Anglican Samizdat

April 12, 2009

The Diocese of Niagara is employing bouncers

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 6:20 pm

At my age there aren’t too many new things left to experience – or perhaps that I care to experience – but today I did experience something new: I was pushed and frogmarched out of a church. I have visited churches and cathedrals throughout much of Europe and I have never before been asked to leave, let alone been physically ejected.

The church with the unusual approach to hospitality was at St. Hilda’s building where the Diocese of Niagara was holding its Easter Sunday service. I decided to call in and visit the diocese this morning in order to take a few photographs of the diocesan service. I had two reasons for doing so: one was to compare it to the St. Hilda’s ANiC service held at a school, the other was to obtain a record of how many people were attending the service.

I am interested in attendance numbers because Michael Patterson has sworn an affidavit to the effect that 15 – 25 people attend the diocesan services at St. Hilda’s and it is a “growing congregation”. A visitor to the service told me that there was no congregation at all when he attended; which means Michael Patterson has been telling porkies. So I thought I would see for myself on Easter Sunday when the diocese should have its maximum attendance.

When I went in to the narthex, I was approached by a person whom I took to be a greeter; she asked me why I was there. I explained that I wanted to take a photo of the interior of the church – she had by now spotted my camera. The greeter-bouncer leapt adroitly into action and barred the door to the sanctuary declaring loudly that I could not go in. I felt I was being treated rather like the Balrog trying to cross the bridge of Khazad-dum; I protested mildly and pointed the camera. The greeter-bouncer and I then engaged in a rather graceless dance in which she attempted to block my view in addition to my entrance. After a minute of this and some cries of “you shall not pass”, the greeter-bouncer grabbed me firmly by the shoulders and pushed me backwards with considerable force. I have received the laying on of hands on a number of occasions but never quite like this; I wondered initially whether the greeter-bouncer was trying to convince me that I was being slain in the Spirit: the push, however,  was for the purpose of expulsion rather than spiritual euphoria.

I am not a particularly fragile person, but, other than engaging in a brawl, I quickly realised that resistance was futile so I began to retreat; the greeter-bouncer pressed home her advantage, grabbed my shoulder and marched me out of the building. Unsurprisingly, the commotion caused a number of heads to turn. Had I just been allowed in, no-one would have noticed my presence: one photo and I would have left.

All of which confirms that the diocese has something to hide – in this case the massive crowd of 11 people at their Easter Sunday service.

Here is the greeter-bouncer engaged in round 1 of our minuet:

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Here she is mid-lunge as she grasps my shoulders:

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This photo is less than sharp because I was in mid stagger when my finger hit the shutter; nevertheless, a quick count reveals 11 people.

Earlier I had attended St. Hilda’s ANiC Sunrise Service at 6:00 a.m. 14  people were there:

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And later at 10:00 a.m. I attended St. Hilda’s ANiC Easter Sunday service; naturally, after being ejected from a Diocese of Niagara service for nursing a nasty big camera, I approached the ANiC service with no little trepidation. Needless to say, I was warmly welcomed; and there were rather more people present:

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In summary: Michael Patterson is telling fibs; if you are interested in being physically ejected from a church, try going to a Diocese of Niagara parish with a camera; if you want a warm welcome, come to an ANiC parish – camera or no camera.



  1. There’s nothing quite like giving a brother in Christ the right fist of fellowship! Feel the love!

    Comment by Scott Gilbreath — April 12, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  2. Sad, but not all that unusual. On one occasion I took some photos of a serive at a church in moscow after I had asked for, and received, permission from the priest to do so. Some parishioners near the door of the church objected, and chased me away. In that case the church was full.

    Comment by Steve — April 13, 2009 @ 1:52 am

  3. I count 12. I think you forgot to count ‘Miss Hospitality 2009’. 🙂

    Comment by Matthew — April 13, 2009 @ 6:39 am

  4. David,
    I may be a little fuzzy on the law, but it seems to me that grabbing and shoving constitute an assault. It doesn’t matter that the perp is hiding behind a 1950’s hair style. Assault is assault.
    Question: Had you wrenched your back trying to retain your balance, who would you sue for medical and lost time coverage?


