Scottish Episcopal Church sanctioned for one same-sex wedding while Anglican Church of Canada gets away with eight

The Scottish Episcopal Church was rapped on knuckles with a limp noodle at the recent Primates’ Meeting for voting to allow and performing a same-sex wedding. The imposed “consequences” are so laughably meaningless that it’s a wonder that Justin Welby could keep a straight face while announcing them.

To add to the farce, the Anglican Church of Canada voted to allow same-sex weddings in 2016 (to be finalised in 2019) and has now performed eight same-sex weddings (see article below) and no-one seems to care. Even the GAFCON Primates fail to mention it, referring instead to the ACoC “bless[ing] gay relationships”.

From here:

The Primus of Scottish Episcopal Church, Mark Strange, said he recognised the vote in June to permit clerics who wanted to conduct gay weddings to do so had caused ‘some hurt and anger’ among fellow Anglicans around the world.

He accepted the ‘consequences’ – which Lambeth Palace officials insisted did not amount to sanctions – would restrict the SEC’s involvement in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

[….]

A spokesman for the conservative grouping GAFCON, which largely includes African primates, insisted the Scottish Episcopal Church as well as the US Episcopal Church, which has legalised gay marriage, and the Anglican Church in Canada, which blesses gay relationships, must ‘repent’.

The Anglican Church of Canada has performed eight same-sex marriages since July 2016. Read here:

Eight same-sex couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses, ahead of General Synod 2019, when a resolution to allow same-sex marriages will be presented for second reading.

Since General Synod 2016 approved – on first reading – a proposed change in the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages, four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Several other same-sex couples in the dioceses of Toronto and Ottawa are also preparing to walk down the aisle.

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.”

Canadian dioceses marrying same-sex couples

There are presently three Canadian dioceses that have performed same-sex marriages and at least another three which plan to – assuming, after scouring the land, they can find some willing couples. Others will undoubtedly follow.

This is all happening before the vote in 2019 to finalise approval of same-sex marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada. If it seems chaotic, it is because it is: Fred Hiltz says he has no authority to prevent it, Michael Bird and other bishops have cheerfully declared they can proceed because no one can find anything in the canons that says they can’t and, even though synod has pronounced same-sex marriage a matter of theology, Bird et al. have effectively said, no it isn’t it’s pastoral.

Considering the energy, time and passion invested in this, and the ensuing mayhem, it would be reasonable for an outsider to assume that there are thousands or, at the very least, hundreds of same-sex couples clamouring to be joined in unholy matrimony in an Anglican church. But no: there have been eight so far.

Eight! That’s 0.000044% of the population; on the positive side, it a beautiful illustration of how effective the ACoC’s efforts to be relevant are to average Canadians.

Read it all here:

Since the first reading at General Synod 2016 of a resolution to allow for the solemnization of same-sex marriages, eight couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses—with more planning on walking down the aisle in the coming year.

Four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Toronto and Ottawa also noted that several other same-sex couples in their dioceses are in the process of preparation for marriage.

Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson, of the diocese of Montreal, said she is currently going through a discernment process with four same-sex couples considering marriage.

Bishop Logan McMenamie, of the diocese of British Columbia, announced at a diocesan synod in autumn 2016 that he will “move forward with the marriage of same-sex couples in the diocese” on a case-by-case basis. When the Anglican Journal contacted his office in March 2017, no same-sex couples had yet approached the diocese about the possibility of marriage.

Following the first reading of the motion to change the marriage canon (church law) of the Anglican Church of Canada to allow for the marriage of same-sex couples—which was initially, but incorrectly, declared as being defeated in a vote—several bishops publicly announced they would nonetheless marry same-sex couples.

Niagara Bishop Michael Bird, Ottawa Bishop John Chapman, Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson, then Huron Bishop Bob Bennett and then Coadjutor (now diocesan) Bishop Linda Nicholls all stated that they would marry same-sex couples as a pastoral measure, citing an opinion by General Synod Chancellor David Jones, that the marriage canon as it stands does not actually bar same-sex marriage.

