Diocese of Niagara performs another missional deconsecration

Niagara This Week reports, in what appears to be an accidental confluence of stories, that Violet the cat, found frozen and comatose is on the road to recovery and the Diocese of Niagara’s St. George’s Church has also been found frozen and comatose but, unlike Violet, is beyond hope and has been put out of its misery. Or words to that effect.

St. George’s, which has 225 years of history behind it, has been deemed unsustainable by diocesan viability enforcers and has been deconsecrated. Bishop Michael Bird was on hand to point out to the “aging membership” that the occasion, although “sombre”, was also a cause for “celebration” because the church, although now as dead as a doornail, had had a long innings. I expect that was a great comfort.

From here:

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE — With heavy hearts but cherished memories, the congregation that worshipped at a church in former village of Homer came together for the final time on Sunday.

St. George’s Anglican Church, which has a history dating back more than 225 years, held its final service. As with so many other small congregations, a dwindling and aging membership forced what for many was a painful decision to disestablish and return the deconsecrated church building to common usage.

The service was presided over by Diocese of Niagara Bishop Michael Bird, who acknowledged the sombre mood in the room but said this was also a time to celebrate a congregation with a long life. He implored everyone to think of how long it has been a home, a sanctuary and a place to come to know God, a place that has served as a backdrop to countless baptisms and weddings.

“Just imagine all the prayers that have been offered here, both spoken and silent,” he said.

Rev. Dorothy Hewlett, who also serves at Christ Church at Lakeshore and McNab roads, said the decision to close was a long time coming and was the right one to make.

An exodus of bishops from the Anglican Church of Canada

These are the bishops on their way out: Niagara’s Michael Bird; Toronto’s Colin Johnson; Primate Fred Hiltz; and now, Rupert’s Land’s Donald Phillips.

They are all liberal and heartily endorse same-sex marriage. Why have they all decided to leave now? Do they know something we don’t about the fate of the ACoC? Are they concerned that there is no future for them in the ACoC because they are all heterosexual? Have they reached that stage in life when ambition yields to the sad realisation that all the ecclesiastical mayhem that can possibly be inflicted on the Anglican Communion in one lifetime has already been wrought during their climb up the greasy clerical pole?

We may never know but at least it is satisfying to bid them adieu.

From here:

Diocese of Rupert’s Land Bishop Donald Phillips plans to retire in the fall after the election of a coadjutor bishop this June, saying that it’s important to “go out on a high note.”

Phillips, who is 63, says the decision was “more personal than diocesan,” coming as it did after his wife’s retirement last summer. “I’m thinking, 18, 18 and a half years—that’s a good long run.”

[……]

Moving forward, Phillips sees the challenge of maintaining stipendiary ordained ministry as pressing for the diocese of Rupert’s Land and the Anglican Church of Canada. “Increasingly now, we’re having parishes that can’t afford to close, but they can’t afford a full-time priest…the way that [clergy] are deployed will hopefully start to change.”

Rev Noah Njegovan receives 22-month conditional sentence

Noah Njegovan, son of Brandon’s Bishop Jim Njegovan, was sentenced today for stealing around $200,000 from the diocese. Njegovan won’t be going to jail.

The judge noted that “People no longer want to give them [the diocese] money because people no longer believe they are capable of managing their money.” Every cloud has a silver lining.

From here:

A Brandon judge has handed down a 22-month conditional sentence to a Manitoba priest who admitted to using a church credit card for almost $200,000 in private purchases.

Noah Njegovan was charged in 2015 with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000. He pleaded guilty to the theft charge at Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench in December, while the fraud charge was stayed.

At the time of the offence, Njegovan was an archdeacon with the Anglican Diocese of Brandon and was in charge of finances and bookkeeping for the diocese. Court documents say he had access to the church’s credit card and online bank accounts.

“$192,000 from a church,” Justice John Menzies said in sentencing Njegovan Tuesday, taking a long pause. “An organization that preaches trust and giving the benefit of the doubt … pays for that.

“This is a horrible, horrible offence,” he added, calling Njegovan’s actions a huge breach of trust.

