53% of Britons are non-religious

According to this:

The 34th annual British Social Attitudes Survey has shown that non-religious people represent a clear majority of British people in 2017, accounting for 53% of the population. This is a new high for the non-religious population, which was previously estimated at 51% in 2014.

That isn’t particularly surprising since a similar poll in 2002 found that 50% of Anglican clergy are also non-religious insofar as they don’t believe in the Virgin Birth or that Jesus is the only way to be saved. If Church of England clergy work really hard, I imagine they will be able to talk the remaining 47% of Britons out of their faith, too.

A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth, according to a new survey.

The poll of nearly 2,000 of the Church’s 10,000 clergy also found that only half believe that faith in Christ is the only route to salvation.

Anglican Cathedral in Ottawa has Islamic prayer for Canada’s 150th

On June the 30th, Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa was host to an interfaith service to celebrate – using that word very loosely – Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation.

To lend legitimacy to the presence of assorted Anglican and Catholic settler bishops and a rabbi, Inuit spiritual leaders and a drum keeper were on hand.

Islamic prayers recited by a local imam punctuated the Anglican cries of self-flagellation over disrupting what passed for Indigenous culture 400 or so years ago.

It doesn’t get any more Anglican than that.

From here:

Algonquin spiritual leader Oshki Nodin (Albert Dumont) gave the opening prayer, asking the Creator to “touch the Canadians of the future with your sacredness and blessings so that Canada will become a beacon of light and an example to the other countries of the world.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, in his comments to the gathering, acknowledged that Ottawa is built on unceded Algonquin territory. The Algonquin “culture and presence continue to nurture this land,” he said.

Watson also thanked “all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their elders, and their ancestors for their valuable past and present contributions to the land and society.”

Drum keeper and Algonquin Elder Barbara Dumont-Hill led the “calls to prayer” with a “life-giving” song. “All our songs were prayers,” she said. “We sing prayers for everything on the land, and this song talks about the one who gives us life, and walks with us always.”

Next was Imam Samy Metwally of the Ottawa Mosque who recited a prayer in Islam and translated it into English, ending with, “There is no deity worthy of worship except God.”

Bishops learning how to sue people

Three bishops from Toronto have travelled to Richmond Virginia to learn how to be better bishops from TEC. It all looks quite tedious. One thing did catch my eye, though: the TEC counsel for property litigation held a session on clergy discipline. Presumably the Canadian bishops will return with a renewed zest for suing people.

Another lesson was on “Building Community”. Don’t laugh.

From here:

Bishops listen June 14 as Mary Kostel, special counsel to the presiding bishop for property litigation and discipline, explains the Episcopal Church’s clergy discipline canon, known as Title IV. The session was part of Living our Vows, the College for Bishops’ three-year formation program for new bishops.

Anglicans in the Toronto Pride Parade 2017

I expect you have been looking forward to seeing whether your favourite bishop made an appearance – you’ll have to guess who mine is and he didn’t – so here are a few photos (not mine).

Maybe it’s just me but when looking at the lady priests, I can’t shake the uneasy feeling that they would really like to be cavorting in fishnet stockings, spiked heels, black bra, lace panties, spiked dog collars and little else but haven’t quite screwed up the courage yet. Maybe next year. The stuff of nightmares, I know.

When will Evangelicals stop being shocked by the next obvious thing?

Justin Welby has awarded a lesbian Christian singer, Vicky Beeching, an award for outstanding service to the church. Evangelicals are shocked. Why in heavens name would they be?

It has been transparently obvious for years that Justin Welby is working to normalise homosexual behaviour in the church. The Church of England is awash with active homosexual clergy and those sympathetic to them. There have been no effective “consequences” for TEC and the ACoC after they approved same-sex marriage in their synods. Western Anglicanism has capitulated to the zeitgeist. Evangelicals in the CofE: you have lost the battle – possibly the entire war. Stop being shocked.

From here:

An evangelical Christian group in the U.K. says it’s in “shock” that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s “outstanding service to the church” award has been given to Christian lesbian singer Vicky Beeching.

“Vicky Beeching rejects Christian teaching on sexual ethics by advocating for same-sex marriage,” Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I’m shocked that the archbishop should choose to honor someone so out-of-step with the biblical understanding of marriage and sexual morality,” he added.

The Anglican Pravda

For years it’s been a standing joke that the Anglican Journal is the Anglican Church of Canada’s Pravda because it has such a strong bias towards theological liberalism and the political left. Just like the organisation it is there to report on.

At the same time, the Journal claims to be editorially independent, a requirement if it is to continue to receive a yearly grant of $409,866 from Heritage Canada, otherwise known as Canadian taxpayers.

