Prancing in the Church of England

Rev Richard Coles is a gay Church of England vicar who is making a name for himself by appearing on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The impulse to take the church into the world is not a bad idea, although there may be limits beyond which one should not stray. I remember some years ago seeing an interview with a Christian stripper who, she claimed, “stripped for Jesus”. Coles is cha-chaing for Jesus; I suppose we must be thankful for small mercies.

Unfortunately, Coles is also doing the reverse by taking the dance floor into the church. You can see his latest sermon below. One can only assume he is convinced that this makes Christ more accessible, the congregation more with-it and the church more relevant.

Or it may leave the impression of a church that has forgotten how to do what it is supposed to do and resorts to a rather pathetic attempt to imitate what the world does instead.

Now is the time to say goodbye

Michael Bird’s exit from the Diocese of Niagara has generated enough interest to be noted in the secular press. Or perhaps it was a slow news day in Guelph.

As you can see, other than the bodies under the parking lot, the Diocese of Niagara is a veritable avian utopia:

As the eleventh Bishop of Niagara, Bishop Bird has borne witness to God’s transformational and inclusive love. He led the diocese to create a new vision for its ministry that includes a focus on prophetic social justice-making, life-changing worship, and leadership development. Bishop Bird is a strong and progressive voice within the Anglican Church of Canada on issues related to the inclusion of members of the LGBTQ2 community, the alleviation and eradication of poverty, the truth and reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples, and the global refugee crisis.

At its next meeting in October, the governing body of the diocese will begin the electoral planning process by selecting a seven-person oversight committee known as the Electoral Synod Nominations and Planning Committee. It is expected that an electoral synod will happen in the first quarter of 2018.

Bishop Michael Bird resigns

As Bird himself notes, “There is so much more to say”, but I will have to confine myself to: I’m devastated.

From here:

Dear friends in Christ:

This evening I have informed the members of Synod Council that, after many months of prayerful discernment, I will step down from my work as the Bishop of Niagara on June 1, 2018. At that time, I will take up a new ministry in the Diocese of Ottawa. Archbishop Colin Johnson, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario, is now in receipt of my letter of resignation.

The decision to end my episcopal ministry here in Niagara was a very difficult one and serving as your bishop has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Together, we have embraced so many exciting opportunities, we have faced and met a number of daunting challenges, and above all we have remained steadfast in our calling as God’s people. This time has been marked by a decade full of faith and vision, courage and hope, change and innovation. We have never shied away from allowing our prophetic voice to be heard both within the Church and beyond, and we have passionately advocated for those who are marginalized and with those whose voices have gone unheard.

There is so much more to say and I have so many people to thank for the love and support that I have received during these past ten years. There are, however, many months ahead to celebrate and give thanks to God for all that has transpired. For now, let me simply and sincerely ask for your prayers for our diocese, and for Susan and me personally, as we all prepare for this time of transition that will unfold in the days and months ahead.

With profound gratitude, I remain yours faithfully in Christ,

Bishop of Niagara

The Islamophobic iPhone X

Apple announced its latest iPhone today, the iPhone X.

One of the major changes is that the fingerprint scanner has gone. Instead, the phone relies on face recognition for security:

Your face is now your password. Face ID is a secure new way to unlock, authenticate, and pay.

The only problem is, how will it cope with this:

A clear case of anti-Islam bias. This would never have happened if Steve Jobs were  still with us.

Women changing the world

Katharine Jefferts-Schori has been selected by Time Magazine as One of the Women Changing the World. Hillary Clinton is also in the list.

I can’t find much fault with Time’s choice since Schori has the distinction of suing more congregations than any other bishop in history, male, female or transgender – a category I’ve always suspected might apply to Schori – and Clinton, that of losing of an unlosable election.

No mention is made of whether the world is better or worse as a result of the labouring of these ladies and, in the interests of even handedness, Time has chosen one of each: Katharine, worse through suing and Hillary better through losing.

From here:

Time includes Katharine Jefferts Schori in series on women changing the world

Time magazine’s new multimedia project, Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World, features the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th presiding bishop, as one of 46 profiled women.

Jefferts Schori was the bishop of Nevada when she was elected in June 2006. She was installed as presiding bishop in November of that year. Her term ended in November 2015 when current Presiding Bishop Michael Curry succeeded her.

She is now serving as assisting bishop in the Diocese of San Diego while that diocese discerns who to call as its next bishop.

