Franklin Graham vs the Anglican Church of Canada

Franklin Graham’s Vancouver crusade seems to have been a great success.

Mission accomplished: 2,318 people made a commitment to Christ.

Received via email:

What an amazing weekend at the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope.

Over the three nights, 34,406 people attended in person, with 1929 people going forward to make a commitment to Christ.  On top of that, 65,429 people from seventy-six countries watched the Festival of Hope online, with 389 people making a commitment to Christ online.  We are rejoicing for lives that have been touched for eternity.  It was such a privilege to serve on the Festival of Hope Executive, led by Pastor Guilio Gabeli with the invaluable wisdom of the Festival Director David Ingram.  The Billy Graham family and the Billy Graham team are such quality people.  We are particularly grateful for Dion and Tammy Collins who served on the ground as Assistant Director and Office Manager.  An unexpected treat was to have the grandson of Billy Graham, Will Graham, join his Dad Franklin Graham for the Festival.  This was Will’s third time here, since he helped us kick off the Festival and then led 500 young people to Christ at Vancouver Missions Fest this January.

As an antidote to Franklin Graham’s blatant promotion of Christianity, Anglicans sponsored a multi-faith event to celebrate diversity.

Mission accomplished: 0 people made a commitment to Christ.

From here:

People from many faiths met twice early in March in Vancouver to show support for one another at two well-attended public meetings that celebrated diversity and took a stand against acts of hatred.

Both gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the new administration in the United States.

That American political problems have spilled into Canada was suggested by a bomb threat the previous week which resulted in the evacuation of Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre (no bomb was found), and by controversy surrounding a three-day campaign in Vancouver led by Franklin Graham, an American evangelist who once called Islam “a very evil, a very wicked religion” and supported a ban on Muslim immigration in the U.S.

Anglicans were involved in sponsoring both gatherings. The first took place on March 7 at Vancouver’s Or Shalom Synagogue. It was sponsored by the synagogue and the diocese of New Westminster and featured talks, chants, songs, meditation, and even dancing, from a wide variety of faith traditions.

It was followed two days later by a presentation  at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church involving a rabbi, an imam, and a bishop entitled “Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.” This event was organized by St. Andrew’s and Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver.

Bishop of New Westminster joins in petition to prevent Franklin Graham speaking in Canada

Bishop Melissa Skelton has added her voice to those attempting to stop Franklin Graham’s Vancouver crusade.

Read it all here:

I’m writing to let you know that I have signed on to a letter from a group of concerned civic leaders and clergy about the upcoming visit of Franklin Graham to Vancouver as a part of The Festival of Hope. This group, of which I am a part, sent the letter in advance to Franklin Graham. He responded in writing yesterday.  I thought you might appreciate knowing the reasons why I, along with the leaders of our group, still believe that we should release the letter linked here.

The letter contains this little gem of hypocrisy:

Such blending of politics and religion is dangerous. First, it comes close to aligning the power of the church with the power of the state. Second, it does so by seeming to develop a false religious narrative to support an exalted and troubling American nationalism. Third, it can divide Christians who do not view things the same way as Mr. Graham. Fourth, we are concerned that some of the policies of the Trump administration have introduced unprecedented structural shifts that put the most vulnerable in our world at risk of greater harm. These policies may jeopardize refugees and reinforce prejudice.

For decades the Anglican Church of Canada has been “aligning the power of the church with the power of the state”. Not that the ACoC has much power but, insofar as it has any influence, it exerts it on behalf of liberal-leftist politics. Here, for example is the letter of congratulations to Justin Trudeau on his election to Prime Minister from Bishops Fred Hiltz and Susan Johnson, awash with more breathless sycophancy than could be gushed by a couple of teenage girls over Justin Bieber’s haircut:

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), we extend our heartfelt congratulations to you as our new Prime Minister.

You have set a bold vision for our country. The times in which we live call for visionary leadership in Canada and in the world so that we may build a truly just, healthy and peaceful world.

We welcome your approach to governance and your commitment to work closely with all levels of government on issues such as homelessness, lifting children and seniors out of poverty, improving our welcome of refugees, and refocusing development assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable. Anglicans and Lutherans from coast to coast to coast share a deep concern and profound hope for justice, peace and the well-being of creation. Your invitation to Provincial Premiers and to representatives of other political parties to participate in the Climate Change Conference in Paris is an important sign of the kind of partnership needed to address critical issues.

The mental anguish of Bishop Melissa Skelton at Trump’s victory

Although I am not an avid fan of Donald Trump, I am very much enjoying the reaction of elitist liberals whose disdain for and aloofness from the common herd helped propel Trump to victory.

