Bishop Michael Bird looks back at successful lawsuits

Michael Bird, having resigned as Bishop of the Diocese of Niagara, has just completed his final bishop’s charge.

In the charge, he laments the anxieties thrust upon him by dissenting Anglicans immediately following his consecration – during which he processed to the strains of the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love”, an inverse harbinger of things to come – and congratulates himself and the diocese on “having stood our ground”, including ejecting the dissenters from their buildings, seizing, and in some cases selling the buildings and successfully prosecuting a string of lawsuits. And no one in the diocese had to pay any legal fees!

Where did the money come from? Selling St. Hilda’s property and rectory for $2,650,000 probably helped.

From here:

In the days preceding this celebration, local and national newspapers and media spoke of the conflict and division in the life of the Anglican Church. The Toronto Star had a running commentary on the status of three breakaway parishes in our diocese.  On February 20, the headlines read as follows: “Breakaway Anglicans asked to hand over keys.” On February 28, it was announced that “Talks with dissident Anglican parishes end,” and then on March 3, the day after my installation, a picture appeared in newspapers across the country with the caption reading: “A House of worship divided.”

The Toronto Star article went on to say that: “For Niagara Bishop Michael Bird, the court case opened on his first official day in office – he spent the day in court and talking to reporters outside – [this issue] threatens to dominate his entire time in office.”

If this were not enough, 2008 was the year that the economy crashed or at the very least took a dramatic down turn. With this loss of investment money, mounting court and legal fees and a multi-million-dollar debt we had some major and painful financial decisions to make. One of the things that I am most grateful for, as we gather here today, is that we find ourselves in a sound financial position and that having stood our ground and brought our legal proceedings to a successful conclusion, not one cent of those court costs was paid for out of the collection plates of our parishes.

More on the firing of Jacob Worley

In a extraordinarily hypocritical statement – even for an ACoC archbishop – John Privett still refuses to reveal why Rev Jacob Worley was fired, hinting that to do so would be to reveal something “personal” – a hint that is dripping with the innuendo of a dark and shameful secret – about Worley. I suspect it would actually reveal something personal about the bishops who made the decision, namely that there are none whose intolerance is as venomous as that of those who claim to be standard bearers of tolerance.

He goes on to note that the decision was not “precipitous”, nor was it made by Privett alone. To cap this sanctimonious tripe, he declares that those making the decision were acting as “compassionately as possible”. There is no compassion as heartwarming as Anglican compassion, a compassion that deprives a person and his family of his livelihood, home and country of residence and refuses to state why.

In a telephone interview with the Anglican Journal, Privett stated that he made the decision, as he has episcopal authority during a vacancy, but that he “did not act alone,” rather in consultation with the diocesan leadership. Privett declined to speak further about the reasons behind the termination, saying, “I don’t think it’s appropriate to speak about personal matters. Those are confidential.

“What I can say, though, is that it was not precipitous. I thought about it carefully, I discussed it with others, and I do believe the decision was in the best interests of both the diocese and the Worley family.”
Privett says the diocese is “looking into” the details of Worley’s immigration status, as they were unaware of the details of his residency before making their decision.

“I can say, we don’t want to create hardship for the Worley family, so we’re trying to act as compassionately as possible.”

Anglican Church of Canada considering deleting prayer for conversion of the Jews

When I was in Israel a few year ago, I visited the garden tomb, a place that may have temporarily housed Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.

The garden was managed by Messianic Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah. As a result, Jesus’ tomb had this plaque inside:

Here is one of the guides who made the most of his time talking to us by telling us that Jesus is his risen Lord:

Now, in a rather odd move, the Anglican Church of Canada has before it a motion to remove from the prayer book a prayer for the salvation of the Jews. To me it seems a thoroughly unloving – in a way almost anti-Semitic – thing to do. If Jesus is the only way to the Father, the only means of our redemption, the only way ridding ourselves of sin and avoiding judgement and hell, then to refuse to pray for the eyes of a people to be opened to this seems, at the very least, callous, if not downright sinister.

