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Canadian crosier recovered: The Church of England Newspaper, December 6, 2013 December 9, 2013

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Police have recovered the bishop of Qu’Appelle’s crosier, stolen last month from St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Regina, Saskatchewan.

On 18 Nov 2013 Regina police reported they had recovered the five and a half foot long staff made in the 1880s in London for the first bishop of the Canadian diocese. Valued for insurance purposes at C$15,000, the crosier sported a silver head encrusted with semi-precious stones. Police report the crosier had been damaged as the thief appeared to have attempted to pry the jewels from the staff.

The police have declined to speak to the circumstances of the crosier’s recovery, though they have asked the public to assist them with their inquiries to catch the thief.

Canadian crozier stolen: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013

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Thieves have stolen the bishop of Qu’Appelle’s crozier from St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Regina.

The Diocese of Qu’Appelle reports that sometime in the last three weeks the antique bishop’s staff disappeared from the Saskatchewan cathedral. The police have been notified and local pawns shops informed of the theft.

The five and a half foot long staff was made in the 1880′s in London for the first bishop of the Canadian diocese and has a silver head encrusted with semi-precious stones. The Very Rev. Mike Sinclair, Dean of Qu’Appelle told the Regina Leader-Post the insurance value of the crozier was approximately C$15,000, but it was historical value made it irreplaciable for the diocese.

“It’s nearly impossible to sell,” he said, encouraging the thief to return the crozier.

“We’d love to have it back; it’s part of our family history, but at the same time we’re concerned for who has stolen it, that they don’t end up with more trouble than they need, when it would just be easy to return it.,” the dean said.

Arctic Cathedral in financial crunch: The Church of England Newspaper, October 24, 2013 October 27, 2013

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The financial collapse of a builder may leave the Diocese of the Arctic without a cathedral.

In May the Canadian building firm Dowland Contracting Ltd went into receivership and filed for bankruptcy protection in July. One of the construction giant’s projects had been the rebuilding of St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral in Iqaluit, Nunavut [Baffin Island].

Last week the Rt. Rev. David Parsons, Bishop of the Arctic reported that Dowland’s receivers were demanding immediate payment of C$3 million plus $30,000 per month in interest. “This is a request that the diocese cannot meet without closure of the Cathedral and an end to the church’s ministry of compassion, hope and presence in the Arctic,” he said.

“We have always remained committed to paying the balance owing on the construction costs to date. But these new demands now threaten our very existence.”

In 2005 the igloo-shaped cathedral was destroyed when a young man set the building ablaze. The fire left the church unusable, while insurance proceeds were insufficient to cover the cost of a replacement.  A nationwide fundraising campaign enable the diocese to begin rebuilding the cathedral and more than $7.5 million of the costs have been paid so far.

Bishop Parsons told The Church of England Newspaper the diocese was appealing for help and reaching “out across the Arctic and across Canada to ask people for their support and contributions toward paying off the Cathedral.”

“What I am doing is asking God to pay” the bill, he said. “I don’t know how God will work but let all know this, I, and I hope we, are looking to God for help and direction. We know that God often works through people and our plan is let our people and all else know that we need as many as possible to respond to our ongoing fundraising, so that our Cathedral will become debt free and we may have a service to consecrate it. Until it is paid off we cannot.”

The diocese will not lay off any of its employees, he said. “We actually wish to be able to expand our ministries and we are seeking God’s direction and our people’s help for this and the cooperation of the receiver. Until the receiver decides how he will respond to our situation, nothing will change,” he said. 

“We have always been faithful stewards who have not gone back on our word. As we promised Dowland, we will pay our bills when the money comes in. Until it does, we cannot. Everyone, including the receiver for Dowland needs to know this,” the bishop said.

 

Seek peace with honor in the TEC wars: Anglican Ink, October 6, 2013 October 6, 2013

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Toronto: Conservatives should seek terms for a negotiated peace to the Anglican wars, the Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz, Old Testament Scholar and Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto and a leader of the Anglican Communion Institute told a conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Toronto Pan-Anglican Congress.

The battle had been lost leaving conservatives as “strangers in their own church,” he said, and “the question for conservatives [now] is about encouragement. Will we be allowed to walk the well-worn paths of the faith,” he asked “or must we follow the trailblazers?”

While engaged in the preparation of a commentary on the Book of Jeremiah while on a study leave at the University of Tubingen, Prof. Seitz stated it was his custom to tread the paths in the forests surrounding the town.  Warming upon this theme, he told the conference participants gathered at St Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto that traditionalists are being told the “paths of our fathers are wrong paths” and our understanding of God’s plan for salvation has reached its “sell-by date.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Legal loss for Ontario ACNA parish: Anglican Ink, September 16, 2013 September 17, 2013

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An Ontario parish of the Anglican Church in North America has lost its appeal of a lower court ruling that awarded its parish property to the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Huron.

Last week the Court of Appeal of Ontario upheld a 15 August 2011 ruling of the Superior Court that held the property and assets of St Aidan’s Church in Windsor, Ontario did not belong to the parish, but were held in trust by a congregation on behalf of the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Courting controversy in Canada: Anglican Ink, September 2, 2013 September 2, 2013

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St John’s Anglican Church in Niagara Falls, Ontario – a parish of the Diocese of Niagara – has joined an Australian and a New Zealand parish in a competition for the most outré Anglican billboard.

Like St Matthews in the City in Auckland, New Zealand, the progressive Anglican church has sought to spark conversation about Christian doctrine through juvenile signs that court controversy.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Canada asks for extra time to tackle pension problem: The Church of England Newspaper, August 4, 2013 p 6. August 3, 2013

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The Anglican Church of Canada has asked clergy for its support in a plea to Ontario pension fund regulators to give it a three year extension of time to address a cash crunch in the church’s pension plan.

In a July 2013 letter to the 1,600 active members and 2,600 retirees covered by the church pension programme the plan administrators told the clergy their approval was needed before the government would grant the plea for more time. “With funding relief, we will have three years to try to improve our plan’s funding level,” they wrote. “At the end of three years, we will do another valuation of the plan. If there is still a solvency funding shortfall, we will likely have no choice but to cut benefits.”

The average age of plan participants is 52.5. “Since the cost of benefits increases as average age increases, the aging of active members continues to be a concern,” the letter said.

In 2012 the church’s pension plan returned an income of 13.2 per cent on assets, and has averaged 7.5 per cent per year returns for the past decade. On a going-concern basis, the plan had a funding rate of 95 per cent with only $28.7 million shortfall at the end of the 2012 fiscal year when total assets were $602.8 million.

However, on a solvency basis, if the plan were to be wound up now, the fund had a gap of more than $169 million between assets and liabilities, leading to a funding rate of only 70.5 per cent.

“I appeal to you to support funding relief by voting yes,” said Bishop Philip Poole, chairman of the pension committee, said in a video address posted on the website of the church’s Pension Office.

“I’m confident our plan members will support this much-needed funding relief. But I have a nagging worry that many members will not complete and return the voting cards that we recently distributed to you by mail,” the bishop said.

Same-sex blessing protocol adopted in Winnipeg: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 7. May 22, 2013

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The Winnipeg-based Diocese of Rupert’s Land has released a protocol for the “pastoral practice of blessing same-sex unions”. The May issue of the diocesan newspaper reports the protocol was prepared by Bishop Donald Phillips and the Dean, archdeacons and rural deans of the diocese in response to a 2012 request by synod to allow same-sex blessings.

Clergy opposed to gay blessings will not be compelled to perform the rite, but must refer a couple to the Bishop so that another priest may perform the ceremony. However, a summary of the protocol prepared by the diocesan newspaper said that in Rupert’s Land “diversity of views is honored and appreciated.”

The ceremony will not be a marriage. “In order be clearly distinguished from a marriage liturgy, the rite of blessing for same-sex unions will not include an exchange of legal consents, an opportunity for objections, a declaration of union, a writ of civil marriage, the signing of the parish marriage register or a nuptial blessing.”

The national church’s call to dialogue about homosexuality and its decision not forbid the practice opened the doors to pastoral gay blessings, supporters have argued. In his address to the 2012 Québec Synod Bishop Dennis Drainville said the General Synod had “affirmed the place and the welcome that this church offers to all people—including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ—while also recognizing that in the Church, both locally and globally there is no common mind about how to respond to their committed partnerships.”

Other Canadian dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Québec and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) also passed a motion asking its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.

Bishop sues troublesome blogger: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 6 May 13, 2013

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The Bishop of the Diocese of Niagara in the Anglican Church of Canada has filed a lawsuit against conservative blogger claiming “defamation of character”.

On 19 Feb 2013 David Jenkins, author of the Anglican Samizdat blog received notice that Bishop Bird had asked a court to shut down his blog, ban him from making further comments about him and to pay him $400,000 in damages.

Mr Jenkins stated that he had been surprised by the lawsuit. “Contrary to what one might expect in such circumstances, I did not receive a cease and desist letter in advance of the suit.”

