Thinking Anglicans

Canada: an update

The Anglican Journal reports:

Three more churches vote to leave Canadian church and later…

Judge rules against diocese of Niagara in dispute with local churches:

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on Feb. 29 that the diocese of Niagara may not send its clergy into two area churches in the next two weeks to hold Sunday services for members of the congregations that remain loyal after most of their fellow parishioners voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.

“I am disappointed with the decision today, but we have to respect and abide by it. I feel for those faithful members of the parishes. We will try to make some arrangement for them if we possibly can,” said Bishop Michael Bird, who is based at the diocesan office here. It was the first court decision since 11 Anglican Canadian parishes decided, at their regular vestries (annual meetings) in February, to separate. They now identify themselves as part of the Anglican Network in Canada…

The Diocese of Niagara had a detailed report on its website:

Message to the Clergy and People of the Diocese: from the Synod Negotiating Team February 29, 2008.

The Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz has issued a Statement, which you can also see on video here, which starts out:

Dear Friends, as you know, in recent weeks there have been a few parishes across our beloved church that have had meetings and serious discussions that have resulted in decisions to withdraw from the Anglican Church of Canada. With you, I am saddened by these developments because they represent a fracture in the body of Christ and a break in our fellowship, one with another.

As we hear the reporting around these developments, there is repeated reference to the blessing of same-sex unions as the tipping issue in what is described as a crisis in faith, within the Anglican Church of Canada. My conviction is that we can only challenge that kind of rhetoric by the fact that across this land, you and thousands of other Anglicans gather week by week to hear once again, the story of the loving purposes of God through history and in the fullness of time through Christ and in those same gatherings, to confess the divinity and the lordship of Jesus Christ as we recite the Creed and celebrate the Eucharist week by week…

A few of the press reports:

Toronto Star At core of Anglican conflict, a 1,900-year-old tradition by Stuart Laidlaw

Toronto Globe & Mail Breakaway Anglicans make gain by Caroline Alphonso

24
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
24 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
Fils de SimonMlcolm+David A.Jerry HannonGöran Koch-Swahne Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
christopher+
Guest
christopher+

Does Canadian jurisprudence really want to argue that hierarchical churches and religious organizations have no binding authority over their individual congregations and properties? I can think of a few examples in addition to the Anglican Church of Canada, including the Roman Catholic Church, that might not find this helpful – or truthful. Does the Canadian state really want to require congregational polity by law? Can it?

BobinSwPA
Guest
BobinSwPA

I really liked this one, “Rev. James Packer, a leading conservative Anglican theologian, says the principle of episcopal loyalty is generally sound, but tends to fall apart when congregations find themselves at odds with their local bishop. ” In both Vancouver and Niagara, where the majority of congregations that have left the national church are located, a handful of parishes that are among the most conservative in the country find themselves headed by very liberal local bishops, he says In such a situation, Packer says, the strict geographic definition of Anglicanism doesn’t work, and may have outlived its usefulness.” Funny… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

The Toronto Star makes reference to this point “Ignatius’s emphasis on loyalty to the local bishop as a defining characteristic of church membership is as important today as it was in the 2nd Century.” Some of the recent fracas are to do with the conservatives subscribing to this belief when they no longer control the agenda. The recent escapades of the purportedly Lambeth letter could be an example of an attempt to discredit Lambeth. Just as the Sharia discussion was blown out of context in an attempt to discredit Rowan. The liberals have made a point of ackonwledging the courteousness… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

I hope this legal decision can be appealed.

Failing that (and contra Bishop “we have to respect and abide by it” Bird), I hope that faithful Canadian Anglicans will consider *nonviolent civil disobedience*.

To the extent that the schismatic congregations have expelled the GOSPEL faith of the AngChCanada, they have expelled Christ.

In the Spirit of the Liberating Gospel, therefore, I urge Canadian Anglicans to resist “the principalities and powers”, and (nonviolently!) retake Christ’s church. [Always remembering that the schismatics they resist, are infinitely beloved in God’s eyes. Jesus, give us hearts like Yours!]

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Bob, It’s all relative. These dissidents also claim that they are preserving traditional Anglicanism against innovations. Yet St. Hilda’s, Oakville is a charismatic congregation whose web site advertises contemporary forms of worship and “Prayer and Praise” services St. Alban’s, Ottawa, claims to be a Prayer Book parish (worshiping the 1962 BCP), but according to their web site (they list Gospel readings and sermon topic for each Sunday), they follow the BCP lectionary only when it’s convenient, about half the time, and the rest of the time the readings seem to be chosen at the whim of the preacher. Despite their… Read more »

david wh
Guest
david wh

BobinSwPA commenting on Jim Packer’s statement that “.. the strict geographic definition of Anglicanism doesn’t work” says “Funny how the faith once delivered to the saints has outlived it usefulness. I guess the saints are only useful when they agree with what Packer thinks is useful.” Bob, “the faith once delivered to the saints” is a quote from the New Testament (Epistle of Jude to be precise): “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

My wife the lawyer advises that the ruling in favour of the schismatics is purely a temporary thing – and probably as much a function of the fact that they made the initial application to the court as any perceived merit to their case.