    Comment by Jim Muirhead — April 13, 2009 @ 7:34 am

  5. I have been refused in several churches of different denominations the privilege to take pictures in the Church Proper. Looking at both pictures closely, I count 14.

    Comment by Churchboy — April 13, 2009 @ 8:23 am

  6. I bet they added you to the attendance count before they gave you the boot!

    Comment by Ralinda — April 13, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  7. Churchboy #[5],

    I have the luxury of being able to peer at the 21 megapixel original. There are 11 people, excluding the bouncer, priest and layreaders; the 11 would include the piano player and possibly the other “priest in charge”, Sue-Ann Ward.

    Comment by David — April 13, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  8. Of the people there about 5 are “staff”. The priest (Cheryl Fricker) the administrator (Sue Ann Ward) the person to play the piano, the layreader and the altar guild lady who sets up. Oh, and of course – the bouncer – that makes 6.

    Comment by Muriel — April 13, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  9. David,
    Do you know this “security guard”? She obviously must have recognized you. Was she part of St Hilda’s (ACoC) when you were there?

    Comment by John K — April 13, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  10. John,
    No idea who she is. I’m speculating that the dio has a “no entry” list, much as the airlines have a “no fly” list.

    Comment by David — April 13, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  11. I think this all says rather more about you. Didn’t you have better things to be concentrating on and doing on Easter morning than sculking around trying to take ‘incriminating’ photos? Sad.

    Comment by Anglican — April 13, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  12. David is also the blog writer for Essentials which is still part of the ACoC and as such was there to write for Essentials and did identify himself.

    Comment by Muriel — April 13, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  13. We at Good Shepherd have also had a reconnaissance person denied entry although I believe without any pushing and shoving. This fellow was on a self-assigned mission, and being as he is well over 80 years old and being as he is a former military man nobody is going to tell him to leave the Potemkin-villagers alone. He reports there have never been over 5 cars in the lot at the liberal service time.

    Niagara is not good ar public relations among other things. They would be much better off in the long run giving truthful affidavits, allowing anyone in to see who wants to, and telling the truth generally.

    My understanding is that the attendance at GS is about 5 to 10, a number including a handful of relatives of the presiding minister and other ringers — although perhaps Churchboy might be able to correct me on that, if he is the same Churchboy who has posted before on orthodox blogs.

    Comment by Toral — April 13, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  14. I count 14 including Bouncing Betty and the server/chalice bearer, who is presumably a lay member of the “congregation”. (I don’t include the parachute-priest.)

    And yes, shoving people is illegal. Technically it is considered a Tort of Battery, ie physical assault.

    Comment by Ellie M. — April 13, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  15. What an amazing post. I would think Our Lord would have been glad to have you in and given you pride of place. But then again he did drive out the money changers.

    Comment by Gawk — April 13, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  16. Hilarious post! The photos are priceless! Thanks for getting out the truth on this Potemkin sham parish. May their so-called diocese pay wheelbarrow loads of cash to keep the doors open forever! They can ill afford the funds, and the outgo will only serve to accelerate this secularized organization’s inevitable demise.

    Comment by A Senior Priest — April 13, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  17. I don’t see any men present at St. Hilda’s, so they had to get a woman to shove you out. No man would have done this. It’s degrading to see this. Sort of emblematic of the Episcopal Church at this time.

    Comment by Yankeegirl — April 13, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  18. I am glad you got a picture of the Bouncer–the woman reminds me Nora Batty, from British TV’s “Last of the Summer Wine,” who has been known to grab, shove, and frogmarch people as well.

    But seriously, if the Diocese of Niagara had any concern for the Gospel, they would give the building to their brothers and sisters who are meeting in the gynmasium, and who can obviously fill and utilize it, instead of keeping it for the 11-14 people who don’t stand a chance of ever being able to do so.

    Comment by Fr. Fred — April 13, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  19. Fr. Fred,

    Nora Batty

    Thank you; I knew I had seen her before and just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    Comment by David — April 13, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  20. In this world there are liars, damn liars and Diocese of Niagara liars.

    Comment by Stephen H — April 13, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  21. #17 I see at least two balding heads in the picture of the “holy eleven” which I presume to belong to men. So it seems men were present at this service. What I want to know is who was the so called verger who gave you the shove.

