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.

All Saints Sandy Hill Ottawa now a mosque on Fridays

When St. Alban’s voted to join ANiC in 2008, one of the consequences, as Justin Welby might call it, was that the Diocese of Ottawa acquired the church building and the congregation had to find a new home.

To fill the empty pews and created the illusion that the diocese had a use for the building, the congregation of All Saints Sandy Hill was imported into St. Alban’s.

This, of course, had the unfortunate consequence of setting All Saints adrift as an Anglican Marie Celeste. I expect the diocese hoped no-one would notice.

Now All Saints is being rented out as “the kind of space that reflects Canada’s fabric today”. That means that on Fridays, it is a mosque.

From here:

On the December day they took possession of a 115-year-old church in Sandy Hill, Leanne Moussa and some others climbed up a spiral staircase and rang the church bells.

Those tolling bells, which at least one person mistook for a call to worship, represented both the joy they felt for saving All Saints church and their excitement about its new life as a multi-use community centre. The former Anglican church is now home to several different religious congregations, a small café, artists’ studios, event space for classes and conferences, and there are plans for future redevelopment that could add offices for NGOs and new housing units.

[….]

The deconsecrated nave will soon serve many functions — mosque on Fridays, synagogue on Saturdays and the spiritual home of two different Christian groups on Sundays. The 300-seat space can also be used for weddings, concerts, book launches and lectures, Moussa said.

Bishop John Chapman reacts to retreat from same-sex marriage

The bishop of Ottawa expressed his mortification at the decision from the recent House of Bishops’ meeting not to support same-sex marriage.

He has issued a statement in which he rather smugly congratulates himself and his diocese for being consummately inclusive while at the same time lauding same-sex couples whose “marriage is an exclusive loving commitment”. Odd, really: if unrestrained inclusion is good enough for the bishop and his diocese why isn’t it good enough for same-sex couples?

So far, two liberal bishops – Chapman and Bird – have wailed, gnashed their teeth and profusely apologised for this decision; I wonder why we haven’t heard from any conservative bishops?

From here:

My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Undoubtedly you have now heard about the House of Bishops statement, which is to be presented at the upcoming Council of General Synod (CoGS) – a body which functions as General Synod between General Synods, not unlike our Diocesan Council.

The House of Bishop’s statement recognizes the near impossibility of attaining a two-thirds majority that would support revising the marriage canon to allow for same gendered couples to be married in our churches. A two-thirds majority is canonical requirement to change or alter doctrine. The bishops felt that CoGS ought to be notified of this apparent reality rather than be caught by surprise. I agree – the more transparent we are the better it is for the communities of faith we serve. I think it would be disrespectful to keep this knowledge hidden. However, please know that the motion will be placed before General Synod. The bishop’s statement was not an attempt to thwart due process but an attempt to be forthright and honest. The motion will be placed before General Synod assembly.

You can well imagine that I was one of those present who was “mortified”. One judges the fullness of a decision, activity or sacrament in the name of Jesus by its fruit. If a same gendered marriage is rooted in self giving love; if this marriage is an exclusive loving commitment one to the other in good times and bad until death; if this marriage is joining of families together as one, and if this same gendered marriage is embraced as a sacred covenant between two individuals and God; then it is a holy marriage before God. Needless to say, this is not shared by two-thirds of the House of Bishops. Yet, my assumption is that a very significant majority of people in the Diocese of Ottawa would affirm same gendered holy marriage solemnized through the liturgies of our Church.

I want to extend my deep apology to all those who are feeling discouraged, angry, betrayed, and hurt. I especially want to apologize to the LGTBQ community. Many of us did our very best to ensure that your voice was heard, understood, respected, and honoured at the recent House meeting. We were unsuccessful, and for that I am so sorry!

The mystery of the Incarnate Christ is indeed that – a mystery. We wrestle and struggle with what it means for us to be faithful to Jesus. The Church is naturally not a tidy place. While I too am deeply unhappy with the House of Bishop’s lack of clarity on this matter, I will continue on in prayer, debate, and witness to what I believe to be an appropriate position. That is, all people regardless of gender are welcome to share in the sacrament of holy matrimony. I encourage all those who share my disappointment, as well as those who are pleased with the statement, to also continue in prayer, debate, and witness.

