Arm’s length reconciliation

Rowan Williams tried to sort out the mess in the Anglican Communion by reconciling opposing views, reaching a synthesis of the two which all parties could go along with. It was a dismal failure for the same reason that asking people to accept the truth of 1+1=3, the middle ground between 1+1=2 and 1+1=4, fails: the answer is wrong.

Justin Welby didn’t fall into the same trap; he devised a new one, one that conservatives will fall into. He is attempting to reconcile people, not ideas: an ecclesiastical version of “I’m OK, You’re OK”, one of the sillier notions to be excreted by the 1970s self-help merchants. The Welby version has Good Disagreement as its primary incantation. It is still a trap. This time for conservatives who, Welby hopes, will put on, not the breastplate of righteousness, but the façade of friendship, the rictus grin of rapport while liberals have their way and hapless conservatives are, in sequence, outmaneuvered, bamboozled and ignored.

To this end, Canadian bishops have been meeting in Africa to reconcile with African bishops who may, and probably do, have different views on what constitutes a marriage. The Canadian bishops are undoubtedly experts in creating situations which beg for reconciliation. They spent the first part of the current millennium, ejecting congregations in order to seize their buildings, bank accounts and rectories with a studied vindictiveness that would have been the envy of Soviet era anti-Christian apparatchiks.

Yet, to date, there have been no attempts to reconcile: it all goes to show how much easier it is to pretend to get along with people at a distance than it is to pretend to get along with those who are close to home.

It could be argued that the Anglican Church of Canada is eager to reconcile with aboriginals who were mistreated in residential schools. I think, though, that the conspicuously frenzied self-flagellation over the residential school scandal has more to do with a rejection of Western culture, Christendom and, ultimately, Christianity than it does with true reconciliation.

The article below, conveniently accessible on the Internet, describes the Canadian bishops’ latest efforts to reconcile with their African brothers; as Michael Bird perceptively notes towards the end, “There is so much misinformation on the internet”.

The eighth annual meeting of Bishops from Canada and Africa has just taken place in Kenya, with the Bishop of Niagara,  Michael Bird, suggesting the yearly encounter could act as a model for reconciliation across the Anglican Communion.

The meetings were initiated after the 2008 Lambeth Conference, amid divisions over issues of same sex unions and larger questions of Scriptural interpretation.  Interested African dioceses started theological correspondence with Canadian counterparts, first on human sexuality and then mission.

A fluid group of Bishops from Canada, the US and various African countries have now met in Cape Town, Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Toronto, Coventry and Virginia in the United States. Together they seek to build common understanding and respect among parts of the Communion that have been in conflict.

Bishop Michael: “We focus on reconciliation and mission and what we agreed this time around, was to produce a testimony for Lambeth 2020. We feel what we have been doing for eight years shows a way forward for the Communion and we hope the next Lambeth conference will help to generate more of these face to face conversations.”

Bishop Michael described the first meeting as somewhat guarded but within a day or so all the participants felt they were doing the right thing – guided by the Holy Spirit. Strong bonds have also been formed,  he said: “I have developed a wonderful friendship with the Bishop in Ghana: he came to Canada and my wife and I went to visit his diocese. The wider Anglican Communion could learn a lot from the way, as a group, we have come together. There is so much misinformation on the internet, there really is no substitute for encountering someone face to face with an openness to the other, that allows us to listen and to come to understand the context in which others are ministering.”

Diocese of Niagara surviving by selling land to developers

About 35 years ago, someone discovered that the foundations of the Diocese of Niagara’s Christ Church Cathedral were crumbling. Now, of course, the Christian foundation of the entire diocese has crumbled, leaving the building standing in apparent defiance of the spiritual ruin in which it finds itself.

The reason the physical building has survived is, in part, thanks to a friend of mine, now deceased, who owned a construction company which specialised in pumping a certain type of grout into rickety structures to reinforce them. The company was called Groundation; my friend had a particular liking for the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” and was always tickled when we sang it.

The diocese contracted Groundation to fix the cathedral’s foundations. Many years later, after the diocese sued St. Hilda’s, our building was demolished and the cathedral was still standing, I used to joke with my friend that he had done too good a job.

The church, like the rest of life, is replete with irony. Thirty years after propping up the tottering cathedral, the Diocese of Niagara has realised that, like many other Anglican dioceses, it no longer has the money to maintain its buildings. It is selling cathedral land, piecemeal, to raise cash: the rear parking lot will be the first to go.