The Time project, which debuted Sept. 7, uses the metaphor of the glass ceiling. “What a jagged image we use for women who achieve greatly, defining accomplishment in terms of the barrier rather than the triumph. There she is up where the air is thin, where men still outnumber women, but where the altitude is awesome,” the introduction says. “Our goal with Firsts is for every woman and girl to find someone whose presence in the highest reaches of success says to her that it is safe to climb, come on up, the view is spectacular.”

Diocese of Niagara: where are the bodies buried?

Under the cathedral parking lot, apparently.

They were buried in the 19th century and have lain there unmolested ever since. The diocese plans to dig them up to rescue them, as Dean Peter Wall put it, from “asphalt hell.” It has nothing to do with the revenue the diocese will collect from the multimillion dollar condos planned for the land. Nothing at all.

From here:

Nineteenth century records stored in a McMaster University library may bring the Niagara Anglican diocese much closer to identify the remains of hundreds of people buried under Hamilton’s Christ’s Church Cathedral parking lot.

“The church has actually kept very, very detailed records of who was interred in the cemetery like that,” said Myron Groover, a librarian of archives and rare books at McMaster. “And those records all still exist, and in fact, are preserved in multiple copies.”

The bodies, Groover says, were buried from 1832 to 1853. And if the diocese gets its way, the remains be exhumed and identified — all in order to make way for a multi-million dollar condo project.

On Wednesday, the Very Rev. Peter Wall told city councillors the Niagara Anglican diocese would like to identify and remove the bodies, now buried in “asphalt hell,” beneath the parking lot of the James Street North church.

The Anglican Gaia hypothesis

Anglicans today are consumed by all thing temporal and few things transcendent. Hence,  they are participating in the Season of Creation:

A CEREMONIAL water-walk along the Great Lake, in Toronto; a river clean-up in Swaziland; and a protest by women religious at a landfill of radioactive material are among the activities that will take place this month to mark the Season of Creation.


In Canada, a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people will walk along the Great Lake waterfront to promote the better protection of waterways. A bi-weekly vigil and protest is being held at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, where radioactive material is stored. It is being led by Sr Jeanne Derer, who said that the the Franciscan Sisters of Mary were “committed to acting in the name of justice and love for Creation”.

The environmental co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, spoke of a second year of drought. “If rainfall does not improve, the city of Cape Town could run out of municipal water by March,” she said. “Climate change has affected rain patterns, and the worst is yet to come. We have stolen the earth from our children. As Anglicans, healing the earth is a mission priority.”

If “healing the earth” sounds suspiciously like attributing life-like qualities to an inanimate object, it’s because it is. The Anglican eco-justice movement is a disguised form of Gaia worship.

Ironically, James Lovelock, the environmentalist who came up with the Gaia hypothesis has now repudiated it, demonstrating, once again, that the more contemporarily trendy the church attempts to be, the more irrelevant it becomes:

Lovelock is probably best known in environmental circles as the progenitor of Gaia theory – the idea that the planet is a self-regulating, living organism. In 2006, he boosted his green credibility even further with his bestselling book The Revenge of Gaia, whose doomsday narrative predicted that by 2100 climate change would have wiped out 80 percent of the world’s population.

But Lovelock has since renounced this view. Though he still thinks carbon dioxide is a problem because of its warming effects on the climate, he now believes the threat is not immediate.

His change of heart was brought about partly by being in Oslo when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was not impressed by the calibre of the scientists attached to the IPCC – least of all its then-head Rajendra Pachauri “who turned out to be somewhat corrupt.”

“There is global warming. But the stupid bloody academics screwed it up,” he says now – meaning that they got their sums wrong and exaggerated the speed with which the planet is warming.

A bigger worry, he says, are the wrong-headed policies being introduced supposedly to combat “climate change.”

He particularly loathes wind turbines because they are expensive, inefficient and environmentally damaging. The only reason they are being built, he says, is because “there is so much money in renewable energy. I’m sure there’s giant corruption going on.”

The solution, he argues, is nuclear power which has had a terrible press because of green propaganda most likely funded by fossil fuel industries. Nuclear’s health risks have been exaggerated by credulous greens who say “there’s no amount of radiation that can’t give you cancer.”

Pagans want their buildings back

From here:

A leader of some of Britain’s pagans is demanding the ‘return’ of two church buildings as compensation for property they claim was stolen from them during the conversion of England 1,300 years ago.

The Odinist Fellowship, representing more than 1,000 pagans, has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also demanding that the pagans be given a public apology.

What the Odinist Fellowship has failed to notice is that the buildings have already been returned to the pagans. It’s just that now they call themselves Anglicans.

Why Welby?

