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

St. George’s, Windsor to be demolished

The Diocese of Huron is demolishing St. George’s in Windsor because the congregation has withered and the diocese doesn’t need the building. Of course, when St. Aidan’s congregation – also in Windsor – joined ANiC, the diocese took them to court because they really needed the property – rather like my dog: if I pick up a stick, he must have it, only to lose interest when I drop it.

From here:

Historic St. George’s Church and Hall, facing likely demolition, will be put up for sale in a last-ditch effort to save it.

But officials at the Anglican Church’s Diocese of Huron — which owns the Walkerville property, with an asking price of $250,000 — aren’t holding their breath.

“We’re going to proceed with demolition but because the city really would like to see if we can sell it first, we’re going to test it on the market for a couple of months,” Paul Rathbone, secretary-treasurer for the Diocese of Huron, said Wednesday. “But we’re not going to hold it on the market long at all.

The Diocese of Huron hates fossil fuels

Cheap energy produced by fossil fuels has given us better medicines, cleaner water, warmer homes, cheaper and more plentiful food, more leisure time and a longer lifespan. It also provided the means of producing the clothes and glasses the young ladies below are wearing, the sign that they are holding and the dentistry that permits them to display their toothy grins with such aplomb.

The Diocese of Huron wants to divest from fossil fuels; Canon Linda Nixon from that diocese is the one on the left brandishing the sign.


The sign isn’t completely inaccurate: if she had her way it certainly would endanger our grandchildren.