The Diocese of Ottawa has typically extended an inclusive hand to all people. We were among the first dioceses to openly support the right of divorced persons to remarry in the church, to welcome women to the sacred office of deacon, priest and bishop in Christ’s Church, and to extend the courtesy to all gay and lesbian peoples to have their civil marriages blessed in the church. May I suggest that we continue down this path of hospitality and inclusion and, even in the midst of our disappointment, go forward to our upcoming General Synod advocating for a revised marriage canon that would allow for same gendered marriage in our Church. This is what we do! We do not walk away discouraged and leave others behind to carry on. We witness together accepting the differences that exist between us and pray for God’s constant presence, guidance, and comfort.

Please pray for all who are affected by this statement and please pray for our upcoming General Synod and the Diocese of Ottawa.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John H. Chapman,
9th Bishop of Ottawa

And here:

“I want to extend my deep apology to all those who are feeling discouraged, angry, betrayed, and hurt. I especially want to apologize to the LGTBQ community. Many of us did our very best to ensure that your voice was heard, understood, respected, and honoured at the recent House meeting. We were unsuccessful, and for that I am so sorry!”

-The Rt. Rev. John H. Chapman
Bishop of Ottawa

All Saints Anglican Church in Ottawa sold

From here:

The historic All Saints Anglican Church in Sandy Hill has been sold, and will gradually be developed as a mixed-use building for meetings, weddings and neighbourhood-scale businesses.

The Gothic Revival church on Laurier Avenue between Chapel Street and Blackburn Avenue was listed for sale at $1.7 million. The purchase price hasn’t been disclosed.

What makes this interesting is that, in 2011, the Diocese of Ottawa moved the congregation of All Saints into St. Alban’s, a church which had been vacated by an ANiC congregation as part of a negotiated settlement with the Diocese of Ottawa. The diocese, having ejected the ANiC  congregation, were eager to create the impression that they had a use for St. Alban’s, so they announced:

This has left All Saints without a viable congregation, so it has been sold.

The faux-new St. Alban’s congregation takes pride in not defining doctrine in a single confession, in encompassing a diversity of views  –  other than the diverse view that Christians who set a high value on a diversity of views have lost the thread – and in – Pride.

Here are a few of them, along with their rector, in the Ottawa Pride March:

On the occasion of a Baptism and the Re-Naming of a Transgendered Person

St. Alban’s in Ottawa used to house a congregation that, in 2008, aligned itself with ANiC. Negotiations with the Diocese of Ottawa resulted in the ejection of the resident congregation and the installation of a transplanted congregation, an oft repeated ACoC strategy to create the illusion that it needed the buildings. It’s the ACoC version of church planting: Potemkin Planting.

Since then, interesting things have been happening. For example, in September, a baptism service was accompanied by a Liturgy for the Re-Naming of a Transgendered Person.

Apparently, such renaming liturgies are not as uncommon as the naive might suspect. The House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, “a group of folks figuring out how to be a liturgical, Christo-centric, social justice-oriented, queer-inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent, ancient / future church”, has one. When I read the article below I assumed that a re-baptism had taken place – something that was considered by the CofE – but, it seems the liturgy is merely a renaming.

In the interest of complete inclusion, the originator of the renaming liturgy – Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber – also offers an annual liturgical blessing for bicycles.

Even in the face of all the evidence, some clerics are still genuinely shocked that a common secular view of the church is that it spends much of its time plumbing the depths of the absurd.

From here:

On the occasion of a Baptism, and the Re-Naming of a Transgendered Person

Eliot, you too will be anointed today, just as you were anointed at your own baptism many years ago.  You continue to bear the name of Christ, the anointed one, beloved child of God.  We re-affirm that today.  That has not changed.  But some things do change.  Often our faith journeys can take twists and turns as we live and grow into the people that God created us to be.  Today you take on a new name as a testimony to the person you have become and as a testimony to the God who welcomes us as his children, loves us through all the twists and turns of our life journeys, and promises to make all things new.
[…..]

The truth is, I may never be able to understand what it’s like to be a non-binary gendered trans person.  I don’t even know if I said that right.  But, at least in our better moments, by the grace of God, we are able to be generous by offering our support to a fellow traveller who bears the name of Christ on their faith journey.

Soon, we will turn to Davis and we will pledge to do all in our power to support him in his life in Christ.

Then not long after that we will turn to Eliot and pledge as follows:

“Eliot, we will walk with you.”

Diocese of Ottawa voting on whether to divest from fossil fuels

From here:

Delegates from 114 area Anglican congregations will decide this weekend whether to make a major statement on climate change by divesting their diocese of $1 million in oil and gas stocks.

“It’s become a moral and ethical issue,” said Carleton University biology professor and ecologist Lenore Fahrig, one of a small group of church members who will table four climate change-related motions at the Anglican annual diocese synod, or summit, beginning Friday.

“We know how it’s affecting nature and we know how it’s affecting people and we know how to avoid it,” she said. “It is entirely about profits, about money. What divestment does is make the statement that we have to pull out of this fossil fuel-based economy.”

Local Anglican churches have a combined stock portfolio worth $30 million administered centrally, she said.

Fahrig, a member of the St. Matthew’s Church congregation, has been speaking with Anglican groups about possible oil and gas divestment for more than a year.

“I’ve done at least 15 presentations around the diocese,” she said, “and pulled together a small team of people interested in this idea.”

The group will table four motions:

  • To divest locally in oil and gas companies.

  • To propose to the General (national) Synod meeting next summer that the entire Anglican Church of Canada divests of oil and gas stocks.

  • To launch an education program on climate change for all local churches.

  • To devise a plan to “de-carbonize” all Anglican churches.

If the motion passes, delegates will be forcibly de-carbonized.  Their cars will be impounded, they will be given bicycles to ride home and they will be searched for plastics before leaving. Technology items such as iPhones and computers will be liberated since they depend on fossil fuel for their production. Plastic lens spectacles along with all synthetic cloth garments, including cassocks, will be confiscated.

Nude delegates will be invited to cover themselves with copies of Greening Sacred Spaces: A Practical Eco-Spiritual Workshop, available for purchase in the foyer. No credit cards, please – they are plastic.

Anglicans in Ottawa Pride parade dress more modestly than other participants

Here is the standard of modesty that Ottawa Anglicans had to beat:

Less than modest

It wasn’t easy, but the six participating Anglican parishes put their heads together and came up with the innovative but, I must say, less than entirely inclusive idea of putting clothes on. Notwithstanding their modest attire, they still managed to stay in touch with the theme of this year’s Capital Pride Festival” and that, after all, is what Christianity is really all about:

modest Anglicans

More here:

Among the hundreds of parade participants were scores of Anglicans from at least six parishes: St. Alban’s, Church of the Ascension, St. John the Evangelist, St. Michaels and All Angels, St. Marks, and St. James the Apostle. Marching as a group under the banner of Integrity Ottawa, they formed largest Christian group in the parade.

“We have found this to be a wonderful opportunity to make clear that there are parishes in our diocese who are intentional in their welcome to the GLBT community,” wrote Ron Chaplin of Integrity Ottawa, on the diocesan email list. Although Anglican marchers dressed more modestly than many of the participants, many seemed in touch with the theme of this year’s Capital Pride Festival – “Be Loud, Be Proud.”

Anglican Potemkin congregation alert

The Diocese of Ottawa’s version of St. Alban’s in Ottawa is obviously having a little difficulty placing bodies in the pews now that the ANiC congregation has vacated the premises.

To create the illusion of an active parish, the diocese is importing the congregation from All Saints’ Sandy Hill – and closing it for part of the summer:

 

Enquiries on this Anglican congregation shell game may be directed to what appears to be an abbreviated email address: [email protected].

Grabbing some wine at St. Alban’s

Today, the Diocese of Ottawa’s version of St. Alban’s in Ottawa had its first service in the building that used to be the home of an ANiC parish. It has an odd way of advertising the Communion service. Here it is from Twitter:

Grab some wine before brunch on your way to the Market. Eucharist @ 10am. Daly & King Eddy.

Is this a desperate attempt by the author to conceal with a veneer of trendiness his embarrassment at believing in antediluvian, recondite rituals? Have they actually opened a wine bar in the narthex? – some churches have a Tim Hortons, so it’s only natural that Anglicans would have a wine bar. Is the author of the tweet likening the Blood of Christ to an incidental diversion while en route to the important business of the day – brunch?

Or is the Diocese of Ottawa merely confirming to the ANiC parish that it made the right choice when it left the diocese?