If you don’t believe in the Resurrection, you are not a Christian

So says Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden; and he is right:

A former chaplain to the Queen has said that the quarter of Christians who say they do not believe in the Resurrection “cannot be Christians”.

The Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden said in a letter to the Times that a survey which found that one in four self-proclaimed Christians do not believe in Jesus’s Resurrection “made the mistake of confusing British culture with Christianity”.

He said: “Those people who neither believe in the Resurrection nor go anywhere near a church cannot be ‘Christians’.

“As with so many things, the key is in the definition of terms. Discovering the evidence for the Resurrection having taken place to be wholly compelling is one of the things that makes you a Christian; ergo, if you haven’t, you are not.”

Of course, sophisticated clergy in the West would usually not be so crass as to straightforwardly deny the Resurrection. Instead, they cast doubt on the meaning of the word.

Here is a master of the technique, Rev Peter Wall, Dean of the Diocese of Niagara, putting his seminary training into practice in 2009. First he applies it to the Virgin Birth:

And then the Resurrection:

So Peter Wall doesn’t know what the Virgin Birth means and doesn’t know what the Resurrection is, but after “struggling”, against all reason claims he believes both.

Diocese of Niagara parish offers Islamic prayer to Allah

In the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting, St. Simon’s in Oakville decided to support Muslims by praying to Allah during its monthly labyrinth walk. The labyrinth walk is normally reserved for trendy events like Gaia inspired eco-worship, so this is a new exploration of the boundaries of voguish virtue-signalling, a further lurch into fatuity.

The sad thing is, I remember the time, a few decades ago, when St. Simon’s was orthodox and evangelical.

From here:

When we all heard of a shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City during evening prayers in late January, faith communities across Canada were shocked. At St. Simon’s Oakville, Rector Darcey Lazerte tried to comfort his parish community with a sermon focusing on understanding and taking action to support the Muslim congregations. It only seemed fit to dedicate our monthly labyrinth walk to peace in support of the Muslim community.

An invitation to Al Falah Islamic Centre was quickly offered, and through Dr. Majid Kazi’s effort, eight members of the mosque joined our walk. Together with five members of the parish, two people from Greening Sacred Spaces Halton and several regular walkers, our February labyrinth walk became a spiritual support group. As part of the meditations, we used a Muslim prayer for peace by Muhammad al-Jazri. It was completed during the siege of Damascus, December 1389. (See sidebar.)The debriefing at the end of the walk was a testament to the strength of the Muslim brothers and sisters in their pursuit of peace and greater understanding of the foundation of their faith.

We are hopeful that this new fellowship will lead to other shared opportunities.

This was the prayer:

O Allah, unite our hearts and set aright our mutual affairs, guide us in the path of peace.
Liberate us from darkness by Your light, save us from enormities whether open or hidden.
Bless us in our ears, eyes, hearts, spouses, and children.
Turn to us; truly you are Oft-Returning,  Most Merciful.
Make us grateful for Your bounty and full of praise for it, so that we may continue to receive it and complete Your blessings upon us.

I’m not sure what “enormities” the congregation of St. Simon’s need to be liberated from, but perhaps one is the enormous folly of reciting an Islamic prayer in a Christian church.

Anglicans against anti-sodomy laws

The latest from the Diocese of Niagara:

Anglicans for Decriminalization (AfD) is a group of Anglicans from across the Global Anglican Communion (GAC) which supports the decriminalization of private, consensual, adult samegender intimacy.

AfD was formed after the Primates of the GAC issued the first-ever unequivocal call for decriminalization on January 15, 2016. However, this revolutionary message was overshadowed by other events in the Communion, such as debates about same-gender marriages and the ordination of gay clergy/bishops.

Members of AfD, therefore, hope to first remind our more than 80 million GAC members that the lives of same-gender loving people across the world continue to be destroyed by British colonially imposed antisodomy laws, which initially reflected the teachings of the Church of England. Armed with this information we expect that right-thinking Anglicans will petition governments to repeal these laws.

Here is the stalwart bunch who are enthusiastically pursuing their vocation to smite anti-sodomy laws wherever they find them. In all fairness to them, I suppose it is pretty tricky to fulfil the great commission, to spread the Gospel message to every corner of the world, to make disciples of all nations without concentrating on anal sex just a little.

Diocese of Niagara deconsecrates another church

This time it is the turn of St. James in Merritton, St Catharines.