The Statement of Claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court Justice alleged Mr. Jenkins maliciously and falsely stated Bishop Bird was a “ weak and ineffectual leader and that his actions were motivated by avarice or financial gain”. That the bishop was a “thief” and had a “sexual fetish”, and that he was an “atheist and heretic bent upon the destruction of Christianity.”he will

Among the examples of malicious and defamatory utterances alleged to have been made by the defendant were a photo of the bishop altered so that he appeared to be wearing a mitre made of underpants, that the bishop’s call to engage in “prophetic social justice” ministries meant “closing churches” and that the clergy of the diocese were not “authentic Christians”.

The 31 posts cited in the complaint were subsequently removed from his website. At the bishop’s request other posts were also taking down, Mr. Jenkins noted, “as a gesture of good faith.”

“I have made offers to settle and meet/talk, but they have been rejected,” he added.

Bishop sues blogger for libel: Anglican Ink, May 1, 2013 May 1, 2013

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A new front has opened in the Anglican Communion’s legal wars as a liberal Canadian bishop has filed a suit for libel against a conservative blogger claiming “defamation of character”.

On 15 February 2013 – – five years to the day after he initiated litigation against the congregation of St. Hilda’s Anglican Church in Oakville, Ontario after it quit the diocese — Bishop Michael Bird filed suit against David Jenkins, author of the Anglican Samizdat blog claiming 31 posts made between January 2011 and November 2012 had libeled him.

The Statement of Claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court Justice alleged Mr. Jenkins maliciously and falsely stated Bishop Bird was a “ weak and ineffectual leader and that his actions were motivated by avarice or financial gain”. That the bishop was a “thief” and had a “sexual fetish”, and that he was an “atheist and heretic bent upon the destruction of Christianity.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink

Barbados clergyman elected suffragan bishop of Toronto: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 7. April 24, 2013

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A Barbados native has been elected suffragan Bishop of the diocese of Toronto. On 6 April 2013, the Ven. Peter Fenty, archdeacon of York and the executive officer to the Bishop of Toronto, was elected on the seventh ballot. Bishop-elect Fenty, (61) who was born and raised in Barbados and came to Canada in 1992, will be the first person of African descent to be a bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.

“This is a historic moment in the life of the Anglican Church in Canada, but I want to make it very clear that I will be a bishop for all of God’s people,” he said in an interview with the diocesan newspaper after the election at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Ordained a priest in Barbados in 1975, he served three parishes there before taking a parish in the diocese of Montréal in 1992. In 1997 he became the incumbent of St. Joseph of Nazareth in Brampton in the Diocese of Toronto and was appointed archdeacon in 2004.

Archbishop Colin Johnson said he is looking forward to working with Bishop-elect Fenty. “Peter has a vast range of knowledge of the diocese. He brings good organizational skills and he is a compelling preacher and interpreter of scripture. He has a deep faith and is theologically articulate. He has sensitivity not just to the Caribbean community but to a wide range of communities, including some minority communities in the life of the church who are not otherwise well represented. I think he has wonderful gifts that he is bringing.”

Canadian archdeacon arraigned: The Church of England Newspaper, April 22, 2013 April 22, 2013

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A Canadian archdeacon appeared before a Manitoba court last week to answer charges that he had embezzled approximately $190,000 from diocesan coffers. The Ven. Noah Njegovan (30) is alleged to have used a diocesan credit card to embezzle funds sent by congregations to the diocese last year while serving as executive archdeacon of the diocese and assistant to his father, Bishop James Njegovan of Brandon. Mr. Njegovan was released on bail and is set to return to court on 9 May 2013 to answer charges.

Cono Sur reverses course, ratifies Uruguay episcopal election: Anglican Ink, April 10, 2013 April 10, 2013

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The Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) has ratified the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as Bishop of Uruguay.

In a statement released during holy week by the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile said the province’s House of Bishops and Executive Council had “with joy and thankfulness to God” ratified Archdeacon Pollesel’s election after it had considered additional background material on the Canadian clergyman.

On 25 May 2012 the bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay.”

The Cono Sur did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election had been rejected in 2012 or why it had now been ratified, but in 2012 the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Archdeacon arraigned on fraud charges: Anglican Ink, April 9, 2013 April 9, 2013

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Bishop James Njegovan of Brandon

The former Executive Archdeacon of Brandon appeared before a Manitoba court yesterday to answer charges that he had embezzled approximately $190,000 from diocesan coffers.

The Ven. Noah James Bernard Njegovan, 30, was arraigned on charges of having committed a fraud of over $5,000 while serving as executive archdeacon of the diocese and assistant to his father, Bishop James Njegovan of Brandon.

Mr. Njegovan was released on bail and is set to return to court on 9 May 2013.

Read it all the Anglican Ink.

Canada postpones vote on Anglican Covenant: The Church of England Newspaper, March 31 2013, p 6. April 3, 2013

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The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod (CoGS) has voted to delay action upon the Anglican covenant until 2016 meeting of General Synod.

In a statement released last week CoGS, the church’s governing body between meetings of the General Synod every three years, said the July 2013 meeting of General Synod will not be asked to make an up or down vote on the covenant. Delegates will be asked instead to support a resolution that calls for three more years of dialogue and conversation.

CoGS agreed to recommend that General Synod ask the Anglican Communion Working Group (ACWG) to “monitor continued developments” around the proposed Covenant. It requests that the ACWG render a report to the spring 2016 meeting of CoGS, and directs CoGS  “to bring a recommendation regarding the adoption of the Covenant” to the next General Synod in 2016.

Canadian diocese to be dissolved: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2013 p 7. February 11, 2013

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Bishop Thomas Corston of Moosonee

Canada’s Diocese of Moosonee will be dissolved upon the retirement of its current bishop, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Corston, and its churches formed into a mission area of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, the provincial synod learned last year.

At its 2011 synod meeting in Timmins, Ontario delegates unanimously adopted a resolution directing its officers to begin talks with the Province of Ontario to dissolve the diocese and create a mission area to oversee its 26 parishes.

“Nothing will change immediately,” Bishop Thomas Corston told the synod.  “We are simply preparing a way forward for our diocese when it becomes clear that we need to make the jump.”

Delegates to the Ontario provincial synod unanimously adopted Canon VII for the provincial bylaws and have passed the recommendation on for formal action to the 2013 meeting of Canada’s General Synod for final action. The Algoma Anglican reported that “delegates from Moosonee gave a heartfelt presentation on their ministry and on challenges such as distance,  the cost of living, clergy isolation and low pay. As they discerned the best way forward, one elder summed up the feeling in the diocese that they wanted to stay together as a family.”

A downturn in the mining and paper industries has hurt the diocese. “Much of the forest industry has shut down in the area. There’s no pulp and paper industry anymore,” Bishop Corston told the Anglican Journal in April 2011.

Bishop Corston, who was elected bishop in July 2010, spoke of his sadness at the decline of the diocese.  Moosonee “started in 1872 as an indigenous diocese through the Hudson’s Bay Company, and as industries moved into northern Ontario, northern Quebec the church grew along with them,” he said.

However, the diocese has been in decline for the past 50 years.  When he was a boy in the early 1960’s the diocese employed 60 full-time clergy.  When he was ordained in 1975 there were 30 full-time clergy, and when he was consecrated in 2010 there were only a dozen full-time clergy for the 350,000 square mile diocese, the bishop said.

Retired archbishop starts Yukon “street ministry”: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2013 p 6. January 25, 2013

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Old Log Rectory, Whitehorse, Yukon

On 13 January 2013 Archbishop Terry Buckle of British Columbia and the Yukon launched the “Street Hope Whitehorse” at a special service at Christ Church Cathedral in Whitehorse

The Bishop of the Yukon, the Rt. Rev. Larry Robertson, has given space to the street ministry in the town’s historic Old Log Rectory.  The rectory will serve as a base of operations for the volunteer team and will host twice weekly worship services.  The vision of the ministry, its website says, “is to reach out to people, ‘the up and out’ as well as ‘the down and out’ in a Holy Spirit enabled ministry of love and care.”

Archbishop Buckle explained they will be “reaching out to people on the streets, not just the down and out, but people, generally speaking, and merchants, just being a presence on the streets.”

“Since I’ve retired, I’ve given more thought and prayer to it and I really see a need of just going out and befriending people with acts of kindness and compassion,” Archbishop Buckle told the Whitehorse Star.

“We’re simply being there, and we can point people in right directions and help them where we can,” he said, adding “I just hope that in this whole approach to this kind of outreach ministry that people will sense the presence of God in their life and know the hope that our Lord gives and find the strength and help that they need to live out their lives.”

Hiltz calls on Canterbury to say “no” to the ACNA: Anglican Ink, December 19, 2012 December 20, 2012

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The Archbishop of Canterbury-designate Justin Welby and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada

The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada has lobbied the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate not to extend formal recognition to the Anglican Church in North America. However, the decision who is an Anglican does not rest with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The communion’s formal statement as to who is an Anglican looks to fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury and fidelity to the doctrines and disciplines set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.