Needless to say, the motion is being proposed after “substantial years-long theological reflection and dialogue” and in the interests of “interfaith relationships’, neither of which ever lead to anything useful.

I’m almost tempted to conclude that the Anglican Church of Canada no longer believes that Jesus is the only way to the Father; come to think of it, the ACoC no longer believes there even is a “Father”, only an impersonal “Creator”.

Here is the prayer that is to be expunged:

O God, who didst choose Israel to be thine inheritance: Look, we beseech thee, upon thine ancient people; open their hearts that they may see and confess the Lord Jesus to be thy Son and their true Messiah, and, believing, they may have life through his Name. Take away all pride and prejudice in us that may hinder their understanding of the Gospel, and hasten the time when all Israel shall be saved; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Justin Welby and tiaras: the enduring struggle to appear ever more ridiculous

The west has developed a degree of immunity to the truth of the Christian message. As St. Paul said 2000 years ago, ”the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing”, a diagnosis that is even more apposite today.

For those few secularists who are not deterred by the apparent foolishness of the cross, the Church of England, under the guidance of Justin Welby, has laboured tirelessly to come up with something contemporary to deter them, an idea that sets a new standard for objective stupidity, one so intrinsically daft that it will be centuries before the church manages to concoct  anything more ridiculous. Boys in tiaras and high heels.

From here:

Boys should be free to choose to wear a tutu, tiara or heels, and girls to wear toolbelts and superhero capes, the Church of England has said in new guidance issued to its schools.

The advice also calls on teachers to avoid using labels that might alienate children’s behaviour “just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes”.

The updated guidance for its 4,700 schools, titled Valuing All God’s Children [pdf], follows advice issued three years ago that covered homophobic bullying. It has now been expanded to include transphobic and biphobic bullying.

The church advises that nursery and primary school should be a time of “creative exploration”, and that pupils should feel free to “try out the many cloaks of identity” and “explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision”.

In the guidance, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warns that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes “profound damage leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide”.

The advice adds: “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing-up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision.

“For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, toolbelt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.”

At last, some good news from the Anglican Church of Canada

They are running out of money.

The end is nigh. It must be, because no organisation, let alone church, can possibly survive if it finds itself groping for answers to questions like: “Why do we exist?” and “What is our purpose?”

All the shiny things adorning the beloved primate are coming soon to a pawn shop near you.

From here:

The likelihood that the church’s revenue will stagnate in coming years means it might want to think carefully about its priorities, Fraser Lawton, bishop of the diocese of Athabasca and a member of the financial management committee, said in a presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Saturday, November 11.

“The trends as we go forward, looking ahead over a number of years, suggest that we need to be mindful of what appears to be a probability of declining income,” Lawton said. “It might be wise for us to think about what are the critical things…Why do we exist as General Synod? What is our purpose, what is the priority in terms of funding?”

More than 90% of General Synod’s net income comes from the dioceses, Lawton said, but almost all of them are “having some conversations” about their own financial future. Given this, he said, “if everything continues as is, the day is going to come when we’re going to have to make some very hard decisions.”

The firing of Rev Jacob Worley

There aren’t many ways that lead to a priest being fired from the Anglican Church of Canada; in fact, providing one isn’t too enthusiastic about one’s faith, it is rather difficult. Criminal activity such as embezzlement and paederasty tend – if found out – to be frowned upon, as is trying to murder a parishioner. On the other hand, disbelief in Biblical principles and spreading that disbelief is the bedrock upon which Canadian Anglicanism rests: the less a priest believes, the more secure his job.

Flouting the wishes of the Anglican Synod, far from being a cause for censure or  termination is hailed joyously as prophetic. Providing it is liberal flouting – just look at the antics of Bird, Chapman et al. following the last Anglican synod..

