An Anglican bishop known for his progressive attitude towards reconciliation and the LGBTQ community is retiring after six years of leadership.
Logan McMenamie has been the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia – comprised of parishes across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the community of Kingcome – since 2014. Prior to that title, McMenamie was dean of Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral.
Set to retire in April, the bishop is well known for his commitment to reconciliation and healing. In 2015, while standing at the site of the the demolished St. Michael’s Indian Residential School, McMenamie made a formal apology to survivors of the residential school system.
“Reconciliation is a journey,” McMenamie says. “The work we’ve done with de-colonizing ourselves, realizing we came as a colonial church, and what does it mean to de-colonize ourselves and how will that be different in the future?”
Operated (initially under different names) between 1877 and 1975, St. Michaels was the largest residential school under Anglican administration. More than 9,000 children were enrolled at the facility.
”When you look at our history as Canadians, then we need to tell the truth,” McMenamie says. “As a country we have to come to terms with that.
“On another level, we didn’t recognize the creator in [their] language and [their] culture and we tried to make [them] like us,” McMenamie adds. “And that’s something we need to acknowledge, as people of faith.”
As bishop, McMenamie did more than speak about reconciliation. During Lent in 2016 he walked more than 400 kilometres from Alert Bay to Victoria, as a gesture of re-entering First Nations land.
McMenamie became known for talking openly about the Anglican Church’s history in colonization and future role in reconciliation, but he also stood up for the rights of LGBTQ people. In 2018 the Anglican Church of Canada struck down same-sex marriage, but responded to public outcry by allowing local dioceses to make choices for their own jurisdictions.
In 2018, McMenamie was the only bishop in Western Canada to approve same-sex marriages.
“My motivation was I thought that we should have marriage in the church, and that marriage should be for everybody,” he says. “It shouldn’t be restricted in any way.”
McMenamie says acknowledging LGBTQ rights, like reconciliation, is about choosing to live well together.
“You have differences, you have disagreements, but how do you live well together in the middle of those disagreements and not let those disagreements become disputes and divide you?”
The bishop hopes whoever follows him will continue the work that he says, started long before him.
“I built upon those who came before me and I’m hoping that those who come after continue to build upon the work,” he says. “The reconciliation work has shaped us in a really good way. It’s made us a different church and a different people.”
McMenamie says after retirement he will spend time reading and writing – continuing his focus on reconciliation – and spend time with his 15 grandchildren.
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