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Elspeth (McAlpine) Alley (1924-2000) was one of the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of New Westminster. She was born on November 24, 1924 in Vancouver, B.C. and lived most of her life in this area. Her school years were spent at Crofton House School in Vancouver. She entered the University of British Columbia in 1942 and completed two years; moving on to Mills College in Oakland, California, U.S.A. where she completed her Bachelor of Arts with a major in music in 1946. After teaching music for a year she married John G. Alley, Barrister and Solicitor, in 1947. They had three daughters together, Claudia, Jennifer, and Frances. Prompted by her daughtersï¾’ questions, she decided to learn more about her Christian heritage. Elspeth enrolled at the Vancouver School of Theology in 1967 and graduated with a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1972. In 1977, the Vancouver School of Theology changed this to the Master of Divinity degree which she was awarded in 1980. Elspeth was ordained to the Diaconate on Whitsunday, May 21, 1972 in Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver by the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Right Reverend T.D. Somerville. Her first posting as Deacon Assistant was to St. Catherineï¾’s Church, North Vancouver, working with the Rector, Ian Grant, from May 1972 to September 1974. During this period her husband died, due to an accident at home, on May 1, 1974. From October 1974 to April 1975 Elspeth became the part-time Assistant at St. Chadï¾’s Church, working with the Rector, Henri Taudin-Chabot. Then, in June 1975 she became a full-time Assistant at St. Faithï¾’s Church, working under the tutelage of the Rector, Peter Davison, until February 1977. A milestone both personally and in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada took place on St. Andrewï¾’s Day, November 30, 1976. Elspeth Alley and Virginia Briant were the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of New Westminster and, simultaneously, part of the first group of women in the Canadian Church to be so ordained. This took place in Christ Church Cathedral; the Metropolitan, Archbishop T.D. Somerville presiding. On a personal note she officiated at the wedding of her daughter, Jennifer, to James M. Britton on December 30. 1976 ï¾– presumably the first woman priest in Canada to do this. Subsequently, Elspeth became priest-in-charge of St. Edwardï¾’s Church from March 1977 to November 1979. In November 1979, she received her first appointment as Rector, at Holy Trinity Church in Vancouver, one of only three priests in the Canadian Anglican Church to hold the office at this time. She continued at Holy Trinity until March 1985. From November 1985 to September 1987 she was an Honorary Assistant at St. Philipï¾’s Church, Dunbar. In January 1989 she became an Honorary Assistant at Christ Church Cathedral, a position she held until her death on September 9, 2000 in Vancouver. The funeral Requiem was held at Christ Church Cathedral on September 15, 2000. An important aspect of her ministry was writing. She prepared a history of the Diocese of New Westminster for the Diocesan Centennial Committee but her major undertaking was a biography of the Most Reverend Edward Walter Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 1971 to 1986. She obtained permission from the Archbishop in 1983 to begin her work, entitled ï¾“Call me Tedï¾”, published in 1992 by Brenda Stenson, Best Business Solutions, Vancouver. B.C.
- Corporate body
The Anglican Church Foundation of the Diocese of New Westminster was incorporated as a Society in 1956 under the Societies Act of the province of B.C. The objects of this Society were: "To receive bequests, devises and donations of every kind and description...; to promote objects of a religious, charitable and educational character, and in particular but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to aid in establishing Parishes and Missions, in erecting, maintaining and operating Churches, Church Schools, Parish halls and Parsonages...; to use, devote and apply its assets and income [...] for the promotion and attainment of the aforesaid purposes..." The foundation was administered by a Board of Directors and trustees with Bishop Gower as chair ex-officio. The members, not more than 12 laymen, were elected by the Executive Committee of the Synod of the Diocese. The positions of secretary and treasurer could be held by one and the same person. The principal and registered office was located in Vancouver, B.C. The society was dissolved in 1972.