The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist is the Cathedral Parish and Principal Church (See) of the Diocese of Canada West of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (a Province of the world-wide Traditional Anglican Communion).
With a congregation of children, young people, adults young and old, St. John’s continues to grow and reach out to the larger community, offering Bible-based, Christ-centred traditional Anglican worship, faith and fellowship. A small church in size but a large church in Christian faith, warmth and welcome.
What was to become the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada had its beginnings in 1977, when the then Father Peter Wilkinson, Father Robert Crawley, Carl Reid, and others, attended a conference of concerned Anglican churchmen at St. Louis, Missouri. From the conference, the Affirmation of Saint Louis was formulated, which confirmed the basic principles of Catholic faith and order by which the Continuing Anglican Church in North America would operate. On returning from this conference, Father Peter Wilkinson formally left the Anglican Church of Canada and affiliated with the newly-formed Diocese of the Holy Trinity, under Bishop-Elect Mote, and thus became the first priest of the Continuing Anglican Church in Canada. The first Mass was celebrated on the first Sunday of October 1977 in the home of Father Wilkinson’s mother, Mary Wilkinson, together with Denis and Janet Byrne and Nell Bradshaw. These five people were the founders of the Parish of Saint Athanasius (later to be renamed the Parish of Saint John the Evangelist).
The congregation, under the rectorship of Father Wilkinson, grew slowly but steadily. Moral and financial support was received from other Anglican priests in Canada. Most notable among these was Father Roland Palmer, Founder and for many years Father Superior of the Society of St. John the Evangelist at Bracebridge, Ontario. Due to the growing congregation, arrangements were made to rent space from Grace Lutheran Church in Victoria; and the first public Mass of the new Parish of St. Athanasius was celebrated in that church on Advent Sunday, November 27, 1977. Thereafter, and for the next ten years, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated every Sunday, before an ever-growing congregation.
As 1986 progressed it became increasingly evident that the Parish could not continue indefinitely in rented premises, and steps were taken to secure a church building. In September 1987, a Mennonite Meeting Hall [formerly the Lakehill (Anglican) Mission] on Falmouth Road came on the market, and was subsequently purchased by the Parish, with possession assumed on October 31, 1987. The first Mass was celebrated on All Saints Day, 1987. The Parish was renamed Saint John the Evangelist, in memory of Father Roland Palmer, SSJE. On May 7, 1988, the new Parish Church was consecrated by Bishop Alfred Woolcock, together with Bishops Mercer and Crawley. Bishop Mercer affectionately called the new church ‘our little white God-box’.
With the consecration of the new church building in 1988, the Parish continued to grow and flourish. More and more people came to worship in the “little white God-box”, joining with and witnessing to the historic Anglican expression of the Catholic Faith. In June 1991, the founding rector, Canon Peter Wilkinson, stepped down to make way for a priest who could dedicate more time to the parish and its growing congregation. The Reverend Stanley Sinclair was inducted as the second rector of the Parish, providing leadership and pastoral ministry to the ever increasing flock until his retirement in 1997. Now with a sizable congregation, the decision was made to have a younger full-time rector who would be able to devout his whole time and energy to the needs of the parish. On June 28, 1997, the Reverend Shane B. Janzen was inducted as the third (and current) Rector of the Parish of Saint John the Evangelist. With the election of Canon Peter Wilkinson as Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada upon the retirement of Bishop Robert Mercer, CR, the Parish of Saint John the Evangelist became the Cathedral Church of the Province and Diocese in January 2005.
On April 15, 2012, Bishop Peter Wilkinson resigned as Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary. Subsequently, on November 22, 2012 the Clergy and Laity of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada elected Dean Shane Janzen to be the next Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary. On March 9, 2013, Dean Janzen was consecrated a Bishop in the Church of God and enthroned as the Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary of The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (remaining Dean and Rector of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist). Archbishop Janzen is assisted in the ministry at the Cathedral by two Honorary Assistant Curates: The Reverend Jack Archbold and The Reverend Douglas Ohs; together with the Regional Dean, Canon Richard Root.
On November 1, 2013 the Provincial Council, with the assent of the Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary, created two Dioceses within the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada: The Diocese of Canada West (with Archbishop Shane Janzen as Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary); and The Diocese of Canada East (with Bishop Craig Botterill as Bishop Ordinary).
At the meeting of the international College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion, held in October 2016 at Saint Katherine’s Cathedral in Lincoln, UK, Archbishop Shane Janzen was elected as the Primate of the world-wide Traditional Anglican Communion (while remaining Metropolitan Archbishop of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and Rector of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Victoria, BC).
May God continue to bless His Church in this Cathedral Parish; and may we remain ever faithful to our calling in His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.