Diocese of Niagara is reductionist and exclusive despite its best efforts

When the lady priests in the Diocese of Niagara performed the Vagina Monologues in the diocesan cathedral for the edification – or titillation – of prurient Anglicans, they probably didn’t anticipate that their impetuous attempt to be trendy would, within a couple of years, be condemned as “inherently reductionist and exclusive”. The problem is, it seems, today, not everyone who claims – or self identifies, to use the current in vogue jargon – to be a woman has a vagina. I can’t think why this did not occur to the lady priests.

Such are the perils of the never ending quest for ecclesiastical relevance.

From here:

“Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Ensler’s play, which debuted in 1996 and has added new scenes ever since, features in-your-face monologues about sexual discovery, homosexuality, rape and even pedophilia. But even now, most of these fiercely feminist monologues have yet to give a voice to the vagina-less.

Diocese of Niagara fills church for all the wrong reasons

As I mentioned here, St. Matthias in Guelph was sold to property developers for about $2M.

From here:

It is somewhat rare today that the church can gather an overflow crowd but the Anglican Diocese of Niagara has succeeded in doing that — unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

The crowd that gathered were neighbours of Saint Matthias Anglican Church (at the corner of Edinburgh and Kortright roads) concerned that the Anglican Diocese is planning to sell the church and land to a developer who will build 81 units of rental housing geared to students.


We have heard that there were other serious offers to purchase the property by other churches. But these too have been rebuffed. And so the conclusion that many would draw is that the diocese wants top dollar. And worse, that the denomination cares little for the neighbours that the church community has lived beside for the past 30 years. It would seem to be another example of a self-serving church.

The diocese is attempting to revitalise what’s left of the homeless St. Matthias by having some seminars on the Seven Grandfathers of the Anishinaabe people. That should work.

For those who remain unconvinced of the relevance of St. Matthias to today’s world, there is the St. Matthias blog where we discover that “living our questions is where the answers lie” and “There is Truth and it is deep within and around us all the time.” I am so moved, I think I am going to cry; so much so that I can almost overlook the fact that the writer seems to be oblivious to the difference between “lie” and “lye” – a generous application of which could, admittedly, greatly improve the diocese:

Does the truth lye in the living each moment of each day without fear of failure, fear of the other, fear of rejection, fear of all sorts of things that consume our thoughts, emotions, spirits and hearts.

Diocese of Niagara wants to address Ontario’s Dignity Deficit

You could be forgiven for thinking that that means throwing out Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal Government. But no: the diocese wants what every left thinking Anglican wants: a bogus utopia in which wealth is redistributed through increased taxation. Except for the diocese itself, of course, which deserves to maintain its tax exempt status because it campaigns so tirelessly for – well, wealth redistribution for everyone else.

From here:

In a recent submission to the Minister of Finance’s 2015 Pre-Budget Consulation, [sic] the Diocese articulated its conviction that a socially just society is one in which all citizens have enough to flourish. While Ontario’s fiscal deficit is a pressing issue, so is its dignity deficit according to the Reverend Bill Mous, Director of Justice, Community and Global Ministries.

The diocese reckons that the charitable work done by St. Matthew’s House in Hamilton is “inadequate”. Perhaps if the diocese donated more of its tax free income to St. Matthew’s House it would be less inadequate.

The Diocese of Niagara still busy deconsecrating and demolishing

The Diocese of Niagara deconsecrated St. Paul’s in Thorold in June of 2014. Plans to demolish it were thwarted by members of the community who wish to preserve it as an historic building. Representatives from the diocese, holding back the tears, let the community buy it for a nominal fee.

St. Paul'sRead it all here:

On Monday, the Anglican Church of Canada announced that the Synod of the Diocese of Niagara — the governing body of the diocese — has voted to enter into an agreement to sell historic former St. Paul’s Anglican Church and the adjoining cemetery to the new Friends of St. Paul Port Robinson group, which McDonald heads, for a nominal fee.

The announcement means the stately white building no longer faces the wrecking ball and could stand for future generations to enjoy.

McDonald,  who can see the church from her front yard, was convinced by a friend to join a couple of other Port Robinson residents in an impromptu visit to Thorold city council last  September.

The stunned residents had just learned the 170-year-old church, which had been deconsecrated last June, was slated for demolition.

The Diocese of Niagara sells another church

The ever shrinking Diocese of Niagara is busy selling properties to keep itself afloat. One of the latest is St. Matthias in Guelph.

Having no building, St. Matthias is a Community on the Move – not necessarily a move towards the Gospel, though. It is non-doctrinal, so if you decide to attend, it’s best not to believe anything in particular. All are welcome, especially those who define themselves through their sexual orientation – as long they don’t believe in anything much other than their sexual orientation.

The residents of the surrounding area are not particularly happy with the six story apartment building that will replace the church. They have even written to the bishop, imploring him to reconsider. I’m sure the $2M that is at stake will not be a factor in the final decision.

From here:

A group of Guelph residents is appealing to the Anglican bishop for the region to reconsider selling a south-side church property for redevelopment into a six-storey, 81-unit mid-rise apartment complex for post-secondary students.