Now, it seems the claimed editorially independence is under review by the Council of General Synod, prompting a CoGS member to finally catch on to what the rest of us have known for some time: the Anglican Journal is in danger of becoming – I would make that has become – The Anglican Pravda.

From here (emphasis mine):

A request by the diocese of Rupert’s Land to no longer have a print version of the Anglican Journal distributed in the diocese has led to the raising of questions about whether the newspaper should be produced in print form at all and whether it should continue to be free to determine its own content, Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Saturday, June 24.

[…..]

In a question-and-answer session after Egan’s presentation, the issue of the Journal’s editorial independence prompted, instead of a question, a strong statement from one CoGS member. Jason Antonio, from the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, who also introduced himself as managing editor of the diocesan newspaper The Saskatchewan Anglican, condemned what he termed the report’s “attack” on the Anglican Journal’s editorial independence.

“It’s a leap in logic for me to think that because Rupert’s Land News shut down we have to question the editorial independence of the newspaper,” he said. “The Anglican Church of Canada does not need another mouthpiece…To attack the Anglican Journal, then, and take it over is an authoritarian move. We might as well just rename it Pravda,” said Antonio, alluding to the former news organ of the Soviet Union’s communist party.

The Diocese of Huron has an Anglican mosque

Here is an illuminating Wikipedia article on how, after towns were conquered by Muslim armies, their churches were converted into mosques:

According to early Muslim historians, towns that surrendered without resistance and made treaties with the Muslims were allowed to retain their churches and the towns captured by Muslims had many of their churches converted to mosques. One of the earliest examples of these kinds of conversions was in Damascus, Syria, where in 705 Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I bought the church of St. John from the Christians and had it rebuilt as a mosque in exchange for building a number of new churches for the Christians in Damascus. Overall, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (Al-Waleed’s father) is said to have transformed 10 churches in Damascus into mosques.

The process of turning churches into mosques was especially intensive in the villages where most of the inhabitants converted to Islam. The Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mun turned many churches into mosques. Ottoman Turks converted nearly all churches, monasteries, and chapels in Constantinople, including the famous Hagia Sophia, into mosques immediately after capturing the city in 1453. In some instances mosques have been established on the places of Jewish or Christian sanctuaries associated with Biblical personalities who were also recognized by Islam.

In the inclusive, liberal Diocese of Huron, home to Canada’s nauseating brand of wishy-washy sub-Christian Anglicanism, the process is a little different, but the result is much the same. The diocese has voluntarily surrendered one of its churches, St. John the Evangelist – the irony of “Evangelist” in this context is surely obvious – for use as a mosque; and there is not even a hint of a marauding Muslim army on the horizon. Not yet, at least.

One of the benefits of this, the rector, Rev. Andrew Wilson tells us, is that they have now been informed what the Koran’s opinion of Jesus is: he is not the Son of God. Who knew?

From here:

The last week of May I received a call. There are now thirty Muslim families living in Leamington and they need somewhere to pray together for Ramadan, they know our

building is perfect. Skipping the many details involved in navigating rentals and other groups, we made the arrangements. A couple of dignitary visits, their council and Imam, to prepare themselves and envision how their prayers would come together and we were set.

We were invited to an opening dinner at a local complex, the people were told about where they would be going in a few minutes, their new Anglican Mosque – life imitates art, but this time it is real! With a smile best cliché I could come up with is “Little Mosque on the Marsh,” perhaps “By the Lake” as an ice-breaker to announce the news to the congregation.

[……]

Had we said no, we would not have conversations with each other, we would not be asked  about our worship, or be offered the Qur’an’s understanding of Christ, or be asked about our understanding of the same Christ. Saying yes to the Spirit leads to blessings.

Marriage canon CoGS still turning

The Council of General Synod met recently to discuss, among other things, the change to the marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage. The Indigenous representative seems less than happy with the fact that the report “This Holy Estate” has not been translated into Indigenous languages. Moreover, some dioceses are already marrying same sex couples ahead of the 2019 vote to approve them – if they can find any willing specimens, that is.

What the Indigenous member should realise is that, since same-sex marriages are already occurring, the report is irrelevant: it is a fait accompli, no report, listening process, vote, conversation or discussion – respectful or otherwise – is going to make a blind bit of difference. Anglican conservatives have, as usual, been conned and outmaneuvered. Business as usual at CoGS.

During the discussion, one Indigenous CoGS member asked why some dioceses were already marrying same-sex couples, which her people did not understand given that the church was currently debating passing an amendment to the marriage canon to change the rules.