The 6 Dec 2012 meeting at Auckland Castle, Durham with Bishop Justin Welby was one of four stops for Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who also met with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace and with the general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, Canon Kenneth Kearon, in London, and preached at Southwark Cathedral.

According to the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Hiltz said he mentioned his ongoing concern about efforts by the ACNA to be recognized by the Church of England. Archbishop Hiltz said he requested that if bodies of the Church of England are to meet with representatives of ACNA, “in fairness, they should also meet with us to get a better picture.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Gay blessings authorised by 3 Canadian dioceses: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2012 p 6. December 12, 2012

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The Dioceses of Quebec, Rupert’s Land and Edmonton have authorised their clergy to bless same-sex unions.

Last month the Bishop of Rupert’s Land, the Rt. Rev. Donald Phillips announced that he had given his consent to a 20 Oct 2012 resolution endorsed by the diocesan to all gay blessings. Bishop Phillips said he had initially declined to give his consent to the resolution, but had changed his mind, writing “I am now settled that it is pastorally appropriate to proceed.”

Rupert’s Land clergy will not be permitted to solemnize a same-sex marriage, but upon application to the bishop may bless same-sex couples whose marriage has already been “duly solemnized and civilly registered,” Bishop Phillips said.

On 13 October 2012 the Diocese of Edmonton Synod also passed a motion that will allow clergy to bless civilly married same-gender couples on a case-by-case basis. The diocese had permitted clergy to celebrate the existence of gay unions within the context of a Eucharistic service, but the new rules permit parishes to bless these unions.

The marriage service may not be used for these ceremonies, the diocese has told its clergy and each blessing must receive the prior approval of the bishop.

Writing in the December issue of his diocesan newspaper the Bishop of Quebec said he too was authorizing his clergy to perform rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. In his presidential address Bishop Dennis Drainville said the issue of same-sex blessings had been addressed several times by the Canadian General Synod.  It had “affirmed the place and the welcome that this church offers to all people—including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ—while also recognizing that in the Church, both locally and globally there is no common mind about how to respond to their committed partnerships.”

He noted the General Synod could not come to a “common mind” on this question and had declined to legislate.  However, it also “recognized that there are and will be a variety of  practises across Canada and in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and because this is so we must continue to talk and pray together as we seek to discern a way forward in accordance of God’s mission in the world.”

This call to conversation and study, the bishop explained, was his mandate for adopting “pastoral” same-sex blessings.  Such blessings would not have the force of ecclesial or civil law, he noted: “This act of blessing is not the performing of a marriage but rather the blessing of civil union that has already taken place.”

Other Canadian Anglican dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) also passed a motion asking its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 58, December 2, 2012 December 2, 2012

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This week Kevin and George talk about the Artificial Ecclesiastical Diocese of South Carolina (AEDOS) and some of the miscommunication between it’s leadership. They also talk about International stories from Canada and Egypt. And what episode won’t be complete without a story about Legal Violence in Zimbabwe? #AU58 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Bishop of Quebec authorizes gay blessings: Anglican Ink, December 1, 2012 December 1, 2012

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The Rt. Rev. Dennis Drainville

The Rt. Rev. Dennis Drainville

The Bishop of Quebec has authorized his clergy to perform rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

In his presidential address to the 2-4 Nov 2012 diocesan synod held in Quebec City, Bishop Dennis Drainville he would “like to proceed in the Diocese of Quebec, as several other Canadian dioceses have done, to provide both a rite of blessing and pastoral support for persons living in committed, same-gender relationships.”

The bishop’s call for gay blessings was put to debate and a motion adopted that read: “This Synod supports the bishop’s wish in his charge to Synod to permit the blessing of same-gender unions in the Diocese of Quebec and requests that he establish a working group to advise him on the implementation guidelines by the beginning of June 2013.”

Opponents of the motion argued the adoption of rites for the blessing of same-sex unions was un-Scriptural and placed the diocese at odds with the mind of the larger Anglican Communion.  However, opponents were able to must only 10 votes out of the approximately 70 delegates present.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 55, November 3, 2012 November 3, 2012

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Anglican Unscripted Hosts Kevin and George talk about Gafcon II and the need for a global Anglican Congress to protect the Communion. You will also learn about Rome’s desire to bring Protestants into the ever expanding Ordinariate. AU also asks you to pray for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and we bring you perspective from skyscraper based storm landfall.

Canon Ashey talks about the dummying down of Scripture and other news from ACC-15. Peter has the latest rumors about the Crown Nomination Committee and Allan Haley discusses the second state to refute the validity of the Dennis Canon. Comments to AnglicanUnscipted@gmail.com #AU54 Please Donate to http://www.anglican.tv/donate

Diocese of Edmonton endorses gay blessings: The Church of England Newspaper, October 21, 2012 p 7. October 25, 2012

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The Rt Rev Jane Alexander

The Diocese of Edmonton has endorsed gay blessings.  At a meeting of its diocesan synod on 13 October 2012 delegates to the Synod voted by strong majorities to accept resolution G-3 “Blessing Same-Gender Committed Unions”.  Introduced by the Dean of Edmonton the resolution asked  the “Synod request the Bishop to grant permission to any clergy who may wish to offer prayers of blessing for covenanted same-gender relationships.”

In her presidential address to the meeting, Bishop Jane Alexander urged members of the diocese to agree to disagree.  “Over the years the church has weathered some pretty divisive and combustible issues,” she noted, citing remarriage after divorce, slavery and the ordination of women.

The church had survived these fights, she asserted because Anglicans had been willing to engage in dialogue and remain united.  “Can we see each other as Christ sees us and resolve to be together, to talk together, to pray together?”

Edmonton becomes the seventh of Canada’s 30 dioceses to endorse gay blessings.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Theological college closes in Canada: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 7, 2012 p 7. October 8, 2012

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A Canadian theological school has announced that it will shut its doors at the end of the coming academic year.

The college council of the College of Emmanuel & St. Chad in Saskatoon voted to suspend operations at the end of June, 2013.  College council president Bishop James Njegovan of Brandon said the decision to close had been made in light of the “current financial condition of the college, the ongoing decline in student enrolment, and the current and projected costs of operating the college.”

In 2006 the college, the official accredited theological college for the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, sold its buildings to the University of Saskatchewan and has been renting space from a Lutheran chapel and has been seeking to develop additional programmes to make up for the sharp decline of ordinands in training.  However, the college council reported the school was unable to continue to operate with a deficit and must shut its doors.

The announcement comes amidst a worsening financial picture for the Anglican Church of Canada (ACA). In a speech to members of the synod of the ecclesiastical province of Canada last week in Montreal, Archbishop Fred Hiltz reported the ACA was running a deficit of C$900,000 after the first two quarters of 2012.

“The General Synod is struggling financially and if the truth be known we have been on this trajectory for a long time,” Archbishop Hiltz said, according to a report printed by the Montreal Anglican.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Gloomy financial future facing the Anglican Church of Canada: Anglican Ink, September 25, 2012 September 25, 2012

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Archbishop Fred Hiltz

A strict regime of cost cutting and layoffs has not cured the Anglican Church of Canada’s cash crunch, the primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz told members of the synod of the ecclesiastical province of Canada last week in Montreal.

Archbishop Hiltz stated that the close of the second quarter of 2012, the Anglican Church of Canada was running a deficit of C$900,000. The national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada are not the only institutions facing financial shortfalls, dioceses and church institutions are reporting a decline in income, and last week a seminary announced it was closing its doors.

“The General Synod is struggling financially and if the truth be known we have been on this trajectory for a long time,” Archbishop Hiltz according a report printed by the Montreal Anglican.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Windfall for Vancouver Island parish: The Church of England Newspaper, September 20, 2012 September 22, 2012

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A cash strapped Canadian parish has received a windfall after auctioning two antique Chinese armchairs found in the parish hall. On 11 Sept 2012 St. Matthias Anglican Church in Victoria, British Columbia sold a pair of 300-year-old Qing dynasty “huanghuali yokeback armchairs” at auction at Sotheby’s in New York for £400,000.

The chairs had been given to St. Matthias at some time in the church’s history, but their provenance is unknown. An antiques buff attending a Bible study in the parish hall noticed the chairs and recommended they be appraised.

The sale comes at a fortuitous time for St. Matthias as in 2009 approximately 95 per cent of the church’s members quit the diocese to join the Anglican Church in North America. The 30 parishioners left at St. Matthias had been unable to maintain the property or support the church’s ministry. Their discovery was a “godsend” said the rector, the Rev. Robert Arril, and would allow the church to carry on.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Cash-strapped Canadians coming to the aid of Michael Ingham: The Church of England Newspaper, August 26, 2012 p 6. August 23, 2012

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The cash-strapped Diocese of British Columbia has given $100,000 to the Diocese of New Westminster to help pay its expenses in the litigation over breakaway congregations.