Following discovery of a voting error, which showed that the motion had actually passed its first reading, Bird, Chapman and Johnson said they would still go ahead with same-sex marriage. However, Bennett and Nicholls issued another statement, clarifying that their diocese was “committed to ongoing consultations” as required by the same-sex motion. At press time, no changes to diocesan policy regarding the marriage of same-sex couples had been made.

A message to orthodox Anglicans from Bishop Charlie Masters

ANiC reaches out to orthodox Anglicans in the Anglican Church of Canada who may be less than sanguine about the ACoC’s pushing ahead with same-sex marriage.

Bishop Charlie writes orthodox Anglicans

My dear fellow orthodox Anglican friends,

I am writing to you in response to a growing number of calls and requests that have come from Anglican believers, both clergy and laity, who find themselves very distressed as they ponder the most recent developments in the Anglican Church of Canada at its General Synod last July and since.

We have actually never experienced this number of inquiries. Some have come directly to our Diocesan office but many have been made to the local ANiC clergy in their respective communities. Either way, the distress is real and the concern about what these developments may mean for orthodox Anglicans in the future seems to be growing.

Accordingly, I am writing to assure you again of our sadness at these developments and the challenge they present to ordinary Anglicans – both clergy and laity – in living out the gospel and making disciples as Anglicans.
We pray much for you and feel that perhaps we understand something of how difficult it is for you now because of what we ourselves went through just a few years ago.

Beyond praying, we are willing and eager to stand with you in any way we can.

To that end, one thing we thought might be encouraging to some would be to attend our Diocesan Synod which is happening very soon at the end of October (October 26-28), with Clergy Day October 25, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Our hope and prayer would be that the worship, teaching and fellowship with fellow Anglicans most of whom are members of ANiC would be helpful to you at this time and perhaps refreshing. Certainly it would be our joy to have fellowship with you.

I am writing therefore to invite you to consider coming to our Synod at Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. On our website you can get all the information you need concerning the dates and everything else:
www.anglicannetwork.ca. Although registration officially closes today, October 7, we will try very hard to get you in – but please register as soon as possible by calling Jessica at 1-866-351-2642 extension 4015 or emailing [email protected]

For any ordained Anglican (non-ANiC) clergy who may like to attend, we will waive your registration fees. Clergy would also be welcome to come to our Clergy Day on the Tuesday (October 25) and if any would like to robe and process in the Wednesday evening service they would be welcome to take part in that procession along with other clergy. (The colour will be red for that service.)

I am aware that some perhaps might prefer quietly to attend. We understand that too and will respect your desire to attend discreetly.

We would hope that all laity and clergy will attend our workshop day, all day Wednesday and then, of course, Synod on Thursday and Friday. At some point in the Synod there will be a separate special session specifically for those who are orthodox Anglicans, but not members of ANiC, and who would like information about the Anglican Church in North America and ANiC as a diocese.

We do understand that this is a very big country and Vancouver may be very far from where you live. It is also true that the time is short between now and when Synod begins. Please know that most of our Synod will be live-streamed thanks to Anglican TV. Also we anticipate there will be information meetings across the country at various times and places which we will post on our website. If you wish to stay informed and connected, please sign up for our email communication and “like” our Facebook page.

So dear friends, we pray for you especially in these days. Would you also pray for us of the Anglican Network in Canada, as well as for the ACNA as a Province?

We want to bless and encourage you and would be delighted if many of you were able to accept our invitation and join us for our Clergy Day, workshops and Synod, October 25-28, 2016.

Every Blessing!

+Charlie

I attended the first ANiC Synod and I remember overhearing one priest say to another, as if in a state of shock: “It’s Christian!”

Indigenous Anglicans unhappy with same-sex marriage vote

The poor old Anglican Church of Canada is once again caught on the horns of a dilemma: should it upset its aboriginal members by allowing same-sex marriage or its alphabet-sex members – most of whom are its own clergy – by prohibiting them.

I have an idea: be inclusive and aggravate everyone by agreeing to marriage requests from non-clergy same-sex couples only – all three of them.