Such is the “shock, grief and confusion” of Bishop Melissa Skelton, that she felt moved to write a pastoral letter to calm the disquiet of her flock over the results of democracy in action in her homeland:

Dear People of the Diocese of New Westminster

I awoke this morning, as many of you did, in shock, grief and confusion as the elections in the US concluded. While, as a person born in the US, I could offer my own analysis of what happened, I’m more interested in saying just a few things to you in the face of these events in the life of our neighbour to the south, a neighbour who deeply influences us and the rest of the world.

Stay a while with your uncomfortable feelings and the things you may now be curious about. One piece I read this morning talked about our own urge to get past the uncomfortable feelings that many of us may be feeling today. I encourage you to stay in touch with both the feelings and the questions that are coming up for you out of what has occurred over these many months.  It may be that God is working in you as you experience your own response and as you discern how you may wish to respond.

Diocese of New Westminster blesses a petrochemical

The demon fossil fuel – oil – is being blessed by Bishop Melissa Skelton; but only if it is to be used on a bicycle chain. If only I lived in Vancouver: I would have a can of oil blessed and pour it into my SUV – well, I don’t actually have an SUV but I would be sorely tempted to go out and buy one.

From here:

Praying a blessing over a canister of bicycle chain oil may seem unorthodox, but the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster assured Metro her ritual, conducted Wednesday, was doctrinally sound.

“Yes, it’s something I’m allowed to do,” Rt. Rev. Melissa Skelton said with a laugh, as she stood on the lawn of the Diocesan offices in Shaughnessy. “It’s the every day and the useful where God shows up.

“In this case, we’re blessing things … that lead to better stewardship of the environment. It starts with the small and goes bigger.”

[…..]

Adapting the ritual for chain lubricant may seem unusual, but the ideas of community and being anointed for action in the world is related to environmental commitments, Skelton said.

“This is also the oil used in vehicles that would be the implements of action — protecting the climate and finding other ways to get around that don’t depend so much on large amounts of fossil fuels,” she explained.

Anglican cognitive inclusivity

Anglican clergy love meaningless clichés: their judicious deployment helps prevent sceptical laypeople from pinning down the actual beliefs of their shepherds. Slipperiness is everything. Here is a new one from the Diocese of New Westminster: cognitive inclusivity.

Anglicans with $30 whose inclusion is suffering from depleted cognition can go here to have it recharged:

Plenary speaker Bishop Melissa Skelton, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada, will help us explore the liturgical experience of reverence.

Four workshops will explore justice and holy in our music, worship and community organizing, cognitive inclusivity, and hospitality.

Bishop Melissa Skelton: it’s a thing called discernment

Skelton was recently interviewed by the CBC (listen here, March 18 starting at 2:17:00). Her appointment as bishop, she tells us, was the result of “a thing called discernment”; nothing to do with a thing called career advancement ambition. Well, she didn’t actually make the latter remark.

In the interview, she states once again that she is fully supportive of the blessing of same-sex unions and that there is no longer much of a wedge between those who support same-sex unions and those who don’t. She has reached this conclusion by listening; to whom, I wonder? Obviously not to those who left the diocese over the issue.

Losing the majority of those with whom one disagrees and calling it “healing” would, in the secular realm, be a thing called spin. In the Diocese of New Westminster where selective listening is such a refined art, it’s a thing called discernment.

Bishop Melissa Skelton is fully supportive of same-sex blessings

Rev. Melissa Skelton is being installed as Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster today, replacing Michael Ingham.

For those who may be nursing a hope that the diocese’s policy on blessing same-sex unions might change, this interview should disabuse you (my emphasis):

Q. Since Bishop Ingham was a controversial figure in the 70-million member global Anglican communion, how will you handle his legacy?

A. I intend to listen and learn a lot about what this experience has been like for the diocese — the positive parts of this and the more difficult parts. I’m trying to come to this with a real beginner’s mind, not making assumptions about people’s experience. By the way, I’m fully supportive of offering blessings of covenantal relationships between same-sex couples in the Anglican Church.

What Skelton has already learned from her predecessor is that she can glibly ignore the wishes of the majority in the Anglican Communion and be complacently secure in the conviction that she will not be censured by the Anglican Church of Canada, its Primate, Canterbury or the Archbishop of Canterbury. What God thinks about it, as revealed in the book Skelton claims to follow, might be an entirely different matter; but who cares about him when Fred Hiltz is on your side.