Anglican Samizdat

October 26, 2008

The Invasion of St. Hilda’s.

Filed under: Anglican Angst,Anglican Church of Canada,Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 8:07 pm

The latest Niagara Anglican has an article on the Niagara diocesan squatters . To read it all, go here and scroll down to page 9; there is a similar article by Martha Tatarnic on page 1. Here is some of it:

St. Hilda’s, Oakville: A church that is just a church
In the midst of a break-up, something new is being born. A church community without a budget, committees, staff or even an altar guild is beginning to grow at St. Hilda’s in Oakville. “A church that is just a church,” is the approach of the newly appointed Priest-in-charge, Reverend Martha Tatarnic. “At this moment in time,” said Rev. Martha, “we have the unique opportunity of gathering simply as Church to worship and to be a community.”

When Lucinda tells us that the diocese has not allocated a budget for this political occupation masquerading as a church, she is correct. Poor Rev. Martha has not been given a cent by the diocese; but then, neither have we (the real ANiC St. Hilda’s) even though the court has ordered the diocese to share the cost of running the building. Now, to be fair, the diocese, in a moment of what I can only assume was feeble-minded magnanimity, offered to cover one seventh – 14.29% – of the cost.

Since the diocese is occupying the building when we would normally have our Sunday service and is there for no particular reason at other times of the week, we said, no, you should pay more. The diocese refused; in the case of such disagreement, the court ruled that an arbitrator should be appointed; the diocese refused. So the diocese is in contempt of court and we are paying all the bills. This is chronicled here and here. Since that was posted, the furnace that heats the sanctuary broke (we no longer use the sanctuary). Guess who leapt in like a flash to offer to pay and fix it? Correct, not the diocese; we couldn’t let Martha’s poor lambs freeze, so we paid (well, my teeth were gritted somewhat).

The invitation to attend Sunday worship at St. Hilda’s 8:30 a.m. service is open to everyone, with a particular invitation to those who are members of St. Hilda’s but have not agreed, or felt comfortable, with the decision to split. Right now the service is also supported by parishioners from St. Jude’s, Oakville.

I’ll say it again: the vote at St. Hilda’s to join ANiC was unanimous; there was no-one who disagreed with the decision to realign. None; zero; nil; zip; zilch; naught; zippo; n/infinity. Got it yet?

This paragraph does clear up one little mystery, though. During the tenure of the adorable Rev. Dr. Brian Ruttan, there were actually no people attending the diocesan service; none; zero; nil…. Well, you get the point. Martha on the other hand pulls in around 15 cars each Sunday. Who are these people? I have always suspected that this massive influx was not a result of the New Evangelism . The more likely explanation was that Martha brought people with her from St. Jude’s (her last parish) a few miles away in downtown Oakville. And this, it seems is indeed the case.

Which leads me to the obvious question: what is it that these stalwart St. Jude’s parishioners do in St. Hilda’s – by now – musty, damp, faux-50s, threadbare-orange-carpeted sanctuary that they cannot do in the plush, warm and handsome St. Jude’s? Why, make a political statement, of course! I am sure that, at the next court appearance – which could be as early as December –  the diocese will want to point to something that has the appearance of a viable congregation even though this was said by one of their own.

We are compelled to do the majority of our community building outside the church walls – ironically,the limitations imposed by the court on our access to the church buildings may turn out to be our finest asset.

I have a way of enhancing your finest asset; stop occupying the building and leave it for those who paid for it – and continue to pay for it.

We gather in a building that is at the centre of intense legal scrutiny and unchristian argument.

That quote is from Martha’s article. Martha, the ‘unchristian argument’ is taking place in the courts; it is your employer, the Diocese of Niagara who initiated the court proceedings. Moreover, your diocese has repeatedly rejected requests by ANiC to negotiate outside the courts.

So, if you find the idea of church without bureaucracy appealing, if you are looking for “eckleisa” in its simplest form, come out and experience a fresh approach to worship at St. Hilda’s in Oakville.

This is a Diocese of Niagara church, right? The diocese has no bureaucracy? They’ve all been fired? They must be more broke than I thought.

c/p Essentials blog


1 Comment

  1. The service at St Hilda’s is open to everyone – that is those that have not been told by the Diocesan lawyer that they must not attend!

    Comment by Paula — October 27, 2008 @ 11:35 am

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