On 3 August 2012 the Anglican Journal reported that Bishop James Cowan of British Columbia “sent a $100,000 cheque to New Westminster’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham” to help defray its expenses in its fight with conservative congregations.

However, it its report to the January meeting of the British Columbia synod, the finance committee reported the diocese would have a budget deficit of $180,000 for 2012 and had approximately $2.2 million in debt.  The 2012 budget for British Columbia would give the national church offices in Toronto $440,000; Administrative Costs would consume $450,000; the Bishop’s Office would draw $277,000, leaving $348,000 for programmes

To fund the shortfall in its 2012 budget and to pay its debts, including $315,000 in legal fees expended to evict the parishioners of the Church of St. Mary of the Incarnation, the diocese has been closing churches and selling the properties.

But in his letter to New Westminster, Bishop Cowan said his diocese was “mindful of the sacrifice made by the Diocese of New Westminster in its defence of not only property but our polity.”

In June 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the appeal of a group of breakaway congregations in New Westminster, upholding a British Columbia high court decision that held parish properties were held in trust by a diocese for the minister of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The British Columbia gift follows a 16 June gift of $250,000 from the Diocese of Toronto’s Ministry Allocation Fund.  “This is a contribution to offset the costs of litigation borne by the Diocese of New Westminster in establishing the property rights of dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada,” Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson wrote.

“We offer this contribution in recognition of the Diocese of New Westminster’s leadership in pursuing the court’s decision that affirms the principles that undergrid our ecclesiology and governance as Anglicans,” he said.

However, Toronto Diocesan Financial Council member the Rev. Murray Henderson stated he was “deeply chagrined” by the “tithe” to New Westminster.

“As a member of the Council which made the decision, I warned that conservatives would regard this action as a slap in the face. In fact many are angry; others are deeply discouraged. The money, a tithe from Toronto’s Ministry Allocation Fund, might well have been sent instead to a northern diocese in need, an action which would have the support of all Canadian Anglicans. Instead, the Diocese of Toronto has chosen to share the money in a way which can only further divide the church. As one recommending that conservative Anglicans remain within the Anglican Church of Canada, my task has been made far more difficult,” Dr. Henderson said.

“Any way you cut it, it’s a slap in the face,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

New Bible, bishops and cathedral for the Arctic: The Church of England Newspaper, June 17, 2012 p 6. June 15, 2012

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St Jude’s, Baffin Island. Photo: Anglican Journal

A new Bible, two bishops and a cathedral greeted worshippers at Canada’s Arctic Igloo Cathedral last week. Destroyed by fire in 2003, St Jude’s in Iqaluit reopened for services on 3 June 2012 with the dedication of a the first complete translation of the Bible into the language of the native Inuit people and the consecration of two bishops.

An arsonist set fire to the cathedral on Baffin Island in November 2005, destroying the Igloo shaped cathedral built in 1970. But an $8 million rebuilding campaign saw a new church arise. St. Jude’s retains its distinctive dome-and-spire “igloo” shape, but is now metal-clad and fire-resistant.

While the construction has finished, the diocese continues to raise funds to pay the final $3 million in construction costs.

Over 400 people attended the consecration of former Church Army Captain David Parsons as Bishop Co-Adjutor of the Arctic, and the Rev. Darren McCartney as his suffragan on 3 June 2012.

Capt. Parsons currently serves as regional dean of the Mackenzie Delta and is the incumbent at the church of the Ascension in Inuvik and St. David’s in Tulita, N.W.T. Mr. McCartney, a former Royal Army chaplain, is rector of St. Matthew’s in Knocknamuckley, in Northern Ireland and a former Crosslinks missionary in the Arctic.

The cathedral also welcomed the first Inuktitut-language Bible for the Inuit or Eskimo people of the Arctic. A joint project of the Canadian Bible Society and the Anglican Church of Canada, the $1.7 million project has taken 34 years to complete.

Five native Inuk Anglican clergy led the project and “for the first time in Canada, the entire translation was done by mother tongue speakers of the language rather than by missionaries,” the Canadian Bible Society said.

Translation of the New Testament was completed 20 years ago and has gone through five editions. However, the Old Testament has only now been translated. The retired Suffragan Bishop of the Arctic, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Arreak – the project coordinator – said “this is the first time our people will have the complete Bible in their language. This will open their hearts and minds to the word of God.”

Canada’s largest diocese by geographic size, the 1.5 million square miles encompasses the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nunavik.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Property settlements in Ontario announced: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2012 p 7. June 13, 2012

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The congregation of St Hilda’s leaving church for the last time. Photo: David Jenkins

Three Ontario parishes of the ACNA have reached a settlement with the Diocese of Niagara to end five years of litigation following their secession from the Anglican Church of Canada.

On 31 May 2012 the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) announced that the congregations of St. George’s in Burlington, St. Hilda’s in Oakville and the Church of the Good Shepherd in St. Catharines would turn over their properties to the diocese on 1 June.

The agreement allowed the congregations to keep certain “worship, liturgical and memorial items”.  Each party also agreed that it would be responsible for its own legal costs and would foreswear any further litigation.

The diocese also agreed to pay to one departing congregation the costs of recent property improvements.  The diocese and congregations also agreed to share the proceeds from the sale of a rectory.

The three Niagara congregations were among a dozen parishes that voted in February 2008 to quit the Anglican Church of Canada and join ANiC.  Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz condemned the departures, writing on 28 Feb 2008 that the defections were unnecessary.

The capacity for a “breadth of theological perspective” was part of the Anglican “heritage that we continue to cherish, Archbishop Hiltz said.

However, defections were been driven by a desire to remain Anglican, the executive director of ANiC told The Church of England Newspaper.

“If we did not offer them an option by the end of the year,” Cheryl Chang told the CEN, many said the “would leave Anglicanism altogether.”

The Diocese of Niagara did not respond to our query as of our going to press, but a warden at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Patricia Decker, stated the parish was “deeply grateful to God for this settlement which frees us from the threat of further litigation.”

Mrs. Decker stated the congregation was “not naïve about the challenges of continuing our ministry in temporary rented facilities, but these inconveniences are completely overshadowed by the joyful anticipation of new ministry opportunities and the blessings God has in store for us as we take this step.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Arctic election for Irish rector: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2012 p 6. June 13, 2012

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The Rev. Darren McCartney. Photo: Church of Ireland

A former Crosslink’s missionary and British Army chaplain has been elected Suffragan Bishop of the Arctic.  The Rev. Darren McCartney, rector of Knocknamuckley in the Church of Ireland’s Diocese of Down and Dromore will be consecrated on 2 June 2012 at the “igloo cathedral” in Iqaluit on Baffin Island.

A Crosslinks missionary with his wife, Karen, to the Arctic, Mr. McCartney was ordained in the Arctic in 2004 and ministered at St Luke’s Church in Pangnirtung before returning to Ulster in 2006.

The Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Rt. Rev. Harold Miller said he was “absolutely thrilled to hear of the election.”

“Darren was ordained in the Arctic and exercised a very effective ministry there before returning to Northern Ireland. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his wife Karen on the occasion of his consecration on Trinity Sunday. We look forward to celebrating with him when he returns. May the rich blessings of God be on Darren’s episcopal ministry,” Bishop Miller said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Canadian church reports sharp drop in income: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2012 p 7. June 7, 2012

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The Anglican Church of Canada will draw upon its endowment funds to close a 7.25 per cent deficit in its budget for fiscal year 2011, the church’s treasurer told the Council of General Synod this week.

Treasurer Michele George told the members of COGS – the church’s governing body between meetings of General Synod – that the 2011 budget had been based upon income and expenditures of approximately $12 million – with an anticipated surplus of income over expenses of $18,000.

However, the year ended with a deficit of $873,000 which was reduced to $65,000 through the use of income from “undesignated legacies”, Ms George told delegates on 26 May 2012 at the COGS meeting in Mississauga, Ontario.

The treasurer said a drop in contributions from the dioceses coupled with lower than expected investment returns led to the deficit.

“We’re clearly struggling at the moment,” Ms. George told COGS, Anglican Journal reported.

The church’s annual appeal was off by $752,000 while diocesan contributions were $273,000 below target.  However, reserves of $400,000 eased these deficits, the treasurer said.

The market value of the church’s investments declined by $300,000 Ms. George said.  The 2011 budget had anticipated more than $150,000 in investment revenue but instead lost $164,000, she said according to the church’s news service.

