A safe space for Trumpophobics

The Diocese of New Westminster along with St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, representatives of the fastest declining denominations in North America, are banding together “to offer an antidote to the fear and despair” resulting from democracy in action in the USA.

Franklin Graham seems to have been the catalyst for this but honourable mention is given to “right-wing groups” in Europe, Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duerte. “The list goes on” as the article below notes, but it doesn’t go on to include Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Iraq or any of the other countries that concentrate much of their national energy on persecuting Christians.

The featured speakers include an imam, a Zen Buddhist and Michael Ingham, one of the most divisive Anglican bishops of the 20th Century.  Anglicans should feel quite at home.

The event is called: Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance. Even though Franklin Graham will be in Vancouver, he hasn’t been invited to state his side of the story; liberals generally can’t cope when both sides of an argument are presented. Their brains shut down in self-defensive panic. These days, I think it’s called “triggering”.

From here:

People have been confiding in Vancouver Rev. Gary Paterson that they’re having trouble feeling hopeful.

In a political era characterized by U.S. President Donald Trump, growing immigrant-skeptic movements in Europe and the murder of six Quebec Muslims, the minister at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church wanted to offer an antidote to the fear and despair he’s hearing from members of his church and the public.

So Paterson, past moderator of the United Church of Canada, teamed up with another downtown Vancouver clergyman, Rev. Peter Elliot of Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral, to have a multi-faith group of speakers lead a four-part series in March titled Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.

“It’s partly a reaction to what’s happening in the United States. But the U.S. has such an influence on the world, especially Canada,” Paterson said, noting the city has been divided by the Vancouver crusade of American evangelist Franklin Graham, a major Trump supporter, to be held March 3-5.

“It’s also a reaction to reports from Europe about right-wing groups gaining traction … and to the aplomb with which (Russian President Vladimir) Putin seems to be acting these days and to (strongman Rodrigo) Duerte in the Philippines. The list goes on.”

Vancouver church leaders oppose Franklin Graham crusade

A number of church leaders are opposing a crusade in Vancouver by Franklin Graham because, supposedly, he “regularly denigrates Islam, homosexuals, Democratic party politicians, and atheists”. Predictably, Anglicans opposed to the visit are represented by Peter Elliot, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral.

The fact that Graham is coming not to talk about Islam, homosexuals, the Democratic party or atheists but to preach the Gospel with the intent of saving souls is beside the point: he must be stopped because liberal inclusion simply isn’t inclusive enough to cope with a different point of view – diversity be damned.

Other prominent Christian leaders unwelcome in Vancouver churches include a chap with no surname calling himself Jesus, who alienated ecclesiastical panjandrums by calling them snakes and Saul of Tarsus who demonstrated a worrying, dehumanising insensitivity when he invited his opponents to remove their own testicles.

Thanks to the vigilance of Vancouver’s church leaders the city will remain a Christian free zone, a safe space for Islam, homosexuals, Democratic party politicians, and atheists.

If Franklin Graham is not allowed into immigration friendly Canada, he will have the singular honour of being just about the only foreign national prevented from entering our borders.

From here:

A growing number of Christians in Metro Vancouver want to stop controversial U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham from leading a major crusade next month in the city.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson recently met with evangelical, Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders to discuss concerns about the visit of Graham, who regularly denigrates Islam, homosexuals, Democratic party politicians, and atheists.

Provocative statements by Graham have become increasingly worrying to many Metro Vancouver Christians since the evangelist presided at the January inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who criticizes Muslim immigrants, and after a lone gunman was charged last month with murdering six Muslims in Quebec.

Diocese of New Westminster won’t perform same-sex marriages until 2019

That means that the Diocese of Niagara has usurped New West’s position as the most liberal diocese in Canada.

From here:

First, during this three-year period we will strengthen what we offer all couples who seek marriage or the blessing of their marriage in the church. I will convene a group to create standards and develop or refine materials to assist all couples in preparing for their making monogamous, lifelong commitments of fidelity to each other.

