Going West: Vancouver and Diocese of Athabasca 1927-1932

The Rev. Robert J. Renison and his family moved west to Vancouver, British Columbia when he received a call to serve as Rector of Christ Church in Vancouver in 1927. He served in Vancouver until 1932 when he was elected and consecrated as Bishop of the Diocese of Athabasca, a diocese covering 317,000 square kilometers in Northern Alberta. He only served in the role briefly, receiving notice that same year to serve as rector of St. Paul’s Church on Bloor Street in Toronto. Before he left the diocese, he and his family left on a planned tour of the Diocese of Athabasca. He writes, “This was 1932 – the year of the great depression. Settlers were pouring into the Peace River district. To them it was the Promised Land, and like the Children of Israel they were led by a pillar of smoke by day – composed of dust and smoke from bush fires – and by night the blaze of glory left in the sky by the setting sun.” He was reluctant to leave his post as Bishop of Athabasca as he felt his work there was not yet done. However, the Church wanted a rector of St. Paul's Parish who had worked in the missions, and Renison came to the realization that the Church needed him to take the post at St. Paul’s.