Nevertheless, Rev Jacob Worley has been fired. No reason was given but it’s difficult not to suspect it is because he is that most rare clerical specimen, now almost extinct in the Anglican Church of Canada, a genuine Christian.

The writing was on the wall for Worley since it wasn’t too long ago that his election as bishop was overturned on a technicality.

Archbishop Privett did the firing without explanation, not that one is needed since it seems fairly clear that he bent to the will of the ecclesiastical zeitgeist, and behaved in the disgusting manner we have come to expect of Anglican Archbishops in Canada. The diocese and archbishop have lived down to my modest expectations in every way.

Coincidentally, Worley opposes same-sex marriage. That could have nothing to do with it, surely.

Read it all at the Anglican Planet:

THE REV. JACOB WORLEY was told by Archbishop John Privett in a phone call and a letter received Friday, Nov. 10 that Worley’s employment as a priest in the Diocese of Caledonia is being terminated. Worley says that when he asked what the reason was, Privett (who is Metropolitan of the Province of BC & Yukon) declined to give him one.  In accordance with Immigration rules, Worley has to leave Canada for the United States within ten days of his last day of employment, which is on Sunday, Nov. 19.  “I’m going to trust the Lord – who else am I going to trust?  I could say like Job, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.’ I’m going to rejoice,” said Worley when reached by phone.

In May of 2017, Worley made headlines in Church news when the House of Bishops of the Province of BC and Yukon refused to approve him as Bishop of Caledonia, a diocese that stretches across the northern half of British Columbia.  The majority decision cited Provincial Canon 4(b)vi, which states that an objection to the election of a bishop may be brought on the grounds that “he or she teaches or holds or within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.”  In a statement released by the Anglican Church of Canada on May 15, Privett was quoted as saying that “within the past five years the Rev. Worley has held – and continues to hold – views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.” These “views” relate to jurisdictional issues, as Worley had served for a time within AMiA (Anglican Mission in America) in the United States.


Reflecting on the news that he will be forced to leave his parish, Worley said, “This is how it started in The Episcopal Church, how the exodus began.  People got shoved out.  In those cases, they were given no reason…but everybody knew the reason.” But he added “I know that God will work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. He will use this for His glory and the good of His church.

The Diocese of Caledonia and the office of Archbishop Privett have also been contacted for comment but at the time of publication have not responded.

Worley and his wife, Kelly, have five children, aged 12 to 25.

Fred Hiltz wonders what St. Paul would make of the Anglican Church of Canada

Wondering what St. Paul would think of a church considering marrying people of the same sex is akin to pondering whether Karl Marx would approve of Walmart. Any Christian whose thought processes are still anchored in the reality our familiar old four-dimensional space-time continuum knows the answer. It is the one thing Paul and Marx would have in common: the strength of their respective loathing for same-sex activity and Walmart.

Yet, here we have Fred Hiltz seriously – at least, I assume this article is not an elaborate exercise in exploring the outer limits of poor taste in Anglican jokes, it’s sometimes difficult to tell – asking exactly that:

Hiltz made the comment in an address that began and ended by wondering what St. Paul might think of the church, what advice he might give it and how he might pray for it.

On the church’s deliberation over changing its marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage, for example, Paul might remind it of his counsel to the Ephesians to be “humble and gentle and patient with one another, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3),” he said.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Hiltz said it was partly the idea of the importance of good leadership in the church at this point in its history that had prompted him to imagine what the apostle might think if he were to look at it “with a penetrating eye.”


Hiltz concluded his address by speculating that St. Paul might pray for the Canadian church as he prayed for the Ephesians, “that we understand the incredible greatness of God’s power—that we might have power to comprehend how wide, and how long, and how high and how deep is God’s love for us in Christ; that we be filled with that knowledge and in and through it live our lives and do the work to which God calls us.”