Second, we will abide by what General Synod decided, that is, during this three-year period we will hold off on our clergy officiating at the marriage of same-sex couples, preserving this period as a time to study, reflect, discern and pray for General Synod 2019 and its decisions. I, myself, did vote for the change in the Marriage Canon and do believe that offering marriage to same-sex couples within the Church is an expression of the Gospel.  At the same time, as your bishop I feel I should respect and abide by the full resolution as passed at General Synod 2016.

Third, building on the work already done in this diocese, I will authorize new liturgies for the blessing of marriages that enhance and maximize what we as church do and keep to a minimum what marriage commissioners do. These liturgies will be available for the use of clergy and parishes who would find them helpful and for all couples who are duly qualified to enter into civil marriage.

The mental anguish of Bishop Melissa Skelton at Trump’s victory

Although I am not an avid fan of Donald Trump, I am very much enjoying the reaction of elitist liberals whose disdain for and aloofness from the common herd helped propel Trump to victory.

Such is the “shock, grief and confusion” of Bishop Melissa Skelton, that she felt moved to write a pastoral letter to calm the disquiet of her flock over the results of democracy in action in her homeland:

Dear People of the Diocese of New Westminster

I awoke this morning, as many of you did, in shock, grief and confusion as the elections in the US concluded. While, as a person born in the US, I could offer my own analysis of what happened, I’m more interested in saying just a few things to you in the face of these events in the life of our neighbour to the south, a neighbour who deeply influences us and the rest of the world.

Stay a while with your uncomfortable feelings and the things you may now be curious about. One piece I read this morning talked about our own urge to get past the uncomfortable feelings that many of us may be feeling today. I encourage you to stay in touch with both the feelings and the questions that are coming up for you out of what has occurred over these many months.  It may be that God is working in you as you experience your own response and as you discern how you may wish to respond.

Rethinking Christianity in the context of postmodern Pacific coastal culture

I have no idea what that means but the clergy of St. Bridget’s in the Diocese of New Westminster must because they are doing it.

The church claims to be “an emerging, LGBTQ-affirming Christian community rooted in the Anglican tradition”. I don’t really know what that means either, but perhaps the “resident community developer” – although I don’t know what that means – can help. Here he is at the Vancouver Pride Parade sporting a placard designed to entice alcoholics off the wagon:


No, that didn’t help.

Had I seen all this before becoming a Christian it might have put me off forever. God, in his mercy, spared me all this emerging, postmodern Pacific coastal culture, alphabet-sexuality affirming hideousness until I’d built up an immunity.

I am going to my safe space to recuperate now.

Diocese of New Westminster considering same-sex marriage

It seems to me there is little doubt that, along with other liberal dioceses, they will proceed.

Here is the statement from Bishop Melissa Skelton:

Greetings to you all:

On the evening of July 11, 2016 the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada did not garner the votes necessary to change the Marriage Canon to allow for same-sex couples to be married within the Church. The vote was very, very close, failing by only one vote in the order of clergy while passing in both the order of bishops and the order of laity.

While this is deeply disappointing to me and to many others within the Church, I and others am resolute in our desire to find a way forward in achieving equity for all couples seeking the solemnization of their marriages in the Church while at the same time providing for those whose consciences prevent them from participating in marriage or blessing liturgies for same-sex couples. This was the intention of the resolution to change the Marriage Canon; and it remains my intention.

I’m very sorry for the pain this decision has caused and will cause both to members of the LBGTQ community and to those of us who count ourselves as their family members and friends. If it is any comfort at all, please know that the majority of those of us at General Synod very much wanted the resolution to pass.

What I intend to do is the following:

Together with our delegates to Synod, I will consult with a broader circle in our diocese—with our Regional Archdeacons and the Executive Archdeacon, with our Regional Deans, with the Dean of our Diocese (who is also a delegate) and with our Chancellor—about what we discern God is calling us to do going forward in our diocese. At the same time, I will be in touch with our own Archbishop as we do our discernment work.

I am personally committed to supporting couples who desire to make baptismally-grounded, community-supported, lifelong, monogamous commitments to one other within the context of the Church. After listening to some of the discussion at General Synod 2016, I need to add my equal commitment to advocate for diverse ways of interpreting Holy Scripture as it informs the Church’s actions in such matters.