From here:

“We do not agree with the decision and believe that it puts our communities in a difficult place in regards to our relation and community with the Anglican Church of Canada,” the bishops say.

While they intend to discern their exact course of action “in the days ahead,” the bishops say, they also commit to continuing “in our conversation with the Anglican Church of Canada in regards to self-determination and mutual cooperation in our Anglican Christian ministry.”

The bishops continue, “We will proceed towards self-determination with all urgency.”

At the same time, they say they will also “seek ways to continue our conversation with the LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer] communities and individuals, affirming our earlier statements of love and welcome.”

[……]

Particularly painful, the bishops say, was the “silencing” of an elder during debate on the floor of synod. Although this was understandable given the “Western process” that was followed at synod, the bishops say, an apology to the elder is in order.

[……]

Indigenous Anglican elders, the bishops say, should have been “actively involved” with discussions to change the marriage canon. But neither discussion of the matter nor This Holy Estate—the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon—were translated into Indigenous languages, they say.

What keeps conservative bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada? Part 2

A comment on my original post from an ACoC priest who claims to be orthodox prompted me to consider this further and, rather than cram my response into the comments, I thought I’d reply in a post. Here is the comment:

I keep hearing about the ACOC and the TEC in this pit of Apostasy and that conservatives staying for the money and pension . Well can’t speak for all conservatives but the ones I know are staying because they can preach the gospel without repercussions.

This is a common argument given by conservatives who remain in the Anglican Church of Canada. Between 2008 and 2010 I chatted with George Sumner, principal of Wycliffe college, John Bowen who taught evangelism at Wycliffe and Alan Hayes, professor of church history at Wycliffe. One way or the other, they all justified their continuing in the ACoC because they were still allowed to preach the Gospel.

The undercurrent here, of course, is the unstated follow-on, which begins: “in spite of”. I would claim in spite of the ACoC no longer being a Christian denomination. They would not have gone that far but, I think, all would concede that the ACoC had strayed from the Gospel.

However one characterises it, it is akin, to borrow an idea from Malcolm Muggeridge, to being a piano player playing hymns in a whorehouse in the hope that it might distract the clientele from the business at hand.

I think Messrs. Sumner, Bowen and Hayes were deceiving themselves.

The problem is this. Their continuing presence in the ACoC lends a legitimacy to the enterprise which it does not deserve. The fact that there are still some orthodox Christian priests in the denomination might lead the unwary to conclude that the denomination itself is still a Christian Church – an illusion it is desperate to maintain.

There is no polite or easy way to address or remedy the rot which is eating away at the ACoC. I recall a synod in my former diocese where a number of priests walked out over the decision to allow same-sex blessings (at the time, assurances were given that same-sex marriages would never happen). A liberal priest – a rather pompous and bombastic specimen, I might add – stood up, spluttering that, by walking out, the conservatives were declaring him not to be a Christian. Well, I know that was not their intention, but I think the histrionic cleric was on to something.

If our decision in this life for or against Christ is what determines our eternal destination, if, as C. S. Lewis said, we are all, every moment, helping each other to a place of either unending glory or horror, why persevere in belonging to an organisation that has not only lost sight of this but is actively encouraging its followers along the road to the wrong destination?

ISIS compiles kill list from church directory

From here:

My wife and I live in *****, ********** just north of ******* We were contacted by the FBI this week. We are on a ISIS terrorist kill list and they wanted to inform us. So is my pastor. It appears a Muslim group is trolling the internet and getting church directories and posting names for anyone to kill. Quite frightening. I have talked to the ***** *** FBI Office numerous times now and they say they do not have suspects but this appears to be a new tactic. Be diligent but go about you[r] normal life. They advised that the threat could be low – but tell that to the widows of all the slain police officers nationwide.

As for Canada, the Anglican Church of Church of Canada probably has little to worry about: ISIS is targeting Christian Churches.

The final resting place of the Anglican Church of Canada

It’s difficult to predict when and how the end will come but here is a preview of the eventual demise of the sorry mess that was once a Christian denomination.

