Peter Jensen and Peter J Akinola in Burlington March 2nd

And in Vancouver March 7th.

Register here:

We have the privilege of hearing from the Most Rev Dr Peter Jensen, General Secretary of GAFCON and Retired Archbishop of Sydney, Australia; and the Most Rev Peter J Akinola, founding father of GAFCON and former Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.

When I attended the last talk Peter Jensen gave in Burlington, I discovered to my delight, that he likes to insult people and even entire nations – he informed me the Welsh are no good at rugby, for example – although he insists that for Australians, insults are an expression of endearment. In case anyone is wondering, I’m not Australian.

Justin Welby denounces Donald Trump’s politics as fascist

Justin Welby is struggling with abuse scandals in his church, a Communion that is fracturing and a denomination which, according to Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden, is dying.

What is to be done? Launch a diversionary offensive, of course. Accusing someone of being a fascist throws anyone who is listening – admittedly, not many – into paroxysms of righteous indignation or outrage, depending on one’s political bias. The main thing is, it helps people forget about the things the Church of England’s commander-in-chief has left undone.

An added benefit is that, as George Orwell noted, “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless” making its use consistent with most other pronouncements any self-respecting Anglican Archbishop might make.

From here:

Donald Trump is part of the same “fascist tradition of politics” as far-right European politicians such as Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested last night.

In his most outspoken comments since the American president’s ban on travellers from some Muslim-majority countries was announced, the Most Rev Justin Welby accused Mr Trump of being part of a group of leaders from a “nationalist, populist, or even fascist tradition of politics”.

The decline and fall of the Anglican Church of Canada

Anglican Church of Canada clergy remind me of Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat.

Each year as the ACoC gets a little smaller, its clergy, smiling happily in a delirium of denial, armed with nothing but a fake gospel – a malaise that precedes fake news by far charge with renewed vigour towards the precipice that augurs their employer’s extinction. Eventually all that will be left will be the silly grins on their faces.

Still, it gives us Anglican bloggers something to write about.

Read it all at VOL:

By any measurable standard, the Anglican Church of Canada is in serious decline with little hope that the numbers can or will be reversed in the foreseeable future.

In one diocese after another the third largest denomination in Canada is declining, its demise now almost certain as it focuses on a host of social justice issues to the neglect of evangelism, discipleship and church planting.

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

Today, by all measurable standards the average Sunday attendance in the Anglican Church of Canada is around 320,000. If this is correct, in 40 years the average attendance will be 19,200 or less. As there is no wave of Millennials aching to fill Anglican pews this figure is probably exaggerated.

A recent academic study of Canadian churches revealed that conservative churches that held to the faith grew, while liberal ones that focused on social issues were dying. They surveyed some 2,200 churches and, based on their sampling found, without exception, the clergy and congregants of the growing mainline Protestant churches held more firmly to traditional Christian beliefs, such as the belief Jesus rose physically from the grave and that God answers prayer. The clergy of the growing churches were the most theologically conservative and the declining church clergy the least.

This news has not filtered down to Anglicans in Canada, who believe that brokering pansexuality into the churches as a justice issue (plus a whole host of other social issues) is more important than bums in pews vs. bums in the bed.

Several dioceses have revealed the dire straits they are in, largely we suspect because if they hadn’t told us, real estate agents would. The list is by no means complete, as most dioceses are reluctant to say or reveal their closures unless a local newspaper runs a story about a church being sold to a Muslim group or an evangelical start-up.

[…..]

Nationally, between 1961 and 2001, the Anglican Church of Canada lost 53 per cent of its membership, declining to 642,000 from 1.36 million. Between 1991 and 2001 alone, it declined by 20 per cent.

According to the report, the dioceses – “like most across Canada” – are in crisis. The report repeats, without qualification or question, the results of a controversial study presented to Anglican bishops five years ago that said that at the present rate of decline – a loss of 13,000 members per year – only one Anglican would be left in Canada by 2061.

Diocese of Huron: closures, building sales, amalgamations

A gloomy picture is emerging from the Diocese of Huron: there are too many buildings, too few people and too many congregations that cannot afford to pay for their priest or maintain their buildings.
Bishop Linda Nicholls, recently imported from the Diocese of Toronto, has inherited the mess and will be encouraging parishes to start “the difficult conversations themselves – at least initially”. Or else.
The blame for all this is being placed on “social transformation”; nothing whatever to do with replacing the Gospel with leftist political agitation laced with religionless spirituality.

Nicholls is doing her best to be relevant to the culture, though – some might say to the extent of being subsumed in it. Here she is at her arrival in the diocese marching under a brolly across a rainbow coloured cross-walk, a tribute to London’s annual gay pride cavorting. If that doesn’t pull them in and reverse the decline, nothing will.

