BREAKING NEWS: ANiC parishes under attack, priests suspended
The hammer is falling on congregations that voted this past week to seek Bishop Don’s oversight. In Niagara, this news release was issued. As the Anglican Journal reports, both St George’s and St Hilda’s have been informed that the diocese has appointed “administrators” to take over the buildings and the Sunday services. Clergy in both churches have been suspended by the diocese. Elsewhere, priests have been called in to see the diocesan bishop. And disciplinary action against the priests from St Mary’s (Metchosin) in Victoria continues. (More information below)
More congregations request episcopal oversight through ANiC
This past week, the following congregations voted to request alternative episcopal oversight from Bishop Don, under the Primatial care of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (in South America).
|St. John's (Shaughnessy), Vancouver, BC
|St Alban’s, Ottawa, Ontario
|St. George's (Lowville), Campbellville, ON
|St. Hilda's, Oakville. ON
|St. Chad's, Toronto, ON
|St. Mary's (Metchosin), Victoria, BC
|St. Matthew's, Abbotsford, BC
|Holy Cross, Abbotsford, BC
St John’s (Shaughnessy), the first church to pass the motion requesting Bishop Don’s oversight, created some “waves” when they passed the motion February 13. As the largest Anglican congregation in Canada – with about 700-800 average Sunday attendance – there was considerable media interest. Here are some of the news stories on St John’s.
• Vancouver Sun articles – prior to the vote, and following the vote and on property issues and this brilliant story
with terrific quotes.
• Anglican Planet
• Anglican Journal article
• Diocese of New Westminster statement
• The National Post coverage
• Globe & Mail
• Canadian Christianity.com
And newspaper coverage of more parishes making momentous decisions last weekend:
• Ottawa Citizen – both before the St Alban’s vote and after the vote with good quotes
• Ottawa Sun following St Alban’s vote and Feb 18 08 on the church plant SE of Ottawa
• Reuters – February 15 08
• Canadian Press story on Macleans.ca – February 16 08
• National Post – February 18 08
• Globe & Mail – February 16 08, February 18 08 and February 19 08
• Victoria Times-Colonist – February 18 08 and February 19 08
• Abbotsford News – February 19 08
• Anglican Journal – February 19 08
The February 20th National Post is to contain a full spread on the Anglican crisis, including an excellent feature on Archbishop Venables by Charles Lewis and this terrific piece by Susan Martinuk explaining the Network’s orthodox position.
St Aidan’s, Windsor, becomes a member of Anglican Essentials Network (AEN)
Almost lost in all the media hoopla was the vote at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Windsor, Ontario on Sunday. St Aidin’s voted to become a Network Parish under Anglican Essentials Canada – that is St Aidan’s remains in the Anglican Church of Canada.
|St Aidan’s Anglican Church, Windsor, ON
What is the difference between ANiC and AEN?
At the Burlington Conference in November, the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) “launched” the new ecclesial (or Church) entity to gather those congregations and individuals who have found themselves in serious theological dispute with the Anglican Church of Canada over its departure from historic Anglican doctrine, and who request alternative episcopal oversight from Bishop Don, under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Greg and the Southern Cone. We hope to have a registration process available soon for individual Network members who wish to realign with the orthodox majority of mainstream global Anglicans and be recognized as in “full communion with the church of England throughout the world” (per the Solemn Declaration of 1893).
Therefore, the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is for those who come under the spiritual oversight and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Anglican province of the Southern Cone.
The Anglican Essentials Network (AEN) will include congregations and individuals that are members of Essentials and who remain fully under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC). AEN will include current members of Network that have not requested episcopal oversight from Bishop Don. Members of AEN commit to remaining “in full communion with the Church of England throughout the world”, (in other words - to remain faithful to global Anglicanism and historic Christianity) but feel they are still able in conscience to remain full participants in the Anglican Church of Canada at this time. St Aidan’s (Windsor) and several other Network parishes will be AEN parishes.
