Church Search Victoria — Sunday September 27 — St. Philip Anglican Church

  • Building:  I feel like sometime in the mid 1950s someone must have published some plans for a relatively inexpensive church building.  Lots of churches built in the 50s and 60s seem to have followed essentially the same plans.  The church that I grew up in was one of these.  So is St. Philip Anglican.They’re not quite the same of course, and probably began diverging almost as soon as they were completed.  Different renovations have been done.  Different tactics taken to improve wheelchair accessibility.  Different settings necessitating a different relationship with altar furniture, or parking lots.  Look up though and you can tell.  No one renovates the ceiling.  I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it painted.The major modification in St. Philip Anglican is the stained glass windows.  Not at the front where you might expect stained glass, it’s comparatively plain up there.  But along the entire length of both sides of the sanctuary.  They are pretty impressive.

  • Demographics: From a purely demographic standpoint, this is probably the best we’ve seen.  The kids area at the back of the church was full to overflowing (during the parts of the service with kids).  At least 20-30 kids went down for Sunday School.  And most importantly, they seemed to be there with their parents.**  There was a continuous distribution of ages from 0 to 90 something in attendance.  Even teenagers!*^  They were also a pretty big group, nearly filling the sanctuary by the time everyone was there*^* (It’s not really that big a space).  There were a few less desirable pews (near the front) empty, but where I was sitting, the bench was full.
  • Service:  The service itself was very similar to the one we had at St Alban’s in Ottawa.  Identical in some places.   (They’re all working out of the same book, of course.)  There was lots of music with a delightfully amateur praise team.  The Trorg was particularly thrilled that they used the same version of the Sanctus that he’s familiar with.
  • Overall Impressions: There’s lots of positive stuff here.  One major drawback:  The service is at 9am.  And it’s about a 20 minute bike ride to get there.  If it was just me, I could be there on time on a regular basis, but neither of the other people in my life wake up easily for that time.Another fear:  The congregation is largeish.  It could be hard to make good connections there.

** We’ve been to a few churches now where the entire demographic from 5 to 50 is (mostly) missing and those under 5s appear to be there with their grandparents.  I always find this to be just a little odd.

*^ Teenagers seem to be the most often missing demographic.

*^* This is somewhat odd.  We arrived a little bit late, maybe a minute or two after 9.  When I walked in the service was already started and I was initially disappointed.  The congregation seemed to be pretty small and mostly older.  But then…People kept arriving late.  By the time the first set of praise songs was over, there were probably 3 times as many people in the room as when I arrived.

Church Search Victoria — Sunday September 20 — Lutheran Church of the Cross

  • Building: The main worship space is quite new. (This history page confirms that it’s less than 10 years old.)  And it looks it.  Clean modern style, a curved roof,  comfortable reconfigurable seating, and an asymmetric layout all point to new construction.  I particularly liked the use of clear glass windows in the sanctuary maintaining a connection with the surrounding neighbourhood.  (It probably helps that the surrounding neighbourhood has lots of green-space.)  I did find it slightly disconcerting to step through the front doors directly into the main sanctuary.  I gather that some of the building is older, but it was hard to tell really.  It’s all been beautifully maintained.
  • Demographics: Not bad.  The congregation is relatively large and as always, was a little bit heavy on the retirees.  Given that the church shares a parking lot with a Lutheran affiliated retirement residence, this was even less surprising than usual.  There were a few school aged children — enough for a Sunday School that was happy to take the Trorg for half the service, but not enough to split into more age appropriate groups.  Some of the kids appeared to be there with grandparents rather than with parents.  There were more young adults than usual.  University students perhaps?
  • Service:  A Lutheran Sung Service with organ, piano, and informal choir.  I like the completely sung services, but this time a significant disadvantage of having to follow a book became clear to me.  The trorg was sleepy and clingy and wanted to be picked up.  Juggling a trorg while flipping back and forth in a book is very difficult.  Sunday school only lasted for part of the service, but they did not appear to have a culture open to trorg antics.
  • Overall Impressions:  It’s hard to tell.  I have a vaguely less than positive impression, but I’m not really sure why. Somehow I just didn’t get an impression of vibrancy, but I feel like we haven’t seen a truly vibrant community anywhere in this search.*+

    A significant disadvantage is the commute.  Google thought it was going to be a 12 minute bike ride.  But, since I was pulling the stroller and the trip is mostly up-hill, it took me much more than 12 minutes.**  They have great bicycle parking though.

** There’s an Anglican Church just across the street from this one that I’d also like to try.  Problem:  Their family friendly service is at 9:15 am.  I’m not sure I can get the trorg out of bed in time to bike up that hill in time to get there for 9:15 on a Sunday morning.  There are actually several churches that look kind of promising except that they have multiple services and the one that most works for me is just plainly too early.

*+ I’m starting to debate bending some of my requirements to see if we can find a place with a little more…life?  youth?  But I’m afraid of what it means if this works.

Not Pregnant

I was pregnant.  I’m not anymore.  It’s complicated.

I had a fourth point:  “Thoughts and Reactions” on this list.  Turns out I don’t have any of those right now.  Later.  I may or may not write about them.

Commenting note:  Don’t comment to tell me that you’re so sorry.  (No, not on Facebook either.)  I’m already sick of that.  I’ve had a bad couple of days.  There’s a little bit of emotional whiplash going on from all this summer’s events piling up but I’m doing OK and I’d just like things to be normal for a while.

