What was to become the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) had its beginnings in 1977, following the conference of Concerned Churchmen at St. Louis, Missouri, and the formulation of the Affirmation of St. Louis. From that conference, the first Continuing Anglican Church in Canada was established in Victoria, B.C., named the Parish of Saint Athanasius (later to be renamed the Parish of Saint John the Evangelist).
The newly formed Parish grew slowly but steadily, meeting first in the home of Mary Wilkinson. 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, 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 on Falmouth Road (formerly an Anglican mission church built in the 1930s) 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 Ford Palmer, SSJE (who had left the Anglican Church of Canada, moved to Victoria, and joined the Parish in the early ‘80s). In January 2005, the Parish was elevated to the status of Cathedral Church for the ACCC.
Since its foundation forty years ago, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist has been served by three Rectors: (former bishop) Peter Wilkinson (1977-1991), Canon Stanley Sinclair (1991-1997), and (the now Archbishop) Shane Janzen (1997-present). 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.
Through the years, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist has hosted the TAC College of Bishops, ACCC Synods, an international Eucharistic Congress, and various memorial and national civic commemorations. Parishioners range from tots to teenagers, young adults, married couples, singles, the middle-aged and the retired. All are active in the life of the Church. The congregation continues to grow and is diverse both in terms of ages and backgrounds. Many special events and milestones in our Cathedral Parish have marked the past forty years but it is the regular worship and fellowship activities that have always been a key part of our parish life. These include our Patronal Festival celebrations; Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, Anniversaries, Ordinations, and Funerals; Thursday Bible classes and other church studies; retreat days; potluck dinners, BBQs, picnics, and garden parties; Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners; concerts and recitals. We also reach out to the local community through church open houses, rummage sales, bazaars, and the use of the Church Hall for community groups and associations.
By God’s grace and blessing, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist continues to grow, to witness, and to reach out to the Greater Victoria area and beyond, offering Bible-based, Christ-centred traditional Anglican worship, faith and fellowship. A small church in size but large in Christian faith, warmth and welcome. May God continue to bless His Church in this Cathedral Parish; and may its members remain steadfast in the faith once delivered to the saints.