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Anglican church welcomes all as Trail parish awaits new priest

Fall and winter programs commence Sunday, Sept. 10
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church is in good and caring hands as the congregation awaits the recruitment of a new priest. L-R: Locally ordained priest Martha Fish, Warden Marnie Jacobsen, and Carol Wade, licenced lay minister, met with the Trail Times to provide an update on the many activities underway as “Back to Church Sunday” (Sept. 10) nears. Photo: Sheri Regnier

“We are still here.”

That’s the inviting message from pastoral leadership at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in downtown Trail, following the retirement of Reverend Neil Elliot.

Ordained priest Martha Fish, Deacon Margaret Sherwood, Wardens, including Marnie Jacobsen, Licenced Lay Minister Carol Wade and others, and the congregation are getting word out that while they are certainly missing Rev. Neil, the church family is alive and well with plenty of plans on the roster.

“We will be meeting again in the sanctuary on Sept. 10, and starting up our fall/winter programs,” Martha Fish explains.

These include Sunday school, monthly services at CVL and Poplar Ridge, adult Bible study on Zoom, and a weekly Christian meditation group.

“This is no longer your ‘grandmother’s’ Anglican church,” Fish adds. “Come and check us out!”

Aside from all the goings-on coming to fruition, the church is actively recruiting for a new pastor in partnership with St. David’s Anglican Church in Castlegar.

The congregations are merging financial resources for the search, with the successful recruit becoming team leader for the Trail and Valhalla (Castlegar) parishes.

Which leads to the question, “How do you recruit a priest these days?”

It all starts with a list of church members being sent to the bishop who oversees the Diocese of Kootenay, from the central base in Kelowna. (Rev. Dr. Lynne McNaughton was elected 10th Bishop of Kootenay in January 2019, and officially became Archbishop Sept. 17, 2021.)

She selects search committee members, who are then tasked with writing a parish profile including qualities they’d like in their next priest. The profile is then advertised internationally. The bishop will then weed through applicants and suggest those who would be a good fit.

The committee will conduct interviews with the short-list, to come up with their new leader. Then the bishop formalizes who the new priest will be.

This process will likely take the better part of the year, says Fish.

“It’s not by appointment, this very much involves the congregation, the search committee members.”

Until then, the congregation is under the great care of Fish, Sherwood, Jacobsen, Wade and others. They all share their commitment and eagerness to being part of the Anglican world, and how it is adapting to spreading hope and inclusivity in what they describe as challenging times.

As lay minister Carol Wade points out, “In Reverend Neil’s last sermon, he reminded us that this is not ‘his church,’ it is not ‘our church,’ it’s God’s church. And everyone is welcome.”


Call the church at 250-368-5581 or email Martha Fish at:


The first Anglican church service in Trail was held Feb. 9, 1896 by Reverend Henry Irwin, better known as “Father Pat.”

A new church was built in 1898 on the corner of Pine and Eldorado with an opening service on Nov. 19,1899.

Only three years later, Father Pat died (1902). A number of memorials were built in his honour.

A parish hall was added in 1913 and in 1937 a rectory was built beside the church.

After the old church proved too small to hold the congregation, a decision was made to build anew. The old church was demolished and the new church opened in 1955.

During the late 1960s, St. George’s Anglican Church in Rossland was destroyed by fire. Several years later, in 1982, the parishes of Rossland and Trail united.

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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