Take heart. This is not over. We have continuing discernment work to do together.

Even as many of us grieve this decision and its consequences, I invite us all to pray for the LGBTQ people of our Church, to pray for those with whom we agree and with whom we disagree on this issue, and to pray for the continued companionship of the Holy Spirit in all our discussions and actions.

In Christ


IX New Westminster


Diocese of New Westminster blesses a petrochemical

The demon fossil fuel – oil – is being blessed by Bishop Melissa Skelton; but only if it is to be used on a bicycle chain. If only I lived in Vancouver: I would have a can of oil blessed and pour it into my SUV – well, I don’t actually have an SUV but I would be sorely tempted to go out and buy one.

From here:

Praying a blessing over a canister of bicycle chain oil may seem unorthodox, but the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster assured Metro her ritual, conducted Wednesday, was doctrinally sound.

“Yes, it’s something I’m allowed to do,” Rt. Rev. Melissa Skelton said with a laugh, as she stood on the lawn of the Diocesan offices in Shaughnessy. “It’s the every day and the useful where God shows up.

“In this case, we’re blessing things … that lead to better stewardship of the environment. It starts with the small and goes bigger.”


Adapting the ritual for chain lubricant may seem unusual, but the ideas of community and being anointed for action in the world is related to environmental commitments, Skelton said.

“This is also the oil used in vehicles that would be the implements of action — protecting the climate and finding other ways to get around that don’t depend so much on large amounts of fossil fuels,” she explained.

Diocese of New Westminster frozen out Vancouver Pride Parade

The Vancouver Pride organization is compelling participants in the August 2nd parade to sign a pledge supporting transgender equality legislation. Neither the B.C. Liberal Party nor Premier Christy Clark will be taking part in this year’s parade because they have not signed the pledge. Although the wording may resemble an exhortation from the 19th Century Temperance Movement, this pledge is, of course, more a pledge of intemperance.

Ironically, this may have excluded the Anglican Diocese of Inclusion, New Westminster.

Read here:

Although Taylor said she is not aware any organizations other than the B.C. Liberals have been denied entry to the 2015 parade because their senior executives refused to sign the pledge, the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster has been frozen out for mostly bureaucratic reasons.

Michael Kalmuk, who in 2003 became the first Anglican in the world to take part in an Anglican same-sex blessing (with partner Kelly Montfort), said Thursday the diocese cannot take part in this year’s festivities because the church’s official decision-making process typically takes months or years to reach a conclusion on such matters.

“It’s really unfortunate. There was no intent to screw us up. It was just red tape,” said Kalmuk, who only learned this month about the transgender pledge required for entering the parade, which typically accepts about 150 entries. The first Vancouver Pride parade was in 1978.

Government donates $1 million to Diocese of New Westminster

The diocese needs a new roof for its cathedral and BC taxpayers will, unwittingly, be paying a part of the bill. This means that the diocese’s prophetic voice, whose clarion call is heard most clearly during the annual gay pride parade, is unlikely to be decoupled from the state sponsored zeitgeist any time soon.

From here:

Earlier this afternoon, the province of British Columbia announced it will give $1 million to Christ Church Cathedral’s building campaign, which is raising money to repair the cathedral’s roof, add a new bell tower and expand its community outreach kitchen.

“This generous grant recognizes the place that Christ Church Cathedral holds in Vancouver and British Columbia,” said Bishop Melissa Skelton of the diocese of New Westminster, “and will help ensure that the cathedral community continues to play a significant role in meeting the spiritual and physical needs of the people of Vancouver.”

Diocese of New Westminster does Ashes to go

From here:

Ash Wednesday, blessedly not raining, was bright with early spring sunshine which was welcomed because we went out on the road that afternoon. Signed with ashes, reminded that we are of earth and to earth we shall return, we gathered after the Eucharist, robed in albs and blessed by the community, to take ashes and the invitation to repentance and reconciliation to the neighbourhood.

Notice that rather than the usual “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”, we have the Gaia cult incantation: “reminded that we are of earth and to earth we shall return”.

Here is a poster for the event.