The Diocese of Huron has an Anglican mosque

Here is an illuminating Wikipedia article on how, after towns were conquered by Muslim armies, their churches were converted into mosques:

According to early Muslim historians, towns that surrendered without resistance and made treaties with the Muslims were allowed to retain their churches and the towns captured by Muslims had many of their churches converted to mosques. One of the earliest examples of these kinds of conversions was in Damascus, Syria, where in 705 Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I bought the church of St. John from the Christians and had it rebuilt as a mosque in exchange for building a number of new churches for the Christians in Damascus. Overall, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (Al-Waleed’s father) is said to have transformed 10 churches in Damascus into mosques.

The process of turning churches into mosques was especially intensive in the villages where most of the inhabitants converted to Islam. The Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mun turned many churches into mosques. Ottoman Turks converted nearly all churches, monasteries, and chapels in Constantinople, including the famous Hagia Sophia, into mosques immediately after capturing the city in 1453. In some instances mosques have been established on the places of Jewish or Christian sanctuaries associated with Biblical personalities who were also recognized by Islam.

In the inclusive, liberal Diocese of Huron, home to Canada’s nauseating brand of wishy-washy sub-Christian Anglicanism, the process is a little different, but the result is much the same. The diocese has voluntarily surrendered one of its churches, St. John the Evangelist – the irony of “Evangelist” in this context is surely obvious – for use as a mosque; and there is not even a hint of a marauding Muslim army on the horizon. Not yet, at least.

One of the benefits of this, the rector, Rev. Andrew Wilson tells us, is that they have now been informed what the Koran’s opinion of Jesus is: he is not the Son of God. Who knew?

From here:

The last week of May I received a call. There are now thirty Muslim families living in Leamington and they need somewhere to pray together for Ramadan, they know our

building is perfect. Skipping the many details involved in navigating rentals and other groups, we made the arrangements. A couple of dignitary visits, their council and Imam, to prepare themselves and envision how their prayers would come together and we were set.

We were invited to an opening dinner at a local complex, the people were told about where they would be going in a few minutes, their new Anglican Mosque – life imitates art, but this time it is real! With a smile best cliché I could come up with is “Little Mosque on the Marsh,” perhaps “By the Lake” as an ice-breaker to announce the news to the congregation.

[……]

Had we said no, we would not have conversations with each other, we would not be asked  about our worship, or be offered the Qur’an’s understanding of Christ, or be askedabout our understanding of the same Christ. Saying yes to the Spirit leads to blessings.

The Diocese of Huron is on its last legs

But Bishop Linda Nicolls is attempting is to resuscitate it, mainly by doing what she is telling parishes they should not do:

Some churches might look to draw on the principle of reserves and trusts to pay for everyday expenses, even though such a strategy can’t last.

At the same time, she is closing and selling churches on scale that makes Century 21 look like amateurs; all to stave off the financial collapse of the diocese a little longer. Or, at least, until retirement.

Read it all here:

At Synod in May, she will call on each parish church to develop a five-year plan – with measurable benchmarks – for financial stability and building upkeep.

“At the same time,” she says, “we have to be working at discipleship, working on why we are the church, working within churches and on the spiritual needs of the community around us.”

“It’s very daunting” to have to address both tracks simultaneously, she admits, but adds, “We don’t have time to wait; we don’t have time for people to wake up to this.”

These two sides – finances and discipleship – are not disconnected in Bishop Linda’s view.

“When people are passionate about what the church is called to be, they will support it… It’s not just about the money; it’s about being realistic and hopeful. And that’s where the discipleship piece comes in. What is God calling you to do and be in this community?”

Sustainability

Financially, Bishop Linda says, there are four “non-negotiables” for parish churches: having a balanced budget, not using reserves for operating expenses, paying full apportionment, and paying the stipend and housing of clergy.

One thing that no-one in the diocese seems to want to try is a return to Biblical orthodoxy. Instead, we have a familiar attempt to appease the zeitgeist by parading on a gay pride rainbow crosswalk waving crosses and an umbrella. As you can see by the crowds, it generated a lot of interest:

The Diocese of Dire Straits aka Huron

The Diocese of Huron has financial problems, its cathedral is starting to fall down and its churches are being closed and sold.

An example from an annual vestry report from St. James Westminster serves to illustrate the aura of doom and pessimism that has settled over the diocese. The rector of the parish at the time of the report was Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi. In 2011 Nicolosi prepared a document called Twelve Steps to Church Growth; in his 2016 vestry report he bemoaned the “state of the church in these times emphasising decreased attendance” and that that the ACoC “will probably have to decrease the number of dioceses in the future”. So much for the twelve steps to church growth – perhaps its readers failed to recognise the existence of a Higher Power.