Arm’s length reconciliation

Rowan Williams tried to sort out the mess in the Anglican Communion by reconciling opposing views, reaching a synthesis of the two which all parties could go along with. It was a dismal failure for the same reason that asking people to accept the truth of 1+1=3, the middle ground between 1+1=2 and 1+1=4, fails: the answer is wrong.

Justin Welby didn’t fall into the same trap; he devised a new one, one that conservatives will fall into. He is attempting to reconcile people, not ideas: an ecclesiastical version of “I’m OK, You’re OK”, one of the sillier notions to be excreted by the 1970s self-help merchants. The Welby version has Good Disagreement as its primary incantation. It is still a trap. This time for conservatives who, Welby hopes, will put on, not the breastplate of righteousness, but the façade of friendship, the rictus grin of rapport while liberals have their way and hapless conservatives are, in sequence, outmaneuvered, bamboozled and ignored.

To this end, Canadian bishops have been meeting in Africa to reconcile with African bishops who may, and probably do, have different views on what constitutes a marriage. The Canadian bishops are undoubtedly experts in creating situations which beg for reconciliation. They spent the first part of the current millennium, ejecting congregations in order to seize their buildings, bank accounts and rectories with a studied vindictiveness that would have been the envy of Soviet era anti-Christian apparatchiks.

Yet, to date, there have been no attempts to reconcile: it all goes to show how much easier it is to pretend to get along with people at a distance than it is to pretend to get along with those who are close to home.

It could be argued that the Anglican Church of Canada is eager to reconcile with aboriginals who were mistreated in residential schools. I think, though, that the conspicuously frenzied self-flagellation over the residential school scandal has more to do with a rejection of Western culture, Christendom and, ultimately, Christianity than it does with true reconciliation.

The article below, conveniently accessible on the Internet, describes the Canadian bishops’ latest efforts to reconcile with their African brothers; as Michael Bird perceptively notes towards the end, “There is so much misinformation on the internet”.

The eighth annual meeting of Bishops from Canada and Africa has just taken place in Kenya, with the Bishop of Niagara,  Michael Bird, suggesting the yearly encounter could act as a model for reconciliation across the Anglican Communion.

The meetings were initiated after the 2008 Lambeth Conference, amid divisions over issues of same sex unions and larger questions of Scriptural interpretation.  Interested African dioceses started theological correspondence with Canadian counterparts, first on human sexuality and then mission.

A fluid group of Bishops from Canada, the US and various African countries have now met in Cape Town, Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Toronto, Coventry and Virginia in the United States. Together they seek to build common understanding and respect among parts of the Communion that have been in conflict.

Bishop Michael: “We focus on reconciliation and mission and what we agreed this time around, was to produce a testimony for Lambeth 2020. We feel what we have been doing for eight years shows a way forward for the Communion and we hope the next Lambeth conference will help to generate more of these face to face conversations.”

Bishop Michael described the first meeting as somewhat guarded but within a day or so all the participants felt they were doing the right thing – guided by the Holy Spirit. Strong bonds have also been formed,  he said: “I have developed a wonderful friendship with the Bishop in Ghana: he came to Canada and my wife and I went to visit his diocese. The wider Anglican Communion could learn a lot from the way, as a group, we have come together. There is so much misinformation on the internet, there really is no substitute for encountering someone face to face with an openness to the other, that allows us to listen and to come to understand the context in which others are ministering.”

Diocese of Niagara surviving by selling land to developers

About 35 years ago, someone discovered that the foundations of the Diocese of Niagara’s Christ Church Cathedral were crumbling. Now, of course, the Christian foundation of the entire diocese has crumbled, leaving the building standing in apparent defiance of the spiritual ruin in which it finds itself.

The reason the physical building has survived is, in part, thanks to a friend of mine, now deceased, who owned a construction company which specialised in pumping a certain type of grout into rickety structures to reinforce them. The company was called Groundation; my friend had a particular liking for the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” and was always tickled when we sang it.

The diocese contracted Groundation to fix the cathedral’s foundations. Many years later, after the diocese sued St. Hilda’s, our building was demolished and the cathedral was still standing, I used to joke with my friend that he had done too good a job.

The church, like the rest of life, is replete with irony. Thirty years after propping up the tottering cathedral, the Diocese of Niagara has realised that, like many other Anglican dioceses, it no longer has the money to maintain its buildings. It is selling cathedral land, piecemeal, to raise cash: the rear parking lot will be the first to go.

From here:

Christ’s Church Cathedral on James Street North wants to partner with a developer on a multimillion-dollar plan for residential, community and commercial space in its back parking lot.

Aside from the cathedral and All Saints, the Anglican diocese is exploring partnerships with developers in Niagara, Guelph and Halton, says Rev. Bill Mous, a director with the diocese.