The ANiC website will be updated, but the membership forms currently posted on the site are for those wishing to join the AEN.
Bishop Don welcomes house church in Ottawa area
Another important and joyful event was overshadowed by all the parish votes. A second church plant sprang to life in the Ottawa area. The Rev Alex Lewanowicz, together with about 50 members from his former three-point ACoC parish of Bearbrook-Vars-Navan, began meeting this past Sunday as a new ANiC church in a spacious home south-east of Ottawa. Alex relinquished his ACoC licence and was instated as a priest of the Anglican Network in Canada under Bishop Don. Bishop Don joined the new congregation for their first worship service this past Sunday.
A note from Bishop Malcolm
“Praise God for the wonderful parish voting results which have taken place this weekend. A mighty wind of reformation and renewal is moving across this land. As a retired bishop [from the ACoC] back in harness [under the jurisdiction of the biblically faithful Province of the Southern Cone], I am just delighted to be a part of this movement as we hoist the ANiC sails and let the Lord lead us. May the Lord now guide our other brothers and sisters who are preparing for parish voting next weekend.”
In Jesus, +Malcolm
St Mary’s (Metchosin) priests inhibited
The congregational vote at St Mary’s of the Incarnation, in Victoria BC, had to proceed Sunday in the absence of their two priests. The Venerable Sharon Hayton, rector, and the Rev Andrew Hewlett, assistant priest, received notice late Friday afternoon that they were inhibited (suspended from duties) by the bishop’s commissary, Archdeacon Bruce Bryant-Scott. After inhibiting Sharon and Andrew, the Archdeacon then went on to appoint himself as priest-in-charge of the parish. The inhibition included the demand that they stay away from the church property and have no contact with any parishioners. More details on the blog – see the “threads” about St Mary’s. See also the diocese’s news release.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz again claims all property for ACoC
Following the vote at St John’s (Shaughnessy), Archbishop Hiltz publicly released the letter he had sent earlier to bishops, calling upon parishes to take no “action that would compel parish or diocesan leaders to resolve property disputes in the civil courts.” He went on to say that “Such actions would not only be costly in terms of financial resources but also destructive of the witness of the Church in the world.”
However, parishes voting to request alternate episcopal oversight, which will allow them to minister under the authority and protection of a biblically faithful bishop and primate, don’t understand why ACoC leaders should feel “compelled” to take legal action against them. Why can’t all Canadian Anglicans continue their ministry peacefully while the global Communion addresses the crisis?
Niagara bishops respond to church’s votes
In a letter posted to the diocese website, the Niagara bishops accuse the leadership of St George’s (Lowville) and St Hilda’s of abandoning their fiduciary responsibilities. Then they say, “Lent is a time of positive journey toward our common understanding of the Resurrection of Christ… [we] intend to move ahead positively knowing that ultimately the unity of God's people and the integrity of the Gospel of Christ will be our guiding light.” In fact, it is precisely because of the lack of a common understanding and the ACoC’s attack on the integrity of the gospel which has caused a number of churches to vote on the offer of alternative episcopal oversight from Bishop Don and the Province of the Southern Cone.
April 25-26 national conference, “Compelled by Christ’s Love”
A clarification of the dates for our Compelled by Christ’s Love April conference… the conference runs Friday, April 25 – Saturday April 26. However, Archbishop Greg, potentially one other Archbishop and other international bishops will be ministering in Vancouver area ANiC churches the morning of Sunday (April 27). Conference attendees are invited to stay for these services.
With parish voting winding down, your faithful :-) staff hope to focus more energy on the April conference. We promise more information and online registration as soon as we recover.