“We’re clearly struggling at the moment,” Ms. George told COGS, the Anglican Journal reported.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican TV Episode 42, June 2, 2012 June 2, 2012

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So much news so little time. In this week’s Anglican Unscripted Kevin, George, Peter, and Alan bring you the latest Anglican News. Peter brings news of a Diamond Jubilee and Women Bishops in England. Alan delivers the latest supreme court news from The Falls Church. Kevin and George talk about a cancer in the Anglican Communion and updated betting on the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 39, May 11, 2012 May 11, 2012

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Kevin and George are at it again. This week they tackle the tough topic of people in purple, The Anglican Mission in America, Same Sex Marriage, and communication in in the church. Peter has breaking news from Ireland and AS Haley brings legal news from Orange Beach California. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com and twitter #au39

Synod may merge 7 Eastern Canadian dioceses into 3: The Church of England Newspaper, April 29, 2012, p 6. May 4, 2012

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The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada

The Ecclesiastical Province of Canada – the domestic province of the Anglican Church of Canada covering Quebec and the Maritime Provinces – will entertain a motion at its provincial synod to consolidate its seven dioceses into three.

In a statement released on 17 April 2012, the province said the motion put forward by the Provincial Governance Task Force seeks to create “a leaner, more efficient ecclesiastical province better equipped to carry out God’s mission in eastern Canada.”

“We should start from a presumption that greater cooperation among the dioceses is desirable,” said Archbishop Claude Miller, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada and Bishop of Fredericton. “Then we need to determine which structures may best achieve this outcome.”

Consolidating dioceses “recognizes the changing demographic of the Anglican Church within the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada in terms of both decreasing numbers and the increased cost of providing ecclesiastical services within our seven existing dioceses,” the explanatory note accompanying the motion stated.

Among the proposals are merging the dioceses of Eastern, Central and Western Newfoundland – which were formed out of the Diocese of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1976 – back to a single diocese.  The Diocese of Fredericton, which covers the province of New Brunswick, could be merged with the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, while the dioceses of Quebec and Montreal could form a single diocese.

According to the 2011 Anglican Church Directory, Montreal has 96 active clergy, 66 parishes and approximately 12,000 members on its parish rolls. Quebec has only 23 clergy, 45 parishes and 4000 members.

Fredericton has 69 active clergy, 85 parishes and approximately 24,000 members, while Nova Scotia &  PEI has 127 clergy, 111 parishes and 127,000 members.

Western Newfoundland has 27 clergy, 32 parishes and 36,000 members; Central Newfoundland 34 clergy, 32 parishes and 33,000 members and Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has 48 clergy, 27 parishes and 61,000 members.

Depopulation of rural Canada is placing pressure on the Anglican Church of Canada to change its current structures.  At its 5 June 2011 meeting of synod the Diocese of Moosonee voted to dissolve the diocese due to a sharp fall in the northern diocese’s population.  Delegates unanimously adopted a resolution directing its officers to begin talks with the Province of Ontario to dissolve the diocese and create a mission area to oversee its 26 parishes.

In November 2009 Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal and Bishop Dennis Drainville of Quebec initiated a two year “discernment process” to look into “opportunities and obstacles to partnership” between the two dioceses including a possible merger.

In 2009 Bishop Drainville told the Canadian House of Bishops his diocese was “teetering on the verge of extinction.”  Of the diocese’s 82 congregations, 50 were childless and 35 congregations had an average age of 75.  These graying congregations often had no more than 10 people in church on Sundays, he said.  “The critical mass isn’t there, there’s no money anymore,” he said.

Between 1961 and 2001 the Anglican Church of Canada lost 53 per cent of its members, with numbers declining from 1.36 million to 642,000.  The rate of decline has increased in recent years, according to an independent report given to the Canadian House of Bishops in 2006 by retired marketing expert Keith McKerracher.

If the motion passes the September meeting of synod, the province will undertake to “explore possible realignment of dioceses,” and then report back to the 2015 meeting of synod for further action.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Pipeline protest from Canada’s bishops: The Church of England Newspaper, April 22, 2012 p 5. April 26, 2012

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The Bishops of the province of British Columbia and the Yukon have urged Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) to show “integrity, fairness and freedom from political pressure” in its deliberations on the construction of a gas pipeline.

In a statement adopted at their March meeting the six Western Canadian bishops urged the government to pay close attention to the concerns of the regions indigenous people as well as those of environmental activists.

The proposed $5.5 billion will build two 1200 km pipelines from Alberta to British Columbia to transport crude oil extracted from the regions tar sands for export and refining.  Local “First Nations” groups have opposed the project saying it could devastate the land.

“In a project of this magnitude, it is imperative that the final NEB Report on Northern

Gateway be thorough and credible and command wide public support,” the bishops wrote.

“To this end, it will be critical to hear the views of all people who live along the intended route of the pipeline. In particular, we call upon the Board to pay close attention to the concerns expressed by First Nations communities whose traditional territories and waters the proposed pipeline and the marine supertanker traffic would cross.”

“In the Christian year, this is the season of Holy Week,” the bishops said.

“Throughout the nations, churches of every kind are recalling the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that the created world, which flows from his life, will be respected and safeguarded by all,” they wrote.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Settlement reached in Niagara lawsuits: Anglican Ink, March 13, 2012 March 13, 2012

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St Hilda's Oakville Ontario
The Anglican Network in Canada – the ACNA’s Canadian wing – reports that a tentative settlement agreement has been reached between the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Niagara and three congregations that quit the diocese in 2008.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Cathedral performance for The Vagina Monologues: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2012 p 6. February 23, 2012

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First printed in The Church of England Newspapers.

An Anglican church in Ontario will host a production of The Vagina Monologues with eight female clergy taking part in the production.

The Valentine’s Day performance of the controversial 1990’s play written by Eve Ensler will be performed before the altar of St. George’s Anglican Church in St. Catharines, Ontario.  The ensemble offered the first show last week at Christ Church Cathedral to an enthusiastic reception, local newspapers reported.

The Rev. Pamela Guyatt told The Standard she was not concerned by the content or language of the play.  “The language in the play, 90% of us women have said it or thought it,” she told the newspaper. “It’s about being what we are and being it in a church.”

“If the church isn’t aware of these stories, there’s something wrong with us,” said Rev. Valerie Kerr, the rector of St. George’s. “It’s about social justice.”

However critics of the play have argued the staging of a scabrous drama was neither daring nor particularly avant garde.  “Apparently the Diocese of Niagara will try just about anything except Christianity to entice people into its buildings: the place was full for the first time this century,” one conservative commentator noted.

The Vagina Monologues consists of eight monologues by female characters that revolve around the topic of the vagina.  While the topics range from sex, menstruation to rape, the theme of the play, the author has stated is the empowerment of women.  In recent years feminist activists have added new monologues to commemorate new issues involving women’s issues.

The play has had a controversial history and is a perennial battle on the campuses of some universities with conservatives blasting the play’s language and moral message.  In 2003, the Cardinal Newman Society began a campaign that has so far shown mixed results to stop the staging of the play at Catholic Universities.

Some feminists have also criticized the play for its anti-male, lesbian biases. Feminist author Wendy McElroy said she was troubled that the play “equates men with ‘the enemy’ and heterosexual love with violence”.

“A play that claims to unveil the truth about vaginas but, somehow, overlooks the salutary role men play in most women’s sexuality has no credibility,” Mrs. McElroy claimed.

One of the monologues, entitled The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could glorifies the rape of a 13 year old girl by an adult women — describing it as a healing experience. The original production included the line, “If it was rape, it was a good rape.” It is not known if the clergy production used the original text.

Alternative episcopal ministry in Montreal: The Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2011 p 6. November 16, 2011

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Bishop Barry Clarke

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Montreal has agreed to allow the former Bishop of Western Newfoundland to provide alternative episcopal oversight to conservative clergy and congregations in the diocese.  Proposed by the Windsor Report, “shared episcopal ministry” was  endorsed by the Canadian House of Bishops in 2004.  However, last week’s announcement from Montreal marks its first trial use in Canada.

In his opening address to the diocesan synod meeting on 27 Oct 2011, Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal said a tentative agreement had been reached whereby Bishop Leonard Whitten would offer episcopal ministry to conservatives .  While legal jurisdiction would remain with the Bishop of Montreal, the diocese was offering a “pastoral response to a need that needs to be addressed,” Bishop Clarke said.

“I would continue to be the diocesan bishop of both the bishop and the parishes,” he explained.

Conservative clergy and congregations have been at odds with Bishop Clarke since the 2007 meeting of synod requested the bishop authorize rights for the blessing of same-sex marriages.  On 31 Oct 2008, Bishop Clarke announced he would go ahead with the blessings, even though the Canadian House of Bishops had requested the church honour the wishes of the 2008 Lambeth Conference and not proceed with the innovation.

Dissension grew in 2010 after Bishop Clarke inducted as Dean of Montreal and rector of Christ Church Cathedral the Rev. Paul Kennington.  The new dean described himself as “liberal in ethics, evangelical in preaching, catholic in liturgy and orthodox in his understanding of Trinitarian theology and Christology.”

The news drew protests from conservative clergy who objected to the appointment of a divorced father of three who entered into a civil union in May 2010 while serving as a priest in the Church of England.  In the absence of the bishop, the dean exercises ecclesiastical oversight over the clergy in Montreal.