Bishops against prayer

Episcopal bishops in the US are complaining that politicians are calling for prayer after the murder of many in the congregation at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. In a pronouncement whose role-reversal irony evades the bishops – as we all know bishops are renowned for being politicians-manqué – the bishops want action not prayer. Prayer is the job of bishops because only bishops have the wisdom to deliver the carefully nuanced incense-laced leftist propaganda to the Almighty necessary for the bishops to attain their political ambitions.

The problem, the bishops intone, is not the obvious one of a church which has ceased to affirm and preach the principles of its founder and thus has encouraged evil to flourish, but the 2nd Amendment.

Having given up on the job of leading people to Christ in order for him to transform the evil present within all of us, our bishops busy themselves with affirming our fallen nature, gasping with horror at the inevitable result, and attempt to limit the unavoidable damage by demanding politicians remove the external means we use to do that damage.

From here:

The campaign group United Against Gun Violence, which brings together more than 70 bishops from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, has challenged the country’s leaders to act following the November 5 shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 26 people.


In the U.S., efforts to limit widespread gun ownership have been repeatedly thwarted by a highly-financed and effective gun-lobby that promotes the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which grants a right to bear arms. The 2nd amendment was ratified in 1791—eight years after the American War of Independence, and states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Regardless of its original intent, it is seen today by the gun lobby as the right for U.S. citizens to own, possess and carry weapons—including assault rifles. And despite a very large number of mass-shooting incidents, politicians appear unable—or unwilling—to take action to limit the number of weapons in circulation.


Now the bishops have criticized political leaders for being quick to call people to pray following such shootings, while being slow to take action to prevent them.

“In the wake of the heartbreaking shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, we find ourselves both calling people to prayer, and wishing that the word did not come so readily to the lips of elected leaders who are quick to speak, but take no action on behalf of public safety,” the bishops said.

Anglican anxiety in an age of same-sex marriage

From a Christian perspective, marrying two people of the same sex is either wrong or it isn’t. The latter case would mean the church and theologians have been mistaken for the last 2000 years and now, for some odd reason, they have finally seen the light; or, as I suspect, they are children of their times and all their high-minded pontificating is little more than chronological arrogance.

One might be tempted to conclude that whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong is the defining issue to be discussed at the next Anglican synod, the either/or – or as is fashionable to say in our computer infested age, the binary – decision that is uppermost in every bishop’s mind. But no! What is unsettling the equanimity of our bishops and primate is how we talk about the problem, not the problem itself.

The compulsion to discuss how to discuss, must surely be among the last symptoms exhibited by an organisation that has utterly lost its way, one that, on its last legs, exerts its last few gasps to explain to uninterested bystanders the precise quality of those gasps – just before the final death rattle overcomes it.

From here:

“My sense is that there’s a lingering kind of anxiety within the church about how we have a decent conversation about this matter at General Synod 2019,” Hiltz told the Anglican Journal Monday, October 30.

A resolution to allow same-sex marriages in the church passed its first reading at General Synod in July 2016; a required second reading will go before General Synod in 2019.

Hiltz made the comments during an interview about the meeting October 23-27 of the House of Bishops in Niagara Falls, Ont.

A number of bishops expressed concerns, he said, about how same-sex conversations at the next General Synod could take place “in a way that doesn’t leave people feeling marginalized, isolated, pushed out—on either side.”

Many feel that the traditional legislative process that the synod follows encourages contention, he said.  “You basically either speak in favour or against. So immediately…you get some sense of the—in some respects—division in the house.”

Among the bishops, he said, there’s “a whole range of hopes and scenarios” about how conversation at synod might be guided.

Some bishops raised questions about the time limits imposed on General Synod members when debating, given the great importance many place on the issue of marriage.

There’s also anxiety among some in the church, Hiltz said, that the resolution, despite its conscience clause, doesn’t offer enough protection to those who oppose same-sex marriages—that if the resolution passes its second reading, would-be priests who are opposed will find it harder to get ordained or appointed.

A widespread concern, the primate said, has to do more generally with how those in favour and those opposed would be able to live together harmoniously afterward, whether the vote passes or fails.