Xi’an – Terracotta Warriors

These statues are around 2,200 years old and were supposed to protect the dead Emperor Qin Shi Huang in his tomb.


And, after searching high and low, I found, to my great excitement, a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book for sale. I bought several copies to distribute to my Canadian friends.

Diocese of Calgary votes to bless same-sex couples

It wasn’t that long ago that the Diocese of Niagara was spluttering unconvincingly about how their intention to bless same-sex couples had nothing whatsoever to do with marrying same-sex couples. Now they are doing just that.

It goes to show that there really is a wedge with a thin end and the Diocese of Calgary has just reached it.

From the Anglican Communion Alliance:

Synod has passed the following Motion in the Diocese of Calgary: “This synod requests the Bishop to grant permission to any Clergy who may wish to bless the unions of faithful, committed, Christian same sex couples. In requesting such permission clergy and lay people of the Diocese of Calgary shall be entrusted to follow their consciences.” With regard to what he might be willing to give permission for, in a pastoral letter earlier this week, Abp. Greg Kerr-Wilson said it is possible that “some intercessory prayers” could possibly be devised “for use in the context of a Eucharistic celebration.”

Justin Welby “taken aback” by Curry criticism

From here:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said that he is “taken aback” by criticism of the decision to ask the Presiding Bishop of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church to pray for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Curry prayed for the victims at the start of Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral, England, on Oct. 3, the first day of the Primates Meeting.

The Rev. Canon Andrew Gross, canon for communications and media relations for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), speaking on behalf of GAFCON, said that the decision to invite Curry to lead the congregation in prayer at the Evensong service “put the GAFCON primates in a difficult spot.” He said that they were “forced to look like they are walking together when they are not walking together.”

Welby’s claim to be “taken aback” is either a sign of startling naivety or disingenuousness.

It would be naïve for a leader in his position to fail to understand the depth and breadth of the rift that has divided the Anglican Communion and he should not be surprised that at least one faction is unwilling to pretend, under any circumstances, that it isn’t there. More plausibly, he does understand it and has seized the opportunity to score a political point against his opponents by claiming they are attempting to score a badly timed political point themselves.

On the other hand, if, as Rev. Canon Andrew Gross says, being present at Curry’s prayers presents difficulties for the GAFCON Primates, why on earth, I wonder, did they attend the, let’s pretend we are all getting along, Primates’ Meeting in the first place?

Scottish Episcopal Church sanctioned for one same-sex wedding while Anglican Church of Canada gets away with eight

The Scottish Episcopal Church was rapped on knuckles with a limp noodle at the recent Primates’ Meeting for voting to allow and performing a same-sex wedding. The imposed “consequences” are so laughably meaningless that it’s a wonder that Justin Welby could keep a straight face while announcing them.

To add to the farce, the Anglican Church of Canada voted to allow same-sex weddings in 2016 (to be finalised in 2019) and has now performed eight same-sex weddings (see article below) and no-one seems to care. Even the GAFCON Primates fail to mention it, referring instead to the ACoC “bless[ing] gay relationships”.

From here:

The Primus of Scottish Episcopal Church, Mark Strange, said he recognised the vote in June to permit clerics who wanted to conduct gay weddings to do so had caused ‘some hurt and anger’ among fellow Anglicans around the world.

He accepted the ‘consequences’ – which Lambeth Palace officials insisted did not amount to sanctions – would restrict the SEC’s involvement in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

[….]

A spokesman for the conservative grouping GAFCON, which largely includes African primates, insisted the Scottish Episcopal Church as well as the US Episcopal Church, which has legalised gay marriage, and the Anglican Church in Canada, which blesses gay relationships, must ‘repent’.

The Anglican Church of Canada has performed eight same-sex marriages since July 2016. Read here:

Eight same-sex couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses, ahead of General Synod 2019, when a resolution to allow same-sex marriages will be presented for second reading.

Since General Synod 2016 approved – on first reading – a proposed change in the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages, four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Several other same-sex couples in the dioceses of Toronto and Ottawa are also preparing to walk down the aisle.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet

I think Shakespeare may be missing something.

Many years ago when I was a schoolboy studying chemistry, we made some phenyl isocyanide, the worst smelling concoction I have ever encountered, and, at an opportune moment secreted an open beaker full of it in the masters’ common room. I cannot honestly declare “that which we call phenyl isocyanide by any other word would smell as foul” because, for me, the words themselves are so evocative of a revolting stench that they contribute an additive smell of their own to the chemical.

An onomatopoeia has a similar effect as do other words that have a sufficient emotional charge that their use provokes a reaction that is detached from or out of proportion to their meaning. “Sodomite” is such a word: although it simply describes someone who regularly – we must allow that an isolated incident could merely be accidental misplacement – engages in a particular sex act, it seems to be intrinsically offensive.

Its offensiveness is not lost on a rather strange Australian Anglican priest called Rod Bower who, although he has redefined the word to suit his and others’ contemporary liberal bias, uses it to launch an ad hominem attack against a politician with whom he disagrees. Much easier than engaging in a rational discussion.

