outreach, music and the physical environment. Outreach had many projects including the sponsorship of the Moreno Family, the Food Bank, Sunday services at nearby Nursing homes, Inner City ministry and prison ministry. Our physical environment was enhanced with a new altar, a sanctuary light, flowers on the altar and an active "bucket brigade". Our spiritual growth was shown in the various groups sponsored by St. Patrick's - the meditation group, Thursday night Eucharist, Prayer and Praise group, "Belonging" support group and weekly Bible study. "The Agony" was of course the continuing financial crisis, another "Do or die situation". Only 40 of 80 families were actively involved in the life of the Parish.

1994 saw a couple of major achievements for St. Patrick's. In co-operation with St. Theresa's Catholic church a very successful conference  featuring the Linns was organized and presented in the city of Edmonton. The second exciting event was the arrival of the Moreno family in Canada.

GREY NUNS HOSPITAL:

St. Patrick's was on the move again in 1995. From January to May several members of the parish with Fr. Terry worked very hard at planning and arranging financing for the "condominium project". It was to be "a place of our own". The Diocese did not approve the project and even though many people were devastated, frustrated and angry they did not quit. In late May, Father Leo Floyd of St. Theresa's Catholic Church put forth the idea of St. Patrick's using space in the Grey Nuns Hospital. August 23, 1995 saw the lease signed and St. Patrick's new address was Room 0638, Grey Nuns Hospital. The worship services were and are held in the auditorium on the lower floor with the Church office in room 0638 and another room (0651) used for Sunday School on Sunday mornings. The move to this location saw a drop in attendance as a few people found it difficult to worship in a hospital setting.

There was a slow growth in the parish in 1996 but it was still not self-sufficient and still in financial straits. In an effort to ease the strain, Father Terry made a financial agreement with the parish to draw a Church pension and then contract himself back to the parish for half of his present salary. In June, Terry officially retired and went on contract, significantly easing things through the lean summer months. Another positive was the fact that the Moreno family project was successfully completed.

With parish growth reaching a standstill and the Diocese reducing its grant, St. Patrick's had to do some creative financial planning. In June of 1997 St. Patrick's and St. Timothy's Anglican Churches joined in a mutually beneficial twinning, for one year. The clergy of each Church exchanged pulpits once a month. St. Patrick's rector spent one day a week visiting in St. Timothy's. St. Timothy's gave St. Patrick's $8,000 for the year. The two parishes shared liturgies and social activities. This was very helpful to the financial situation at St. Patrick's, but when over the parish was once again in financial difficulty. In December a parish vote was held to decide whether to share space with St. David's enabling St. Patrick's to build up financial reserves or to remain in Millwoods. By a very narrow margin it was decided the parish would stay in Millwoods. The Bishop has indicated that having reached this decision, the congregation must now try and find a place more visible where we can have our own "Sacred Space", possibly sharing space with another Church in the community.

Never a Church to be static but rather continually changing, 1998 saw more changes for St. Patrick's. Reverend Terry Dunn retired January 31 and the Reverend Canon Gwen Bright was appointed interim priest. Canon Bright asked each member of the vestry to make a commitment to St. Patrick's to take on two things, something they enjoyed and something they'd be willing to help with. This policy was and continues to be quite successful. Slowly changes began to occur and progress was made in attacking the deficit budget of $18,000 that had been approved at the Annual General Meeting that year. The part-time paid secretarial position was eliminated and in its place a volunteer stepped forward 1/2 day per week. The Diocesan Partners in Mission and Ministry led a workshop for the parish and returned with a report and ideas for knowing our neighbours. That year saw the "Leap of Faith' campaign take place, significantly reducing the deficit.

Finding a New Church Home: In March of 1998, Bishop Matthews told the parish that finding a new Church home for St. Patrick's was a priority and in December a building proposal was put forward. A building located on Knottwood Road North was available. (St. Patrick's had come full circle, literally - starting with a rectory on Knottwood Road East and ending with the Church on Knottwood Road North.) the deal was formulated and fund-raising started. The building would be purchased for the sum of $330,000 in April 2007. Meanwhile St. Patrick's would do the leasehold improvements and pay rent to the present owners. On June 6th, 1999, Bishop Victoria Matthews, Canon Gwen Bright and several members of the parish held a short service to bless the new building as the renovations began. On June 24, 1999, Bishop Victoria Matthews officially renamed St. Patrick's Mission. It is now to be known as the Anglican Parish of St. Patrick, Edmonton.

