Diocese of BC desperately seeking same-sex couples to marry

The dioceses of Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal , Toronto and British Columbia are proceeding with same-sex marriages ahead of the final vote to approve them in 2019.

But, having scoured the province for likely candidates, poor Bishop Logan McMenamie has yet to find any men willing to marry another man; or a woman to marry another woman. If Anglicans in BC don’t get with the program soon, McMenamie will have to resort to compelling some of his eligible male clergy to tie the knot.

From here:

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 McMenamie’s offce in March 2017, no same-sex couples had yet approached the diocese about the possibility of marriage.

Niagara’s Bishop Michael Bird currently has the competitive edge in the same-sex marriage scavenger hunt: he has four couples under his belt.

Niagara, however, may have an unfair advantage since it has widened the net by including bisexuals, who, presumably, would only be satisfied with a ménage à trois, counting as 1.5 couples. Of course, if both candidates are bisexual, we would need a ménage à quatre, a bonus that would qualify as two couples. Transgender couples are also part of the Niagara strategy. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, but I estimate that, depending on the mood of the moment and assuming part-time transgenderism – gender, we are assured, is fluid – it would make a total of four possible copulative combinations, one for each week of the month: man-man, man-woman, woman-man and woman-woman. That would count as at least two couples, possibly four.

Bird said his thoughts on the matter have not changed and that he was committed to continuing “to walk along the path of full inclusion and to immediately proceed with marriage equality” with LGBTQ2 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Two-Spirited) Anglicans in his diocese.

Diocese of BC has a Pride Eucharist

Christ Church Cathedral had a Eucharist to celebrate the “rich diversity of sexual and gender identity” – because that, after all, is what Christianity has really always been about – and the “inclusion, welcome and celebration for all people” – except for the recalcitrant remnant who are still not convinced that God is subject to the cultural whimsy of the moment.

From here:

This week, Pride week, the Anglican Churches in the Diocese of British Columbia have been taking an active part in celebrating the rich diversity of sexual and gender identity which is so much a part of the Pride ethos.  On Tuesday 5th July there was held, in Christ Church Cathedral on Quadra, a Pride Eucharist – where candles were lit in hope of inclusion, welcome and celebration for all people.

Anglican church converts to Buddhism

The Anglican Church of Canada hasn’t converted to Buddhism in its entirety – not yet, at least, and not that it would make much difference – just St. Aidan’s in Kelowna, BC.

From here:

Anglican church to be reincarnated as Buddhist cultural centre

KELOWNA – St. Aidans church, a small heritage building in Rutland, should soon see new life under an adaptive reuse agreement with the Okanagan Buddhist Cultural Society.

Staff are recommending three parcels near Mugford and Rutland Road North be rezoned and consolidated, then sold to the society along with a memorandum of understanding about the church’s preservation.

Plans are to relocate the historic Anglican church, opened in 1933, to the centre of the consolidated site where it will be restored under a heritage revitalization agreement with the city. The society will build a new entranceway, church hall and develop the old church as a cultural centre.

Built by volunteer labour on donated land, the original church was designed by Enoch Mugford, superintendent of the Black Mountain Irrigation District and local developer Hector Maranda.

Creeping Congregationalism in the Diocese of BC

In an interview, the new bishop of the Diocese of BC, Logan McMenamie, mentions that the diocese is suffering from negativity and creeping congregationalism. Although the latter sounds a little like a skin disease, it is actually an understandable response to the diocese taking parish buildings from congregations that paid for and maintained them and selling them for its own gain.

Logan McMenamieFrom here (page 5):

We will continue to have some challenges to face but I feel they can be addressed. Some of the things the clergy talked about were lone ranger parishes, creeping congregationalism and negativity. I believe we can turn this around in a positive way and see these as opportunities for growth.

The Diocese of B.C. has elected a new bishop

From here:

The Very Rev. Dr. Logan McMenamie, Dean of Columbia, and rector of Christ Church Cathedral has been elected as the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia.

It goes without saying that the Very Rev. Dr. Logan McMenamie is a liberal; even more liberal than his predecessor, James Cowan.

He is presently rector of Christ Church Cathedral and in March of 2013 began to perform same sex blessings in the cathedral:

The congregation at Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral voted overwhelmingly last week to allow same-sex blessings in the church, more than a decade after Vancouver-area Anglican churches did the same.

“The Anglican church has been talking about this for more than 30 years,” Rev. Logan McMenamie says.

“In some ways it’s disabled us, but it’s an important decision. It’s really a justice issue.”

