These organizations and groups play an integral role in how the diocese reaches out beyond itself into the wider community. Members of the diocese are actively engaged in the work of these groups and in some cases, partners receive funding from the diocese to support the work they do.
In the 1980s in their attempts at reconciliation, Canadian churches began to offer apologies for their part in the historical attempts to eradicate the spirituality and cultures of the Indigenous Peoples, and to look for ways to live out those apologies. As a part of these actions, Aboriginal Neighbours was founded by an act of the Anglican Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia, welcoming Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members. The group has grown to include the Victoria Presbytery of the United Church of Canada and the Vancouver Island Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Aboriginal Neighbours welcomes people who share a desire to build relationships and trust between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
Bethlehem Centre encourages and supports the expression of beliefs and values about humanity, spirituality, healing and peace by welcoming groups and individuals exploring a spiritual path and seeking a gathering place for education, reflection and community building.
An inclusive not-for-profit association that exists to encourage a deepening of spiritual life through the exercise of traditional spiritual practices based in the Christian Wisdom tradition while also welcoming and being respectful of other spiritual traditions. The society has an office in Victoria and its work is overseen by a voluntary board of directors and one part-time administrator. The Contemplative Society came into existence in July 1997 on Salt Spring Island with the support of the then Anglican bishop, The Rt. Rev. Barry Jenks, and seed money from the Diocese of British Columbia.
The original members united in their desire to support an emerging contemplative renewal in the area. The group sought a teacher to lead retreats, workshops, and to encourage spiritual life by living a deep contemplative life of prayer and spiritual practice.
In January 1998, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal priest, author, musician, and teacher of contemplative wisdom arrived on Salt Spring Island at the invitation of the Society to take the role of resident teacher. She was licensed as a priest of the Diocese of British Columbia and fulfilled a priestly ministry on Salt Spring Island. Cynthia’s presence generated tremendous energy and excitement for the work and vision of the society. From its tiny beginnings, the society has grown financially, supporting a membership of over 200 and a mailing list of over 2,000 contacts scattered around the globe.
The Contemplative Society website and active Facebook page support contemplative practice and Cynthia’s global ministry. The website publicizes contemplative events and sells a vast library of CD’s and MP3 recordings of contemplative teaching.
The board of the Contemplative Society also supports the local area offering meditation and teaching retreats, small group gatherings for the practice of silent prayer, regular quiet days, and an on-going Victoria based study group.
The Contemplative Society has sponsored a number of larger events in the Victoria area including retreats led by Father Thomas Keating, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, and Father Bruno Barnhart.
Located in Esquimalt United Church hall, Rainbow Kitchen provides food and fellowship to those in need.
Nestled in a serene, wooded parklike location on the shores of the beautiful Shuswap Lake, British Columbia, Sorrento Centre has a long and valued history as a place for sound faith formation, liberal Anglican theological/educational opportunities, creative and meaningful worship, and community.
In addition to meeting and seminar rooms, a cappuccino/coffee shop, a book store, and outdoor labyrinth, there is a covered amphitheatre, a private beach on Shuswap Lake, and beautiful trails and gardens.