Christmas Greetings from Bishop Charlie Masters

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Two Anglican Church of Canada bishops attended GAFCON

C/P from David.

Bishop David Parsons and Bishop Darren McCartney from the Diocese of the Arctic attended the recent GAFCON conference. Since it hints at betrayal of the ACoC’s culturally inspired faux-gospel of indiscriminate inclusion and woolly diversity, this has created “a lot of angst and frustration.” If the ACoC’s tacit demotion of Jesus from God Incarnate to Middle Eastern social worker is not recanted, perhaps it is also a harbinger of the future defection of an entire ACoC diocese.

From the December Anglican Journal describing events at the October house of bishops meeting (not online yet):

News that Bishops David Parsons and Darren McCartney of the Diocese of the Arctic attended the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Nairobi in the hopes of creating partnerships to help with the diocese’s debt crisis and shortage of priests met with some consternation. “As one of our bishops put it, when the stated purpose of GAFCON is evangelistic revival in the life of the church, who could argue with that? But when there’s another kind of agenda going on that says the church in the West or North America preaches a false gospel…. then that creates a lot of angst and frustration,” said Hiltz

The allegation creates angst and frustration because it is true.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada | 1 Comment

Episcopal Theologian Blasts Action of Toronto Anglican Bishops’ proposal to Affirm same-sex relationships

Bumped from Feb 2009, please see #36 below (and DFTT).

And no, I don’t know what happened to the comment numbering. [a victim of one of the software upgrades, unfortunately - David]
From VOL

By Ephraim Radner
February 1, 2008
I remain at a loss as to why this is being proposed NOW, and being made public NOW, just as the Primates meet. I am grateful for the openness and desire for discussion around the concrete proposals (unlike some dioceses with which I am familiar). And in the spirit of such discussion, I included the following in a letter I sent yesterday to two of the Toronto bishops.

It is hard to escape the fact that the process you have now set in motion-one that involves public proposals, discussions, synodical actions, and all dealing with a way of ordering a particular “pastoral response” that involves episcopal oversight and particular permissions, following directives that involve the nature of prayers – cannot avoid being seen as one of ecclesial “authorization” of liturgical matters surrounding same-sex unions. The following words of the Archbishop of Canterbury were given at the end of the recent Lambeth Conference:

One of the problems around this is that people in different parts of the world clearly define ‘public’ and ‘rites’ and ‘blessing’ in rather different ways. I’d refer I think to what I said in the address this afternoon. As soon as there is a liturgical form it gives the impression: this has the Church’s stamp on it. As soon as that happens I think you’ve moved to another level of apparent commitment, and that I think is nowhere near where the Anglican Communion generally is. In the meeting of Primates at Gramado in Brazil some years ago, the phrase ‘A variety of pastoral response’ was used as an attempt to recognise that there were places where private prayers were said and, although there’s a lot of unease about that, there wasn’t quite the same strength of feeling about that as about public liturgies. But again ‘pastoral response’ has been interpreted very differently and there are those in the USA who would say: ‘Well, pastoral response means rites of blessing’, and I’m not very happy about that. (Final Press Conference, August 3, 2008)

I would underline two things in this response by Archbishop Williams. First, the key character of putting the “Church’s stamp” on same-sex unions somehow, simply by there being a publically permitted or authorized form of prayer (“liturgical form” – which is a deliberately vague phrase), is crucial. Second, the fact that “pastoral response” was always understood among the Primates at least – and even here with a great deal of trepidation – as involving no more than “private prayers”. Although you and your colleagues may feel that you are proposing something that would fall within this realm of only informal acknowledgments of private prayer, the very process you are following will make this very difficult to sustain in the judgments of many others around the Communion. The fact is that, among other things, your proposal includes the following:

* Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms. * Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized. * Episcopal permission for blessings will be required. * Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year. * No parish or clergy will be required to participate. * A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review.

All of this represents formal, episcopal, diocesan, public, liturgical prayers of blessing. And while it is true that the Archbishop’s remarks above do not carry any kind of formal authority in determining how the Church of Canada and her bishops will define “pastoral response”, I think it fair to say that his rather moderate definitions will be shared by, and even defined more strictly by, many others among our Communion partners. I believe, in short, that it will be very difficult indeed to make the case and persuade others of the fact that the Diocese of Toronto is not moving forward with a contravention of the informal moratorium articulated at Lambeth (and before), not to mention moving in a way that simply does not defer to the general concerns of many Anglicans around the world.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Crisis | 88 Comments

New Bishop of New Westminster

Melissa Skelton

Rev. Canon Melissa Skelton has been elected Bishop of New Westminster.

