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.

Churches for sale in the Diocese of New Westminster

The Diocese of New Westminster real-estate company is selling some more of its properties. The most expensive is St. Mark’s in Kitilano which they are hoping will fetch almost $12M. The one-time Christian denomination claims the money will be used for Anglican ministry, code for the panting hot pursuit of the latest cultural fad to assail the fevered imagination of its trendy clerics.

According to the diocese, the congregations are physically “moving elsewhere”, in much the same way as the diocese has, in relation to Christianity, theologically moved elsewhere.

At the last General Synod that I was unfortunate enough to attend, I remember one aggrieved soul bewailing the fact that the synod was being held on land stolen from its original Indigenous residents. The diocese makes much of its efforts to reconcile with the First People. I see no mention of giving back the land occupied by these churches, though; $12M is a lot of money, after all.

From here:

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, a 100-year-old facility in Kitsilano, one of B.C.’s most upscale areas, is up for sale at the steep price of $11,998,000.

Rev. Richard Leggett said Anglican churches in the Vancouver area are moving elsewhere due to, in part, the steep cost of housing.

Other Anglican properties up for sale include St. Margaret of Scotland in Burnaby and St. Monica’s in Horseshoe Bay.

“Housing prices in Vancouver have grown so rapidly and so high that the grandchildren of the grandparents who built the church are no longer living nearby,” said Leggett.

Diocese of Huron continues its Marriage Canon Newspeak

The diocesan paper reports:

Conversations on the Marriage Canon
The Diocese of Huron is in the midst of a consultation about the proposed changes to the Marriage Canon. The first of these consultations have taken place and several more are planned throughout the diocese.
As the diocesan Marriage Canon Task Force reports in this HCN edition, a question raised at some of the first deanery gatherings was, “Does our input matter?”, and related to that question there were comments such as, “It feels like the decision has already been made.”

For those who question the impartiality of the decision makers in the diocese, this image, accompanying the article, of diocesan leaders conspicuously marching across a rainbow crossing brandishing crosses and an umbrella should leave little doubt in any mind whose neurons are still firing:

Of course your input matters. As long as it supports same-sex marriage.

Of course the decision to marry same-sex couples hasn’t already been made. Yes, we may already be doing it but that doesn’t mean we have decided anything.

A bishop in a pussy hat

Here is the Diocese of New Westminster’s Bishop Melissa Skelton decked out in her pussy hat in preparation for the Women’s March, 2018.

Pussy hats are supposed to be pink but, in order, against all the odds, to maintain her dignity as a bishop, Skelton’s hat is purple.

For those who might be a little hazy of the purpose, meaning and etymology of pussy hats – sometimes referred to as pussyhats – we have, I’m afraid, to return to a regrettable remark made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, to wit:

You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

A bishop wearing such a hat does so not just to protest Trump’s outrageous rise to power but, also, should she be unfortunate enough to encounter the reprobate, to lure him into reaching for the hat rather than the part of the anatomy that was the subject of Monologues performed in the Diocese of Niagara’s cathedral by the lady clergy of the diocese. Here they are brazenly appearing without their pussy hats:

Vagina Monologues performed by Diocese of Niagara clergy

What does any of this have to do with the Gospel, you may be wondering. The Project of Pussyhat explains it:

There have been critiques about Pussyhat Project and whether Pussyhats should be included in some of the 2018 women’s marches. Some feel that the pink color of the hat excludes people of color from the project. Some feel that the hat is a literal symbol of female anatomy, promoting Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism (TERF). Thank you for speaking up with your criticisms. We hear you.

The founding principles of Pussyhat Project are inclusivity, compassion, creativity, personal connection, and open dialogue, all to further women’s rights and human rights. It is an exciting and ongoing process, and these criticisms are part of it.

We can all agree that the last thing any self-respecting Anglican bishop would promote would be “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism” and the first, “inclusivity, compassion, creativity, personal connection, and open dialogue”. That, more or less, is what the Western Anglican gospel has degenerated into.

I’m waiting for the first pussy hat mitre to make an appearance.