Church Search Victoria — Sunday August 23 — St Peter’s Anglican Church (Lakehill)

  • Building:  The building does not appear to be particularly old.  I would guess construction in the 70s or 80s.  Almost certainly with the amalgamation of at least two other congregations (given the variety in the (much older) furnishings.)  Nice enough, but nothing really astonishing either way.  It’s a little out of our way.  It would always be a bike ride.They had a space set up in their sanctuary for children to play.  I like this.  It usually means that the congregation is pretty chill about a little noise (as they were in this case).  I had not previously encountered what happens when there are multiple children using that space though (they push each other to greater and greater feats of silliness)
  • Demographics:  This is a smaller congregation than many we have seen (there were maybe 20 or 30 people present), but perhaps a little less elderly.  There was another family with young children, maybe one school aged kid, and quite a few older adults.  I liked this group of people.  I could see that they really were a community, really did know and care about each other, but it would be nice to have a few more people our own age and younger.They were super welcoming, and it was one of the few churches where we had actual conversations with people about who we were and what we were doing.
  • Service: Book of alternative services.  And they actually used the physical books too.  That was a little too much page flipping for me (and there were a couple things that didn’t seem to be written down anywhere at all.) Hymns with piano, and special this week a french horn.  Singing gave the impression of a smallish group of not particularly skilled singers giving their best stab at things.  It was fine.  I found the sermon a little rambling, but Someone enjoyed it. The trorg was really hoping that they’d include a particular piece of the communion liturgy that we had in Ottawa.  They used an unfamiliar tune for it, and I think he was a little disappointed.
  • Overall Impressions:  This place could be fine, but at that distance, I think we can probably do better.

Church Search Victoria — Sunday August 16* — Grace Lutheran

  • Building: I’m guessing the building was constructed sometime in the 1970s or maybe even the 1980s.  It’s not very old.  I do not find the exterior to be attractive or even particularly welcoming (despite the painted message).  You have to walk a long way up those rainbow coloured steps and around behind the bushes to find the entrance.  There seems to be quite a bit of the building that was just plainly not used on Sunday morning.  The sanctuary is attractive enough.  Wall to wall carpeting does a nice job of dulling out trorg footsteps.
  • Demographics: The congregation was small, maybe 20-30 people. Mostly older than me but not quite as elderly as some of the places we’ve been.  There were no other trorgs.
  • Service: Hymns and organ.  No choir.  Full sheet music on the projector.  No communion this week.  The speaker appears to not be their usual person.  He made bread while he delivered his sermon.
  • Overall Impressions: I enjoy the smaller congregations.  Even though they didn’t have anything in the way of programs for trorgs, they were also welcoming and tolerant of his squirming.  I liked the service and did actually feel welcomed (once I got inside) but I suspect the demographics here won’t work.

* Oops. I’m starting to fall behind.

My new wardrobe

Has arrived:


Church Search Victoria — Sunday August 9 — Victoria Christian Reformed Church

  • Building: Large and (relatively) modern.  I would guess that the building is somewhat newer than the standard issue CRC that I’m used to in Ontario. Or perhaps it’s just the the entire building has been recently updated.  Some of the decisions of how the sanctuary is layed out were clearly made to enable projection.  I find often I like how CRCs look.  Simple, minimalist decor, but thoughtful.  Lots of windows for a bright, airy feel.***

    The basement has a collection of reasonably well furnished classrooms and meeting rooms and nurseries (apparently there are two?).  Coffee was in the lobby immediately outside the sanctuary (probably to avoid taxing a single elevator.)

  • Demographics: More promising than anything we’ve seen so far.  Half a dozen kids went down for Sunday school and there was an additional half dozen in the nursery (only one nursery was in use this week).  Unlike anything we’ve seen so far, the age distribution was continuous.  I even saw some teenagers.  It was still substantially little top heavy, and almost entirely uniform in everything except age.  But definitely more promising than anything we’ve seen so far.

    This also felt more like an actual community than most of the churches we’ve been to recently.  People clearly knew and cared about each other in a way that hasn’t been obvious in many of the historic downtown churches that we’ve been to.

  • Service: Somewhat streamlined CRC service.  It didn’t feel short though.  Just like there were pieces missing.  (Like the whole section usually labelled “Reconciliation” back at Inglewood.)  The sermon felt long.** And compared the the Anglican services that I so liked in Ottawa, the focus on the sermon felt weird.  There was plenty of singing lead by a small praise band.  Nothing written before the year 2000.
  • Overall Impression: After the discouragement of the last several weeks, I really needed to walk out of a church saying “OK, that could work.”  And this could work.  It’s not perfect, but CRCs seem to be predictably… comfortable.  They sing well enough, their children’s programs are good enough, they were welcoming enough.

    The drawback is distance.  We went a little bit out of our way to this one.  It’s about a 25 minute bike ride, and with all the getting out bikes and hooking up strollers, it took us at least 30 minutes to get there.  That’s fine on a nice sunny Sunday like today, but I’m told that sometimes it rains here.

    But.  A solution exists.  I can relax and enjoy the rest of the search.

*** The internet seems to have no pictures of this building that I can borrow for this post.  But look at their website: Their interior decor pretty much matches that website.

** And contained a couple of nit-picky things I didn’t like.


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