St. Matthews Anglican Church in Quebec City has been closed since the late 1970s. Its earthly remains have been documented on a website called, by virtue of what must be a prophetic gift on the part of the owner, Lost Anglican Churches.

The “Vintage Episcopal Anglican Church Sign” that once advertised the parish can be bought as an historical curiosity on craigslist for $350:

Graig

Apparently, the church is now a library.

All this brings to mind the last scene from the original Planet of the Apes film where our hero kneels in disbelief before the Statue of Liberty buried in sand, saying something along the lines of: “you maniacs, God damn you all to Hell”.

statue_planet

Fred Hiltz speaks at the opening of General Synod

For Hiltz, whether the church should marry or not marry same-sex couples all comes down to inclusion. Not, I hasten to add, the inclusion in the church of the just the person but also the inclusion of what the person does. In Hitz’s mind Christianity must affirm, accept, condone and, naturally, include not only the person – his essence – but the expression of his essence, how, in the vain little pantomime of his three score and ten years he acts out his essential nature. At least, when it comes to sex; in particular, homoerotic sex.

That is because the Anglican Church of Canada has largely abandoned the idea that, because of the Fall, man is inherently sinful and all creation is subject to the bondage of corruption under the weight of that sin. Thus, we are led to the inescapable conclusion that the urges of the church’s homosexual clergy are there because God put them there.

A lusty young heterosexual could make use of the same principle to explain his unfettered promiscuity, too, of course. But, then, there aren’t many lusty young heterosexual clergy in the ACoC.

From here:

This is the body that through its history has also wrestled with numerous issues within the Church and in the world at large over which we have often found ourselves in deep disagreement. Many of the issues have centred around inclusion—the place of women in the councils of the Church, the place of women as priests and bishops, the place of young people and their voice and vote, the place of children at the Eucharistic table, the place of those married and divorced and wanting to marry again, the place of religious communities whose life transcends diocesan boundaries, the place of Indigenous Peoples from status as observers, to guests, to partners, to members in Synod, and the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning people within the Church and their equality of access to all the ministrations of the Church including the solemnizing of their marriages.

When is a church not a church?

According to Canada Revenue, when it is non-creedal and more interested social justice than divine justice.

The CRA is concentrating on Unitarianism at the moment but the Anglican Church of Canada easily slides into the same category. For example, St. John’s Shaughnessy rather than state what its members believe, advertises that it embraces doubt. Most dioceses concentrate on social justice and advocacy – couched in pieties from a Bible in which they have long ceased to believe – and the national church promotes  political agendas while its bishops boast that they will accomplish something that the church’s founder said would never happen: eliminate poverty.

Come to think of it, since most clergy are, at best, fuzzy on the divinity of Jesus, the ACoC is, itself, effectively Unitarian.

From here:

It is not easy to get indignant over the Canada Revenue Agency’s audit of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) — indignant, that is, either for or against. Unitarians are not supposed to inspire any strong feelings. They are, famously, only sort of a church; more of a disposition than a denomination, really.

Unitarianism is explicitly “non-credal,” ecumenical and receptive to “humanism;” the international statement of Unitarian “principles” mentions God’s love (with a capital G), but identifies “the guidance of reason and the results of science” as a source for what it is hard to call a “faith.”

[….]

The Unitarian council is angry, as the CBC reported Sunday, about a “political activities” investigation by the taxman. The CRA, it seems, is uncomfortable with the mentions of “justice,” particularly “social justice,” in the council’s bylaws. (The council is, organizationally, a close approximation to a national “Unitarian church,” although some small-u unitarian congregations are non-members.) Much, perhaps most, of what the CUC actually does has political implications and dimensions. The Canadian state has no objection to that sort of thing being done by a tax-exempt church, as long as the activity is “charitable.”

But auditors appear to be raising the obvious truth about the notion of “social justice:” that it is essentially politics; a metaphor imposed on religious scripture. The Bible, not that the Bible is of much use to Unitarians, does not promise social justice, but something like its opposite — perpetual inequality and suffering.