Primate Fred Hiltz announces his intention to resign

Fred Hiltz has been Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada for about ten years. During his tenure, the church has lurched into a radical heterodoxy beyond the wildest longings of the Screwtapian Principalities assigned to gently steer it into the Pit, tens of thousands of parishioners have fled, congregations have left en masse to form a new Anglican Province, conservative priests and theologians have been persecuted, driven out, inhibited and fired, and multiple scorched-earth lawsuits have been instigated by his beloved church with a studied vindictiveness that makes Attila the Hun look like Winnie the Pooh. It’s been nothing but devastation and chaos.

It is little wonder that Hiltz wants to get out now before the whole putrid, corrupt moldering edifice collapses around his ears. The search for his replacement will, no doubt, concentrate on scouring the land – and overseas if necessary – for a suitable candidate in the form of a  partnered lesbian who dabbles in Buddhism in her spare time.

From here:

Now, dear friends is such a time for our beloved Church, a time for me to make plans to conclude my years of service as Primate, and time for the Church to make the arrangements necessary for the election of a new Primate.
In 2017, I marked 40 years in ordained ministry and 40 years of marriage with my dear Lynne. For 23 of those 40 years I have served our Church as a bishop, and for 10 of those 23 as Primate.
As you well know this was not an office to which I aspired. Nonetheless I have endeavoured to fulfil the duties required of me in the best interests of our Church and its commitment to God’s mission in Canada and as a loyal partner in the life and witness of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

It has been an enormous privilege and a great adventure with blessings beyond number. This year on December 3rd,I will God willing reach the age of 65. I think that is probably no secret in our Church! And in the natural order of discourse around such milestones, questions arise with respect to one’s intentions about retirement. I believe it is incumbent upon me to help  move us all beyond whispered speculations to clarity about my intentions.

Allow me just a few minutes to bare but a bit of my soul concerning my discernment. At some length, I have considered how much longer I should remain in office. In all honesty, there are days when I wonder if I might not be coming very close to the “best before” date in the leadership I am providing. Time and again, I have examined the scenarios for which Canon III on The Primate makes provision with respect to resignation.
I have experienced more than a few restless nights. I have tried to abide by St Paul’s counsel not to be anxious but prayerful (Philippians 2:6) I have prayed and I have quietly asked a few others to uphold me in their prayers through this time of discernment. For their pledge to do so I am enormously grateful.
I confess too that out of a deep and a biding love for our Church I have in these last several months felt more than a little sense of solemn obligation to see General Synod through the next round of conversations over a few very significant matters. I think of how we begin to move beyond Vision 2019. I think of the second reading of the amendment to the Marriage Canon.

Gaudete

Merry Christmas!

Gaudete, Gaudete!
Christus et natus
Ex maria virgine,
Gaudete!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary,
Rejoice!
Tempus ad est gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae,
Devote redamus.
It is now the time of grace
That we have desired;
Let us sing songs of joy,
Let us give devotion.
Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
God was made man,
And nature marvels;
The world was renewed
By Christ who is King.
Ezechiellis porta
Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezechiel
Has been passed through;
From where the light rises
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Let it praise the Lord:
Greetings to our King.

Church of England unearths new Charism

Church of England synods, in keeping with their North American counterparts whom they seem increasingly determined to emulate, seldom tire of justifying their decisions by rubber stamping them with the approval of the “Spirit”. It is only fitting, then, that, with all this attention given to the “Spirit”, the CofE has discovered one of His (or should that be Her?) hitherto unknown Charisms, buried under centuries of ecclesiastical rubble, finally to be unearthed, dusted off and appropriated by every right thinking cleric north of the equator.

What is it? It is the gift of Reality Evasion.

If you are wondering how it operates in practice, you need look no further than the fine example set by the new Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, among the first of what will probably be a long line of crusading Lady Bishops about to invade and feminise the Anglican Church in the UK.

Here, you can listen in full to her masterpiece of evasion, so deft it could only be supernaturally inspired, and below is an excerpt of her most notable wriggling:

MH: How would you vote when Synod debates blessings for same sex relationships?

SM: Well, at that point I won’t be in Synod, so I won’t have a vote. But what we have to remember is…

MH: How would you vote?

SM: What we have to remember is that this is about people, and, um, the church seeks to demonstrate love to all, because it reflects the God of love, who loves everybody, and obviously this issue isn’t just an issue for London, not just for us in the Church of England, but also the Anglican Community, um and at the moment the church is taking a period to reflect, there is work that is going on, er, and I’m involved in that, and, er, for me that is important that we take a time of reflection, whilst, you know, standing on the traditions of the Church of England…

MH: Would you bless a same sex marriage?

