Anglican Samizdat

March 24, 2009

Diocese of Niagara: conning for Jesus

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 5:35 pm

Bishop Ralph Spence only put in an appearance at St. Hilda’s when he wanted money. His last social call was to scrape up support for the Anglican “Survive and Thrive” campaign.

The bishop, in the slightly lowered tones of someone revealing clandestine plans that others are not privy to,  confided to us that some of the money would be used to lay off priests who were no longer up to preaching the gospel to an online – although not yet tweeting – generation. We needed new blood and some of the old would have to be disposed of to make room for the new.

We were naively sympathetic to the plea since we were attempting to use liturgy and music in ways that could attract the un-churched while keeping the gospel message intact; we assumed the bishop’s intent was similar. At the time Ralph didn’t bother to share the plan that was undoubtedly fermenting in his mind: to appoint priests that would further the diocese’s liberal agenda and to remove those who would not. We are seeing the fruit of this labour in Ralph’s successor’s determination to forge ahead with same-sex blessings.

Today, an evangelical priest will not find employment in the Diocese of Niagara unless he first states his support for Michael Bird’s schemes to proceed with same-sex blessings; the diocese tells us that this is the epitome of diversity. The diocese is no stranger to the well tested technique, “tell a lie often enough, loud enough, and long enough, and people will believe you.”

This brings me to the Diocesan financial statement and budget, wherein you will see:

Personnel Transition and Severance (a diocesan euphemism for lay-off), 2008 actual of $660,178 and 2009 budget of $265,000. One wonders what the exit interviews are like: “Sorry to have to let you go, but you’ve been reciting the Creed too often on Sundays; here’s your money; keep your mouth shut”.

Also, there is a 2008 actual legal expenses of $30,717 and 2009 budgeted expense of $14,000. The diocese is attempting to relieve ANiC of over $200,000 to cover its lawyers’ costs in 2008; where are these lawyers’ costs reflected in the budget? Similarly, since the diocese is still unwilling to negotiate and eager to litigate, the $14,000 budget for 2009 appears a little meagre.

Could they be hiding these costs to pull the wool over the eyes of ACoC members who might otherwise be questioning why their offerings are being used to sue fellow Christians?


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