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

Diocese of Niagara sells rectory to owner of PinkCherry Sex Toys

As part of a negotiated settlement between St. Hilda’s congregation and the Diocese of Niagara, the diocese took possession of St. Hilda’s rectory in 2012 and sold it in December for $650,000.

As is common in this area of Oakville, the new owner of the house tore down the rectory to build a new, much larger house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe new resident of what used to be St. Hilda’s rectory is Daniel Freedman, owner of PinkCherry Sex Toys, Canada’s largest vendor of…. well, all sorts of interesting items.

Not that the diocese is interested in such things.

St. Hilda’s: the demolition aftermath

St. Hilda’s building, acquired by the Diocese of Niagara for $0 and sold by the diocese for $1.9M is now an empty space.

Curiously, the only part left standing is the sign that used to display the rector’s name and the worship times – now expunged:

Dec. 27 015 In what I am convinced must a divinely appointed metaphor for this tawdry episode in the continuing moral decomposition of the Anglican Church of Canada, a Diocese of Niagara Oakville church has attached to the remnant an advertisement for that most vacuous of Anglican rituals: The Christmas Bazaar:

Dec. 27 018

Diocese of Niagara has AIDS vigil

There will be an AIDS vigil at Christ Church Cathedral tomorrow. The reason appears to be not so much to encourage the prevention of AIDS but to “honour those living with HIV and those we have lost to AIDS – Honour. Celebrate. Be with us.” All that remains is the instituting of the Order of Niagara, HIV edition.

Actually helping to prevent AIDS rather than treating it once it has taken hold seems to me to be a better strategy. Regrettably, since AIDS is spreading predominantly through men having sex with one another and the concept of restraint is one that will be entirely foreign to those participating, this will probably be the only taboo topic at the vigil.

In 2010, MSM [men having sex with men] accounted for 63% of estimated new HIV infections in the United States and 78% of infections among all newly infected men. From 2008 to 2010, new HIV infections increased 22% among young (aged 13-24) MSM and 12% among MSM overall.

To lighten the mood, the Hamilton Gay Men’s Chorus will be on hand for musical entertainment. 01-12-2013 6-53-13 PM

Diocese of Niagara emphasising community over truth

An Oakville church has been distributing flyers designed to entice the unwary into its sanctuary. The main selling point is that you can make new friends and join a community without having to believe anything in particular. I doubt that this strategy will work since it faces strong competition from the Oakville Lawn Bowling Club: you can make new friends there, too, get more exercise when bowling and – there is “No Need to Believe!”

The flyer points out: “If you come away believing…. hey, that’s a bonus!” As in lawn bowling, it doesn’t matter what you come away believing because it’s the community that is important, not boring doctrinal trivia.


The sale of St. Hilda’s

The Diocese of Niagara is reporting selling St. Hilda’s for $1,900,000:

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara sold the former St. Hilda’s Church property to the Region of Halton on August 14, 2013 for $1,900,000.

A response from the Town of Oakville to my email inquiry on their buying price yielded:

Hi David;
The amount was $2,250,000.00 to purchase the 1258 Rebecca Street property.

It appears that the Town has the purchase price wrong:

St. Hilda's SaleAs you can see, the property has been sold twice, once in 1957 for $2 when it was effectively donated by a parishioner; the parishioner was still attending St. Hilda’s when the vote was taken to leave the Diocese of Niagara in 2008. The second sale was by the Diocese of Niagara in 2013 for a slightly larger sum.

Diocese of Niagara: 2013 financial update

From here:

Regarding financial resources, Budget Chair Andrew Clinkard reported that “the diocesan financial position continues to get healthier.” He pointed out the diocese has not used their “interest bearing credit line” since March of this year, the “long term debt from parishes has been reduced by $179,000.00 and “we are anticipating an operating surplus for 2013.”

What Clinkard omitted from this rosy assessment was mentioning the influx of cash the diocese received from selling St. Hilda’s church building and rectory.

The rectory sold for $650,0000 and the church building for $2,250,000 (note: I have changed this to an exact number), making the debt reduction of $179,000.00 appear rather less impressive.

Niagara Anglican circulation numbers

In one year the Niagara Anglican’s (the Diocese of Niagara’s paper) circulation has declined by 6.4%. This is due to the “[i]ncapacity or death” of former recipients.

It’s not unreasonable to infer that the decline in circulation is at least matched if not exceeded by an equivalent 6.4% decline in membership.

Interestingly, the circulation numbers include parishes that have left the diocese – there are 4; I and others in the departed congregations continue to receive the paper – so basing membership on the circulation numbers probably yields an inflated figure.

You will be please to know that $426,573 of your tax dollars have contributed to distributing Anglican Church of Canada newspapers.

From here (Page 4):

In her 2013 report to the recent Anglican Editors Association conference, Senior Manager Beverley Murphy provided the following information:

• Total circulation [of the Anglican Journal] was down 4.49% since last year;

• Incapacity or death is the reason given in most instances for cancellation;

• Electronic updates average 72 per week;

• Majority of updates are sent by parishes via regular mail;

• Half of all circulation emails come from individuals, then parishes (36.7%) and dioceses (13.3%);

• The Canada Periodical Fund provided a grant ($426,573 from April 2012 to April

2013) which basically covers half of all mailing costs for the Anglican Journal and the 23 diocesan newspapers;

• The Canada Post’s Address Accuracy Program compares subscribers’ addresses with valid addresses on Canada Post’s database. All diocesan papers have sustained the required rate of 95% accuracy.

In 2012, the Niagara Anglican had an accuracy rate of 98.5%.

In June 2012, the Niagara Anglican had a circulation of 10,406, which stood at 9,740 in September this year. It is the fifth largest among the diocesan papers.

Toronto Anglican is the largest, followed by Anglican Life (Newfoundland and Labrador), Huron Church News and the Diocesan Times (Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). The total Anglican Journal circulation for June 2012 was 155,383 subscribers compared with 143,510 in September 2013.