SM: At the moment there is no provision to do that

MH: Would you like there to be that provision?

SM: As I said there is a period of reflection that is going on at the moment, and I am part of that…

MH: Have you not decided how you feel about blessing a same sex marriage?

SM: I think that, what we have to recognize is a real diversity within the Church of England, and if we are going to take seriously the wish of the two Archbishops to take a period of reflection, then we need to allow that process to go ahead, and I have been very encouraged by those who wish to work with us on that. And at the same time we do have to recognize that this is a challenge for all people, and we do this as we have always done it in the past, we manage difference…

MH: [Interrupts] I recognize that this is difficult…a sensitive issue…[continues, then mentions] St Helen’s Bishopsgate where the vicar has said he is looking to the new Bishop to condemn homosexual relationships as sinful, otherwise there will be some kind of break. [Deep breath]. Do you think homosexual relationships are sinful?

SM: Er, well, the comment came across in the press, and one the things I’m doing is meeting those people that reflect the whole diversity across the Church of England. And in a sense it’s not avoiding the subject but it’s recognizing that there is a difference, that the Church of England, um, is taking a period of reflection, and recognizing that it does involve people, so there is a sense in which you have to compassionately, um, deal with these issues, and, er, I am forever encouraged that the church across London is undertaking a whole series of things in communities, to be, er, welcoming to that diversity. And one of the wonderful things yesterday was being out in Hackney, and seeing, er, a church that is welcoming people…

Interviewer interrupts and asks about the possibility of a female Archbishop in her lifetime.

SM replies about focusing on the job in hand.

Interview ends. Programme moves to the weather forecast.

Have yourself a Merry Little Anti-Trump Christmas

It would be unAnglican to this waste this Christmas by failing to mention how Trump has ruined it for everyone by planning to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

With that in mind, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem has, at last, been correctly interpreted by Fred Hiltz. It is all about the Israelis with their nasty wall, ugly checkpoints, and preposterous obsession with trying to prevent their citizens being murdered by rampaging Palestinians. Most of all, it’s about Trump moving his stupid embassy.

Brooks speaks of the town’s stillness and its undisturbed sleep above which “the silent stars go by”.  Then he speaks of the beauteous light that shines in its streets, as the birth of the Messiah becomes known.  As we hold our candle, and focus on this lovely text, we might think of how far a cry the Bethlehem of today is from the stillness and peace of which the carol speaks.  Stark images of the massive Separation Wall come to mind, as do images of the heavily guarded check point through which people must pass in and out of the city.  In many respects, Brooks’ words “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” are a fitting commentary on the circumstances in which people live there.  They live with hope for the peace God intends, however elusive it may be, however challenging to negotiate and secure.  They live with fear that developments such as the world has witnessed in recent weeks will escalate political tensions in their city, in Jerusalem, Gaza, and throughout the Middle East.  So as we hold our candle and sing, we think of all those for whom this “little town” is home, all those who know its history and cling to its destiny in the sight of God.

Diocese of Calgary urged to begin same-sex blessings

Numerous dioceses, Toronto and Niagara for example, are already marrying same-sex couples. The diocese of Calgary hasn’t even started to bless same-sex couples, let alone marry them.

Calgary, to its shame, has fallen well behind other more progressive dioceses in their march along the highway to extinction. To correct this deficit, a collection of individuals with the catchy title of “Moving Forward-Embracing Diversity” is urging the diocese to join in the march of the ecclesiastical lemmings post-haste.

From here:

Elizabeth McLennan, spokesperson for Moving Forward-Embracing Diversity, spokesperson for Moving Forward-Embracing Diversity

An informal group in the diocese of Calgary is calling on the bishop to make a decision on whether to allow same-sex blessings in the diocese.

Moving Forward-Embracing Diversity, a lay group formed last January to push for same-sex blessings in the diocese, released a statement last week calling on Archbishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson, bishop of Calgary and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, to announce his response to a motion  passed at the diocesan synod October 14 requesting him to allow clergy to bless the unions of same-sex couples. At the time, Kerr-Wilson said he expected to announce his decision by mid-November. But no decision has yet been announced.

