- 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.