By Art Babych, “Crosstalk”
In April of 2011, Bishop John Chapman appointed the Rev. Mark Whittall as the Incumbent at St. Alban’s, Ottawa, but he wasn’t inducted until this fall. The reason for the almost 20-month delay? Mark started without a congregation! Members of St. Alban’s left the historic church when the previous clergy resigned from the Anglican Church of Canada three years earlier to join the breakaway Anglican Network in Canada.
But on Oct. 28, the small church where Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John. A. Macdonald, once worshipped, was filled for the celebration of Mark’s long-delayed induction as Incumbent of St. Alban’s, now described as a “Spirit-Led, Christ-Centred, Contemporary Urban Church.”
“It’s a great night for this parish, it’s a great night for the church,” said Archdeacon Peter Crosby, who presided at the induction. “It is a new beginning because a year ago, this parish of St. Alban’s was renewed and a new congregation was formed,” added Peter. “It is a new beginning because Mark brings particular gifts to our ministry together as we stand in God’s presence.”
In her homily, Mary-Martha Hale, Executive Director of Centre 454 lauded Mark’s gifts and talents as a priest and as the Chair of the Community Ministry Development Committee. As well, “his selection of music to inspire us during the liturgy is one reason why so many of us came back to this church today,” she said. “I suspect that not many induction services begin with a song by U2.”