Anglican Samizdat

March 7, 2009

Are you listening, Fred?

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 2:29 pm

When I first saw Fred Hiltz ask for opinions on what Canadian Anglicans would like to see in the ACoC in 2019, I thought the results would be extremely dull. I was wrong: so far, they are rather amusing.  Here is one response:

Dear Anglicans,

I was interested to see on your national church website that you are engaged in something called “Vision 2019″, and that you wish to hear from church members about “your community, your local church, your theology, your worship, your passions, your dreams, your nightmares”.

I am no longer a church member, although that fact in and of itself might be of interest to you.

Let’s start.  “My community”.  I was raised in the diocese of Caledonia, but have since then lived in the dioceses of New Westminster, British Columbia and Edmonton (but have never been a church member during the time I’ve lived in Edmonton).

“My local church”.  Well, the parish in which I was raised was dissolved and the property sold by the bishop of the day in order to raise money to (I swear I’m not making this up) repair the dry rot afflicting his cathedral in Prince Rupert. The Anglicans in my home community have dispersed, variously to the United Church, Catholic Church or (in many cases) have abandoned faith communities altogether.  Nice work.

The parish I attended in the diocese of New Westminster has been consolidated into other parishes.  I do not know what has happened since.

The parish I attended in the diocese of British Columbia has spent the past five or six years recovering from a dangerous demagogue of a priest who was variously coddled and ignored by two successive bishops who are, let’s just say, administratively challenged.  In the meantime, parishioners were seriously wounded by this priest (and his wife), and are now nursing their wounds in other settings or privately.

“My theology.”  I humbly submit your inquiry should be directed to the church’s theology.  Very little of the teachings that were conveyed to me in my upbringing seem to matter very much anymore.  The church seems to see itself as something of a NGO, and a purveyor of moral relativism (except when it comes to rooting out anything that has a vaguely conservative sniff to it).  There is a reason your parishes are closing, and it is that none of us who used to frequent your pews did so in order to hear your priests urge us to recycle, write to our MP’s to urge settlement of aboriginal land claims, or to hear try to find the spiritual component of U2 music.  While one can (as I have) do all those things on one’s own volition, we went to church, simply put, to find some sublime, transcendent connection with God.  In your quest to make the church “relevant”, then, you stripped for many of us its purpose.  Really, some of the crap I was reading in diocesan newspapers and the Anglican Journal smacked of facile, “summer of love” ideological nonsense.  I can attend my employee bargaining unit meetings for that kind of stuff – why bother going to church?

“My worship”?  Not Anglican, anymore.  Thanks very much for abandoning your flock in the way you have – both metaphorically (in your theology) and in actual fact (shutting down my former parishes).

Lessee, what’s next.  Right – “My passions”.  Used to be church.  Used to be church music.  Used to be serving the church.  All gone, for the reasons explicated above.  (On the bright side, I now have more time on weekends to spend with my kids skiing, skating, etc.)

“My dreams”?  Well, I could be short-sighted and suggest that I dream of going back in time and avoiding a parish that was served by a megalomaniacal demagogue, but I think I need to dream big.  Maybe I dream of going back in time and arranging that one of my ancestors marry Jewish?

“My nightmares”?  My wife insisting we return to the Anglican church.  Fortunately, the chances of that are zippo, since you’ve managed to turn her off just as completely as you have me.

There you have it.  Just one disaffected member of your former flock, who happily turned in his baptism certificate some years back.  I tune in with interest to your website every now and then to snigger at the typical Anglican silliness.  (This time I see the English church is purporting to ban its members from joining some loonie fringe British anti-immigrant party.  Sigh – whatever happened to just letting loons be loons?  Ah well, trust the Anglican church to never miss an opportunity for politically correct pedantry.)

Yours no longer,

Russ B

I await more with anticipation.

Update: this comment has been removed from the Vision 2019 site, supposedly at the “author’s request.


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