Candidates jostling for the bishop’s job in the Diocese of Niagara

Since Michael Bird will resign in June this year, the diocese has to choose a new bishop.

The candidates are:

David Anderson
Susan Bell
David Burrows
Robert Fead
Robert Hurkmans
Stuart Pike
Martha Tatarnic

Are they all theologically liberal, you might be wondering?
Are there any Christians hiding amongst them?
Far be it from me to pass judgement but here are their answers to the question:

What is your view with regards to equal marriage and will you, as Niagara’s bishop, continue to authorize the current permissive pastoral practice in the lead up to General Synod 2019?

To save you time, their answers to the question of whether they will marry same-sex couples are:

David Anderson:    Yes
Susan Bell:               Yes
David Burrows:      Yes
Robert Fead:           Yes
Robert Hurkmans: Yes
Stuart Pike:              Yes
Martha Tatarnic:    Yes

If you had any doubts about the diocese’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, the conformity of these answers should settle them.

Interestingly, when St. Hilda’s congregation was ejected from its building and the diocese installed a Potemkin congregation to demonstrate to the courts how much it needed the place, Martha Tatarnic was the “priest in charge” – of the phony congregation; once firmly in diocesan clutches, the building was sold and demolished. Valuable experience for the new bishop’s job.

Still talking about same-sex marriage

The Anglican Church cannot stop talking about same-sex marriage. The more words that are spoken, the less that is said, an endless stream of fustian vacuities circling the certain knowledge that the outcome is inevitable; a gathering of CoGS clergy weaving an elaborate pretence of impartial objectivity, willing puppets, eyes blinkered and strings pulled by the spirit of our age.

It’s not unlike a description from Anthony Powell’s masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time:

The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure, stepping slowly, methodically sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.

Here is a more prosaic account from the Journal:

Despite hopes expressed by some members that the Council of General Synod (CoGS) will be able to shift its focus away from same-sex marriage during the next triennium,  this did not happen just yet.

The Council spent much of the second day of its fall meeting brainstorming how it can ensure that productive discussions of the motion to amend the marriage canon will happen on the provincial and diocesan level over the next three years.

The motion passed its first reading at the July meeting of General Synod, but because same-sex marriage is a matter of doctrine, it requires a two-thirds majority vote at two consecutive General Synods. In preparation for the next General Synod in 2019, dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces have been asked to continue to study the motion in preparation for the second and final vote. CoGS has been mandated to support this work.

As several members noted over the course of the day, it might not be a straightforward task.

The church remains deeply divided on the issue. There are those who believe same-sex marriage has been put off for far too long already, those who insist that homosexuality is a serious sin and those who believe some accommodation for gay and lesbian Anglicans is necessary, but aren’t yet ready for marriage.

Some CoGS members, among them, the Rev. Lynne McNaughton, of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, said their dioceses have already held meetings to discuss the next three years. Others, like John Rye of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, compared debates over same-sex marriage to the film Groundhog Day, in which the protagonist re-lives the same day over and over again.

The Rev. Vincent Solomon, of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, said people need to learn how to listen to each other if healthy discussions are to be had—a point that the Rev. David Burrows, a CoGS member from the ecclesiastical province of Canada, agreed with.

What keeps conservative bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada?

After the vote that will lead to same-sex marriage in ACoC churches, seven Anglican Church of Canada bishops announced:

We believe that our General Synod has erred grievously and we publicly dissent from this decision.  Resolution A051 R2 represents a change to the sacrament of marriage inconsistent with the Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition of the Church Catholic and the Book of Common Prayer.  This would be a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of the Anglican Communion on the doctrine of marriage. Sadly, this complicates relationships within the Anglican Church of Canada and as a Province with the Anglican Communion.

In the same statement, they also declare their commitment to: the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Communion.

Why don’t they leave the ACoC and join ANiC?

The generous answer might be that the bishops value unity, want to work for change from within and are taking a long view where the ACoC repents of its decision.

The unity answer is unconvincing because the bishops claim to be committed to both the ACoC and the Anglican Communion. They can’t be committed to unity with both since the majority of the Anglican Communion is not in unity with the ACoC: they are opposed to these recent actions. Like it or not, it’s one or the other.

Working for change from within is having no effect whatsoever and there are no signs that the ACoC will repent this side of the eschaton.

I think the reason is much simpler and conforms to Jeremiah 17:9, a verse worth bearing in mind whenever probing a person’s motives, including one’s own: if the bishops attempt to move their dioceses to ANiC, they will lose all their buildings. They are not serious enough about their objections to do that.

