Cause unites activists, politicians in battle with diocese
At the north end of Kensington Market, St. Stephen-in-the-Fields sits across the street from a fire station. Trucks regularly scream, making the 148-year-old Anglican church seem peaceful by comparison. Lately, it is anything but. The parish owes the Anglican diocese about $400,000, and on September 30 it is facing eviction from the building that has been its home for a century and a half. Jeff Nowers, a doctoral student at U of T, has been a member of the congregation for four years.
“We basically just walked in off the street, my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, and I,” says Jeff Nowers. “It’s kind of a church on the margins…a lot of interesting programs, a lot of multicultural dynamics.” Nowers chairs the advisory committee and volunteers at the church’s breakfast program.
It’s not easy running a church downtown. Congregations are small, but the social services that churches can provide are more important than ever.