“Votes that pass in synod are expected to be acted upon and implemented,” Elizabeth McLennan, spokesperson for the group and mover of the motion, told the Anglican Journal Friday, December 8. “I think the diocese has really clearly shown the archbishop the direction it wants to take, and honestly, now it’s totally up to Greg to decide whether or not he’s going to listen to his synod.”

Fred Hiltz, Jerusalem and Trump

It goes without saying that Hiltz, along with other church dignitaries, is spluttering his indignation about the U.S. recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Most importantly, it’s because he hates Trump and all he stands for with a loathing as intense as his fawning love for Justin Trudeau, Canada’s pretty boy, a bleached version of Barack Obama. There is no hatred quite so caustic as that of a liberal Anglican clergyman encountering opposition laced with disagreement that’s less than good .

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, is calling for prayers for Jerusalem after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision December 6 to recognize the city as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Hiltz, as Anglican Primate floats, as usual, blissfully above the demands that facts and reality impose on mere mortals. Thus, he declares that Trump has acted unilaterally, in spite of the fact that the U.S. congress voted to recognise Jerusalem as capital 22 years ago. Trump has done what every other president for the last 22 years has been putting off. This is very unAnglican: Anglicans have endless conversations when something comes up that they dislike.

Hiltz is also condemning Trump’s “unilateral action,” saying it has set off violence in the Holy Land.

Significantly, none of the clergy gnashing their collective teeth over this are interested in whether it is the right thing to do or not. Rather, they are motivated by pious pragmatism: will the recognition incite the usual lunatic elements to violence? After all, the Middle East has hitherto been so peaceful.

In a statement released Friday, December 8, Hiltz said he was joining a number of voices expressing “serious concerns” about Trump’s declaration. He cited a letter jointly issued by 13 heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem, including Archbishop Suheil Dawani, primate of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, voicing disapproval and worry.

“We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division,” the church leaders said in the letter, released shortly before Trump’s official announcement. “We ask from you Mr. President to help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all.

“The Holy City can be shared and fully enjoyed once a political process helps liberate the hearts of all people, that live within it, from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing.”

We have something to be thankful for in all this: politicians tend to ignore the opinions of effete clerics – just like everyone else:

But Trump, Hiltz said, chose “to ignore this wise and Godly counsel,” and went ahead with his declaration. “His unilateral action has unsettled the entire Middle East and plunged Jerusalem into chaos,” Hiltz continued.

Hiltz, it seems, has found a new word: “unilateral”. This is the third time he has used it. Incorrectly.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal Thursday, December 7, Hiltz said he felt Trump had acted in a characteristically “unilateral” and dangerous way in making his announcement.

What we really need are more conversations. How about a Middle East Indaba?

“There’s no sense of, you know, consultation, no sense of this having been a broader conversation. It’s Donald Trump being Donald Trump,” he said.

It gets worse: North Korea’s obsession with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles is Trump’s fault, too. Did I mention that Hiltz hates Trump?

“As with issues of concern on the Korean peninsula, his statements and his actions agitate, and they tend to stir things up in ways that, quite frankly, are not helpful,” Hiltz said. “It’s very worrisome in terms of how this could turn.”

The Anglican Church of Canada—like the government of Canada—Hiltz said, supports “a lasting peace process in which there is a state of Israel, but within which Palestinians also have a rightful place.”

Finally, we find out what is really bothering Hiltz – other than the fact that he is forced to live on the same planet as Trump. His free trip to Jerusalem might have to be cancelled.

Hiltz also said Trump’s announcement cast some doubt on whether he would still make a planned trip to Jerusalem this January to visit the Anglican primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Diocese of Brandon’s Noah Njegovan pleads guilty to fraud

A Diocese of Brandon rector, Noah Njegovan, the son of Bishop Jim Njegovan is alleged to have relieved the diocese of $192,000, much of which he spent in Sin City eating expensive meals and visiting massage parlours. He had been denying the whole affair, but now is pleading guilty to the charges.

Had he used his own money for the massages, he probably could have just added an “M” to the LGBT-etc litany, claimed membership in the Massage Community and been applauded for coming out. As it is, he committed an act so heinous even the Anglican Church of Canada regards it as sinful: he took their money.