More vote counting errors at General Synod

It has now emerged that Bishop Mark MacDonald was registered as a non-voting attendee so none of his votes counted during the synod. Yes, the clowns really are running the synod circus.

I know whether the marriage canon vote passed or not doesn’t really make much difference, since liberal bishops are determined to plough ahead no matter what anyone votes, says or does, but surely this latest revelation makes a mockery of the whole process and, since this could be the tip of a very ugly iceberg, invalidates every decision that was made.

Laughably, some from the ACoC turned up at the El Salvador presidential elections in 2014 to make sure everything was above-board. It would be only fair, I think, to invite Salvador Sánchez Cerén, El Salvador’s president, to return the favour and scrutinise the results of the 2019 synod.

From, here:

The National Indigenous Anglican Bishop erroneously listed as non-voting at the General Synod 2016

In the process of reviewing the list of those voting at the General Synod, it has come to my attention that, in addition to myself and the chancellor, one other voting member was wrongly listed as non-voting in the spreadsheet provided to Data-on-the-Spot. The National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, was erroneously listed as non-voting and I only discovered this error a number of days after the end of synod. As a result of this error, none of Bishop Mark’s votes during the synod was recorded electronically.

What we did know during the synod was that Bishop MacDonald approached the head-table following the release of voting information for the motion to revise the Marriage Canon. At this time, he informed the primate that he had voted “no”.

If Bishop Mark’s vote were to have been be registered, it would not have changed the outcome of the motion. It would have increased the number of opposed in the order of bishops from 12 to 13 total (one-third of bishops present and voting). The number of bishops in favour would still have met the legislative threshold of two-thirds.

I have spoken with and apologized personally to Bishop MacDonald, and he has been gracious and understanding. We are all deeply grateful to Bishop Mark, and to all those with whom he works, for the emerging clarity in the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada.

I will seek the advice of the Chancellor of General Synod, and present a full report of all voting issues and recommendations of any possible mitigation, to the Council of General Synod at its first meeting this fall.

The integrity of voting at General Synod has come perilously close to breaking. I am grateful to all who have helped us understand where and how that integrity was put at risk. With that information, we can both correct mistakes and, for future General Synods, learn how errors can be avoided.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Thompson, General Secretary

Why are there no calls for Michael Thompson’s resignation?

Indigenous bishops reject same-sex marriage because of colonialism

If this article is to be believed, the ACoC indigenous bishops are against same-sex marriage not because they believe it to be wrong but because it is an expression of “colonial oppression”.

That leaves the liberals in the unhappy position of having to decide who to oppress: their indigenous members or their LGBTetc members; normally they take the easy way out and just oppress their conservative members.

The Bible does offer some advice on all this, of course, but no-one in the ACoC seems particularly interested in reading it.

A group of Indigenous Anglican Bishops have released a statement agreeing with Eastern Newfoundland Bishop Geoff Peddle that their community is on a different page when it comes to marriage equality, but not for the reasons you might think. VOCM’s Andrew Hawthorn explains.

Gay Marriage isn’t an issue of right or wrong in indigenous communities. It’s an issue of colonial oppression.

That’s according to three indigenous Bishops who released the statement declaring commitment to ‘the traditional, spiritual, indigenous understanding of marriage’.

There are those on both sides of the issue who would say homosexuality was once treated one way or another by indigenous peoples, but the Bishops, expressing kinship and support of the LGBT community, point out as their culture was almost entirely erased, it is difficult to say what the traditional attitude really was.

For now they say the main issue is an old one; a European-based society dominating discussion in their own culture, a conversation they say indigenous people should reserve for themselves.

Same-sex marriage vote

From here:

It’s not a foregone conclusion.

As much as some quarters would have everyone believe, there’s no telling how the 2016 General Synod will act on a motion to change the church’s law so that clergy can marry same-sex couples.

The answer will come in about nine months, when the church’s governing body gathers for its triennial meeting in Toronto. But right now, there’s work to be done, if the church hopes to arrive at a faithful and principled decision about this weighty matter.

In 2013, General Synod passed Resolution C003, which asked Council of General Synod (CoGS) to draft a motion “to change Canon XXI on marriage to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples.” It also asked for supporting documentation that:  demonstrates broad consultation about the motion; explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration; confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis on conscience; and provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.

