Anglican Samizdat

August 26, 2009

Diocese of Niagara: leadership, optimism, justice and baloney

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 4:42 pm

Christopher Grabiec wrote a lead article in the diocesan paper:

Many Anglicans have had heavy hearts during the past year or two, as we watch a number of parishes close and a number of parishes depart from our diocesan family over ideological disagreements. In many ways, it feels like we can put all that in the past. The future is ahead and the future is bright.

For many years now the diocese of Niagara has been in the forefront of the battle for justice in our society. In 1976 in one of the most important moments in the life of our church, John Bothwell, then Bishop of Niagara, ordained the first women to the priesthood. Generations before could never have imagined this happening. It was a great moment in our history and a great moment for the cause of justice in our society and in our church.

First, the disagreements were not ideological, they were theological: does the bible dictate how we are to behave no matter what the culture is telling us, or does the culture determine how we “interpret” the bible to make it fit culture’s demands. Those who left the diocese believe the former.

Second, if the departures are “in the past”, why is the diocese occupying ANiC parish buildings with pretend congregations – oh right, because they want to grab the buildings and sell them.

Third, the future for the diocese of Niagara can hardly be bright since it is losing people, losing money and is saddling itself with the costs of suing ANiC parishes.

Fourth, John Bothwell is a draconian liberal who attempted to purge orthodox priests from his diocese with a vicious enthusiasm that made a mockery of his alleged calling as ‘shepherd’. Justice was the last thing on his mind.

Bishop Michael Bird, not unlike Bishop ‘ Bothwell in 1976 has taken another huge step-in justice. Effective September 14, 2009 he will give permission for the blessing of civilly married persons, regardless of gender. This rite is a means for the church to extend affirmation, support and commitment to those who present themselves seeking a sign of God’s love in response to the love and commitment they express for each other and have already affirmed in a civil ceremony. Obviously, this continues to be a contentions issue in the world-wide communion of Anglicans. We are reminded though that historically, every move toward justice has always been contentious (think back to the ordination of women priests!). Our bishop has courage and conviction in this matter and is exhibiting strong and math needed leadership.

Indeed, Bird is not unlike Bothwell in his pursuit of justice: he is tolerant of all who agree with him. Those who don’t, he either fires or sues – sometimes both. As for his leadership qualities, they were admirably demonstrated during a parish meeting when a parishioner asked him what he believed; his answer was that his beliefs were personal and he wasn’t willing to share them. Bird has all backbone of runny blancmange; the positions he takes are thrust upon him by the likes of Peter Wall and his henchmen.

Michael Bird, the Great Helmsman, is hot in pursuit of excellence and seems to want to use technology in this exploit; however, he is a Bird that doesn’t Tweet yet. It will be a happy day when he does, because I will be able to tweet back.

1 Comment

  1. Few were surprise when Bothwell was honoured to write the forward in Bishops Spongs’s book. A another wolf amoung the flock, a Christ denier and devourer of sleeping sheep. After decades of persecuting orthodox priests and believers alike he retired with his minions in place to continue his false teaching.

    I recognize my masters voice, and I can recognize a howl when I hear one. Bird and Bothwell are of the same pack and spirit, they worship the God of this age and have only contempt for the True Gospel message they inherited.

    Comment by Dave Horvath — August 27, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

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