A vestry report for St. Paul’s, the diocesan cathedral, is equally sombre. The diocese is failing to meet existing financial commitments, still owes $5Million in court costs and the cathedral can’t find the money to fix the roof and doesn’t have enough toilets. The one bright note in all this is that a “gender neutral washroom” is on the horizon; at least that may attract some peeping toms and boost the numbers.

To counter the falling away of parishioners, the financial problems and the wavering faith of the few remaining faithful, the cathedral’s Rev. Deacon Pat Henderson recently led an expedition to a local Mosque to learn about the five pillars of Islam. If that doesn’t reverse the tide, nothing will. Come to think of it, perhaps Henderson is looking to the future when the cathedral finally falls down and the last parishioners still managing to cheat death need to find somewhere compatible to worship.

The role of priests in a declining church

Archdeacon Bill Harrison, director for mission and ministry in the Diocese of Huron, explored the role of priests in a declining church at a recent conference in Niagara Falls. As a Huron priest, his credentials as an expert in church decline are impeccable since his diocese is at the forefront – is pushing the boundaries, even –  of denominational disintegration.

His solutions for the problem include giving the priests less to do so they have more time to “make disciples”. Disciples of what, though? Disciples of the zeitgeist, of the latest in social justice fashions, of same-sex marriage crusades, of leftist political agitation dressed up in pseudo-theology, of Gaia? All the aforementioned, I expect; the problem is and has always been trying anything and everything except actual Christianity.

From here:

As the number of Anglicans in Canada decreases and churches close, the parish model—in which every church has a priest and every priest is full-time—is rapidly becoming a relic of the past. How can the Anglican Church of Canada train priests to serve in this new, more uncertain reality?

This was the question posed to a group of 70 priests, educators, bishops, diocesan and theological college support staff at the beginning of the conference on theological education and the training of priests held Feb. 14.

In a wide-ranging address, Archdeacon Bill Harrison, director for mission and ministry in the diocese of Huron, said that meeting the challenge of this question requires the church to see the role of the priest as one that has evolved throughout Christian history.

Diocese of Huron: closures, building sales, amalgamations

A gloomy picture is emerging from the Diocese of Huron: there are too many buildings, too few people and too many congregations that cannot afford to pay for their priest or maintain their buildings.
Bishop Linda Nicholls, recently imported from the Diocese of Toronto, has inherited the mess and will be encouraging parishes to start “the difficult conversations themselves – at least initially”. Or else.
The blame for all this is being placed on “social transformation”; nothing whatever to do with replacing the Gospel with leftist political agitation laced with religionless spirituality.

Nicholls is doing her best to be relevant to the culture, though – some might say to the extent of being subsumed in it. Here she is at her arrival in the diocese marching under a brolly across a rainbow coloured cross-walk, a tribute to London’s annual gay pride cavorting. If that doesn’t pull them in and reverse the decline, nothing will.

Diocese of Huron Cathedral parishioners to tour a mosque

The parishioners of the Diocese of Huron’s St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral have been invited to tour a mosque on Jan 25th, an initiative of Syrian families that the diocese has sponsored.

It’s interesting to note the contrast with a similar sponsorship in the late 70’s by the church I attend. It was a Vietnamese family – Vietnamese boat people survivors – whom we helped settle in Canada. The difference is, once here, they attended our church. Now, it seems the expectation is that sponsored migrants are more likely to make converts of their sponsors than vice versa.

Such is the march of Anglican progress.

Here is the invitation from the cathedral bulletin:

Rot discovered in the Diocese of Huron

No surprise there, but this time it’s in the cathedral.

From here:

For now, all prayers have stopped inside the main part of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.

On Saturday, church officials ordered the nave of Huron Diocese’s central church and 170-year old London landmark be closed after “some alarming results” were found by engineers during recent $1-million renovations.

At the west end of the church, near the main doors, more rot was found in the wooden trusses than expected, causing them to crack and split. That’s put extra pressure on the structure and the wall supports.

“One of the trusses was far more rotten than they had anticipated and so the end result is that the cathedral itself, the nave of the church, is unsafe,” said Barry Clarke, bishop-in-charge of St. Paul’s.

“We cannot worship in there at this time.”

I remember a number of years ago musing with an old friend on how his construction company had shored up the foundations of the Diocese of Niagara’s cathedral by injecting grout into them. Thanks to his efforts the cathedral is still standing; we agreed he had done too good a job.

St. George’s Church Walkerville to be demolished

The battle to save St. George’s church in  Walkerville is over and, in what has become a familiar pattern, the diocese of Huron will be tearing it down and selling the land for residential development.