McMenamie reckons that his parish has lost members because it has been too slow in allowing same sex blessings – that, after all, is what Canadian Anglicans have been clamouring for:

McMenamie laments the parish members he has lost because of the slow changes, but said more progress will be made at upcoming diocese gatherings.

He worries that the diocese he is about to inherit is falling apart, due, he believes, to the insufficiently enthusiastic application of blessing that which the Bible says should not be blessed:

“I know the issues in this diocese and the challenges we face,” he said, citing finances, closing parishes and a lack of young people.

When not pre-occupied with blessing same sex marriages, he concerns himself with other pressing matters such as the environment, homelessness and “spiritual paths” – whatever they are:

He said he has faith in the gifts and skills of the church community to address important issues such as the environment, a focus on relationships with First Peoples, homelessness and spiritual paths.

His agenda appears quite uncontaminated by quaint, outdated and, frankly, embarrassing concepts for those on “spiritual paths”, such as: man is born a sinner, is separated from God by his sin, his only remedy being the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, without which he is destined for hell – the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Diocese of BC: selling churches

From here:

Nearly four years ago, the Anglican Diocese of B.C. recommended closing 11 churches across Greater Victoria, and selling the property in a bid to reduce debt and reinvigorate itself in the face of shrinking congregations.

Out of the 11, three have sold and two are leased by other organizations. The remainder are open for business as Anglican churches, and no longer face imminent closure, largely by strokes of luck.

“They were put all on the market at once, the ones people wanted to buy immediately are the only reason (others remain),” said Rev. Chris Parsons, speaking for the diocese. “We only wanted to sell a certain amount and re-evaluate what was needed.”

Properties like St. Saviour in Vic West and St. Martin in the Fields in Saanich sold, the former to a dance company and the latter to an evangelical denomination.

St. Columba in Saanich’s Strawberry Vale and All Saints in View Royal have closed as Anglican churches and the space is leased out (St. Alban’s had sold in 2009, prior to the mass sale).

Others once on the block – St. David by the Sea in Cordova Bay, St. Peter’s in Lakehill, St. Philip and St. Mary in Oak Bay and St. Mary in Metchosin – survived by the grace of not being attractive to other organizations or property developers.


A steadily declining congregational base, the basis for church closures and sales, and internal debates on issues such as same sex marriage still remain a problems for the Anglican Church.

A report from the diocese estimated that in 2009 barely one per cent of B.C. residents identify as Anglican. St. David sees about 40 parishioners on Saturdays and Sundays, and St. Peter’s sees about 60 people between two Sunday services.

St. Mary in Metchosin which is “not … attractive to other organizations or property developers” once housed a flourishing congregation that left the diocese to join ANiC.

The fact that an evangelical denomination bought one of the buildings as, presumably, part of their growth contains a message that will probably be lost on the Diocese of BC.

Bishops Ingham and Cowan gather at the totem pole

The two bishops were celebrating the transfer of a parish from the Diocese of New Westminster to the Diocese of B.C. Out of the frying pan into the fire.

11-09-2013 4-16-52 PM

Why stand at the foot of a totem pole rather that at the foot of a cross you might be wondering: the cross would be too Christian.

In reading about totem poles, we are repeatedly reminded that they have no religious significance – just like Anglican bishops – and that each animal on the pole may  represent an ancestor; Aboriginals also thought that the totem pole animals could transform themselves into men. All beliefs that, one presumes, bishops Ingham and Cowan think fit comfortably into Canadian Anglicanism.

From here (page 4):

Soon a gathering of people circled around the totem pole that sits in harmony beside St George church. The visitors were warmly welcomed with singing and drumming. Mike Willie spoke of the long history of his people, the totem and the church. Bishop Ingham welcomed everyone into the church for worship and a time of blessing the restored church.

The Diocese of BC conducts its first same-sex blessing

Bishop James Cowan performed the first same-sex blessing in the Diocese of BC on June 1. As the article below notes, everyone processed into the church immediately following the civil wedding: the distinction between marrying and blessing that dioceses who perform same-sex blessings were so keen to make has, for all practical purposes, already vanished.

I notice that “Draw the circle wide, Draw it wider still” has made a comeback –”a step in drawing wider a circle of welcoming inclusiveness which needs to be drawn wider still.” Or to put it another way: you can’t hide; no matter how fast you run, we are coming for you and, when we find you, you will be included.

