Christ Church Cathedral is a diverse, progressive, intergenerational and LGBTQIA/2S affirming church in the Anglican tradition.
This community tirelessly advocates for the full embrace of all God’s people in the life of the church. For over four decades, the Cathedral community has extended a wide welcome to LGBTQIA/2S people, their families, friends and allies. We know that there is still a long way to go.
What follows are some of the key milestones in the Cathedral’s work to ensure that LGBTQIA/2S people are not just included, but embraced in the church:
1975 – Patrick Wedd, an openly gay man and an extraordinarily talented musician and organist is hired by Dean Herbert O’Driscoll as the director of music. Wedd and his partner were welcomed warmly by the Cathedral community.
Late 1980s – In response to the fear around the then-new AIDS virus, Dean James Cruickshank decided that Cathedral clergy would take communion last—reversing the usual practice. Drinking wine from the communal cup only after the entire congregation had received communion highlighted that the key role of a priest is to serve the people, and demonstrated to the wider community that the fear of contracting AIDS from something as simple as sharing a cup was unwarranted.
1998 – During the Cathedral Parish’s Annual General (Vestry) Meeting, the parish votes to ask the diocessan synod to approve a rite to bless committed, same-gender couples. The proposal did not pass at the diocesan level until 2002. The Cathedral was among the first parishes offering blessings for same-gender couples.
1998 – Dean Peter Elliott informs the Cathedral’s trustees that he is in a committed, same-gender relationship with Thomas Roach. Following the practice of that time, he offers to tender his resignation. The trustees refuse to accept the resignation and offer their congratulations.
2000 – Cathedral parishioners apply to have a float in the Pride Parade. Dean Peter Elliott and a group of parishioners walk in the parade for the first time.
2004 – Christ Church Cathedral applies to be one of the first parishes allowed to perform blessings of same-gender couples
2005 – Dean Peter Elliott, speaking at the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, UK, brings advocacy for same-gender couples at an international level. At this meeting, Dean Elliott states in part:
For me, it is no longer good enough to have a sub-culture in our church that hides in fear and secrecy because of our sexual identity. Neither is it good enough to be treated as a ‘pastoral exception’ as if the presence of gay Christians is an embarrassment to the church. Lesbian and gay couples in our church seek the prayer, blessing and support of our faith communities so that we can build lives of faithfulness and holiness.
2014 – The Cathedral forms the St. Brigid’s community, a Sunday evening congregation that attracts an increasing number of LGBTQIA/2S parishioners from denominations that are not affirming of queer and trans identities.
2014 – As a part of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon, the church’s wardens, trustees and parish council submit “A Statement in Favour of the Solemnization of Same-Sex Matrimony in the Anglican Church of Canada.” The submission states in part:
For over two decades the community of Christ Church Cathedral has advocated for the full inclusion of all God’s children. In making the case for the solemnization of same-sex matrimony with the Anglican Church of Canada we continue in our commitment to sacramental equality within the Body of Christ.
2016 – The Cathedral responds to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida by opening the space for prayer and community gathering.
2017 – The Cathedral partners with QMUNITY, British Columbia’s Queer, Trans, and Two-Spirit Resource Centre, ringing its bells 49 times to honour the lives of the 49 people killed in the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shootings in Orlando, Florida.
2017 – The Cathedral celebrates a renaming ceremony for transgender persons for the first time during a Eucharist service celebrated with the St. Brigid’s congregation.
2018 – The Cathedral community, through its Children, Youth, and Family coordinator assists in developing Queerest & Dearest, a camp for LGBTQIA/2S Christians and their families.
2019 – The Cathedral installed new washroom signage that seeks to be more inclusive of trans folks, non-binary and gender non-conforming folks, families, support workers, and people with different access needs. This new signage indicates the equipment available in each washroom, along with a clear statement that “Trans People Are Welcome.”
2019 – The Cathedral partners with St. Andrews-Wesley United Church to co-host of SpiritPride, an LGBTQIA/2S spirituality conference.
2019 – Archbishop Melissa Skelton authorized a the use of a liturgy for same sex marriages within the Diocese of New Westminster. The parish council at Christ Church Cathedral voted unanimously to celebrate same sex marriages at the Cathedral and notified the archbishop of the vote.