Sparrow

Sparrow

Sparrow was a gay/lesbian christian group, which met every Wednesday night in several locations over the years, for a dozen or twenty attendees.

Sparrow was founded by Anglican priest Fr. BobPetite and Fr. MikeMacDonald, a Roman Catholic Holy Cross Father, in the early 1970's while Bob was chaplain at Dalhousie University and the University of King's College. Fr. Mike was at the time Director of Hope Cottage on Brunswick St. The group began having meetings at Dalhousie. When Bob eventually moved to be the Rector of the parish of Antigonish, Fr. Mike continued to sponsor meetings. The group continued for many years and Bob became a regular member again when he returned to Halifax to be the Rector of St. George's Round Church on Brunswick St. in 1980. Many of the members at that time were associated with StJohnsUnitedChurch on Windsor St.1

BobPetite says: I have a picture of myself and Fr. Mike at one of our planning meetings in my office at Dalhousie.

Organizers / Clergy

Other Sparrow mainstays were ChuckBaker?, HaroldDurnford?, ChristopherBowen?; Sandra ??? and her daughter Elizabeth.


TerryParker writes on December 14, 2010: I believe the order was called “The Priests of the Sacred Heart”. The house was on Edwards St. Members were also Bapist and Seventh-day Adventist. I don’t recall there being any connection to AST or St. John’s but there very well could have been as Sparrow later met in the Chapel at St. John’s (to the north of the auditorium, and east of the kitchen). My understanding is that Father Mike started the group and it originally met at Hope Cottage. Then it moved from Hope Cottage to Edwards St. PeterRoss? was a name also involved with Sparrow at one time, and NormanMoulton?, BrianMombourquette, and NelsonHubley.


BrianMombourquette writes September 5, 2012: Sparrow continued to meet for a number of years, and played a role in local Christian churches' struggles and discussions of queer life within the church, including the SOLM (Sexual Orientation, Lifestyles and Ministry) study by the United Church, and challenging the heirarchy's understanding of Christain values, including inviting Bishop Hayes to their retreat weekend held at St Peter's church in Dartmouth.

Weekly Sparrow meetings were moved from the Edwards Street location to the UniversalistUnitarianChurch's upper room (as members enjoyed pointing out - the disciples of Jesus met in an upper room for the last supper) around 1983 and were there for several years, before moving to the basement of St. John's United Church on Windsor Street. It was at this last location that the group began to fracture, and support fell away significantly. [HistoryProjectTodoList: more information needed for the final period.]

The appearance of Safe Harbour MCC on the scene in the early '90s subsequently filled much of the demand for a Christian support group, but Sparrow is remembered fondly by those who once attended 'religiously'.


RobinMetcalfe writes: Ken was a very active member; I believe a founding member. I would have attended some Sparrow events as his partner, although I was never personally involved. Sparrow was very broadly ecumenical, and open even to non-Christians, I believe.

Ken and Archbishop Jim Hayes were very close for a time, and we once travelled together to an event in Sackville, NB. I wrote about that trip in an essay, The Cross and the Triangle, which was published in a Canadian magazine and also translated into Swedish for Revolt, the gay magazine in Stockholm.2


This page is part of ReligiousGroups and the HistoryProject.

This page NeedsContent; specifically, we need some research and rationalization of the different tellings of the origins.

Footnotes:

1. BobPetite, January 29, 2012
2. April 19, 2018 Corr w/Dan MacKay?