“Wouldn’t that be nice,” vocal opponent Stephen Runge said Monday, noting the proposal by Waterloo-based HIP Developments Inc. requires a conversion zoning bylaw amendment. That’s currently under review by municipal staff, ultimately for recommendation to city council.

Runge is with a neighbourhood organization called The McElderry Group objecting to the proposal, which he said wouldn’t fit well with a neighbourhood of family residences near retail and parkland components close to Kortright and Edinburgh roads, nor meet the provincial goal of infilling.

“It doesn’t help the neighbourhood,” Runge said, adding it’s also such an infilling “intensification corridor.” The province’s Places To Grow goal is to slow urban sprawl with developments within cities.

There’s an opportunity for the Anglican diocese to reconsider the project it has embarked on with Hip since the church closed its doors two years ago, the Guelph group emphasized. It’s asking the diocese not to renew the deal’s terms of sale when they expire in June.

In an open weekend email to Bishop Michael Bird, the group expressed deep disappointment at the decision by the synod of the diocese to negotiate a sale agreement with HIP for 171 Kortright Rd. W., citing viable alternatives that include two offers, though less lucrative, from other local church communities. Runge said the group hasn’t received a response yet, but expects to.

What the Diocese of Niagara wishes for the people of Hamilton

Better sewers – and a few other things. Notably absent is a desire for the people of the city which is home to the diocesan cathedral to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour; that must be less important than waste disposal.

From here:

  1. That our elected mayor and councillors provide wisdom, insight, and prophetic vision in governing our city.

  2. That Hamilton become, and is known as, the Canadian city which cares and reaches out most effectively to the poor and to those who live on the margins.

  3. That we provide resources to continue to improve our infrastructure – roads, transit, antiquated systems (water, sewers, etc.).  If this means slightly more in property taxes, it is worth it!!!

The Diocese of Niagara’s financial haemorrhage

The Diocese of Niagara had a surplus of around $1.7M in 2013 thanks, in part, to selling St. Hilda’s church building and rectory for around $2.6M (other property sales brought this to around $3.3M):

actual2By 2016, the diocese has estimated that not only will all that money have evaporated, but there will be a $62,591 deficit:


It looks to me as if the diocese is on the road to extinction.

Diocese of Niagara starts demolishing church, forgets to tell anyone

St._PaulsFrom here:

Some Port Robinson residents are hoping they’ll be able to save historic St. Paul’s Anglican Church, but the clock is ticking with the 170-year-old icon slated for demolition.

Some residents came to city council on Sept. 16, saying they were stunned to learn the white church, surrounded by an old cemetery, was scheduled to be knocked down.

“Most of us didn’t even know until it started to be dismantled,” said resident Kyrsten McDonald. “We’re wondering what we (can) do and how we can stop this.

“This is one of our last historical buildings that’s in great condition, and it’s being torn down.”


“It was never the desire of the Diocese to take down St. Paul’s as it has played a part in the history of the Diocese,” he said. “However, as a business decision, it was felt that we were left with no other choice.
“If the community had actually supported this parish over these many years, perhaps we would not have had to come to this unfortunate decision.”

As we can see, the problem lies with the community for not supporting the church: the diocese was forced into a Prophetic Social Justice Making ……. business decision. Perhaps the church would have garnered more support over the years if there had been more Gospel preached and less “more tea vicar? social club cliquishness punctuated by spasms of leftist propaganda.

R.I.P. Bishop John Bothwell

From here:

Bishop John Charles Bothwell, whose long career had major impact in the Anglican Church of Canada, has died at the age of 87.

Bothwell – who was the eighth bishop of Niagara – ordained the first female priests in the Anglican diocese of Niagara in 1976 and also co-consecrated at the ordination of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

“It is hard to encapsulate [Bothwell’s] impact upon the life of the parishes he served, the diocese of Niagara, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Communion,” Michael Bird, the diocesan bishop of Niagara, said in a statement. “He was one of the great leaders of our time,”

As Michael Bird perceptively notes, John Bothwell was “one of the great leaders of our time”: after all, he set the course for the Diocese of Niagara to become one of the most theologically liberal dioceses in Canada. The apotheosis of his influence probably occurred in February 2012 when the diocese’s lady priests (Bothwell ordained the first in 1976) performed the Vagina Monologues in Christ Church Cathedral.

John Bothwell made a number of appearances at St. Hilda’s but, I admit, not much of what he said sticks in my mind. The only thing I remember, probably because of my occupation, was his railing against the frivolity of fibre optic cables; their only use, he declared, was as decoration in ornamental lamps. Vanity of vanities. He did subsequently soften his view of the fibre optic industry a little when someone pointed out he would not have a telephone without it.

In God’s house there are many mansions, perhaps even a Luddite liberal one for John Bothwell.

Pete Seeger died recently, too. I didn’t care for his music, even in the 60’s and his politics have always seemed repugnant.

I rather like this tribute I came across a few days ago:

 So farewell, then, Pete
Too eager
To believe the best
Of the worst.
Where have all the
Flowers gone? You should know
You’re pushing them

© E. J. Throbb, aged 17¾