    Comment by Gawk — April 13, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  22. Dave, we now have two things in common,going bald and getting thrown out of ( not in ) St Hilda’s and by the same bouncer.

    Comment by walter — April 13, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  23. Who cares if Patterson is lying about this small, small detail.

    IF you believe what he says – a congregation of 25 adults and children – then that simply isn’t a congregation or a church. It’s a house group.

    And it doesn’t matter if he’s lying about 10 or 25: we already know he has lied and left the faith with his “theology” in his diocese.
    Lying about sin and salvation, supporting abortion, abandoning Christ, he has done all these things, and we are arguing about unimportant things.

    Frankly, if someone came into my church – which was currently in dispute – and said they were from the “other party” then I’d ask them to leave too –
    and assist them to leave if they resisted. What you did was undoubtedly rude; trespass; and may well be explicitly illegal in Canada
    (disrupting a religious service)

    But, of course, every person in that photograph, and the whole Diocese, have abandoned Christ and will be damned for it.

    That’s the only important part of this story

    Comment by Anonymouse — April 13, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  24. Anonymouse,

    Firstly, if you post again, please use a real email address.

    Secondly, I know some people believe in universal salvation – an idea that is attractive but false; you seem to be inclined to the opposite, universal condemnation – an idea that is unattractive and false.

    Comment by David — April 13, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

  25. Anonymouse – since you noted that it is illegal to disrupt a religious service then perhaps you might have a word with the diocese. They have no viable congregations at at least 2 of the 3 churches they have invaded but moved in with the intention of disrupting the services that were making good use of these buildings. Moving whole congregations into gyms to make a political statement is more of a disruption than someone wanting to take a photograph from the back of a church without a flash.

    Comment by Muriel — April 14, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  26. […] The Diocese of Niagara is employing bouncers At my age there aren’t too many new things left to experience – or perhaps that I care to experience – but today […] […]

    Pingback by Top Posts « — April 14, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  27. It seems to me that trespassing is hardly merited if Essentials is still part of the ACofC; whereas assault is something that woman should be definitely charged with.

    Furthermore, without that “lady” attacking “David” – assuming he was telling the whole truth with no additions or subtractions – there would have been no disruption whatsoever.

    As to universal condemnation: it’s a whole lot closer to the truth (remember the doctrine of the Original Sin, especially when we’re told to repent not only for our own sins but those of our ancestors!) than “universal salvation”.

    Comment by Brutus — April 14, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  28. Correction to above: “trespassing as a charge.” Mea culpa…

    Comment by Brutus — April 14, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  29. […] place I blog, which is really ticking me off – so do please go and read the whole sordid tale here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Diocese of Niagara, […]

    Pingback by A Hairy Eyeball to the Diocese of Niagara « The Hairy Eyeball — April 15, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  30. I don’t know what this is all about, but being you got kicked out of a church and are now possibly being sued. You have my attention! I like people with guts.

    Comment by SUZANNE — April 15, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  31. Where is the joy is seeing a little congregation totally upset on our wonderful Easter Sunday morning – – yes you did disrupt the service? Where is the joy is realizing that the volunteer greeter is totally devastated by the incident? Where is the joy in making fun of a person who has taken a servant position on that particular Sunday morning? (I’ve only been an Anglican for 35 years but (call me crazy!) I have always admired the Anglican respect for God’s house and the way in which they have always handled sacred things and times.) Doesn’t one need a sign-off in order to use a photo of a person?

    This is so sad! I know that it is a sin to judge another’s intent but really, the photographer in this incident could not possibly have gone to that service on Easter morning to build up those who were there to worship – – it was to do a comparison count, if I understand the situation correctly. Was the intent also to find out if someone had lied about the number of people who would attend service there on Easter morning? Really! This is so harsh! Surely there is no intent to actually judge those who were in that Easter service last Sunday! Surely we are not saying that they were not TRUE worshipers!

    I am not a theologian but these words from scripture keep ringing in my ears: “Where TWO or THREE are gathered together in my name” … (He’ll be right there in the middle of them). How comforting these words have been to me over the years! How wonderful!

    Dear Greeter: If you are reading this post, please know that God is the one who knows what was in your heart. He knows how hurt you are over the incident and yes, God loves you!!

