When St. Alban’s voted to join ANiC in 2008, one of the consequences, as Justin Welby might call it, was that the Diocese of Ottawa acquired the church building and the congregation had to find a new home.
To fill the empty pews and created the illusion that the diocese had a use for the building, the congregation of All Saints Sandy Hill was imported into St. Alban’s.
This, of course, had the unfortunate consequence of setting All Saints adrift as an Anglican Marie Celeste. I expect the diocese hoped no-one would notice.
Now All Saints is being rented out as “the kind of space that reflects Canada’s fabric today”. That means that on Fridays, it is a mosque.
On the December day they took possession of a 115-year-old church in Sandy Hill, Leanne Moussa and some others climbed up a spiral staircase and rang the church bells.
Those tolling bells, which at least one person mistook for a call to worship, represented both the joy they felt for saving All Saints church and their excitement about its new life as a multi-use community centre. The former Anglican church is now home to several different religious congregations, a small café, artists’ studios, event space for classes and conferences, and there are plans for future redevelopment that could add offices for NGOs and new housing units.
The deconsecrated nave will soon serve many functions — mosque on Fridays, synagogue on Saturdays and the spiritual home of two different Christian groups on Sundays. The 300-seat space can also be used for weddings, concerts, book launches and lectures, Moussa said.