Archbishop John Privett to retire

Anglican Church of Canada bishops are fleeing their vocation faster than a dog runs from his own excrement. Privett joins bishops Michael Bird, Fred Hiltz, Colin Johnson, and Donald Phillips in their escape from the asylum.

Privett’s most recent accomplishment of note was to fire, for no particularly good reason that he was willing to identify, Jacob Worley, a conservative priest in the Diocese of Caledonia.

From here:

Dear Friends,

Many of you will know that in July, I was blessed to be able to take a 6 day silent retreat at St. Bueno’s Retreat Centre in Wales. It was for me a time of intentional discernment.  During the course of that retreat it became clear to me that the time had come for me to retire from my ministry as Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province and as Bishop of Kootenay. The only question that remained was the timing of the announcement and my retirement.  Before the summer was over, I knew that it would be this spring and had decided that I will retire as of May 31, 2018.  I have informed the senior Bishop of the Province, Bishop Larry Robertson, the Provincial House of Bishops and our Diocesan Council of my intention.

Diocese of Niagara performs another missional deconsecration

Niagara This Week reports, in what appears to be an accidental confluence of stories, that Violet the cat, found frozen and comatose is on the road to recovery and the Diocese of Niagara’s St. George’s Church has also been found frozen and comatose but, unlike Violet, is beyond hope and has been put out of its misery. Or words to that effect.

St. George’s, which has 225 years of history behind it, has been deemed unsustainable by diocesan viability enforcers and has been deconsecrated. Bishop Michael Bird was on hand to point out to the “aging membership” that the occasion, although “sombre”, was also a cause for “celebration” because the church, although now as dead as a doornail, had had a long innings. I expect that was a great comfort.

From here:

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE — With heavy hearts but cherished memories, the congregation that worshipped at a church in former village of Homer came together for the final time on Sunday.

St. George’s Anglican Church, which has a history dating back more than 225 years, held its final service. As with so many other small congregations, a dwindling and aging membership forced what for many was a painful decision to disestablish and return the deconsecrated church building to common usage.

The service was presided over by Diocese of Niagara Bishop Michael Bird, who acknowledged the sombre mood in the room but said this was also a time to celebrate a congregation with a long life. He implored everyone to think of how long it has been a home, a sanctuary and a place to come to know God, a place that has served as a backdrop to countless baptisms and weddings.

“Just imagine all the prayers that have been offered here, both spoken and silent,” he said.

Rev. Dorothy Hewlett, who also serves at Christ Church at Lakeshore and McNab roads, said the decision to close was a long time coming and was the right one to make.

An exodus of bishops from the Anglican Church of Canada

These are the bishops on their way out: Niagara’s Michael Bird; Toronto’s Colin Johnson; Primate Fred Hiltz; and now, Rupert’s Land’s Donald Phillips.

They are all liberal and heartily endorse same-sex marriage. Why have they all decided to leave now? Do they know something we don’t about the fate of the ACoC? Are they concerned that there is no future for them in the ACoC because they are all heterosexual? Have they reached that stage in life when ambition yields to the sad realisation that all the ecclesiastical mayhem that can possibly be inflicted on the Anglican Communion in one lifetime has already been wrought during their climb up the greasy clerical pole?

We may never know but at least it is satisfying to bid them adieu.

From here:

Diocese of Rupert’s Land Bishop Donald Phillips plans to retire in the fall after the election of a coadjutor bishop this June, saying that it’s important to “go out on a high note.”

Phillips, who is 63, says the decision was “more personal than diocesan,” coming as it did after his wife’s retirement last summer. “I’m thinking, 18, 18 and a half years—that’s a good long run.”

[……]

Moving forward, Phillips sees the challenge of maintaining stipendiary ordained ministry as pressing for the diocese of Rupert’s Land and the Anglican Church of Canada. “Increasingly now, we’re having parishes that can’t afford to close, but they can’t afford a full-time priest…the way that [clergy] are deployed will hopefully start to change.”

Rev Noah Njegovan receives 22-month conditional sentence

Noah Njegovan, son of Brandon’s Bishop Jim Njegovan, was sentenced today for stealing around $200,000 from the diocese. Njegovan won’t be going to jail.