SS-blessingIt was a wonderful, exciting, joyous and emotional service which took place in the Church of St. John the Divine, Victoria, on Saturday June 1.

To the magnificent sounds of Sigfrid Karg-Elert’s Marche Triomphale from St. John’s Casavant organ, the large community of parishioners, family and friends processed into the church immediately following the civil wedding of Paul Gillan and Michael King in the church garden.

In a grace-filled landmark service of praise and thanksgiving, Bishop James Cowan conducted the first Blessing of a Same Sex Union to occur in the Diocese of British Columbia.

In his brief homily, the bishop noted the significance of this event in the Anglican church. Referring to the words “Draw the circle wide, Draw it wider still.” from the just-sung hymn “Draw the Circle Wide” (CP 418), Bishop James acknowledged that this service marked but a step in drawing wider a circle of welcoming inclusiveness which needs to be drawn wider still. He paid tribute to the long struggle for equality advanced at many Synods over the years by the parishioners of St. John’s and other churches in the diocese. In this service which included choral Eucharist, Bishop James spoke of God’s covenant with us.

As we gathered together to witness and bless the public commitment of Paul and Michael to each other, the bishop reminded us that all our covenants with family and friends are signs of God’s faithfulness and love, living expressions of God’s promises to us and sources of hope to others.

With joy in our hearts, we celebrated the covenant between Paul and Michael, praying that the life they share will reflect the love of God for the whole world. We also pray that this is just a beginning.

Bishop James Cowan announces his retirement

From here:

Vancouver Island’s top Anglican priest, Bishop James Cowan, has announced his retirement.

Cowan, 61, who has served as bishop of British Columbia for nine years, said he will retire Aug. 31. He made the announcement to the diocesan council, indicating he had already informed the church hierarchy.

Cowan, who is married with two grown sons, said he has no firm plans for his retirement. But he joked to church staff his immediate plans are to rest, perhaps even “sleep for four months.”

In an interview, he said that during his church career, he has always known when it was time to step aside and now seemed like the right time.

“I think it’s time to go,” he said. “There is a need for new leadership, different leadership.”

Due to a decline in attendance, Bishop Cowan has instigated a diocesan “restructuring”, including the closing of eight parishes. He has also approved a liturgy for blessing same sex couples.

Just as he sees no connection between the blessings and the decline, he maintains the stoutly blinkered perspective that, apart from occasional tut-tutting from the few remaining recalcitrant conservatives, the fuss is all but over:

“Now, it’s almost a non-issue in the life of the church,” he said. “Yes, there are people who don’t like it but, by and large, it’s a non-issue.”

Tell that to Justin Welby whose enthronement could be boycotted by bishops representing up to 80% of the communion:

Sources in Africa tell VOL that archbishops from provinces like Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya say that they will continue their policy of not appearing at future primatial meetings if Jefferts Schori is invited and that the Communion will devolve into two distinct Anglican bodies with leaders from the Global South drawing together orthodox Anglicans from across the globe.

Another Canadian Anglican diocese starts same sex blessings

The Diocese of B.C.:

In 2010 I was asked by Synod to implement the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese at
a time that I thought to be appropriate. I was asked to issue guidelines and a rite to be used.

Attached below are the Guidelines for the Blessing of Same Sex Unions in the Diocese
of British Columbia.  I am authorizing the blessing rite of the Diocese of New Westminster for
use in this Diocese, not a specific British Columbia rite.

As every other Canadian Anglican bishop who has authorised same-sex blessing rites, Bishop James Cowan is careful to call it a blessing rite, not a marriage.

Similarly, here, on page 2, the Diocese of Huron’s Keith Nethery bemoans the fact that journalists are unable to make the distinction between blessing a married homosexual couple and actually marrying them:

As an aside I can be all but 100 per cent certain that there isn’t a main stream reporter any where capable of understanding the difference between a Blessing and a Marriage – trust me I have tried to explain it to them.

Nethery doesn’t give journalists the credit they deserve for seeing through the mincing sophistry in which the Anglican Church Canada conceals its true motives, the better to befuddle the unwary. After all, homosexual marriage is legal in Canada and the ACoC clearly believes such “marriages” are a legitimate expression of marriage; if they didn’t, they could hardly bless them. So why doesn’t the Anglican Church of Canada stop the hypocritical harping on the fragile distinction between blessing something that has already been done and actually doing it?

Because that’s how pusillanimous Anglican clergy operate. When a rector wants to move a piano from one side of the church to the other, he moves it one inch per week; it takes a year to reach the other side but no-one notices.