The shared episcopal ministry agreement was agreed at a 19 Oct 2011 meeting in Montreal between the two bishops and six clergy.

The Rev Canon Bruce Glencross told the Montreal diocesan newspaper that he and other clergy would request Bishop Whitten’s ministry in their personal capacity, while a number of congregations were expected to seek alternative oversight following a vote by the parish.

Bishop Whitten (75) retired from Western Newfoundland in 2003 after serving for six years as bishop.  He has since been active in the ministries of Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA) and Anglican Renewal Ministries.

Court loss for Ontario parish in property fight: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 25, 2011 August 28, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

An Ontario Court has ruled in favour of the Diocese of Huron in its dispute with the congregation of St Aidan’s Church in Windsor over the trusteeship of the parish property.

On 15 August, the court held that under Canadian law a parish and congregation have the same legal meaning, and were interchangeable words The Ontario Superior Court has decided that the property and assets of St Aidan’s in Windsor, Ontario, are held in trust for a St Aidan’s “parish” within the Diocese of Huron of the Anglican Church of Canada.

In his decision, Justice David Little held that the words “parish” and “congregation” were interchangeable terms that meant “distinct separate unit, rather than a compilation of its congregants at any one time”, and that as such the legal entity who controlled the property were not the people in the pews but “St Aidan’s Parish of the Diocese of Huron.”

In 2008 the congregation quit the Anglican Church of Canada and joined the Anglican Network in Canada, due to the innovations of doctrine and discipline permitted recently in the Canadian Church, including same-sex marriages.

Cheryl Chang, Special Counsel to ANiC said, “While we are extremely disappointed with this decision, we are not surprised, given previous decisions in the Canadian courts. From our perspective, nothing has changed. The church is the people or the ‘congregation’, despite the judge’s interpretation of that word and the ANiC congregation of St Aidan’s will continue to worship and carry out their mission and ministry regardless of location.”

In a letter to the congregation, the rector of St Aidan’s, the Rev Tom Carmen, said “within hours of the court’s decision being released, the Diocese of Huron had changed the locks on the building and demanded that we come to remove all personal belongings.”

“We were astounded by this unnecessarily hasty and harsh action, especially since they have little need for the building for their tiny group. Nevertheless, we have been blessed to experience the outpouring of love by the Christian community here in Windsor,” Mr Carmen said, noting other churches had made “generous offers of assistance – including facilities for our congregation to worship in.”

In a statement released by the Diocese, Bishop Robert Bennett said his “first reaction was to call the diocese to prayer for both those faithful Anglicans who continued as members of St Aidan’s, Diocese of Huron; and also for those who found they could no longer stay within the diocesan family.

“It is now time to move on to that place where the Holy Spirit leads. We intend to re-mission St Aidan’s in the very place where it has proudly witnessed to the Gospel since 1923.

“My hope is that the disaffected members of St Aidan’s will also find that good place where God leads. St Aidan’s will continue to warmly welcome all who strive to follow the way of Jesus within the diocesan family of Huron,” the Bishop said.

An appeal has been filed by the parish as has a request for a stay of execution of the judgment, allowing the congregation to return to the church pending a final court ruling.

Damages paid in New Westminster case: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 24, 2011 August 25, 2011

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The Rt. Rev. Don Harvey

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of New Westminster reports that on July 29 it received payment of $155,000 (£96,000) in legal costs from the representatives of the vestry and clergy of four breakaway congregations that quit the diocese, eventually joining the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

The payment of court costs marks the final chapter in the dispute between Canada’s largest Anglican parish, St John’s, Shaughnessy, which along with St Matthew’s, Abbotsford, Good Shepherd, Vancouver, and St Matthias & St Luke’s, Vancouver quit the Diocese of New Westminster.

In 2008, the four parishes voted to withdraw and join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) in response to the innovations of doctrine and discipline, chiefly surrounding issues of human sexuality, introduced by New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham.

Litigation commences for control of the $20 million parish properties and last November the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a 2009 decision awarding the properties to the Diocese. It also affirmed the trial court’s ruling that a $2.2 million bequest belonged to ANiC. In January 2011 the four parishes sought leave to appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court of Canada.  On June 16 the Supreme Court denied the parishes leave to appeal closing the door to further litigation.

A statement released by the diocese noted: “in the Canadian court system, costs are generally awarded to the party that has been substantially successful, with those costs paid by the opposing litigants, but costs are awarded according to a variety of scales at each level and often the costs are a moderate percentage of the actual costs incurred.”

“The desire of the bishop and diocese is to put this era of legal wrangling behind us as much as possible and move forward with ministry. As a result, the costs were negotiated by counsel for both parties without going through the further potentially costly legal process of assessment in the fall of 2011,” the diocesan statement read.

In a pastoral letter released after the Supreme Court decision was published, Bishop Don Harvey of ANiC wrote, “when the history of our Church is written, the date of June 16th will receive very special mention. It was on that day, nine years ago that a relatively few members of the Synod of New Westminster made the fateful decision that they no longer were able to remain in a church that was showing itself unfaithful to the Word of God. They felt that as precious as unity was, it still came secondary to truth and that the time had come to put their strong faith into action.”

Bishop Harvey commended the congregations for their faithfulness, and noted that while the decision was disappointing, “it will become obvious that God has been in control throughout, not that we ever doubted it, and that this is yet another step in our mission to restore the Anglican Church in our land to be faithful to the Word of God as expressed in Holy Scripture and its historic formularies.”

Canadian Supreme Court denies ANiC appeal: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2011 p 6. June 26, 2011

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St John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Four Vancouver area parishes of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) have announced they will vacate their properties.

The trustees of Canada’s largest Anglican parish — St John’s, Shaughnessy, along with St Matthew’s, Abbotsford, Good Shepherd, Vancouver, and St Matthias & St Luke’s, Vancouver, will turn their buildings over to the Diocese of New Westminster in light of the 16 June decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to deny them leave to appeal a lower court ruling in favour of the diocese.

The court’s decision not to hear their appeal was “extremely disappointing,” said Cheryl Chang, a former Trustee of St John’s, Shaughnessy, and Special Counsel to ANiC. “We were hoping for a better result when we sought help from the courts. However, we always said that given a choice, we would choose our faith over our properties, and we have been willing to make that sacrifice if called upon by the courts to do so.”

Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster stated he was pleased the lawsuit for control of the properties had finally finished. “The money, time and energy taken up by this long and unnecessary conflict can now be directed back to the real work of the Church,” he said, adding it was “now time to move forward.”

The Bishop assured the breakaway congregations they could continue to worship in the buildings. “However, the clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada must now leave their pulpits. I will work with these congregations to find suitable and mutually acceptable leaders, so that the mission of the Church may continue in these places,” Bishop Ingham said.

In 2008, the four parishes voted to quit the Diocese and join ANiC in response to the innovations of doctrine and discipline, chiefly surrounding issues of human sexuality, introduced by Bishop Ingham.

Litigation commences for control of the $20 million parish properties and last November the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a 2009 decision awarding the properties to the Diocese. It also affirmed the trial court’s ruling that a $2.2 million bequest belonged to ANiC. In January 2011 the four parishes sought leave to appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mrs Chang told The Church of England Newspaper their faith had been sorely tested, “particularly in the early years as we grappled with the decisions regarding litigation. However, I believe it strengthened us as Christians and as congregations. It made us walk by faith, pray more, and choose to be willing to suffer and sacrifice.”

The lawsuit had been worth fighting she said. “I pray this will help to advance the gospel in Canada,” Mrs Chang told CEN, and “although I can’t speak for everyone, I certainly hope and believe that it has not soured the ANiC family.”

Canadian diocese calls it quits: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2011 p 7. June 14, 2011

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Bishop Thomas Corston of Moosonee

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Moosonee synod has voted to dissolve the diocese.  Delegates to the June 3-5 diocesan synod in Timmins, Ontario unanimously adopted a resolution directing its officers to begin talks with the Province of Ontario to dissolve the diocese and create a mission area to oversee its 26 parishes.

“Nothing will change immediately,” Bishop Thomas Corston told the synod.  “We are simply preparing a way forward for our diocese when it becomes clear that we need to make the jump.”

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of the North last year announced that its grant in aid for the diocese would be cut from $249,000 to $125,000 per year. The diocese responded by selling a number of diocesan properties, including the bishop’s home.  However, declining revenues and fewer Anglicans in the pews was leading inexorably to bankruptcy, the bishop said.

The synod considered three options: do nothing, prepare for dissolution, or transfer the southern deaneries to the Dioceses of Algoma and Quebec, leaving a purely Cree Indian and Inuit diocese in the north around Hudson’s Bay.

However, Bishop Corston said “we don’t know the response that we will get from others—Algoma, Quebec, Council of the North, Provincial Synod, or General Synod—so we have to keep our options open and flexible to respond to reality as it comes into being over the next few years.”

“If the General Synod money supply [for the diocese] collapses after the General Synod session in 2013 – then we need to be in a position to act quickly,” the bishop said.