More from the Diocese of New Westminster.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada | 2 Comments

Bishop Charlie Masters’ Advent letter

Advent 2013

Advent, this year beginning conveniently on December 1st, is the first and best argument for observing the Church Year. Surely there is no other reality or central teaching of the Bible, more forgotten or functionally dismissed, by even serious Christians, than the doctrine of the return of Christ.

Thankfully, Romans 13, the first Epistle for the First Sunday of Advent, almost like an alarm clock interrupts the peaceful repose which is our lives and begins the church year with these words; “And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11).

It is no accident or should be no surprise that it is difficult to keep fresh a joyful anticipation of the return of Christ which drives us to a changed life in the light of Christ’s return. Peter, in his second epistle makes it clear that the agenda of the evil one and the active and sometimes subtle mocking of the scoffer is to lull Christians into a kind of sleep about the return of Christ. Our flesh wants to sleep.

In 2 Peter 3:3-10, Peter says:

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s Word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged, and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and Earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”

Dear friends, I exhort you and encourage you to make use of the brief days of Advent not only to prepare rightly to celebrate the birth of Jesus but more importantly to prepare our lives for the glorious return of that same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, lived and died on a Cross, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and soon, very soon will return, the culmination of all things and all his promises.

Let us ask ourselves questions, each day of Advent, as we go through the Scriptures: is it possible that I am asleep? In what ways am I, potentially, dozing off with regards to the return of Christ? What does “awake” look like in terms of the return of Christ? And how can I grow in being alert and prepared for his return?

The collect for Advent Sunday which is to be used every day and is based also on Romans 13 says this:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, now and ever. Amen

My prayer for you and me is that this Advent we will awake to a the full meaning, real transformation of life and joyful anticipation of the Return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

If you would like to follow along please use the Advent 2013 daily scripture readings.

Rt. Rev. Charles F. Masters

Posted in Anglican Network in Canada | 1 Comment

UPDATED: Diocese of Niagara sells St. Hilda’s Church

David has all the info here. This is the Church building that the Diocese was “prepared to keep…open”.

For a few years until the fuss had died down and they could quietly sell it, I guess.

UPDATE: David has some more information on this here. Seems as if the Diocese has made a pretty return on this piece of business – from $2 to ~$2M.

If you want to see what this looks like in pictures, here’s the visual on the diocesan strategy:

Clearly with this diocese I have to be careful of what I say, unless I want to find myself in David’s situation. Nevertheless, the picture speaks a thousand words. The diocese should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Network in Canada | 1 Comment

UPDATED ANiC’s St. Aidan’s (Windsor, ON) loses appeal; request prayer

Received via email:

Canon Tom Carman, rector of St Aidan’s, reports:

“In its decision, the Court of Appeal, upheld the conclusions of the trial court judge, Justice Little, on both the matter of St Aidan’s property and the St Aidan’s bequeathment and finance fund.  In addition, the Diocese of Huron was awarded partial costs in the amount of $100,000.

“St Aidan’s had a strong case, based on trust law.  The Diocese of Huron’s Canon 14 states in reference to church property that the diocese “holds it in trust for the benefit of the Parish or congregation.”  This was strengthened by a letter obtained by the people of St Aidan’s from the Chancellor of the Diocese, Lindsey Ellwood, on November 21, 2001 in which he wrote:

“I further reaffirm our discussion wherein I advise that pursuant to Canon 14 the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Huron…  has no beneficial or legal entitlement to parish property…”

“Based on these assurances, St Aidan’s proceeded with the appeal and our lawyer, Peter Jervis, was able to build a strong case.  Sadly, the courts accepted the argument of the Diocese that the parish only exists as an entity within the structures of the diocese and that it is impossible for a “parish” to leave the diocese.

“The people of St Aidan’s are understandably disappointed in this decision, however, we believe that the Lord has a plan for us and are trusting in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

“We are still considering whether to apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Please keep us in your prayers.”

