St Margaret Church has a long history in the Gulf Islands
The history of our church is an interesting reflection about how a spiritual beginning on these islands came together over time. St. Margaret of Scotland was initially a mission church of St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church on Mayne Island. The early congregation met in a small building on Whaler Bay. In those long ago days clergy would come by boat from Mayne on some sort of regular basis and in the church there is a brass plaque honouring the ministry of Canon Paddon who was one of these early priests. There are hair raising stories of people coming over in row boats and other small vessels navigating the rather unpredictable waters of Active Pass and Trincomali Channel.
A Church was built
About 65 years ago the Robson family, well known on both Mayne and Galiano Islands, offered to provide land and building materials to erect a “proper” church building which is the basic structure of the church building today. There was one catch however. The church was to be named after Mrs. Margaret Robson. Fortunately there is a St. Margaret of Scotland in the recognized saints of the church and who is also honoured at a school on Vancouver Island. So the new church became St. Margaret of Scotland.
Gifts to the Church
Today, behind the altar is a beautiful stained glass window which shows the characteristic crown included in pictures of this "long ago" Hungarian princess who married Malcolm of Scotland and became thus Margaret of Scotland. Legend says she not only “civilized” her husband and their sons but dedicated herself to caring for the poor and hungry to the point of exhausting herself and dying at a relatively young age. It is appropriate that one of the primary ministries of St. Margaret of Scotland on Galiano is the Food Bank, an important resource for the community. A much needed addition of a coffee/meeting room was added some years back which included a new entrance and a verandah (which gets great use on sunny days for coffee and after church treats). Otherwise the structure of the building is much as it was first erected.
In the Community
St. Margarets, as we are usually called, tries to be a church for the community while it is also part of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, known now as the Diocese of the islands and inlets. The diversity of the Anglican tradition and the support of emerging ministries across the Diocese provides the freedom we need to be a church for the community of Galiano. Though this is not without its challenges, we believe that we need to be a spiritual centre for the people of Galiano, a place where people from many traditions and spiritual paths can feel welcome and supported. As noted earlier, we are a thinking church; we value reason and thought, and we value diversity as part of our unity. While our roots are in the British Isles, our current expression has been uniquely shaped by a long history in a Canadian context. We are a progressive church, open to the leading of the Spirit in this time and place. We seek the full inclusion of all people, are committed to serving the poor, and we are working for economic equality for all people on these islands and inlets. We seek healing and reconciliation with the First Peoples of Canada.Today St. Margaret of Scotland is part of the parish of St. Mary Magdalene on Mayne Island and St. Margaret of Scotland on Galiano Island…what is sometimes called a "two point parish" but with of course the challenge of Active Pass.