It the money supply “improves dramatically, which seems most unlikely, but is a remotely possible, then we are keeping open the ‘stay as we are option’ – but only if the General Synod can provide the funding for this on a long-term and stable basis,” the bishop said.

A downturn in the mining and paper industries has hurt the diocese. “Much of the forest industry has shut down in the area. There’s no pulp and paper industry anymore,” Bishop Corston told the Anglican Journal in April.

Bishop Corston, who was elected bishop in July 2010, spoke of his sadness at the decline of the diocese.  Moosonee “started in 1872 as an indigenous diocese through the Hudson’s Bay Company, and as industries moved into northern Ontario, northern Quebec the church grew along with them,” he said.

However, the diocese has been in decline for the past 50 years.  When he was a boy in the early 1960’s the diocese employed 60 full-time clergy.  When he was ordained in 1975 there were 30 full-time clergy, and when he was consecrated in 2010 there were only a dozen full-time clergy for the 350,000 square mile diocese, the bishop said.

If the Ontario Provincial Synod agrees to allow the neighboring dioceses to take on oversight of the 26 parishes, the request will be forwarded to the 2013 meeting of General Synod for final action, and a motion to dissolve will be put to the diocesan synod.

Wage spiritual war against polluters, bishop urges: The Church of England Newspaper, May 20, 2011 p 6. May 23, 2011

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Bishop Mark MacDonald

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s bishop for indigenous or “first nations” peoples has lent his support to environmental and ethnic minority groups fighting the exploitation of their lands by multi-national mining companies.

Speaking to approximately 150 delegates representing native peoples from 20 American, Asian and African countries at an ecumenical conference on mining held May 1-3 in Toronto, Bishop Mark MacDonald said resistance to the despoliation of the land was a form of “a spiritual warfare.”

Bishop MacDonald told delegates to the mining justice conference the issue was “not about the quality of life but the way of life and life itself.”

“God placed us on this earth to have a unique relationship with it. It is irreplaceable,” the bishop said.

Representatives from Guatemala, the Philippines and other developing nations, spoke of the environmental degradation of their ancestral lands by Western multi-nationals. They also charged local governments with abetting the destruction of the environment, seeking quick tax revenues at the expense of the displacement of native peoples and the destruction of their communities.

Bishop MacDonald, who served as the Episcopal Church’s Bishop of Alaska before accepting the position of bishop for Canada’s First Nations peoples, noted that even after centuries of colonization, indigenous people have “refused to sever the connection between land, culture and meaning, which have lost meaning in the developed and developing world.”

According to an account of the meeting published by the Anglican Journal, Bishop MacDonald urged Christians to stand in solidarity with the rural poor, whose way of life and lands were being destroyed to support Western consumption. While the cost of solidarity was high, “it is God’s future for us,” the bishop said.

“The key purpose of the gathering is to develop alliances between church leaders from the North and South in their efforts to achieve mining justice around the world,” conference organizers said in their closing communiqué.

“As churches, we recognize our internal contradictions and complicity with respect to resource extraction, and the urgent need to practice responsible consumption and citizenship. Therefore as people of faith who are members of local church congregations, we need to further develop our theological understandings of the issue, address our individual and collective lifestyles, develop an alternative economic model, and challenge the political and economic powers that drive the resource extraction industry,” the communiqué declared.

Canadian ‘no’ to communion without baptism: The Church of England Newspaper, April 29, 2011 p 7. May 4, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has rejected calls to permit those not baptized to be allowed to receive the “sacrament of the holy Eucharist.”

At the close of their April 11-15 meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario the bishops reaffirmed the church’s canons and traditional practice stating only those baptized would be permitted to receive.  “We do not see this as changing for the foreseeable future,” the bishops said.

The bishops’ debate follows a March 7 “Guest Reflection” published in Canada’s Anglican Journal by Dr. Gary Nicolosi who argued for a relaxation in the church’s Eucharistic discipline as a way of attracting more people to church.

“How, in our multicultural and pluralistic society, can our churches be places of hospitality if we exclude table fellowship with the non-baptized,” Dr. Nicolosi asked.

“Open communion increasingly is seen as a way to build a bridge between the church and the unchurched. If people are ‘spiritual but not religious’ as several sociological studies indicate, then the desire for transcendence experienced in sacramental worship may well draw them to church,” he argued.

He added that “open communion played a major part in the rapid growth of my parish in Southern California. I saw the same scenario repeated many times—non-Christians receiving Holy Communion and experiencing God in a powerful way, leading to a desire to be baptized. Therefore, I ask: might we not see the experience of receiving communion as a way of drawing people to faith in Jesus?”

The bishops were not convinced by this argument, however, but acknowledged that an “open table” or “open communion” was practised in some parts of the Canadian church.  This deviation from canons and customs “arises out of a deep concern to express Christian hospitality,” they noted.  However guidance on “Christian hospitality and mission and how these relate to the Table of Christ” would be given to the church following the bishop’s October meeting in Halifax.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Fred Hiltz stated the bishops were cognizant of the potential of the sacrament of Eucharist for leading some unchurched people to baptism. “No one is dismissing that, but at the same time, a good pastoral coach can help people understand how baptism and the Eucharist complement each other.”

In the Episcopal Church the practise of open communion is more widespread, though it is also forbidden by canon law.  A study conducted released in 2005 by the Diocese of Northern California, which had advocated allowing open communion, estimated that a majority of dioceses had congregations that permitted open communion.

Of the church’s 110 dioceses, 48 responded to the Northern California survey.  Of those 24, reported they had parishes who practice open communion, or communion without baptism (CWOB) while a further 7 dioceses were reported to “probably allow CWOB.”

Settlements and appeals in Canadian church property cases: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 18, 2011 p 6. February 21, 2011

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St John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Ottawa and the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) have negotiated a settlement in their dispute over the property of two congregations that quit the diocese for the breakaway Anglican group.

Last week the diocese and ANiC announced that the Ottawa parishes of St Alban the Martyr and St. George’s would leave the diocese with the parish assets divided between the parties.  St. George’s would retain its property but St Alban’s would turn its building over to the diocese, while both parishes would change their names.

In 2008 the two congregations quit the diocese in response to the innovations of doctrine and discipline practiced by the Anglican Church of Canada.   and

“We are deeply grateful to God for this settlement,” said the rector St Alban’s, the Rev George Sinclair.

“When the Diocese of Ottawa sued our two parishes and personally sued the rectors and elected leaders of the parishes, it seemed the matter would inevitably be decided by the court,” Mr. Sinclair said.

But now “we are looking forward to not having to deal with this issue any longer. We see ourselves as giving up the building for the cause of Christ.”

The Rev. David Crawley, the rector of St George’s noted that “while each party had to compromise, we are grateful to have reached an agreed upon division of assets in order to avoid the further cost and acrimony of litigation.”

The settlement of the Ottawa cases is the first negotiated settlement in Canada of the property disputes arising from the secession of congregations to the conservative Anglican Network in Canada.

No settlement in the New Westminster cases appears likely, as the case now proceeds to Canada’s Supreme Court for adjudication.  On Jan 14 the parish trustees of four Vancouver area congregations filed an application for leave to appeal the November ruling of the British Columbia Court of Appeals decision awarding control of the buildings to the Diocese of New Westminster.

The Trustees will argue the Appeals Court was correct in holding that the churches were held in trust for the purpose of Anglican ministry, but erred in defining Anglican ministry as being the sole province of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“The Court of Appeal acknowledged that the awarding of these properties to the Diocese of New Westminster could well mean that the churches would have “vastly reduced or non-existent congregations””, said Cheryl Chang, ANiC’s special counsel.

“But this result actually serves to defeat the religious purpose and results in the trust property being empty or underused. The evidence at trial showed the awarding of the properties to the ANiC congregations would mean that the original purposes of Anglican Ministry would continue to be fulfilled in those church properties.  In contrast, the Diocese is in a process of closing and selling churches,” Ms Chang said.

Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster told his diocesan newspaper that he was “saddened” by the appeal, saying it was a “costly and divisive” decision that would “consume even more of the time, energy and money that should be used for the mission of the Church.”

Toronto gay blessings do not breach the moratoria on gay blessings, ACC rules: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 18, 2011. February 19, 2011

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Bishop Linda Nicholls at Lambeth 2008

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The appointment of advocates of same-sex blessings to the Anglican Communion’s ARCIC team does not violate the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ban on participation in ecumenical dialogue of those who propagate views contrary to the church’s teachings on human sexuality.

On Feb 4, ACNS reported that ten Anglicans, including an American priest working in the UK and the suffragan bishop of Toronto had been appointed to the ecumenical dialogue commission which is scheduled to meet this May in Italy.

While conservatives have not disputed the intellectual merits of Canon Mark McIntosh of the Diocese of Chicago or suffragan Bishop Linda Nicholls of Toronto, their appointment by the ACC has prompted criticism for undoing the strictures put into place by Dr. Rowan Williams last year against the participation of members of provinces in breach of the communion’s moratoria on gay bishops and blessings.

