Diocese of Niagara hosting gender fluidity event

I was in Hawaii over Christmas, mainly to meet some of my grandchildren who live on the other side of the world. We decided to meet halfway.

The oldest grandchild is 15 and, during a chat with her about how our generations view things differently, she exclaimed, “yes, but don’t you think we have made progress since you were young!” It brought tears to my eyes; tears of laughter. “No”, I said, “I think things are getting steadily worse. I don’t believe in progress.” She stared at me blankly.

It gave me a moment of déjà vu because I had said the same thing to someone when I was around 15. It took me another 15 years to come to my senses.

Here, then, is a prime example of progress:

An upcoming symposium aims to explore the fluidity of gender.

Award-winning author and storyteller Ivan Coyote will be at Mills Hardware Saturday night — joined by singer-songwriter Kate Reid — for a lively and entertaining exploration of gender identity and inclusion.

While the event is geared toward youth and their families, anyone is welcome.

“I think (this event) will be really uplifting for parents of trans kids, and people who are fighting any kind of battle in terms of being able to fit in their gender,” says Deirdre Pike, event MC and local LGBTQ advocate.

“People will come out and be entertained by storytelling and music, and won’t even realize they’re going home opened up, having expanded their understanding of gender exponentially.”

The event will also be filmed to be used as a future training tool for local agencies. The Anglican Diocese of Niagara is hosting the event, along with the Social Planning and Research Council and the Good Shepherd’s Core Collaborative Learning.

That two religious agencies are behind an LGBTQ event seems remarkable, but Pike says their leadership on these issues has been commendable.

“We talk a lot about the unsuspecting allies, or finding allies in unsuspected places. This is one of those cases,” she says, noting the diocese’s recent decision to allow same-sex marriage in the church.

This event is particularly important as the city prepares to roll out its transgender and gender nonconforming protocol, which the city pledged to implement as part of a human rights settlement last year after a transgender woman was denied access to an HSR washroom.

The protocol will focus on internal relations and customer service guidelines, including a commitment to ensure safe access to public bathrooms and change rooms.

If, after eating too much over Christmas, you are having trouble fitting into your gender or, if you want to be opened up without even knowing what has been done to you – just like the Manchurian Candidate, only, progressive or, if you are just one of the many mixed-up clergy in the Diocese of Niagara – then this is for you.

I love progress.

Diocese Of Niagara rector thinks the Nicene Creed is outdated

The Diocese of Niagara’s Rev. Wayne Fraser wants to ditch the Nicene Creed because it promotes “old science” and says the world is flat.

The Creeds, of course, make no scientific claims at all. What probably disturbs Rev. Wayne’s sensibilities is the Creed’s insistence on the miraculous, such as the Virgin Birth and Resurrection.

Miracles are only a problem for materialists who believe the universe is a closed system; for those of us who think God is free to act as an agent in his own creation – that may well not include the Rev. Wayne –  miracles are no less scientific than the free act of any human agent.

Rev. Wayne also thinks the Creed should engage in modern dance with scientific knowledge, so I don’t think we should pay much attention to anything he says.

From here (page 9):

There’s so much old science reflected in the Creed that does not jive [he means “jibe”] with what we know today about the universe. The ancient concept of a three-tiered world, to begin with. And a flat earth.

The Nicene Creed teaches us to believe in “one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Is that in the Bible? No. What good does it do? It does not make much difference to most people’s lives. If we are still considering the role of the Nicene Creed in the Christian church after 1,700 years, still fretting about ideologies, we have missed the point.

Sex in the Diocese of Niagara

The Anglican Church of Canada would like you to believe that it has more important things on its mind than sex; homosexual sex, in particular.

In Canada, around 0.12% of the population are same-sex couples in a civil marriage. Of those, the number pining for a liturgical Anglican seal of approval on their matrimonial state would be even smaller, to the extent that they would represent an extremely small portion of the Canadian population. So the ACoC should have more important things on its mind.

But it doesn’t. Here is the headline of the front page of the Diocese of Niagara’s newspaper:Headline

The Diocese of Niagara connects with its inner gardener

Two churches have been awarded $45,000 in Trillium grants – donated by you, the generous taxpayer – for planting gardens. My wife is a keen gardener so, next year, she will be applying.

Sadly, both Anglican churches that applied received nothing but honourable mentions, notwithstanding the copious number of green tears emitted by its well-rehearsed clergy – who, it must be admitted, are generally overly lachrymose due to the excessive number of smudging ceremonies they are obliged to attend.