Last chance for those prone to last minute decisions – BC area events
||Clergy retreat, Feb 26-28. Send in your registrations ASAP. The Rev Canon Terry Wong will speak on 2 Corinthians.
||Training in understanding and handling the Word of God, Mar 1, St John’s Shaughnessy
A one-day workshop (9am - 3pm), led by The Rev Sean Love, for clergy and lay leaders offers practical help in sermon and bible study preparation. Cost is $25. Email Jan Hobbis.
||Pacific Coast Anglican Awakening: First Steps service sponsored by the Common Cause Partnership, Mar 2 at 7pm, with Bishop Bill Murdoch. To RSVP email Zenia Cheng.
||Common Cause Partnership clergy gathering, March 3, Monday, 10am - 3pm, with Bishop Bill Murdoch. To RSVP, email Zenia Cheng.
Three more Anglican Agenda booklets are hot of the press. The order form is posted to the Network, Essentials and Federation websites. These booklets are written by Anglican leaders and edited by the Rev Dr J I Packer and open up important questions. The new booklets are:
Taking Doctrine Seriously – by Dr J I Packer
Taking Discipleship Seriously – by Timothy Ernst
Taking the Trinity Seriously – by Lloyd Arnett
Essentials blog is the place to be
Our diligent bloggers, Peter, Kate and Scott, are attracting a crowd with over 5000 hits per day recently. Check it out and join the conversations.
News shorts - Canada
The Anglican Journal published a gracious editorial that we should all take to heart.
Christian Week writes about the recent action of Bishop Cyrus Pitman in forcing clergy of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador to sign new declarations and stripping them of their licences so he could issue new licences under his signature. The article quotes Cheryl Chang as calling Bishop Pitman’s action, “massive intimidation”.
Another Anglican Journal piece by the Rev Catherine Sider-Hamilton and the Rev Dean Mercer responds to Archbishop Fred Hiltz’ letter denouncing the Network. They conclude, “To point the finger at the Essentials Network, without any acknowledgement of the role of the Anglican Church of Canada, is one more exercise of rhetoric, and a skewed writing of history.”
However, this Anglican Journal article conveys a very different spirit.
A group from the ACoC met recently to evaluate the latest version of the Covenant. According to this ACoC article, the iterative process will see the Covenant go through at least two more drafts, with no hope of completion until at least late 2009 – if not 2010.
News shorts – USA and North America
Nearly 100 Episcopal lay leaders in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have signed an open letter supporting Bishop Bob Duncan and the direction the Diocese is headed. This is in response to an earlier letter signed by 12 orthodox clergy that opposed the diocese leaving the TEC citing their concern about potential legal proceedings.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Terence Kelshaw, retired Bishop of Rio Grande, has been received into the Province of Uganda.
Lambeth and GAFCon
In keeping with its commitment, contained in The Road to Lambeth, issued in 2006 by the Global South, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda has announced that they will not be participating in the Lambeth Conference to be held in July 2008 in Canterbury, England. Similarly, Kenya’s House of Bishops also confirmed they will not be present for the Lambeth conference.
In a heart-felt open letter, five Primates – including Archbishop Greg Venables - explain why they and their bishops will not be attending Lambeth.
A statement from the GAFCon organizers says:
“After consultation with a number of church leaders in Jerusalem, and around the world, the pilgrimage of the Global Anglican Future Conference will now take place from June 22nd through June 29th. An important Consultation in Jordan from 18-22 June will include the conference leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders. The Jerusalem pilgrimage will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land.
“We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us,” said Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney and a member of the leadership team. “The emphasis of our time together will be our future in the Anglican Communion and the reformation and renewal of our common life rooted in the Holy Scriptures and our common faith in Jesus Christ."
George Conger reports that the changes in GAFCon dates and venues and the breaking of the conference into two parts – a consultation for church leaders in Jordan followed by a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – was a response to concerns expressed by the Bishop in Jerusalem.
Archbishop of Canterbury responds to calls for his resignation at Synod
The furor over Dr Williams’ comments on Sharia law had not abated going into the Church of England’s General Synod Feb 11. Dr Williams responded in his opening address, saying “I must of course take responsibility for any unclarity … and for any misleading choice of words that has helped to cause distress or misunderstanding …” He did not, however, apologize or alter his position that Sharia “additional choices” should be made available within the legal structure.