Justin Welby, supposedly an evangelical byproduct of big oil and Holy Trinity Brompton – home of the industrial strength evangelism programme, Alpha – is preoccupied with all the things we have come to expect from an Anglicanism that has capitulated to the spirit of the age: homoerotic sex, global warming, wealth redistribution, globalism, transgenderism, lady bishops. You get the idea – all the important stuff.

While the Anglican Communion crumbles around him, Welby has managed to find the time to climb out from under the rubble to declare that Britain’s economy is broken. Are Webly’s extra-curricular obsessions a diversionary tactic? Or perhaps he just can’t face the prospect of following in his predecessor’s footsteps by failing to do his own job and has decided to do someone else’s instead, hoping no one will notice.

Someone has and he is asking: what is the point of the Archbishop of Canterbury?

What IS the point of Archbishop Welby? QUENTIN LETTS questions why the Church of England leader is giving his views on the economy rather than filling emptying pews

The British Social Attitudes survey found the number of people who belong to a religion has for the first time dropped below half of the population.

Only 47 per cent of us now align ourselves with an organised religion and only 15 per cent say we follow the Church of England. Fifteen per cent!

As the U.S. novelist Raymond Chandler nearly said, it’s enough to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window. If only they would.

Unfortunately, today’s bishops are too wet to be stirred to such action.

As for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, he only seems interested in issuing Left-wing cliches about Brexit and egalitarianism.

The fundamentals and the mysteries of belief never seem to pass the lips of this outwardly dull ex-oil executive.

Yesterday’s statistics suggest the C of E is in a dire state.

Here is a once mighty civilising influence, an institution which from the time of Henry VIII has helped mould our sense of national identity and the British character.

It has for 500 years helped the poor and spread ideas of mercy and justice. Its Book Of Common Prayer and King James Bibles are wonders of world literature. This most lyrically Protestant of Churches has for half a millennium defined laws and inner horizons on morality and mortality.

Now barely one in six of us admits to being an Anglican and more than half of us set our faces against any organised idea of the spiritual and transcendent.

In other words, when our loved ones die, more than 50 per cent of us stonily refuse to countenance any glimmer of optimism that their souls may have passed elsewhere, and accept some cold, ultra-rationalist view that we humans are no more than a mere bagatelle of skin and gristle, extinguished at death as surely as a guttering candle.

How did Archbishop Welby respond to yesterday’s depressing social attitudes figures?

I wish I could say he met this crisis head-on, saying he understood or disputed the findings. I wish I could tell you he knelt in Trafalgar Square in public penance, or issued a fire-and-brimstone sermon, or told a joke, or issued a blood-curdling curse on all our houses.

Instead, he gave us his views on . . . the economy. He was putting his name to a report by a Blairite think-tank about economic justice and telling us (not that anyone was listening) Britain’s ‘economic model is broken’ and ‘we need to make fundamental choices about the sort of economy we need’.

Oh, and he was writing an opinion article for the Financial Times. That’s really going to bring in the faithful.

The report promoted yesterday by Welby had all the usual buzzwords and phrases of the London centre-Left: social commission . . . gap between rich and poor . . . new vision for the economy . . . zzzzzz.

Interfaith replaces Christian faith

Western Anglicanism seems to have reached the point where it no longer believes in its own creeds. After all, if Anglican clergy actually believed that God came to earth as a man, if he is the propitiation for our sins, if he rose bodily from the dead, if he is alive today and will one day return, surely they would want to convince others of this. Including those of other faiths. Including Muslims – they rarely tire of telling us how inclusive they are.

Rather than “make disciples of all nations” the mission has become “observe similarities with all religions”.

From here:

St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Leamington, Ont. made headlines recently with an ongoing foray into interfaith cooperation.

Following its annual picnic last September in which the church had invited Syrian refugees to attend, St. John established an arrangement with a local Muslim community to use the church’s community hall. A CBC report was shared thousands of times on social media, and the Anglican Journal later offered its own coverage.

At a time of rising Islamophobia across Canada and around the world, instances of solidarity between Christians and Muslims such as that at St. John provide counter-examples of Canadian attitudes toward Islam. The Rev. Andrew Wilson, rector at St. John, has received much positive feedback since the story on his church picked up traction.

“The response that people have actually sent to me, they said, ‘This is Canadian. This is who Canada is.’ And they say, ‘Yes, and this is who Christ is.’ So I’ve had both responses,” Wilson said.

Islamic prayer and worship within St. John Anglican church has provided an opportunity for the Anglican clergy and members of congregation to observe similarities between Muslim and Christian worship.