Archdeacon Myers fills the gap as minister at Trinity

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The Venerable Bruce Myers

Trinity Church in Sainte-Foy has a new minister, albeit a part time one, after having spent the past nine months without an ordained leader. The Venerable Bruce Myers is the archdeacon of the Anglican Church's Quebec Deanery and the priest of St. Michael's Church in Sillery.

"We realized that there was a possibility to explore here because they are parishes that are right next door to each other," says Myers. "Neither of them can afford full-time clergy. The church, just like every other institution right now, is forced to look at things differently. It's an unlikely relationship between the two congregations - sharing one priest - but it's something that we thought was at least worth exploring."

Myers will be leading services at both churches each Sunday. Both congregations needed to adjust their worship schedules to accommodate the arrangement.

"We said we'll give it six months and see how it works," says Myers. "If it looks like the schedule changes are doing serious damage to the attendance of one or both congregations, then we'll have to revisit it. I'm hopeful that it could work out."

A native of Glengarry county in Eastern Ontario, Myers first moved to Quebec City in the late 1990s as a radio journalist. He had been reporting on federal politics in Ottawa, but decided that the National Assembly of Quebec was a more interesting place to be at that time.

"Bouchard and Charest were moving here," he says. "The good political stories were here."

By the time he arrived in Quebec, Myers had been considering joining the ministry for years.

"I didn't relish the idea of going back to school," he says. "But this calling has a way of being insistent."

He eventually approached the Reverend Bruce Stavert, Archbishop of the province of Quebec, to ask about working for the church. There happened to be a priest retiring in the Magdalen Islands so Myers was commissioned as a lay-reader there. He led services, provided pastoral care and performed rituals such as burials and fishing-boat blessings.

"I had an excellent experience there and became more certain than ever about my calling," he says. He finally enrolled at McGill University in Montreal to study theology and was ordained an Anglican priest upon his graduation in 2004. Since then, he has served in the Magdalen Islands for another few years, at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec's Old City and at St. Michael's. He has also completed a Master's degree from Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland.

Myers intends to respect Trinity Church's tradition of following the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer. The Book is based on English texts from the 16th and 17th centuries.

"It's a very beautiful and different kind of worship," he says. "Something that makes that parish distinctive is that they use the prayer book."

At St. Michael's, Myers has been leading bilingual services with a more contemporary style of language.

He believes that both types of worship have their place. "Part of the reason I became an Anglican is because I really admire the church's diversity, and its willingness to try and accommodate a whole variety of types of worship, theological understandings, and groups," says Myers, who grew up in the United Church and first became an Anglican parishioner in his early 20s.

"Here in Quebec, within a radius of just a few kilometres, we have four different ways of worshipping and of expressing Anglican Christianity," he says. "And I think it would be a shame if all four congregations were identical. Now, there is the other question of whether it's sustainable to have so many church buildings within a small area. But the first question is ‘Have we got a comprehensiveness within the city?' and we do."

Myers believes his inclusive posture is key to serving all Quebec City Anglicans, from French-speakers who respond to the church's universal message to the 'cradle Anglicans' for whom the church is an English cultural place.