His predecessor, Lord Carey, said introducing elements of Sharia law would be disastrous. Archbishop Greg Venables, primate of the Southern Cone, commenting on the debate, said "Taken within the context of other things that have been said and done in recent months, it would just add to a general sense that confidence in the leadership of the Anglican Church has plummeted." Other commentators were less kind.
However, Gordon Brown, Britain’s Prime Minister, came to Dr Williams defence after earlier distancing himself from his remarks, praising the Archbishop’s “great integrity”. See also the BBC’s coverage and Melanie Phillips in the Spectator. Even the Washington Post weighed in. Finally, Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi of Jos, Plateau State, in northern Nigeria, explains how the Archbishop’s statements can affect Anglicans in countries where Sharia law is a reality of life. Scott Gilbreath’s blog provides a frightening example of this reality.
News shorts - International
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan has elected a new Archbishop due to the failing health of former archbishop, Joseph Marona. Archbishop, Daniel Deng Bul, is bishop of a diocese that straddled the north and the south of the country, giving rise to hope that he would be a force for greater unity.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed a “Windsor Continuation Group”, as proposed in this Advent Letter. The group – which includes the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, former bishop of Edmonton – is to address outstanding questions arising from the Windsor Report and report to the Lambeth Conference. Bishop Matthews chaired the ACoC Primate’s Theological Commission whose St Michael’s Report declared same-sex blessing was not a matter of core doctrine.
The Church of England General Synod has defeated an attempt to centralize ownership of rectories and vicarages under the dioceses.
Uganda’s House of Bishop’s meeting explains why they are not going to Lambeth: “It is not good stewardship of our limited resources to spend more than US$5,000 per person for our Bishops and their wives to attend a three-week meeting which seems, in practice, to have no authority and is blatantly and persistently ignored by some of its wealthier member churches.”
Church of England bishop has been fined £47,435 and ordered to undergo “equal opportunities training” by an employment tribunal in Wales. The bishop’s crime? He refused to hire a man living an active homosexual lifestyle as a youth worker. The bishop says he stands by his decision and may appeal.
Writing on behalf of he Council of Church Society, David Phillips calls on Global South Primates and faithful Anglicans to break fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury until he “renounces his published teaching”. Phillips also requests prayer, citing the spiritual decay in the Church of England and the moral decay in Britain,
The following item was in the last newsletter, but without the link. (Sorry!)
Bishop Bob Duncan provides an insightful and eye-opening analysis of the recent history of the crisis in the communion.
The Rev Prof Stephen Noll, Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University, has “…attempted to sketch a blueprint of a Global Anglican orthodoxy that will embody the best elements of our tradition and mobilize Anglicans to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.” Among many other things, he says, “The present crisis in the Anglican Communion has revealed a constitutional weakness in its doctrine of the Church, its ecclesiology. In response to a blatant attack on the apostolic faith, the worldwide Body and its “Instruments of Unity” have proved unable to enforce straightforward discipline of heretical members. This failure has led many to conclude that Anglicanism is fundamentally flawed, and they have departed for other bodies.”
Another book has just been published regarding the sexuality debate raging in the church. Edited by Dr Lisa Nolland, Sarah Finch and Dr Chris Sugden, it is titled God, Gays and the Church.
Particularly remember in fervent prayer the parishes that have voted and will be voting.
The Common Cause Partnership has prepared a cycle of prayer that can be downloaded here.
Please pray fervently for those parishes that will be voting Sunday, February 24, on the offer of Episcopal oversight from Bishop Don.
Please continue to pray for The Diocese of Edmonton – Pray for the election of a godly bishop for on March 8.
Also continue to pray for our Anglican brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe where intra-church conflict continues.
The political conflict in Sri Lanka continues. An Anglican priest was shot and killed Sunday while walking with his family. His wife is in critical condition. Please pray for peace.
... back to "Newsletters" main page