UPDATE: From here, we understand that St. Aidan’s have now appealed to the Supreme Court.

Posted in Anglican Network in Canada | Tagged | 4 Comments

Nominees for Bishop of New Westminster

From the Diocese of New Westminster

The Candidates

Listed in alphabetical order, the eight (8) candidates which the Committee recommends to you for consideration are:

1. Ven. Ellen Clark-King, Vicar, Christ Church Cathedral, Diocese of New Westminster (Ph.D., M.A., C.T., B.A.)
2. Rev. Canon Dawn L. Davis, Incumbent Priest, Trinity Church Aurora, Diocese of Toronto (CHRP, M.Div., B.A.)
3. Rev. John Hebenton, Vicar, Anglican Parish of Gate Pa, Tauranga, Diocese of Waiapu, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (BSc, LTh [Hons], M.Min, B.A.)
4. Rev. Richard G. Leggett, Incumbent Priest, St. Faith’s Anglican Church, Diocese of New Westminster (Ph.D., M.A., M.Div., B.A.)
5. Ven. Lynne E. McNaughton, Incumbent Priest, St. Clement Anglican Church, Diocese of New Westminster (D. Min., M.Div., B.A.)
6. Rev. John Oakes, Hon. Assoc. Priest, All Saints Episcopal Church, Belmont, Diocese of Massachusetts, TEC and on leave with permission to officiate, Diocese of New Westminster (Ph.D., M.Div., M.A., M.C.S., Dipl. C.S., B.A.)
7. Rev. Canon Melissa M. Skelton, Canon for Congregational Development and Leadership & Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Diocese of Olympia, TEC (M.Div., M.B.A., M.A., B.A.)
8. Ven. John R. Stephens, Incumbent Priest, St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Diocese of New Westminster (M.Div., B.Sc.)

By way of reminder, full C.V.’s for each candidate (as prepared by the candidates) and a Statement from each are available on the Electoral Synod website.

[Since posting this I have added links to the candidates' statements]

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada | 5 Comments

GAFCON 2 Statement

Can be found here.

Some highlights below:

The Formation of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

In 2008, the first GAFCON was convened in order to counter a false gospel which was spreading throughout the Communion. This false gospel questioned the uniqueness of Christ and his substitutionary death, despite the Bible’s clear revelation that he is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). It undermined the authority of God’s Word written. It sought to mask sinful behaviour with the language of human rights. It promoted homosexual practice as consistent with holiness, despite the fact that the Bible clearly identifies it as sinful. A crisis point was reached in 2003 when a man in an active same-sex relationship was consecrated bishop in the USA. In the years that followed, there were repeated attempts to resolve the crisis within the Communion, none of which succeeded. To the contrary, the situation worsened with further defiance. As a response to the crisis, we adopted The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which commits us to biblical faithfulness, and has since provided the framework for renewed Anglican orthodoxy to which we, in all our different traditions – Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and Charismatics – are committed. We also formed the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA).

Since then, we have become a movement for unity among faithful Anglicans. Where, in taking a stand for biblical faithfulness, Anglicans have been marginalised or excluded from provincial or diocesan structures, the Primates’ Council has recognised and authenticated them as faithful Anglicans. The GFCA has been instrumental in the emergence of the new Province of the Anglican Church in North America, giving formal recognition to its orders and welcoming it as a full partner province, with its Archbishop having a seat on the Primates’ Council. The GFCA has also prevented the original Diocese of Recife from being isolated from the Anglican Communion. At the same time, local fellowships have been set up across many provinces. These have been a vital support to ministers and congregations alike, as the pressures on faithful gospel witness have increased.

The GFCA and the Future of the Anglican Communion

The fellowship we enjoy as Christians is distinguished from all other associations by the fact that it is at its heart a common ‘fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ’ (1 John 1:3). For this reason it has a particular character. It involves repentance and ‘walking in the light, as he is in the light’ (1 John 1:7–9). The character and boundaries of our fellowship are not determined by institutions but by the Word of God. The church is a place where the truth matters, where it is guarded and promoted and where alternatives are exposed for what they are — an exchange of the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25). Our willingness to submit to the written Word of God and our unwillingness to be in Christian fellowship with those who will not, is clearly expressed in The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. This means that the divisions in the Anglican Communion will not be healed without a change of heart from those promoting the false gospel, and to that end we pray.

