The Church of England first came to the Pacific Northwest in 1836 when Rev. Herbert Beaver arrived at Fort Vancouver in the Oregon Territory as chaplain to the Hudson Bay Company.
1849 The colony of Vancouver Island was established and work began on Fort Victoria. The communion set, as well as the register books from Fort Vancouver, was transferred to Fort Victoria. Robert Staines was the first clergyman and he began work on the construction of a church building. Rev. Edward Cridge arrived in April of 1855. The Victoria District Church, later to be called Christ Church, was consecrated on August 31, 1856. On June 28, 1857, the first confirmations took place in the new church, with Bishop Scott travelling up from Oregon for the occasion.
1859 Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent on January 12 establishing the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia. The Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts provided a generous endowment. George Hills was consecrated bishop at Westminster Abbey on January 12.
Bishop George Hills was to have episcopal oversight of both the colony of British Columbia (the mainland) and the colony of Vancouver Island. Hills remained in England long enough to procure additional funds for the Columbia Mission arriving in Victoria on January 6, 1860.
1860 The cornerstone was laid for the “Iron Church” parish of St John the Divine, Victoria. The corrugated materials for this and the bishop’s close materials were provided by Baroness Coutts.
1865 Christ Church was chosen by Hills as the cathedral and Edward Cridge was named as dean.
1865 On the 24th day of December the first ordination – The Reverend Frances Barrow Gribell, deacon of the Church Missionary College, Islington, England, was duly admitted to the Order of Priesthood at the cathedral by the bishop of the diocese.
1875 A first meeting of the convention of the bishop, clergy and delegates was held at the Collegiate School House for four days, December 16 to the 20, devoted to the preparation of important measures, some of which were necessary for the immediate action of a Synod.
1879 The diocese was divided into three: British Columbia, Caledonia and New Westminster.
1881 March 25, The Anglican Bishops Corporation Act, An act to constitute the bishops of British Columbia, Caledonia and New Westminster Corporations sole.
1889 April 6, The Anglican Synod of British Columbia Incorporation Act, an act to incorporate the Anglican Synod of The Diocese of British Columbia, such consisting of Vancouver Island and islands adjacent. 1916 Dean of the Cathedral, Charles De Veber Schofield, elected bishop on November 30.
1918 Influenza epidemic; Victoria’s churches were closed and Bishop Schofield, arguing “Why the churches and not the shops?”, held open-air services until the ban was lifted.
1935 June 29, bishop co-adjutor Harold Eustice Sexton, archdeacon of Columbia, 1936 Bishop of Columbia through wartime.
1952 Archbishop and metropolitan of British Columbia, Harold Sexton.
1970s-1990s Brought us Mavis Gillie (Project North-Victoria and Aboriginal Neighbours), Archdeacon Robert McRae and Bishop Barry Jenks; real support of social justice causes, including reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, land claims, environmental protection, and the alleviation of global poverty.
1987 The first woman ordained to the priesthood, Rev. Muriel Adey, at St. George The Martyr, Cadboro Bay, Victoria.
1991 November 14-16, Parksville, Diocesan Conference, “Come Holy Spirit, renew the whole creation”. 200 delegates, Speakers and Workshops; The Christian, the Church and the Stewardship of the Earth, Land Ethic, The Theology of Creation, Evangelism, Medical Ethics, Environment, Education.
2006 –2010 Bishop James Cowan and Synod navigated a series of changes, including the introduction of same-sex blessings, conversations on our shared future, Diocesan Ministry Resources Team (DMRT) and DMRIT (Implementation) restructuring, with the closure and amalgamation of some parishes, and establishing a trajectory for ministry in the diocese for the future.
2013 Bishop James retired in August; Archbishop Caleb Lawrence, retired bishop of Moosonee and archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, acted as diocesan administrator.
2014-2020 Bishop Logan McMenamie, dean of Columbia and rector of Christ Church Cathedral, was consecrated in March 2014. Bishop Logan, ordained in this diocese and having served in many of its parishes brought a clear vision of healing, reconciliation, and relationships with the First Peoples of this land. Bishop Logan retired on May 1, 2020.
Bishops of Columbia
|William Wilcox Perrin||1893-1911|
|John Charles Roper||1912-1915|
|Charles De Veber Schofield||1916-1936|
|Harold Eustace Sexton||1936-1968
|John Ogle Anderson||Apr 17, 1969 - Nov 21, 1969|
|Frederick Roy Gartrell||1970-1979|
|Hywel James Jones||1980-1984|
|Ronald Francis Shepherd||1985-1992|
|Raymond Barry Jenks||1992-2003|
|James A.J. Cowan||2003-2013|