It also serves to further erode the credibility of the ACC staff, which has been under sharp criticism from leaders of the Global South and Gafcon movement, and makes the possibility of a rapprochement within the communion less likely.

In his Pentecost letter of May 28, 2010, Dr. Rowan Williams stated that members of provinces that were in breach of the moratoria would no longer participate in the communion’s ecumenical dialogues.

“Provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged,” Dr. Williams wrote.

In a June 7, 2010 press conference during the Canadian General Synod in Halifax, ACC secretary general Canon Kenneth Kearon explained the decision to remove Americans from the dialogue commissions.  That church’s consecration of Bishop Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles “meant that gracious restraint was not being exercised.”

By consecrating a ‘gay’ bishop, it was “clear that The Episcopal Church does not share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion as expressed through the Instruments of Communion time and time again,” Canon Kearon said.

“If they don’t share the faith and order, then they shouldn’t represent the Communion on faith and order questions” and in ecumenical dialogues, the ACC secretary general explained, adding that it was “at the very minimum to be honouring to our ecumenical partners so that they know who they are in conversation with,” Canon Kearon said.

Canon McIntosh, who served as canon theologian to US Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and was co-author of the Episcopal Church’s apologia for gay bishops and blessings to the 2005 ACC meeting, did not count as an American as he now held a position at an English university, the ACC said.

Bishop Linda Nicholls of Toronto was not barred either, ACC spokesman Jan Butter said, as “Canada has not formally breached the moratoria. It was made clear at the time that it was the members of those Churches that had who would be asked to serve as consultants” and not participants in the dialogues.

However, Bishop Nicholls endorsed the plan put forward by the Diocese of Toronto’s House of Bishops last year that formally instituted rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

It was “quite clear” the Toronto College of Bishops “made a decision not to abide by the moratorium on same sex blessings.  Further, the College has decided that a diocese is at liberty to move ahead unilaterally in this matter,”  Dr. Murray Henderson of the Diocese of Toronto, vice-chairman of the Anglican Communion Alliance in Canada, told The Church of England Newspaper.

“I regard this as a grave action endangering the catholic faith and order of the church,” he said, noting the Toronto bishops were “acting on the disputed assumption that the Provinces are now merely a loose federation of independent churches.”

“I very much doubt that Canon Kearon, speaking as he does for the Archbishop of Canterbury, has reversed his policy of not allowing members of churches which move beyond the common faith and order of the Communion to serve on international commissions such as ARCIC.  It is therefore puzzling and disheartening that a member of the Diocese of Toronto has been so appointed,” Dr. Henderson said.

Second Canadian-African bishops meeting set for this week: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 18, 2011 p 6. February 19, 2011

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2010 meeting of Canadian and African bishops in London

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Ten African and ten Western Anglican bishops are scheduled to meet in Dar es Salaam next week for the second annual Western and African Bishops’ conference.

Organized by the Anglican Church of Canada in response to Resolution 12 of the Anglican Consultative Council’s 13th meeting in Nottingham in 2005, which encouraged “listening” to the disparate voices and beliefs on homosexuality across the Anglican Communion, the first meeting was held Feb 24-26, 2010 at the ACC’s offices in London.

The first meeting brought together five Canadian bishops from dioceses that have adopted or are in the process of drawing up same-sex blessings with six bishops drawn from the African church’s progressive wing.  The bishops were paired in discussion groups and at the end of the conference released a statement commending their experience of “holy listening.”

The bishops said in 2010 that “in spite of differences, we strongly affirm our commitment to each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ and as members in the Anglican Communion. As we continue to learn about each other’s mission contexts, cultures, values and languages, each of us grows in deeper mutual understanding of theological and ethical positions — both our own and those of our partners.”

Dialogue was not about “trying to make someone change their position, but is about working together better to understand the fullness of our stories, affirmations and commitments,” they said.

“To do so requires that we meet, that we converse, that we commit to this holy listening and honest, respectful speech with openness and prayerful thanksgiving for the gift that is the other,” they said, arguing that this was “the gift of communion we share in Christ: that we are one, in his body.”

Participants in the first gathering included the bishops of Niagara, New Westminster, Ontario, Ottawa and Toronto, and the bishops of Botswana, Central Tanganyika, Mombasa, Southern Malawi, Tanga and the suffragan bishop of Cape Town.

The 2011 meeting will be expanded to ten aside, with American, Australian and English bishops added to the team, along with an equal number of African bishops.  The Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham will be paired with the chairman of the ACC, Bishop James Tengatenga and are scheduled to make a presentation on human sexuality to the meeting.

Canadian ordinariate organizing conference called: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 21, 2011 p 9. January 26, 2011

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The Rt. Rev. Peter Wilkinson OSG, Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto has issued an invitation to Canadian Anglicans interested in “the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus” to attend a conference this March in Ontario.

Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, who has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as the Vatican’s “delegate” to Canadian Anglicans seeking to join the Pope’s Personal Ordinariate, has scheduled the meeting for March 24-26 at Mississauga’s Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre.

Defined by the Vatican News Service as aa canonical structure that provides for corporate reunion in such a way that allows former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican patrimony,” the ordinariate has already drawn one Canadian parish: St John the Evangelist in Calgary.  On March 12, 2010 the bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC)—a member church of the Traditional Anglican Communion—petitioned the Vatican for the creation of a Canadian branch of the ordinariate.

However, the number of members of the Anglican Church of Canada set to depart for Rome is unclear.  Further secessions from the ACC are likely to go to the Anglican Network in Canada—part of the Anglican Church in North America—rather than to the ordinariate, The Church of England Newspaper has learned.  Following the ACCC’s decision to accept the pope’s invitation, 12 of the church’s 42 congregations withdrew rather than go over to Rome.

ANiC to appeal to Canada’s Supreme Court: The Church of England Newspaper, Dec 17, 2010 p 7. December 18, 2010

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Canada's largest parish, St. John’s, Shaughnessy in Vancouver

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) has filed an appeal with Supreme Court of Canada, asking it to overturn a British Columbia Court of Appeals ruling that awarded control of the property of its four Vancouver-area breakaway congregations to the diocese of New Westminster.

On Dec 12 the parishes announced that they would be filing an appeal of the Nov 15 decision upholding a trial court ruling by Justice Stephen Kelleher that the property of  St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford, St. John’s, Shaughnessy, St. Mathias & St. Luke and Church of the Good Shepherd  should remain within the Diocese of New Westminster.

In a joint statement, the parish councils said that after a period of “prayer, consultation, reflection and discernment” they would take their case forward.

“This is not the path any of us would have preferred,” the noted, “however, we initiated court proceedings when threats to replace trustees began to be carried out and when the diocese caused banks to freeze two parishes’ bank accounts.”

“The Trustees of the four parishes sought the court’s direction and clarification as to their status and responsibilities.  The courts have agreed that the bishop did not have the lawful authority to fire or replace the Trustees,” they said.

In an interview with AnglicanTV, Cheryl Chang of ANiC noted the parishes “won four of five points” at issue before the BC Appeals Court.  However, on the fifth point, the control of the property, the courts said “we can’t disrupt the structure of the Anglican Church of Canada so we are going to let the properties go to them,” she said.

“What is at stake” for the congregations, was that “you either have to deny your faith or leave your buildings,” Ms. Chang said.

However, in a statement released on Nov 30 the diocese said “no one has ever been required to act against their conscience” on the issue of same-sex blessings.

“No one is being asked to leave or relocate.”However, the “clergy now aligned with [ANiC] will need to continue their ministry in other locations,” the diocese said.

It added the issue “before the Court was not about sexuality nor the truth of the Gospel. Rather, litigants sought to take possession of diocesan buildings and assets after they had removed themselves from the Anglican Church of Canada.”

However, the parish councils said “this has always been about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the authority and interpretation of Scripture.  We are seeking to continue our biblically faithful and historic Anglican tradition and witness in church buildings that were founded and built for that purpose.”

The Diocese of New Westminster responded to the announcement saying it did “not believe that there is any need to take any further court challenges, which will incur more expense and anxiety.”

Ms. Chang said she believed the Canadian Supreme Court would hear the appeal as the issue effected litigation in a number of provinces and because the Court of Appeals ruling overturned the existing laws on church property disputes.

She noted that the prior standard the Courts in Canada used in determining ownership of the property in the event of a church schism was to look at the doctrine of the two parties and see which conformed to its traditional teachings.

The tenets of the Canadian Church’s Solemn Declaration of 1893, which set out the doctrine and disciple of the church, had been altered by Bishop Michael Ingham and the Diocese of New Westminster, she said.  The purpose of the “original trust” articulated in the Solemn Declaration “was now frustrated,” she said, and under Canadian law, the courts had the “opportunity” to reform the church’s covenants so as to permit its original intentions to be fulfilled.

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