Something that Anglican bishops don’t protest

Six of the seven countries in Trump’s executive order restricting immigration to the US ban Israelis from entering their country. Has any Anglican bishop anywhere even mentioned this, let alone complained about it? If so, do let me know.

From here:

Today, Arab states don’t ban Jews as such. They do ban Israelis. In fact, six of the seven states featured in Trump’s executive order ban entry of Israeli passport-holders: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (So, too, do another ten Muslim-majority states.) Those same six states also won’t admit anyone whose non-Israeli passport includes an Israeli visa. I’m not aware that the international community regards this as a particularly egregious affront to international norms.

Trump induced Anglican hand-wringing

From here:

A coalition of seven mission agencies within the Church of England said:  “We understand President Trump’s desire to protect America from extremism but we do not accept that it is ever right to discriminate against people simply on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or country of origin. We call on the British and other governments not only to seek exceptions for its own citizens but justice for all. We call on the US Government to reverse its current policy and to renew its commitment to freedom for all.”

The statement follows criticism of the immigration measures from  church leaders.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, issued a statement expressing shock at the new restrictions:  “It is extraordinary that any civilised country should stigmatise and ban citizens of other nations in the matter of providing humanitarian protection. In Christ, we are called to welcome the stranger especially when in desperate need,” he said.

In the United States there have been statements from a number of Episcopal dioceses. In Massachusetts, a joint letter from 17 church leaders, opposing the executive action, received the backing of three Episcopal Bishops :  “We grieve this decision to limit refugees, as it will cause further suffering, not just to our fellow Christians escaping persecution, but all refugees fleeing violence.”

In a statement, Bishop Marc Handley Andrus of California said: “We must honour the contributions of immigrants who are here to seek peace and stability for their families. Please join me in praying for our nation and for a change of heart for President Trump and his administration.”

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego wrote : “the last nine days have been a disquieting and dizzying display of presidential action in Mr Trump’s first days in office. The executive order is an affront to our sense of fairness and equity…President Trump’s actions are unacceptable and un-American. They do not represent who we are as a people. We must recover our senses. It is time to speak out in the name of all faiths and our national identity as a people united in our diversity. That is our gift to the world.”

In Washington, Bishop Mariann Budde wrote: “The list of alarming actions and statements from President Trump’s first week in office takes our collective breath away.”

Bishop Robert Hirschfeld of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire said: “The Executive Order tightly restricting immigration and refugee resettlement based on religious identity has done very little but intensify global tensions while worsening human suffering among those who honour and admire this nation. What is called for is competent diplomacy, informed statesmanship and a clear commitment to the biblically informed ideals of hospitality to the stranger and the oppressed. That these values are being so cavalierly rejected in favour of rash and fear-based edicts not only violates the dignity of those immediately affected, but also damages our own reputation.”

In contrast, here is another view from Franklin Graham:

There have been a lot of protests and discussion about President Donald J. Trump’s executive action on immigration. Some people seem to have forgotten that the priority of the president of the United States is protecting the Constitution and the safety of Americans. That’s exactly what President Trump is trying to do. Taking action to secure our borders had to start somewhere. Is it perfect? Maybe not, but it is a first step. As they work on solutions during this 90-day travel ban, unfortunately there are some innocent families caught in this time of transition.

I think that a thorough vetting process really needs to apply to people coming into the U.S. from all countries—not just 7. We have to be sure that the philosophies of those entering our country are compatible with our Constitution. If a person does not agree with our principles of freedom, democracy, and liberty, which we cherish, they should not be allowed to come. Without question, Sharia law is not compatible.

Some are also criticizing Christians who support the president’s position on immigration—and I’m one of those being criticized. But we have to realize that the president’s job is not the same as the job of the church. As Christians we are clearly taught in the Bible to care for the poor and oppressed. At Samaritan’s Purse we have been working in the Middle East for over 30 years. We’ve provided things like food, heaters, blankets, coats, shelter plastic, and more for tens of thousands of refugees there and in other places around the world. We just opened a 55-bed field trauma hospital in northern Iraq where we’re treating Muslims who are being wounded by other Muslims in the fight over Mosul. As Christians we are commanded to help all, regardless of religious background or ethnicity, like the Good Samaritan Jesus shared about in the Bible. Our job is to show God’s love and compassion. I believe the best way to help is to reach out and help these people in their own countries. I support the establishment of safe zones inside Syria and Iraq that would be protected by the international community until a political solution is found. We need to pray for political solutions that would bring peace and allow them to return to their homes as they desire.

It strikes me that, as is so often the case these days, the Anglican church, having parted ways from the Gospel of Jesus sometime ago, has nothing left to occupy its time and dwindling resources but political agitation; leftist political agitation.

Consequently, Anglican bishops when dealing with their own organisation engage in endless conversations and indabas which are rarely, if ever, punctuated by any action at all; but when giving the state the benefit of their collective wisdom, howl stridently for – action.