334 KNOTTWOOD ROAD NORTH:

We Move Into Our New Church: After days and nights of intense labour, all done by parishioners, the contractor and his construction crew began the remodelling. The first service was held in the Church hall on Dec. 5, 1999, and a week later the first Baptisms took place in the Church. It was during these hectic times that Canon Gwen Bright was appointed rector, half-time. The Dedication of the new church for the Anglican Parish of St. Patrick was held on Jan. 9, 2000. In October 2000 St. Patrick's celebrated its 20th anniversary as a parish in Millwoods. We did it in style with the Bishop presiding at the Sunday Eucharist and a fine potluck lunch afterwards. The next couple of years were a time of settling in to our new home and becoming a visible presence in the community. During this time Reverend Carl Bergstrom was appointed Honourary Assistant. The parish slowly grew with new faces often seen on a Sunday morning or Thursday evening.

On the up and down roller coaster ride known as St. Patrick's, February 2004 saw the parish once again approve a deficit budget, but only a small one. It proved to be surmountable and at year end the financial statement showed a positive result. In the same year, St. Patrick's received a beautiful gift from Canon Gwen - a hand painted mural depicting the Holy Spirit at work in the diversity of people, occupations and interests in the people of this parish. (The artist's name is Rayma Peterson.) It was hung in the nave - very visible as you exit the church. It is a great reminder of who we are and what we have to do as we leave God's house to go to our own.

In 2005 St. Patrick's celebrated their 25th anniversary with various events throughout the year. One major project was a banner made from material donated by parishioners from their respective ethnic backgrounds. Bishop Victoria celebrated with the congregation in April. In October there was a dinner/dance/silent auction that celebrated our anniversary and raised money for the building fund. It was a great evening for socializing and having fun. One sad note in the midst of all the celebrations was Canon Gwen's announcement of her retirement effective April 30, 2005. The Rev. Keith Denman was appointed interim priest for a few months until Archdeacon Kathy Bowman was appointed as part-time incumbent of St. Patrick's in August of 2005.

The year 2006 had some "firsts" for St. Patrick's. In May, the parish welcomed its first summer theology student. Colleen Sanderson joined our family and with her arrival came some very enjoyable undertakings. One of these was "International Cooking Classes" where a few members of the congregation volunteered to come and teach others how to cook a special dish from their home countries - a delicious and interesting experience. The arts and craft group also got started about this time and Colleen was very good at having crafts on the ready for any children who might attend. One outstanding event for 2006 was the ordination of Colleen as a Deacon in the Anglican Church, a rare and special first for this parish.

Running Down the Mortgage: Since moving to our permanent address - 334 Knottwood Road North - there has been a concerted effort by St. Patrick's parishioners to "Run down the mortgage" for the time of purchase in 2007. June 2004 say the first "Fun Run/Walk" fundraiser, where entrants got sponsors, did the "loop" (approximately 5 km.) around Knottwood Road and returned to the church for refreshments and prizes. It was a very successful event both in the money it raised and in the camaraderie and fun had by all those involved. the "Run" turned into an annual event. Our other fundraising project continued as well. The BBC (Bake, Book and Craft) Sale carried on at the Grey Nun's Hospital each November; the Christmas Cookie Walk, held the first Saturday in December now has a regular group of shoppers; the annual raffle of hand made items, quilts or needlework, is always popular; the Trash to Treasure Sale is permanently marked on all calendars for the long weekend in May.

We Purchase Our Building

The end result of all this hard work can be seen now in 2007 as the Diocese, on behalf of the Anglican Parish of St. Patrick, Edmonton, signs the papers for the purchase of the building. We are applying for a mortgage/loan of $90,000 rather than the $175,000 in the original financial plan. The Annual General Meeting in February 2007 also say the parish approve a very positive budget, without the $10,000 Diocesan grant that the parish has relied on for many years. We are finally self-sufficient. Although the numbers of parishioners still continue a slow growth, with 85 family names on the parish list in 2007, the future looks very promising. that's not to say we are on easy street. We will still have fund raisers for both the General Fund and now instead of a Building Fund, we will have a Pay Off the Mortgage Fund, and we still have the hope of one day being able to support a full-time priest.

2008 was an exciting year for St. Patrick’s, as we saw Mark Vigrass ordained a Vocational Deacon and join the ministerial team. This year also saw the Arts & Crafts group renamed Stitch or Not to include those not inclined to crafting; EFM (Education for Ministry) began meeting at St. Patrick’s; the God Talk Table started over coffee Sunday mornings with a new question each week to get the discussion started. Of course there were building issues — frozen, cracked water pipes, broken & unsafe sidewalk requiring a fence and gate. The deficit budget approved at the Annual General Meeting ended up in a positive state and the parish was financially stable.