From here:

Christ’s Church Cathedral on James Street North wants to partner with a developer on a multimillion-dollar plan for residential, community and commercial space in its back parking lot.

Aside from the cathedral and All Saints, the Anglican diocese is exploring partnerships with developers in Niagara, Guelph and Halton, says Rev. Bill Mous, a director with the diocese.

Diocese of BC desperately seeking same-sex couples to marry

The dioceses of Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal , Toronto and British Columbia are proceeding with same-sex marriages ahead of the final vote to approve them in 2019.

But, having scoured the province for likely candidates, poor Bishop Logan McMenamie has yet to find any men willing to marry another man; or a woman to marry another woman. If Anglicans in BC don’t get with the program soon, McMenamie will have to resort to compelling some of his eligible male clergy to tie the knot.

From here:

Bishop Logan McMenamie, of the diocese of British Columbia, announced at a diocesan synod in autumn 2016 that he will “move forward with the marriage of same-sex couples in the diocese” on a case-by-case basis. When the Anglican Journal contacted McMenamie’s offce in March 2017, no same-sex couples had yet approached the diocese about the possibility of marriage.

Niagara’s Bishop Michael Bird currently has the competitive edge in the same-sex marriage scavenger hunt: he has four couples under his belt.

Niagara, however, may have an unfair advantage since it has widened the net by including bisexuals, who, presumably, would only be satisfied with a ménage à trois, counting as 1.5 couples. Of course, if both candidates are bisexual, we would need a ménage à quatre, a bonus that would qualify as two couples. Transgender couples are also part of the Niagara strategy. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, but I estimate that, depending on the mood of the moment and assuming part-time transgenderism – gender, we are assured, is fluid – it would make a total of four possible copulative combinations, one for each week of the month: man-man, man-woman, woman-man and woman-woman. That would count as at least two couples, possibly four.

Bird said his thoughts on the matter have not changed and that he was committed to continuing “to walk along the path of full inclusion and to immediately proceed with marriage equality” with LGBTQ2 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Two-Spirited) Anglicans in his diocese.

Ottawa parish offers a Lenten course on Islam

There is an abundance of evidence that the Anglican Church of Canada has lost interest in Christianity. The replacement we’ve all become used to is a variation on cultural Marxism: we are all equal; there are no longer men and women because the sexes must also be equal – gender is fluid; the state substitutes for the traditional family; social justice replaces charity; Gaia replaces God, smudging replaces confession and Two Spirit replaces the Holy Spirit.

That isn’t enough, it seems. The Diocese of Ottawa’s Christ Church Seaway is so ashamed of its Christian heritage it is plumbing new depths of idiocy by encouraging its members to convert to Islam.

From here:

It is common for churches offer courses on Christian spirituality during the season Lent. This year, Christ Church Seaway hosted a different kind of Lenten course. In response to local confusion about Islam and how Christians should respond to a growing Muslim presence in our region, The Rev. Patrick Stephens decided that the time was right for his community to formally begin the work of inter- religious dialogue. A special guest speaker was present for the first session and helped the group get started on the right foot. Imam Dr. Mohamad Jebara from Ottawa’s Cordova Centre shared with the group about his own faith and was gracious in responding to questions from the floor. The course ran for a total of five sessions and was based around readings, video presentations, and group discussions.

Over all, approximately thirty people participated. For many course participants, this experience was the first meaningful encounter with the Muslim religion. As the course came to an end, there was much interest from the group to reach out to a nearby mosque to explore opportunities for further learning and relationship building. Later this spring, the group hopes to visit and tour a mosque, and possibly reciprocate by offering similar hospitality at the church.

Canada Revenue being asked to investigate Anglican parish

It’s taken years, but the Anglican Church of Canada has been rumbled: someone has finally noticed it is running a business not a religion.

From the CBC:

The Anglican Parish of Shediac declared $5 million in assets in 2015, as well as $350,000 in annual income from the rental of land or real estate. (CBC)

The Canada Revenue Agency is being asked to investigate whether the Anglican Parish of Shediac is complying with the laws of a charitable organization.

A complaint was filed Monday by a group of concerned residents who have taken issue with the church’s involvement in a proposed mega-campsite project in Pointe-du-Chêne.

The parish owns the land where the campground big enough for 600 to 700 trailers — the largest in the Maritimes — is set to be built, and it would lease the land to a group of investors that included Health Minister Victor Boudreau before he gave up his stake in the project after months of controversy.

But some Pointe-du-Chêne residents, including Arthur Melanson, grew worried when the church recently became the campsite’s proponent.