Anglicans take note: Franklin Graham is correct, God has different purposes for church and state. That, of course, presumes Western Anglicanism is still a church.

Another terrorist attack, another candle

Candlelight vigils will be held in numerous cities in wake of the terrorist attack at a Quebec mosque.

As Theodore Dalrymple put it about a prior attack:

A moment used to be defined as the amount of time between a Mexico City traffic light turning green and the sound of the first car horn, but now it might be defined as the period between a terrorist attack in a Western city and the first public appearance of a candle.  Every terrorist attack, including the latest one in Berlin, is immediately followed by the public exhibition of lighted candles.  It is almost as if the population keeps a store of them ready to hand for this very purpose.

[…..]

The candles, then, are a manifestation of modern paganism, a striving for transcendence without any real belief in it.  They are also a somewhat self-congratulatory symbol of our own peaceable temperament: the violent are not great candle-lighters.  We cannot, for example, imagine Genghis Khan lighting many candles for the souls of the departed (not that we really believe in souls).

I think Dalrymple is correct when he says the candles signify a striving for transcendence without any real belief in it. It is only fitting, then, that Anglican bishops and lesser clergy will be well represented in Quebec, London (Ontario), Halifax, Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton and, no doubt, many other locations.

Katharine Jefferts Schori to speak at Diocese of BC Cathedral

Katharine Jefferts Schori spent much of her time as Presiding Bishop of TEC embroiled in lawsuits against ACNA parishes and dioceses who were trying to hang on to their buildings. I met her in 2010 at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and asked how a Christian denomination could justify launching so many lawsuits. Her response was that she had a “fiduciary responsibility towards TEC”. The implication that, in her view, it was her most important responsibility, was not lost on me.

Having so much experience in promoting harmony and good-will must have been what prompted the Bishop of BC, Logan McMenamie to invite Jefferts Schori to the Diocese to impart her timeless wisdom – distilled over many years of acrimonious litigation – about Truth and Reconciliation.

I’m not sure if Logan is paying her or not, but I can only assume she is not neglecting her fiduciary responsibility to herself.

From here:

Truth and reconciliation is a response to colonialism but for individuals it’s a chance to enlarge our viewpoints by hearing experiences of others, a pioneering clergywoman says.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., the first woman to be elected a primate in the worldwide Anglican Church, said truth and reconciliation at its most basic, is about listening and respect.

“It’s really an anti-colonialism response,” said Jefferts Schori in a telephone interview from her home in Nevada.

“It encourages people to hear each other’s stories and perspectives and to respect their differences rather than imposing your own view.”

Jefferts Schori is speaking Thursday at the University of Victoria and will be at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria for a forum on Sunday.

Jefferts Schori was American Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop from 2006 to 2015. She has served as Bishop of Nevada and is currently a visiting professor at Church Divinity of the Pacific.

She has degrees in biology and a PhD in oceanography, serves on the Earth and Life Studies board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and was a member the Council on Neighborhood and Faith-Based Partnerships when Barack Obama was president.

Bishop Logan McMenamie, of the Diocese of British Columbia, said Jefferts Schori has demonstrated incredible leadership in the church and community.

“It wasn’t easy for her with some of the other primates throughout the world,” McMenamie said.

“But she has always demonstrated amazing leadership, and stood tall during some very difficult times in the life of the [Anglican] communion.”

Jefferts Schori said: “A founding principle of Anglicanism is the Gospel, the faith, is supposed to grow and develop in unique ways in different contexts.

But Anglicans haven’t always thought so, she said. In particular, those working as colonial missionaries thought only their views and contexts were correct.

“But it’s core to what it means to be an Anglican today,” she said.

“[Faith] takes different shapes in different contexts.”

For example, she said the U.S. Anglican community has experienced a new creative experience listening to how the Christian Gospels have found new contexts in indigenous societies.

“You begin to develop a more creative community as a result,” Jefferts Schori said.

“There is an ability to see truth in different contexts and find a larger picture than any one individual can find on their own.”

Torturous times

I must admit, I have been listening to the news more in the last few weeks than I have for the last 8 years. Whatever one’s opinion of Donald Trump’s numerous and conspicuous character flaws, no-one can accuse him of being boring.

Now he has again brought up the fact that he condones torture in some circumstances. Below, there is a characteristically apologetic admission by a British MP that he not only agrees that torture is permissible but he, himself, used to be a torturer.

One of the arguments against torture is that it doesn’t work. Well, does it?

I can personally attest that it does. In 2009 someone whom I had regarded as a friend deliberately lured me into an Anglican church where Fred Hiltz was to deliver an address. At the half-way point, I was ready to confess all my sins of commission and omission to make it stop. Mercifully, before the end I had passed out.

I had secretly smuggled in a voice recorder; you can listen to Hiltz’s attempt to explain what he understands by the word “gospel” here. No-one will blame you if you can’t listen to it all.