Considering the report is focussed almost exclusively on legitimising same-sex marriage no matter what 2000 years of Biblical understanding and tradition have to say on the matter, and considering that most conservatives have already abandoned the Anglican Church of Canada, I should think passing the motion is a forgone conclusion. We shall see.

Any ACoC priest planning on exercising the conscience clause who takes comfort in the report’s claim that he would be immune from civil prosecution is living in a fantasy world.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, acknowledged that it would be a challenge to ensure that when they arrive at General Synod, delegates would have read the report so that they can join discussions in an informed and meaningful way. And, one might add, so they can vote confidently and independently.
I expect Hiltz is right: delegates won’t read the report – why bother to wade through the mire when the results are a forgone conclusion.

New evidence that children fare better with married parents of the opposite sex

That children need a female mother and male father who are married to each other used to be a matter of common sense. That kind of sense is less common these days but a new study confirms conventional parenting wisdom.

Read it all here:

There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing. A study published last week in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.


children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others; and the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes.


the particular gender mix of a same-sex household has a dramatic difference in the association with child graduation. Consider the case of girls. . . . Regardless of the controls and whether or not girls are currently living in a gay or lesbian household, the odds of graduating from high school are considerably lower than any other household type. Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15 percent as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes.

The future of the family according to the Anglican Church of Canada

This cartoon was published in the November edition of the Anglican Journal:


It refers to a report from Statistics Canada that claims a 42% increase in same-sex couples over the last five years. It seems the report is flawed, since room-mates who are married – not to each other – could have been counted as same-sex couples.

No matter: even if the report is accurate, the percentage of same-sex couples is still only at 0.69% of the total number of couples.

What is interesting about the Journal’s publishing of this cartoon is that, yet again, the compulsive obsession the church has with legitimising homosexual activity has blinded it to the transparently obvious fact that the future of the family does not reside – and can never reside – in people of the same sex being barrenly “married” to each other.

New York clerk resigns over gay marriage

There was a time when an employer regarded the existence of principle in an employee as a demonstration of worth. In the ‘60s I remember a pacifist friend applying for a job with IBM telling his interviewers that his conscience wouldn’t permit him to work on any military projects. He was employed anyway, on the grounds that IBM likes to hire people with principle. I’m not sure if his resolve was ever put to the test and I doubt that today’s IBM values any principle other than an employee’s desire to help it make a profit.

We live in an age pseudo-tolerance: everyone is tolerated whose ideas do not depart from the dictates of the zeitgeist: thus a New York clerk whose conscience will not permit her to marry a same sex couple has been forced to resign.

From here:

Reacting to the news that the first New York State town clerk has resigned rather than sign her name on a same-sex “marriage” license, Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted Tuesday that “the law is the law.”

“When you enforce the laws of the state, you don’t get to pick and choose which laws,” he said, according to the NY Daily News.  “You don’t get to say, ‘I like this law and I’ll enforce this law, or I don’t like this law and I won’t enforce this law’ – you can’t do that.”

“So if you can’t enforce the law, then you shouldn’t be in that position,” he added.

From a purely practical perspective, since the clerk has not mounted a campaign to dissuade other clerks from marrying same sex couples, she is not in any way hampering the enforcement of the law. The law, miserable as it is in this case, is in no danger of floundering for a lack of willing clerks.

Laura Fotusky is a person whose conscience is not aligned to contemporary mores: this is an affront to the gatekeepers of conventional morality and they will not rest content until she and any other dissenters have their thoughts conformed into the narrow confines of fashionable dogma.

We are, after all, a broad minded-society


Rowan Williams won’t allow homosexual marriage in church

From here:

Dr Rowan Williams has refused to be drawn on the issue publicly, but has broken his silence to tell MPs he is not prepared for the Coalition to tell the Church how to behave.

He told a private meeting of influential politicians that the Church of England would not bow to public pressure to allow its buildings to be used to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

It’s hard to know what is going on in Rowan Williams’ erudite Hegelian head at the best of times and, for him, this is not the best of times. Why would an archbishop who has written that, in his view, homosexual relationships are comparable to marriage not allow such marriage in his church?

Not, presumably, because of personal conviction, but because he is committed, in his own potty way, to holding the Anglican Communion together, whatever it takes. So, in order to convince conservatives that they still have his ear, it’s the liberals’ turn to take a poke in the eye – for unity.

Or perhaps he suffers from that most debilitating of contemporary liberal malaises, the lack of clear categories to organise his thinking, making it impossible for him to have straightforward answers to difficult questions – resulting in an inability to take a side.


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