From here:

“This church building has been a home, a refuge and a place filled with great joy in the midst of countless celebrations,” said Bishop Michael Bird during the final service at St. James Merritton (St Catharines). “It has also been for us a sanctuary in the face of so many difficult and painful moments and tragedies.”

The building was deconsecrated—returned to common use—at a special afternoon service on Sunday, January 22.

Ironically, it was nine years ago today that diocesan officials marched into St. Hilda’s, and shortly after into Good Shepherd in St. Catharines, to demand the building keys because they wanted to use the churches to continue diocesan services after their congregations had voted to join the Southern Cone and later ANiC.

When the buildings were finally in the hands of the Diocese of Niagara, Bishop Michael Bird noted:

”I am very pleased with this outcome,” said Bishop Michael Bird.  “It affirms that these churches belong to all the generations that built them up and not just a particular group of individuals.”

Of the churches that “belong to all the generations that built them up”, Good Shepherd in St. Catharine’s now stands empty, cold and desolate and St. Hilda’s, in 2013, was torn down:

In 2017, the lot still stands empty:

As a fitting finale to the comedic irony, the Diocese of Niagara, having also acquired St. Hilda’s rectory, sold it to Daniel Freedman, owner of, so I am told, the largest sex toy company in Canada, PinkCherry Sex Toys. You may not want to click on that link.

A new era of Christianity dawns in the Diocese of Niagara

The diocesan rag (page 6) lays before the Niagara faithful the path of progress and enlightenment.

Original sin is out, as is propitiatory sacrifice and substitutionary atonement – what is there to atone for, after all? Gone is the Fall, the uniqueness of Christ and, it seems, theism itself. What is left, you might be wondering – evolution.

Change, of course, is difficult so for those feeling a little queasy about tossing out every major tenet of our belief system, the authors of this recipe for interfaith advancement, Rev Wayne Fraser and ACoC Partnership in Mission Officer, Dr Eleanor Johnson, offer the comfort of Missa Gaia. If that doesn’t do it for you, try listening to John Lennon’s Imagine: its emetic properties will induce the inevitable and help quell the waves of theological nausea.

The concept of Original Sin is the key to obsolete beliefs including propitiatory sacrifice and substitutionary atonement.

Likewise, to blame afflicted people for their personal torments is presumptuous in the extreme. God did not create us evil and prone to diseases as punishment for our fallen state.

Humanity is not fallen. Original Sin is not a concept even mentioned in the Bible. Original Blessing, its opposite, is, yet we allow ourselves to be “guilted” about Jesus dying for our sins. Instead, we see the Bible’s claim that God created the human race, all other species, our habitats and “saw that they were very good.”

The God we worship and serve is not an old man living above the clouds. We can call ourselves “a-theists,” people who do not worship a human-like, a human-made God. Many who have left church have done so because of the traditional image of God. Non-theism for most of us still attending church is uncharted territory, a new theological creation. Who or what do we worship?

We must start with a humble reading of the New Testament, with the brilliant hope, peace, joy and love put before us by Jesus. We experience God as an evolving Ground of Being, and the key word is evolution. Here’s where the most radical concept comes in: God is Love, is giving and receiving. God plunges into the breakdown of humanity’s connection to creation as Love in our loving.

We seek the wisdom and faith to explore our human understandings of God, for kindred spirits of other world religions and for this fragile earth, our island home. We see the destruction of the ecosystems and the mass extinctions of fellow creatures as crimes against God and all creation. We believe in caring for all species of creatures and their habitats. We welcome interfaith peace and inclusive justice for all.

A new era of Christianity is here and now but many are afraid to acknowledge it. It is here in our ecumenical and interfaith worship. We must give up our fantasy that Christianity is superior to other religions.

People of all faiths have in common an evolving experience of the Divine. True worship does not care a whit for the forms of our rituals. God gives no one the right to be militant. Jesus commands us to love God, our neighbours and ourselves. Change is difficult, in anything we do. It seems especially challenging in matters of faith.

We must, however, change or atrophy. Instead of condoning all the fears, threats and guilt induced in the past, let us rejoice in the complexity, beauty and mystery of all creation. All people come from God, we are imitators of Emmanuel and we are co-workers with the Holy Spirit.

For the beauty of the Earth,
sing oh sing today.
Of the sky and of our birth,
sing oh sing today.
Nature human and divine,
all around us lies.
Lord of all, to thee we raise
grateful hymns of praise.

—Paul Winter, Missa Gaia

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.