2009 saw a balanced budget approved and reached and the priest’s stipend raised to 7/8 time. We welcomed the Rev. Joanne Chamber to the ministry team as an Honorary Assistant. The parish was blessed with the wonderful donation of a grand piano, a worship committee was established, and a brochure was produced to welcome newcomers. With the diversity of cultures in the parish it was decided to have a "Heritage Day Celebration" to express who we are and to invite the community to come and see. About 200 people stopped in to enjoy food from various cultures, entertainment, and children’s activities. This was the year that the hall became a depot for the South Side Bread Run — a program that gave free bread and dairy products to anyone in the community.

2010 was a difficult year for one and all, as several active parishioners became seriously ill and others moved away. This resulted in an abrupt loss of leadership in various ministries including music, finance, communications, building maintenance, vestry, and altar guild. Some of the results were that 2 people now shared the duties of treasurer and 5 people shared the music ministry. For the first time the men of the parish took over the leadership and co-ordination of the Dinner/dance/silent auction fund raiser. This year we reached out to the community and invited them to "The Arts Gala" — a showing of the many talents of the congregation.

The next year St. Patrick’s continued to reach out to the community with summer coffee houses, a Mothers’ Day BBQ, and providing space free of charge to the Knottwood Tots. Two other congregations became regular users of our building as well. In our own Church, the building of community continued with the first Leprechaun lunch meant to provide an opportunity for socializing outside regular Sunday services. Our ministerial team gained a new member in 2011 as the Rev. Canon Dr. Susan Storey became an honorary assistant. A generous donation received in 2012 enabled the parish to pay off the loan from the Anglican Foundation. Vestry also decided to start paying a full time stipend — A goal once reached, given up due to financial problems, and now once again a reality. Kathy’s announcement of her retirement for the end of November 2013 was just the beginning of number of changes in the parish. The Bread run finished, the Cell group wound up, new leadership was needed for the youth group, a third group began using the hall on a regular basis, a hall rental co-coordinator and an office volunteer were needed.

Once again the people of St. Patrick s pulled together and got things done. The Reverend Bob Peel was welcomed as interim priest Dec. 1, 2013.

The Reverend Kraglund joined us in October of 2014

The congregation has seen a slow growth in the number of families on the parish list (127) over the last 6 years but the weekly attendance has decreased from 86 to 76. Financial struggles have returned. The last 4 years have seen deficit budgets approved at the annual general meetings, but generous donations have made for positive results, although in 2013 money had to be transferred from the trust fund to the general account to help with the cash flow.

St. Patrick's has been and is an active, caring community of faithful people. Over the years there have always been a number of ways for people to get involved and grow in their faith - weekend retreats, quiet days, bible study groups, youth groups, mediation groups, choir, altar guild, sunday school, ADW, men's club, welcoming committee and cradle roll, midweek Eucharist, Christmas pageants. Some have been very successful, others have been tried and discontinued and still others stopped and then restarted. Fellowship has always and still is one the the strengths of this parish. From the first "after service coffee times" to our most recent "carnival day" the parishioners have always enjoyed themselves. There have been numerous potluck suppers, strawberry teas, bowling nights, hay rides, carolling, barbeques, wine and cheese gatherings, parish picnics and many other get togethers.

Outreach has been a priority with this parish. In past years we have provided a supper for a group of visiting native students, supplied sandwiches and volunteers to the Bissell Centre, collected clothing for WIN house, helped PATCH Place set up a collective kitchen, run a food depot out of Millwoods for the Food Bank. With other churches in the Diocese we helped sponsor the Moreno family's move to Edmonton. We have sponsored community kitchens in our own parish hall, provided lunches for Habitat for Humanity, and given financial support to Our House Addiction Recovery Centre, the L'Arche Community and the Anglican Diocese of Malawi in Africa.

As with all communities in this day and age, St. Patrick's has struggled with finances. There were times when many thought the doors would be permanently shut, but continued support from the Diocese and the loyalty of a core of parishioners has kept this Church alive. Now, with careful management and stewardship St. Patrick's is looking forward to the future, remaining self-sufficient and one day reaching the goal of a full time priest in the community of Millwoods.

This church has had a turbulent history. There were times when all were in agreement and other times when there was strife and division, times of joy and growth and times of despair as families left the parish in large numbers, times when St. Patrick's worked hand in hand with the Diocese and times when each had its own agenda. Through it all our faith has remained strong and we continue to be an active presence in the community, the city and the Diocese. With God's help this will not be the end or our story.

 

Prepared April 22, 1998, updated June 2002, April 2007 and June 2016

by Nancy Medaglia and Kenn Tuckey.

Updated Jun 26, 2016

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