A new faction of the Anglican Church is to open today in Victoria, a third offshoot in the fractured church.
St. Mark's Traditional Anglican Church is to have its first service at 5 p.m. today at St. Ann's Chapel on Humboldt Street, with its own church location to be announced within the next month.
Just how many people will show up at the service and be part of the congregation isn't known. But with several local Anglican churches in the region closing and the rift in the church over the episcopal constitution, which was announced last October, there are Anglicans looking for a home, said Canon Stanley Sinclair of St. Mark's.
The Anglican Church initially split over changes to long-held traditions associated with the church, such as blessing same-sex marriage. Since October 2009, a third split has happened within the traditional segment as a result of the episcopal constitution published by the Vatican.
Under that constitution, traditional Anglicans could unite with the Roman Catholic Church but, among other things, the clergy would have to be ordinated again.
The acceptance of the constitution "created a considerable problem for many clergy and laity across Canada," Sinclair said. So the third group asked the archbishop of the Anglican province of Christ the King, based in San Francisco, to accept them under his authority, which was done.
"That has led to the formation of the St. Mark's Traditional Anglican Church here," Sinclair said. "There are similar moves taking place across the country which further divides things, but it's simply that people can't conscientiously accept that the Anglican orders are invalid as the episcopal constitution says. It makes a second-class form of Christians."
The new church will be traditional, Sinclair said.
The Archbishop James Province from San Francisco will attend the service as an episcopal authority to inaugurate the church.