Diocese of Huron Bishop and clergy protest anti-Islam rally

From the Huron Church News:

Clergy and laity from the Diocese of Huron, led by Bishop Linda Nicholls, joined 500 counter-protes­tors in London, Ontario, August 26, in response to an anti-Islamic rally led by the Patriots of Canada Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida), a group that says it opposes “the Islamization of the West.” The collective Anglican re­sponse was organized within a day’s notice as word spread of the counter-demonstra­tion. Nicholls led the group of 40 Anglicans from the parking lot at Huron Church House, where they prayed, to London’s City Hall. Pegida members, who numbered about 20, arrived at City Hall at noon, and were met by the counter-demonstrators. Those involved in the counter-rally carried signs, listened to speeches, and sang 1960s protest songs. The counter-protest ended with a march, led by drum­mers, around nearby Victoria Park.

I’m sure the bishop and her clergy rarely feel more at home than when singing 1960’s protest songs. I used to sing them too in the 60’s; then I grew up.

The gentle, mellifluous tones of We Will Overcome were not the only sounds to waft over the anti-protest protest: as you can see in the video below, there was a lot of screaming, some violence and a few arrests. Mostly from those holding signs proclaiming love and tolerance for all.

I don’t see the bishop thumping anyone with pious punches but the cameraman can’t be expected to catch everything.

One of the attendees filming the event described the fracas this way:

I was there filming. Most of the counter protesters were elderly hippies and lqbtq people.

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.

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 asked about 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.