According to federal tax law, a charity is forbidden from running a business, unless it is directly linked to its mission.

Diocese of Caledonia after Worley

Rev. Jacob Worley, was elected as the new Bishop of Caledonia by the diocese. Subsequently, he was turned down for the position by the province’s house of bishops because he held a view “contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada”, a church of such loose doctrine, discipline and morality that very few before Worley have accomplished this immensely difficult feat.

Now, the diocese is going through the whole process again.

There are two sad aspects to this: first, the fact that Worley was banned from being bishop on such a flimsy pretext and second, that the diocese is going along with it. Their accommodation to the liberal juggernaut reminds me of the rather flawed advice that politician Clayton Williams gave to potential rape victims: “if it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

The Anglican Church of Canada loves to have a few tame conservatives on hand to be conveniently paraded whenever extra evidence of inclusion is needed; Caledonia has been tamed. The diocese should be wary, though: after rape comes pillage.

From here:

The diocese of Caledonia has decided to accept last month’s ruling by the provincial House of Bishops to block the consecration of the Rev. Jake Worley as bishop, its administrator says.

Worley was elected bishop of the diocese April 22, but on May 15 the House of Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon announced it was objecting to his election, citing ministry he had performed in the United States for the province of Rwanda. As specified in provincial canons, the bishops said, their decision was final.

On May 16, the Rev. Gwen Andrews, appointed to manage the diocese’s day-to-day affairs since the retirement of Bishop William Anderson last December, announced she was “shocked and saddened” by the decision, adding the diocese’s clergy and executive committee would be meeting May 25-26 to discuss how to respond to it.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal Thursday, June 2, Andrews said both the clergy and executive council had decided to put the decision behind them and begin planning for a second election, to be held some time before October 31.

Some flags are more equal than others

As I mentioned here, for a brief period during the Ottawa March for Life, the March for Life flag fluttered valiantly atop the City Hall – until someone complained, prompting an embarrassed mayor to reassert his pro-abortion credentials and have it removed.

There is a good article defending flying the flag in the National Post.

Here is another article by Rev. Robert Lyon on selective flag flying.

Received via email:

Last Wednesday’s edition of The Record announced that all Waterloo Region public schools will fly the “pride” flag throughout June to mark “Pride Month”.  The Record quotes Board rep Nick Manning as saying that the Board wants to ensure that “public schools remain a welcoming place for everyone.”

“Welcoming” – and also “safe” – are indeed what schools should be.  Every person in a civil society, including those we disagree with, should be able to conduct his or her life without giving or receiving unkindness or abuse.  But Waterloo Region DSB’s “Pride Month” decision is hypocritical. Which makes it also unkind and abusive.

This is the same school board that decided the Gideons could no longer distribute New Testaments in the schools.  The “Pride Month” flag proclaims a particular value system to all and sundry, including those who find it offensive.  The Gideons, on the other hand, who also have a lawful value system to proclaim, sought to avoid giving offense by distributing their Testaments only to students who, with parental permission, would have requested them.  But for the Waterloo Board, even that wasn’t good enough.

The Board’s unequal treatment of these two special interest groups is flagrant.  The Region’s public schools are not “a welcoming place for everyone” – not, at least, for Christians, unless they keep their mouths shut.

“…it’s small acts like this,” Mr Manning said, “that will transform our community.”  They certainly will.  But it’s clear that the Board does not want truly authentic inclusivity.

Let’s suppose, for example, that Christians in Waterloo Region were to declare a “Jesus Month” to promote virtuous and pious living.  Would the Board fly our flag?  Orwell was right: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

So what’s to be done about it?  In his letter to the Christians in Philippi, Paul sends greetings from the brethren in Rome, significantly including “especially those of Caesar’s household.” Even on the staff of the imperial palace there were some who had become obedient to the Faith.  When Tertullian wrote to the Roman Senate a century and a half later, he noted that Christians had infiltrated every aspect of the life of the Empire: the towns, the country, the marketplace, the army, the courts – “and we have left to you only the temples of your gods.”  Where today are the bold, vocal Christians on our city councils and our school boards?

Pastors:  It’s time to encourage informed and capable Christians to run for public office, and for your congregations to support their candidacies.

Retired Bishop of Caledonia responds to the barring of bishop-elect Rev Jacob Worley

Bishop William Anderson doesn’t think much of the Provincial House of Bishops’ decision to overturn the election of Rev Jacob Worley. The unravelling continues.