From here:

The sin of Sodom is greatly misunderstood by those who usually choose to do so, it has nothing to do with homosexuality, it is all about hospitality, or more to the point lack there of, and particularly about the condition of the heart that leads to inhospitable behaviour.

Peter Dutton’s comments today are an astonishingly vivid example of this most grievous of sins. The lies, misinformation and blatant untruths are worthy of noting [sic] less than condemnation and ridicule.

[….]

Dutton is a true Sodomite.

Here is the church sign that proves it:

Peter Dutton is a sodomite because he is inhospitable. Insofar as most of us have exhibited some degree of inhospitality at some time or other, I suppose that makes most of us sodomites. Some are petty sodomites while the unrepentant misanthropes among us would be hardened sodomites.

Bower does not, as far as I know, house any refugees personally in his own house so he has to be, at the very least, a moderate sodomite.

We are all sodomites now.

Fred Hiltz tackling what he can’t tackle and ignoring what he can

It goes without saying that trading humans for money is evil. It is an evil over which Anglican leaders have no influence: I suspect most of them are not slave owners themselves and anyone who is has little interest in their opinion. Denouncing human trafficking projects an aura of virtue without making any demands on the denouncer.

What Hiltz could do is stop tearing apart the Anglican Communion by continuing to destroy the sacrament of marriage. But he won’t.

From here:

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, says he hopes human trafficking will be in the spotlight when primates from across the Anglican Communion meet in Canterbury, England, October 2-6.

“It is right that the Anglican Consultative Council should challenge the provinces of the Anglican Communion to tackle this issue, and it is right that here in the Primates’ Meeting we should begin substantial attention to it,” Hiltz said. “My own hope and prayer is that together we will rise up and be strong and bold to defy and defeat this crime against humanity.”

Justin Welby’s sense of humour

The Scottish Episcopal Church voted recently to approve same-sex marriages. At the last Primates’ meeting, TEC, which also marries same-sex couples, had to suffer the consequences of their action, including not participating in formal Anglican Communion meetings or voting on decisions related to policy or teaching. Neither of these were enforced and TEC representatives continued to vote and gabble incontinently to their hearts’ content.

Now the same consequences may be imposed on the Scottish Episcopal Church. Its leaders must be shedding many tears at the prospect of being similarly afflicted. Tears of laughter.

From here:

The Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to face ‘consequences’ from fellow Anglicans for its decision to allow gay marriage.

Senior figures from around the worldwide Anglican Communion, including from the largely conservative global south, will meet in Canterbury next week and are expected to impose restrictions on the SEC after the vote permitting same-sex weddings last June.

At the last meeting of global Anglican primates in January 2016 The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US was handed the same ‘consequences’ after they permitted same-sex couples to marry.

Church figures at the time stressed they did not amount to sanctions or a punishment but meant representatives from TEC could not represent the 80-million strong Anglican Communion on formal bodies or vote on decisions related to policy or teaching.

St. Matthias Victoria runs out of chair money

Here is a brief recent history of St. Matthias in the Diocese of B.C.

In 2009 most of the thriving congregation voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada to join ANiC.

As was the case for every other congregation that left the ACoC, the diocese seized the building but not the majority of the people. This left a small congregation that would not normally be considered viable but had to be made to appear viable, otherwise the diocese would have had little need for the building. Consequently, the parish was put on financial life-support by the diocese.

In 2010 a pair of 17th century Ming dynasty chairs were discovered in the church, by now firmly in the clutches of the Diocese of B.C. They sold in 2012 for a profit $630,000US to the orgasmic delight of the rector, Rev. Robert Arril, who, for some reason, only lasted as rector until 2013.

We were informed that the money would help pay for “several programs sponsored by St. Matthias, including outreach services for single mothers and homeless people.” The reality did not live up to the pious intent of the announcement: the money was actually spent “to cover the structural deficits” because the parish was not self-supporting. It should be self-supporting since, after all, it is:

open and welcoming to all members of the LGBTQI community and we desire to create an environment that is supportive of LGBTQI people and their relationships, respectful of all people, treat all people equally, and are non-judgmental. We do not judge people on their sexual orientation or their gender identity, but rather, we seek to affirm them in their self-identity.

In spite of all the self-identity affirmation, the chair money is running out. Here is an excerpt from a recent, rather dispirited, parish report:

Over the past seven years the Parish of St. Matthias has been in constant transition. In 2009 something over 80% of the parish left, along with the clergy and musicians. Under the Rev. Dr. Robert Arril the parish began a process of recovery. In 2012 the “Hand Document” was produced which charted out an action plan for the next five years. Much of this ambitious plan was implemented. Bob Arril left the parish in Spring 2013, and after a long interim our current Rector came in June 2014. In 2015 we observed our centennial.
In none of these seven years were we truly self-supporting. In the first two years we  were supported by grants from the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia. In 2012 we had a providential discovery in that two Chinese chairs which had sat at the back of the church for decades were found in fact worth to be worth a small fortune. The sale of these chairs has helped us to cover the structural deficits. However, the end of the “chair fund” is on the horizon.
As well, our average Sunday attendance has been stuck at between forty and fifty people. By any measure this is about half of what would be expected in a self-supporting parish.