    Dear Photographer: God also knows what was in your heart and I am sinning if I judge you harshly. I cannot help but think that you did not stop to ask yourself if what you were doing was building up His Kingdom. But again, I’m judging you and that’s God’s job – – so sorry, if I am hurting you now and yes, God loves you!!

    Can we not stop hurting each other?

    Now here’s something that I feel strongly about and it may really upset some of the ANIC bloggers. I personally believe that if the Essentials movement in the ACoC (known as Essentials Federation people) are to play the role originally intended (within the statement known as the Montreal Declaration), they will need to distance themselves and show themselves to be separate from ANIC. ANIC people have left the ACoC and from everything that I have read, they do not need an Essentials movement within their organization so why are they blogging on behalf of the Essentials Federation people or even looking back at ACoC?

    For Essentials to be what it was originally intended to be (a group of people WITHIN the ACoC, intending to stay and stand) then I honestly believe that the ANIC (Network) section has got to move on and no longer be part of Essentials. Already some people have come to mistakenly believe that Essentials is now ANIC and if we cannot find a way to separate ANIC from Essentials, we will see the demise of the Essentials movement totally within the ACoC. I hope that I have made myself clear but I can see that the Essentials organization is going to lose its voice within the ACoC if the separation is not made abundantly clear and very soon.

    I pray for God’s peace for all of us!

    Comment by Diane — April 17, 2009 @ 6:51 am

  32. Diane makes some good points.

    Comment by Gawk — April 17, 2009 @ 7:26 am

  33. Interesting site and interesting comments. This said from an ex-Episcopalian but still, Anglican in North San Diego County CA.

    Same kind of music going on from down here. The good folks who want to take someone else’s property see nothing wrong with filling large nearly empty churches with 10 to 20 folks while the other side’s 150 to 300 folks are forced to leave an often life-time church home, set up chairs, pay the rent, set up the sound, set up the music, set up the Altar and try to let everyone know where the local Junior high school (which will probably give you the boot as soon as they find you are disbursing wine rather than grape juice) is located.
    Fast forward two years. The “winners” will have found themselves not able to pay the Diocese assessments, the vicar’s salary, the heating bill and because of the aging population of the place, the removal of snow and ice to help the unsteady to move without injury. This then will require the diocese to fess up and admit the little congregation did the best that could have been expected, but those nasty folks that left took their energy and wallets with them forcing us to put this wonderful legacy up for sale. Sad commentary ‘eh?
    The sale of the property will keep the dying diocese crawling along for another few months, 5 sales will keep it going a year longer… and so on.
    Everyone says it’s not about money? Ha!
    It’s ALL about money.

    Comment by viamediator — April 17, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

  34. A rather homely looking bouncer, guess there’s no ‘easter joy’ at St. Hilda’s!

    Comment by Jason — April 19, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  35. Your timeline intrigues me. You attended a 6 AM service, then the ANiC service at 10AM, which leads me to believe that your photos at St. Hilda’s were of the 8:30AM service which in any parish often has a low attendance. In any case, what’s the point of taking the photos?

    Comment by Jon — April 20, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  36. Your timeline intrigues me. You attended a 6 AM service, then the ANiC service at 10AM, which leads me to believe that your photos at St. Hilda’s were of the 8:30AM service which in any parish often has a low attendance.

    The times are correct. The diocesan service is at 8:30 each Sunday: they have been given between 7:00 am and 10:00 am by the court. By visiting on an Easter Sunday I was being generous since that is generally one of the best attended services of the year. On other Sundays the diocesan service has between 0 and 5 people if you exclude the hired help.

    what’s the point of taking the photos?

    First I wanted to compare the diocesan St. Hilda’s service with the ANiC St. Hilda’s service.

    Second, I wanted evidence that Michael Patterson lied in his affidavit.

    The diocese is maintaining that they need the building for their congregation; this is patently absurd since they routinely close parishes with larger congregations. The fact that they tried to prevent me from taking a photograph means they know they have something to hide.

    Comment by David — April 20, 2009 @ 11:35 am

  37. Perhaps you should go to the police? Man-handling someone out of a church sounds like assault to me.

    Comment by rpearse — July 3, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  38. rpearse,

    Actually, writing this article and watching all the hits on it was far more satisfying.

    Comment by David — July 3, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

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