From the ACA:

In answer to our questions Bp. Anderson said that in his opinion the Provincial House of Bishops “conducted an unprecedented investigation that was predetermined from the outset.” He also said that the statement in their press release was at odds with Rev. Worley having “repeatedly stated that he had every intention of following the discipline and doctrine of the ACC” and that the questions asked by the Province “were crafted behind the scenes by the provincial and national chancellors and they were also involved in giving their analysis of Jake’s answers.”

Bp. Anderson continued,

“Furthermore they rejected him on the basis of a charge for which he has never been formally accused or disciplined by anyone.

“I think that the fact that they chose to override the electoral synod’s decision is appalling. There was a full month before the synod when all the delegates and the bishops had the CVs for all nominees and had the chance to raise concerns. Yet at the synod the archbishop and chancellor told the synod there were no canonical objections.

“This is a terrible development and should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the much lauded promise of a conscience clause in the proposed new marriage canon is completely worthless.”

Diocese of the Arctic responds to the barring of bishop-elect Rev Jacob Worley

As I mentioned here, the House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon has blocked the consecration of Rev Jacob Worley as bishop of Caledonia. The objection, based on a flimsy technicality was, with little doubt, made because Worley is theologically conservative and does not conform to the mold of galloping liberalism that tyrannises the Anglican Church of Canada.

Rt. Rev. David W Parsons, Bishop of the Arctic has responded to the House of Bishops. The letters that follow provide considerable insight into the ecclesiastical chaos that once was the Anglican Church of Canada. Click on the images for PDF versions:

Unhappily, I don’t have the emailed response to this. Here, though, is the reply to the email:

Objections to the election of the Rev. Jacob Worley as Bishop of Caledonia

Rev. Jacob Worley has been elected bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia. He was to replace Bishop William Anderson, one of the few remaining conservative bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada and is probably a good fit for the position.

Provided the wolves don’t eat him first.

There aren’t many things a person can do or believe that would make him ineligible for a bishopric in the Anglican Church of Canada. Disbelief in the Resurrection, Virgin Birth or Divinity of Jesus is not a problem; being actively homosexual is probably an advantage; and being able to pull off a pitch-perfect impression of Marvin the Robot will catapult you straight to the top.

But Rev. Jacob Worley has managed it; he has unearthed the unforgivable Anglican sin – indeed, it may be the only sin left in North American Anglicanism: he holds

that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church.

Worley was ordained in TEC, left to join AMiA and then ACNA. Therein lies the problem: during the North American Anglican realignment in 2007-2008, ACNA was associated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and AMiA the Province of Rwanda. The purpose of the realignment was to enable Anglicans to remain part of a genuinely Christian Church, not be sucked into the vortex of heresy into which TEC and the ACoC were eager to hurl themselves.

In spite of all its trumpeting about inclusion, diversity and reconciliation, the Anglican Church of Canada is completely intolerant of this variety of geographical diversity and harbours bitter resentment against it; rancour rather than reconciliation swirls beneath the veneer of sanctimonious clerical piety.

It is an example of territorial bigotry.

So the House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon has registered its objection, Worley will not be consecrated and the diocese will have to vote for another bishop. Presumably, this will be repeated until a sufficiently liberal candidate is chosen.

The House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon in the Anglican Church of Canada has registered its objection to the episcopal election of the Rev. Jacob Worley in the Diocese of Caledonia. Their objection is registered under Canon 4 (b) vi  “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.”

“The Bishops met several times as a Provincial House of Bishops since the ecclesiastic election in the Diocese of Caledonia, reviewed the materials before them, and met with the Rev. Jacob Worley,” said the Most Rev. John Privett, Archbishop and Metropolitan for the Province of BC & Yukon. In coming to this conclusion, the bishops reviewed the Rev. Worley’s past actions, what he has written directly to the House, and what he said when meeting with the Provincial House of Bishops.

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded 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,” said Archbishop Privett. “The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church”.

The question of his views arose from a review of his exercise of priestly ministry when he served in the Anglican Mission in America under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church without permission of The Episcopal Church.

As the Provincial House has registered its objection, the Rev. Worley will not be consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada. As outlined in Canon 4 of the constitution and canons of the Province of BC & Yukon, “the decision of the [Provincial] House of Bishops shall be final” in these matters. The Diocese of Caledonia will now begin the process to hold a new electoral synod according to its canons.

“The Provincial House of Bishops of BC & Yukon ask for your prayers during this extraordinary time,” said Archbishop Privett,  “especially for the Worley family, for the Diocese of Caledonia and all those who worship and minister there”.