From here:

Two local groups are the recipients of a one-year, $45,000 seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The announcement was recently made during the Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Halton Peel chapter’s annual Green Awards Night and Networking Event.

The evening, held at the Church of the Incarnation, celebrates faith communities working together.


The Green Awards Night and Networking Event also featured Terrylynn Brant who spoke on the ‘Spirit in Gardening’.

Brant is a member of the Mohawk Nation Turtle Clan from Six Nations and shared her learned skills from a long line of traditional knowledge holders. “She inspired the audience to connect with their inner gardener and their spirit,” stated the release.

The evening ended with an awards presentation.

Unitarian Congregation Church and Applewood United Church in Mississauga were this year’s two award winners.

Honourable mention went to St. Simon’s Anglican Church and Church of the Incarnation in Oakville.

Sexual discrimination in the Diocese of Niagara

Michael Bird’s latest statement on same-sex marriage informs us that he intends to adhere to this:

Accordingly, and in concert with several other bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, it is my intention to immediately exercise this authority to respond to the sacramental needs of the LGBTQ2 community in the Diocese of Niagara. In the absence of any nationally approved liturgy, I am authorizing The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2 for use in our diocese. These newly created rites of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America may be used for the marriage of any duly qualified couples. Clergy intending to use these rites will, for the time being, be required to notify the Bishop’s Office in advance.

In practice, this means marrying two people in a “committed adult same-sex relationship”. The problem is, Bird also says he intends “to respond to the sacramental needs of the LGBTQ2 community in the Diocese of Niagara”. The rite Bird intends to use “may be used for the marriage of any duly qualified couples. Not threesomes.

The “B” in LGBQT2 represents bisexuals. In order to fulfil his – God given, Bird would claim – nature urging him to have sex with both a man and a woman, a bisexual has to marry two people.

It pains me to say it, but bisexuals will be discriminated against in the Diocese of Niagara.

Michael Bird proceeding with same-sex marriages before the canon is changed

The Niagara bishop, Michael Bird, has confirmed that he will begin same-sex marriages three years before the marriage canon change that permits him to do so. No surprise there. Anglican chaos in action.

From here:

Notwithstanding the reversal of the resolution’s outcome, I am committed to my promise to our diocese and local LGBTQ2 community to continue to walk along the path of full inclusion and to immediately proceed with equal marriage.

Bishop Michael Bird responds to Marriage Canon decision

The Canadian House of Bishops cannot muster the 2/3rds majority it would need to pass a motion to change the marriage canon to accommodate same-sex couples. Here is the reaction from the liberal Diocese of Niagara’s Michael Bird. Interestingly, he notes that “many” of the bishops did not agree with the amendment.


My dear friends:

It is with deep sadness and regret that I write this letter to you today. As you know we in Niagara have and continue to work very hard to give life and bear faithful witness to our baptismal promise that calls us to “seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being.” This past week the Canadian House of Bishops has just concluded a special meeting on proposed changes to our national Marriage Canon, changes that I personally believe seek to uphold this sacred dignity in the sacrament of marriage for those who identify as LGBTQ2.

It is apparent, however, that many of my fellow bishops cannot support the proposal at this time, as indicated by this declaration: “In our exploration of these differences it became clear to us that the draft resolution to change the Marriage Canon to accommodate the marriage of same-sex partners is not likely to pass in the Order of Bishops by the canonical requirement of a 2/3rds majority in each Order.”

While I believe this assessment to be true, I know how disturbing this will be for so many in our diocese and beyond. I want to say how deeply sorry I am that this is the case and my heart aches for all who continue to be wounded by the words and actions of our Church. I am one of the bishops at this meeting who was, as a statement by the House of Bishops puts it, “mortified and devastated by this realisation.”

I take heart in the commitment by the House of Bishops to “explore other options for honouring and fully embracing covenanted, faithful same-sex relationships.” Over the coming months I intend to prayerfully explore what that might mean for all of us in Niagara. I know that your voices and those representing Canadian Anglicans at General Synod will offer important insights about where the Spirit is leading us at this moment in the life of our Church.