The Anglican Church of Canada seems to be waking up to the fact that its buildings, many of which stand empty, are becoming unmanageable burdens. Other than those which are maintained and displayed as paradigms of tolerance and inclusion after being seized from ANiC, of course.

The church in question here has become physically derelict, mimicking the spiritual state of its owners.

From here:

Historic St. George’s Church no longer has a prayer.

City council on Monday voted to allow the owner — the Anglican Diocese of Huron — to demolish the buildings, which date to 1921 and 1955.

The Anglican Church had wanted to tear down the church and neighbouring hall 18 months ago, but council blocked the demolition to see if anybody wanted to buy the property to repurpose the neglected structures.

But church representatives say they did not receive any serious offers for the property, which is listed for $225,000. The Anglican Church plans to tear down the buildings on Devonshire Court at Kildare Road and create three lots for residential development.

Monday’s discussion led to some heated exchanges between residents for and against the demolition, and between a pro-church advocate and Coun. Hilary Payne.

Elaine Weeks, a Walkerville resident who founded the group Save St. George’s Church, argued that the building had historic merit and should be saved. She noted that the original building was first named Memorial Hall in honour of Canadian men who fought in the First World War.

She feels the city should do more to preserve heritage.

Retiring Bishop of Huron troubled by sexuality divisions

The Diocese of Huron’s Bishop Robert Bennett is unhappy that the Anglican Church of Canada is divided over marrying same-sex couples. At least, he claims to be.

It’s hard to believe he is crying anything but crocodile tears, though, since Bennett willingly contributed to the division by authorising same-sex blessings in 2013 and same-sex marriages in 2016. Does this make him a hypocrite? You decide.

From here:

bennettAmong the most troubling things he witnessed as bishop, Bennett said, was the divisiveness caused by the issue of human sexuality.

“I think it’s taken a great toll both within congregations and the House of Bishops,” he said. “That issue—and it’s still there—is always front and centre in the house, and it makes it very difficult for me, and I think everybody else, to embrace and focus on what we’re really about as church.”

Discord over human sexuality came to a head in the diocese of Huron only a matter of weeks after Bennett became diocesan bishop, when members of St. Aidan’s Church, in Windsor, voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada and join the conservative Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). Members were upset about recent moves in some dioceses to bless same-sex unions. In 2011, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the parish could not legally separate itself from the diocese.

Bennett said he had also found it difficult to see the shrinking of congregations in the diocese, attributable partly to declining populations in some areas and partly to the “vortex of change” set in motion by the secularization of culture.

Diocese of Huron to proceed with same-sex marriage

The list of dioceses that intend to perform same-sex marriages continues to grow.

We now have:
Niagara, Toronto (the bishop is considering it), Ottawa and Huron.

The dioceses of BC, Montreal, New Westminster, Kootenay are expected to fall in line shortly:

I expect Logan McMenamie, our Bishop, will issue a statement in the next 24 hours. As will the Archbishop of Toronto, the Bishop of New Westminster, the Bishop of Montreal, the Archbishop of Kootenay, and a host of others. Stay tuned. It isn’t over.

Posted by Bruce Bryant-Scott

From here:

To the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Huron:

As many of you are aware, today a resolution was brought to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to allow Anglican clergy to marry all eligible couples regardless of gender. It is with sorrow that we share with you that this resolution did not pass in all three orders (lay, clergy and bishops) as required and was, therefore, defeated.

We know that this decision will cause deep hurt to LGTBQ2+ members of our Diocese and to their families, friends and allies. For this we are truly sorry. You are valued members of the Body of Christ and of our diocese. Despite the pain that this decision may cause you, please do not give up on us. Help us know how we may best care for you at this time.

The chancellor of General Synod has indicated that the current marriage canon ‘does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage’. We are also aware that a diocesan bishop may exercise episcopal authority in authorizing liturgies to respond to pastoral needs within their dioceses, in the absence of any actions by the General Synod. We intend to authorize such liturgies once guidelines are in place.

We know, too, that there are members of our Diocese who believe that the General Synod made a faithful decision. One of the gifts and challenges of the Anglican Church is that we can hold divergent views yet still pray together. It is our fervent hope that this continues to be true as we seek our way into the future together.

Please pray for the Church and for our diocese. Pray for our LGTBQ2+ brothers and sisters. Pray for us as we seek to be faithful leaders in the Diocese of Huron. We hold each of you in our prayers and in our hearts. May the God of all grace, heal us, fill us, renew us and empower us that we may continually seek the Spirit of God in our midst and in each other.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Robert Bennett The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls