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.

Anglican Church of Canada: Toronto church develops sex-change liturgy

The battle for same-sex marriage is as good as over in the ACoC. For the canons to be changed, it still has to pass the 2019 general synod but that is largely irrelevant since bishops – like Niagara’s Bird – who want to perform same-sex marriages have decided to do so now, voting be damned. As the bishops are quick to point out, there is nothing and no-one to stop them.

Now that’s over, there is new ground to conquer so the Diocese of Toronto has a church that has concocted a sex-change liturgy. And why not? There is nothing and no-one to stop them.

From here (page 10):

Church creates liturgy for gender transitionSex-Change-LiturgyTHE church has always gathered as a community to mark the most important life passages of its members, so when Beck Schaefer, a member of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, Toronto, legally transitioned from female to male, changing his name and identity documents to reflect a truer sense of his identity, the parish witnessed and blessed the moment.

However, a liturgy for that purpose doesn’t exist in the Anglican Church, so the parish created one. “We understood that this wasn’t a re-baptism,” said the Rev. Maggie Helwig, incumbent. “God always knew who Beck  was in his fullness, and received him as himself from the beginning. But we also knew that this was a moment closely tied to the baptismal covenant, and Beck’s growth as a disciple.” The liturgy was modelled on the Anglican Church’s reaffirmation of baptismal vows, but also included an acknowledgement of Beck’s new name and gender identity as a part of his baptismal vocation.

“God created me transgender, and calls me to live openly and authentically,” said Beck at the service. “This is not a solitary path but rather a call that I am to live out in relation to others and as a member of the body of Christ.”

A queer Eucharist for a peculiar people

St. John’s church in Toronto offers a “variety of worship experiences”. One of them is a Eucharist for and run by LGBTQetc individuals – the rector herself is a lesbian and, thus, a member of the many-lettered class – who are intent on probing the question “What is it about us that’s different and why does that enrich the church”.

The last queer Eucharist was on September 16 but the event is supposed to occur monthly so, for those anguished to have missed it, get in line now before all the pews fill up.

From here:

St. John, West Toronto has hired a youth minister whose job includes reaching out to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) young people. The church received a $26,870 grant from the diocese’s Our Faith-Our Hope campaign to create the position. The Rev. Samantha Caravan, incumbent, says the outreach initiative is an extension of the church’s passion for social justice.

The church has many gay and lesbian members and a long history of advocating for equality. “We know that LGBTQ youth do not have an easy walk of it in high school, so that’s what we set out to do: create a space for them to explore the possibility of faith in their lives,” she says.

The church has hired Meagh Culkeen, a member of the LGBTQ community. She has helped to start a “queer Eucharist” at the church. (The word “queer” is an increasingly common and acceptable term used by young people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.) The monthly service is led by LGBTQ people and their supporters and is open to everyone.

Meagh Culkeen is hoping that it can be a place where the youth not only connect with God but with each other and the wider church. “It’s a moment where we can celebrate our contributions to the church and say, ‘What is it about us that’s different and why does that enrich the church?’”

Jesus’ true nature finally revealed

He was mostly water.

From here (page 9):

In her reflection, Jennifer Henry, executive director of KAIROS, reminded those present that, through his incarnation, Jesus was “a child who, like other babies, was mostly water – 75 per cent water, so they say.” Like the rest of humanity, Jesus depended on water for his daily needs, she said.

These ladies, despite all appearances to the contrary, are not suffering from a bout of severe constipation, but are thumping vigorously on their drums to convince us that we all have a role in protecting the waters of the Earth. Just looking at them convinces me, I don’t know about you.


Toronto bishop reckons Christianity and Islam share “core values”

From here (page 4):

Many readers of this paper are familiar with the core values of Judaism and Christianity. It is important to know that Islam shares many of those core values as well.

Let’s see, the “core values” of Christianity would include the divinity of Jesus, his resurrection, his virgin birth, his atoning for man’s sin though dying on a cross, his being the only way to God Father, his coming again; not to mention the Trinity, the Eucharist and the Church as the Bride of Christ. How many of these core values does Islam share? None.

A core value that provoked Bishop Peter Fenty into making the above silly statement was:

Adherents to Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe in the sacredness of life.

Regrettably, not even that is  a core value for North American Anglicanism: neither the ACoC nor TEC will unequivocally condemn abortion so, clearly, life is not sacred to them at all.

To explain ISIS and what is happening in Iraq, the bishop goes on to quote Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the fellow who, to promote harmony, wanted to build a mosque in the ashes of the World Trade Centre:

We may be decades away from achieving a true Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. The region must heal from more than a century of colonial domination, Cold War conflict, despotic regimes, and economic stagnation that has left so much of the population grasping for anything to assert their power and address political grievances.

As you can see, the problem lies anywhere but with Islam.

Order of the Diocese of Toronto begins as it probably means to go on

QueenChrisAmong the first recipients of the Order of the Diocese of Toronto is Chris Ambidge, a leader in Integrity and a self-described lesbigay Anglican.

The award is supposed to honour “laypeople who make outstanding contributions to the diocese” and, in Ambidge’s case, the outstanding contribution has been to encourage the Anglican Church of Canada in its decision to allow any diocese that cares to to bless same-sex civil marriages. And to wear a fetching tiara.

From here:

The Order of the Diocese of Toronto, created to honour laypeople who make outstanding contributions to the diocese, was awarded for the first time on New Years’ Day at St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto.

A list of 48 recipients-nominated by their parishes or Archbishop Johnson-was published on the Diocese of Toronto website just before Christmas. Those named to the Order were honoured before a full house at the cathedral during the New Year’s choral evensong, receiving a medallion and a pin from the archbishop.

Among the first recipients of the Order were Chris Ambidge (involved in leadership of Integrity Canada),  members of General Synod Libby Salter and Peter Tavell, Elizabeth Loweth (active in leadership of the International Anglican Women’s Network), Dorothy Peers, and General Synod’s coordinator of Together in Mission Suzanne Lawson.

Diocese of Toronto forbids Anglican services in a non-denominational church

The reason given by Bishop Colin Johnson is that the building is “no longer under Anglican authority”. When unfettered by Anglican authority who knows what antics priests might get up to? If things got really out of hand one of them might inadvertently preach the gospel.

If Colin Johnson really wants to keep people out, he should take a tip from the Diocese of Niagara’s Bishop Michael Bird and block the entrance with concrete. Like this:

From here:

The Anglican Diocese of Toronto has forbidden its ministers and even laypersons from conducting services in a quaint non-denominational church in the historic hamlet of Irondale in the Haliburton Highlands.

The building used to belong to the diocese. After a two-year legal challenge, the Bark Lake Aboriginal Tribe this past summer purchased the church from the Anglican diocese for $70,000. The frame church, built by pioneer Charles Pusey in 1887, was sold to the diocese in 1901 for $50.

When the building reopened a month ago as the Irondale Community Church, the first service was Anglican, the second Lutheran. But when retired Anglican minister Arnold Hancock wanted to conduct the Thanksgiving Day weekend service, Archbishop Colin Johnson of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto sent out a cease-and-desist order far and wide.

The folks in Irondale, about 100 kilometres north of Peterborough, are now preparing for a fight. Even devout Anglicans are accusing the church of being unchristian.

“This has set everybody back,” George Simmons, whose family’s involvement in the church goes back generations, told the Toronto Star.

“I think the majority of Anglicans would be disgraced that they wouldn’t allow an Anglican minister (to conduct a service) for people who have attended that church for 50 years,” he said.

“He covered the whole area here. He notified every Anglican layperson and minister that they weren’t allowed to lead a service in the church,” Simmons added.

Johnson could not be reached directly by the Toronto Star but the Diocese of Toronto issued a statement.

“Due to dwindling numbers, the former Anglican church of St. John’s, Irondale, was closed and deconsecrated in 2010 and sold to private citizens for community use in 2012,” stated Stuart Mann, its director of communications. “The purchasers continue to hold services in the church, which is entirely appropriate. However, Anglican clergy are not permitted to conduct services at St. John’s as it is no longer under Anglican authority. Anglican clergy are only permitted to function in Anglican ministries.”

h/t AEC blog

According to the ACA, the Diocese of Toronto's gift of $250,000 to the Diocese of New Westminster was a tithe

As I mentioned here, “the Diocese of Toronto’s Bishop Colin Johnson has paid Bishop Michael Ingham $250,000 for being the Canadian test case in the building dispute between the ACoC and ANiC. …. the ruling sets a Canadian precedent, effectively guaranteeing that the ACoC will be able to hang on to church properties – so that they can close and sell them.”

Rev. Dr. Murray Henderson from the Anglican Communion Alliance, a conservative group within the Anglican Church of Canada, has made a rather extraordinary statement about what he calls this  “tithe” to New Westminster:

I further advocated at the Council Meeting that the announcement of the gift make it clear that this was not our taking a stand on the issue of same sex blessing, but strictly a matter of paying our fair share as a diocese and parishes which are interested in maintaining our ownership of our property. The Archbishop made this clear in his announcement last Saturday.

It is evident he does not wish the Diocese of Toronto’s payment to be a condoning of same-sex blessings – even though the diocese is actively engaged in performing them – but, rather, wants to pay a “fair share” of the litigation cost of ejecting worshipping congregations from buildings for which they have a use to place them in the hands of dioceses who are allowing them to stand empty.

It’s not entirely clear to me whether it is worse to bless same-sex couples or turf fellow Christians out of their buildings but evidently, it is to Rev. Henderson: how far would he take it, one wonders? Would he be content to see all parish buildings stand empty so long as his diocese retains ownership of them and has not taken a “stand” on same-sex blessings – even though, to the un-blinkered it obviously has?

Not only does the ACA statement illustrate the impotence of struggling conservatives in the ACoC but it bodes ill for any plausible possibility of a conservative come-back within the church. To make it worse, I fear Rev. Henderson has strained out a gnat (albeit a big hairy one) and swallowed a camel.

Diocese of Toronto in Gay Pride Parade

Here is Rev. Andrea Budgey sprinkling onlookers from her aspergillum. As Chris Ambidge (the one in the tiara) declared: “Who woulda thought evangelism could be this much fun?”


What continues to puzzle me is why a church thinks its participation in an exhibition of debauchery makes it anything other than a preposterous laughing stock.

You can see the whole sorry spectacle here.

Anglicans in the bar

Sorry, I meant indaba. Rowan Williams introduced indaba groups into Lambeth 2008. Indaba purports to be “a gathering for purposeful discussion”. What it is when practised by Anglicans is a gathering aimed at building relationships, particularly with those with whom one disagrees. In order to do this, you have, at all costs, to avoid “purposeful discussion” for fear of damaging the relationship.

Consequently, at Lambeth 2008, no-one really argued, nothing was decided and nothing was achieved. Moreover, the relationships that emerged were the emasculated affectations that you would expect from a gathering of people who lack the conviction that if a proposition is true, its negation must be false.

The Diocese of Toronto, undeterred by the fact that they don’t work, is still using indaba groups:

Anglicans from the Diocese of Toronto who participated in the Anglican Communion’s one-year indaba process believe it can have a transforming effect upon the church if it is used more broadly.


The Diocese of Toronto participated with Jamaica and Hong Kong in three eight-day meetings that took place in Toronto in May, 2011, Hong Kong last September and Jamaica this February. There were three topics for discussion: social justice and advocacy, youth alienation and homosexuality. An important part of the meetings was immersion in the life of the host diocese, so that participants could understand the context for decision-making.


Mr. Graves notes that it’s tempting when people think differently from the way we do to let them go their own way. When he has thoughts like that, he looks at a photograph in his office that was taken of all the indaba participants in Hong Kong.

“The easy answer is to have a divorce,” he says. “But when you’ve built relationships with people, that’s not so easy. I look at those people and ask, ‘Can I do without that person in my life?’ and I don’t believe I can.”