As your bishop I will continue to do all in my power to seek and bear witness to the transformational power of God’s inclusive love so that the dream of equal marriage will be realized. Please remember those impacted by this news in your prayers along with those who will participate in General

Bishop Michael Bird responds to Primates’ Communiqué

What it lacks in surprises it makes up for in clichés:

Bishop Michael Bird has expressed his “profound disappointment” ‎with news arising from the recent Primates Meeting that The Episcopal Church will be suspended for a period of three years from formal leadership roles within the Anglican Communion. “We stand together with our sister and brother Anglicans in The Episcopal Church,” said the Bishop, and “give thanks for their faithful witness to the loving purposes of God.”

The Bishop is holding in his prayers all those whose dignity is impacted by the Communiqué from the Primates, especially those who identify as LGBTQ2. While we recognize the pain experienced by many as a result of the decisions taken at the Primates Meeting, Bishop Michael echoes Archbishop Curry’s words that our vocation may be to help the Communion “grow in a direction where we can realize and live the love that God has for us all.”

Bishop Michael also deeply appreciates our own Primate’s gracious leadership and his invitation to continue to pray for the primates as well as for ourselves that we might be faithful to our calling to “be the face of Jesus in this world.” The Anglican Church of Canada has issued an initial statement by our Primate and a more fulsome statement is expected on Monday.

As part of his own ongoing commitment to the Anglican Communion, Bishop Michael participates in an annual Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. Given the developments at the Primates Meeting, Bishop Michael feels that this gathering continues to be “so important in the life of the Anglican Communion.” Since 2010, the rotating group of African and North American bishops have met annually at locales around the world. Their gatherings facilitate learning about each other’s contexts and finding pathways for healing and reconciliation. The next consultation is scheduled for May 2016 in Ghana.

Bishop Michael also reiterates his hope and expectation that all Anglicans in Niagara will prayerfully engage with recent report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon entitled “This Holy Estate” in the lead up to our General Synod this July.

The Diocese of Niagara is in decline

The Anglican Church of Canada is squeamishly shy about publicising how many people attend its churches. No complete statistics for membership and average Sunday attendance have been published since 2001, although the ACoC did claim a membership of 545,957 in 2007.

The Diocese of Niagara’s paper, however, has published some statistics for 2013 and 2014:

DoN NumbersYou can see that the average Sunday attendance fell 7.2 percent in one year. We cannot know, of course, whether this rate of decline will increase or decrease as the years pass but, if it remains the same, in 60 years there will be 91 people left in the diocese or, since there are 89 parishes, around one person per parish – presumably the priest.

On a less gloomy note, the number of green parishes increased by three, demonstrating, I suppose, that the diocese overestimated the drawing power of its Gaia god.

Diocese of Niagara accused of caring only about money – again!

The Diocese of Niagara, still smarting from being denounced as greedy, has decided to give Guelph residents upset with the sale of St. Matthias two months to come up with a plan more to their liking:

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara is giving community groups a two-month window to come up with a revised development proposal for the patch of land at 171 Kortright Rd. W.

The Diocese made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday.

Diocesan spokesman, Rev. Bill Mous, said that “the diocese cared deeply about Guelph”, a pious condescension which has not convinced at least one citizen, who announced in a letter to a local Guelph newspaper that the diocese “cares only about money”, that Mous’s words “ring hollow”, that the community “does not feel cared for“ and that the diocese has “cast a dark shadow on the reputation of the Anglican Church everywhere” – not an easy thing to do considering the completion.

Read it all here and –  Merry Christmas, Diocese of Niagara and staff:

Anglican Diocese only cares about money

Two contract extensions in spite of the fact that the City councillors unanimously said no to the rezoning application. Two extensions in spite of the feelings of the neighbours who want the church to remain a church and in spite of the hopes and prayers of local congregations who are longing for usable worship space. Preserve a church as a church? Why do that when you can reap an extra million dollars by selling to a developer who specializes in high-density construction?

The words of Bill Mous, spokesperson for the Diocese, ring hollow to anyone who has a stake in the neighbourhood surrounding the church property. The Diocese “cares deeply for Guelph”? This community does not feel cared for. It seems the Diocese cares deeply about turning a huge profit by rezoning institutional land to R-4 specialized. And the Diocese cares deeply about running the community out of money so that citizens lose their right to object at the board.

It’s a sad comment on Anglican officials who lack a social conscience and try to bafflegab their way out of any responsibility for the upcoming demolition of a church that other congregations would be thankful to be able to purchase at fair-market value for institutional land. Diocese decisions have cast a dark shadow on the reputation of the Anglican Church everywhere and the Synod clearly worships the almighty dollar rather than the Almighty.