Strengthening the GFCA

We are committed to the future of the GFCA and to that end have decided to take steps to strengthen our fellowship.

First, we have resolved to be more than a network. We are an effective expression of faithful Anglicanism and therefore, recognising our responsibilities, we must organise ourselves in a way that demonstrates the seriousness of our objectives. These are threefold.
•Proclaiming and contending for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples of work we wish to resource are the preparation of convincing theological rebuttals of any false gospel; supporting a network of theological colleges whose students are better oriented to ministry, whose faculties are well-trained, and whose curricula are built on the faithful reading of Scripture.
•Building the fellowship. We need to find new ways of supporting each other in mission and discipleship.
•Authorising and affirming faithful Anglicans who have been excluded by their diocese or province. The main thrust of work here would be devoted to discerning the need for new provinces, dioceses and churches — and then authenticating their ministries and orders as Anglican.

Second, pursuing these objectives will require GFCA to operate on a more systematic basis and to that end we shall organise around a Primates’ Council, a Board of Trustees, an Executive Committee and regional liaison officers, who will be involved in fostering communication among FCAs.

Third, we recognise that moving the GFCA on to a new footing will involve making substantial new resources available. We must, therefore, invite provinces, dioceses, mission agencies, local congregations and individuals formally to become contributing members of the GFCA. In particular, we ask provinces to reconsider their support for those Anglican structures that are used to undermine biblical faithfulness and contribute instead, or additionally, to the financing of the GFCA’s on-going needs.

The Nairobi Commitment

We are committed to Jesus Christ as the head of the Church, the authority of his Word and the power of his gospel. The Son perfectly reveals God to us, he is the sole ground of our salvation, and he is our hope for the future. We seek to honour him, walk in faith and obedience to his teaching, and glorify him through our proclamation of his name.

Therefore, in the power of the Holy Spirit —
1.We commit ourselves anew to The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration.
2.We commit ourselves to supporting mission, both locally and globally, including outreach to Muslims. We also commit to encouraging lay training in obedience to the Great Commission to make and mature disciples, with particular attention to recruiting and mobilizing young people for ministry and leadership.
3.We commit ourselves to give greater priority to theological education and to helping each other find the necessary resources. The purposes of theological education need clarifying so that students are better oriented to ministry, faculty are well-trained, and curricula are built on the faithful reading of Scripture.
4.We commit ourselves to defend essential truths of the biblical faith even when this defence threatens existing structures of human authority (Acts 5:29). For this reason, the bishops at GAFCON 2013 resolved ‘to affirm and endorse the position of the Primates’ Council in providing oversight in cases where provinces and dioceses compromise biblical faith, including the affirmation of a duly discerned call to ministry. This may involve ordination and consecration if the situation requires.’
5.We commit ourselves to the support and defence of those who in standing for apostolic truth are marginalized or excluded from formal communion with other Anglicans in their dioceses. We have therefore recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England, and welcomed their intention to appoint a General Secretary of AMiE.
6.We commit ourselves to teach about God’s good purposes in marriage and in singleness. Marriage is a life-long exclusive union between a man and a woman. We exhort all people to work and pray for the building and strengthening of healthy marriages and families. For this reason, we oppose the secular tide running in favour of cohabitation and same-sex marriage.
7.We commit ourselves to work for the transformation of society though the gospel. We repudiate all violence, especially against women and children; we shall work for the economic empowerment of those who are deprived; and we shall be a voice for persecuted Christians.
8.We commit ourselves to the continuation of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, putting membership, staffing and financing onto a new basis. We shall continue to work within the Anglican Communion for its renewal and reform.
9.We commit ourselves to meet again at the next GAFCON.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

26 October 2013

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Bishop Charlie Masters talks about the Diocese of Niagara

From David’s blog:

At GAFCON 2, Bishop Charlie Masters discussed how ANiC priests were treated by their former church.

During the legal proceedings between the Diocese of Niagara and ANiC, the diocesan lawyer asked ANiC’s lawyer: “What has your client done which has caused my client, the Diocese of Niagara, to hate them [the ANiC priests] so much”.

Go see the video…

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Network in Canada | 1 Comment