The judge noted that “People no longer want to give them [the diocese] money because people no longer believe they are capable of managing their money.” Every cloud has a silver lining.

From here:

A Brandon judge has handed down a 22-month conditional sentence to a Manitoba priest who admitted to using a church credit card for almost $200,000 in private purchases.

Noah Njegovan was charged in 2015 with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000. He pleaded guilty to the theft charge at Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench in December, while the fraud charge was stayed.

At the time of the offence, Njegovan was an archdeacon with the Anglican Diocese of Brandon and was in charge of finances and bookkeeping for the diocese. Court documents say he had access to the church’s credit card and online bank accounts.

“$192,000 from a church,” Justice John Menzies said in sentencing Njegovan Tuesday, taking a long pause. “An organization that preaches trust and giving the benefit of the doubt … pays for that.

“This is a horrible, horrible offence,” he added, calling Njegovan’s actions a huge breach of trust.

Primate Fred Hiltz announces his intention to resign

Fred Hiltz has been Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada for about ten years. During his tenure, the church has lurched into a radical heterodoxy beyond the wildest longings of the Screwtapian Principalities assigned to gently steer it into the Pit, tens of thousands of parishioners have fled, congregations have left en masse to form a new Anglican Province, conservative priests and theologians have been persecuted, driven out, inhibited and fired, and multiple scorched-earth lawsuits have been instigated by his beloved church with a studied vindictiveness that makes Attila the Hun look like Winnie the Pooh. It’s been nothing but devastation and chaos.

It is little wonder that Hiltz wants to get out now before the whole putrid, corrupt moldering edifice collapses around his ears. The search for his replacement will, no doubt, concentrate on scouring the land – and overseas if necessary – for a suitable candidate in the form of a  partnered lesbian who dabbles in Buddhism in her spare time.

From here:

Now, dear friends is such a time for our beloved Church, a time for me to make plans to conclude my years of service as Primate, and time for the Church to make the arrangements necessary for the election of a new Primate.
In 2017, I marked 40 years in ordained ministry and 40 years of marriage with my dear Lynne. For 23 of those 40 years I have served our Church as a bishop, and for 10 of those 23 as Primate.
As you well know this was not an office to which I aspired. Nonetheless I have endeavoured to fulfil the duties required of me in the best interests of our Church and its commitment to God’s mission in Canada and as a loyal partner in the life and witness of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

It has been an enormous privilege and a great adventure with blessings beyond number. This year on December 3rd,I will God willing reach the age of 65. I think that is probably no secret in our Church! And in the natural order of discourse around such milestones, questions arise with respect to one’s intentions about retirement. I believe it is incumbent upon me to help  move us all beyond whispered speculations to clarity about my intentions.

Allow me just a few minutes to bare but a bit of my soul concerning my discernment. At some length, I have considered how much longer I should remain in office. In all honesty, there are days when I wonder if I might not be coming very close to the “best before” date in the leadership I am providing. Time and again, I have examined the scenarios for which Canon III on The Primate makes provision with respect to resignation.
I have experienced more than a few restless nights. I have tried to abide by St Paul’s counsel not to be anxious but prayerful (Philippians 2:6) I have prayed and I have quietly asked a few others to uphold me in their prayers through this time of discernment. For their pledge to do so I am enormously grateful.
I confess too that out of a deep and a biding love for our Church I have in these last several months felt more than a little sense of solemn obligation to see General Synod through the next round of conversations over a few very significant matters. I think of how we begin to move beyond Vision 2019. I think of the second reading of the amendment to the Marriage Canon.

Gaudete

Merry Christmas!

Gaudete, Gaudete!
Christus et natus
Ex maria virgine,
Gaudete!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary,
Rejoice!
Tempus ad est gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae,
Devote redamus.
It is now the time of grace
That we have desired;
Let us sing songs of joy,
Let us give devotion.
Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
God was made man,
And nature marvels;
The world was renewed
By Christ who is King.
Ezechiellis porta
Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezechiel
Has been passed through;
From where the light rises
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Let it praise the Lord:
Greetings to our King.