The interim order does not limit how the court will rule in the substantive case in a couple of weeks.

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

In Canada, the legal situation varies from province to province. And in both Ontario and British Columbia is relatively clear. I have it on good authority that the Act of the BC legislature under which the dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada exist in that province explicitly states that buildings and property belong to the diocese as a part of the ACC. And in Ontario, a declaratory Act of the provincial parliament explicitly says the same thing. Why the court ruled as it did last week is not clear, though the ruling only applies to the two-three week period… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Jim

I confess to being really amused when one of the early breakaways in the US declared themselves.

They laud about speaking in tongues and hands on healing.

Fine.

Except in my local diocese I was told that any kind of “miracles” were proof that one was a fraudster or from the “evil one”.

I just love how their camp can have all the “gifts of spirit” but our camp it is proof of our “evilness”.

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

As a non-Anglican who read Packer’s “Knowing God” in college, the part of the story that interests me most is Bishop Ingham’s suspension/defrocking? of Dr. Packer,depending on which website one’s reading. Can a Canadian bishop defrock a British priest? Or is he just removing his license to practice in British Columbia? Perhaps some of the Church of England members here could enlighten me. Not being familiar with the formalities of canonical language, what does “to have abandoned the exercise of ministry” mean? Which is it? Sounds about like the Baptists calling Billy Graham a non-Christian because he attended his wife’s… Read more »

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

Packer “abandoned the exercise of ministry” when he decided to disaffiliate from the Anglican Church of Canada and affliate with the Southern Cone. That’s because all clergy can only function within the framework of a diocese and a bishop’s authority — and as he has repudiated the authority of his former bishop, that’s fairly good evidence that he has abandoned the exercise of ministry to which he was licensed by the Bishop of New Westminster. No priest has an absolute right to exercise ministry anywheres/he chooses: a priest must be licensed by a bishop. I wasn’t aware that he had… Read more »

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

Chris H. “Can a Canadian bishop defrock a British priest?” An excellent question, with a complex answer. Clergy are all subject to some jurisdiction or other in the Anglican system. A priest is ordained by a bishop and then is licensed by and subject to that jurisdiction. But the same priest may apply to be traneferred to another jurisdiction and put under the authority of the bishop in the new locale. I assume for the sake of argument that Packer did just that when he moved to Vancouver. Thus, whatever his origins and civil citizenship (which I do not know)… Read more »

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Nom de plume and others,
Thank you for answering my very ignorant questions. If you would kindly spare me a bit more patience:

So if Packer’s license is revoked in B.C. he would/could still be a priest in other parts of the communion if another bishop gave him a license. Would he still be considered a priest if he didn’t get another license? He’s in his 80’s, maybe he wouldn’t bother.

Thanks again for the info.

Charles Nurse
Guest
Charles Nurse

It should be noted that Bishop Ingham has not “defrocked” James Packer or any of the other priests invloved in the parishes that voted to “leave” the Anglican Church. What he did do was ask them whether they had “abandoned” their ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, and gave them 2 months to respond (as stipulated in the Canons of the Anglican Church of Canada). As these clerics had declared their loyalty to a Bishop of a different Province this is an entirely reasonable request for clarification. One cannot have a license from two separate Bishops at the same… Read more »

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

“So if Packer’s license is revoked in B.C. he would/could still be a priest in other parts of the communion if another bishop gave him a license. Would he still be considered a priest if he didn’t get another license?” I think there is some confusion here about licenses versus status as a priest. (I should also say thanks to Charles Nurse for his clarification.) A priest is a priest because of his or her valid ordination. In catholic theology, the implications of which are accepted in the Anglican Church, ordination effects an ontological change in the ordained. He or… Read more »

Margaret
Guest
Margaret

Is there any concern in the Anglican Church of Canada about having their (probably) most famous theologian delicensed by Bishop Ingram?

In most places that would at least raise eyebrows, if not serious questions about who holds to the correct theology, but has it in Canada?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Isn’t the word ‘infamous’?

What was a fundamentalist like Packer doing within Anglicanism in the first place may be a better question to ask

Canada are well rid of him

Fils de Simon
Guest
Fils de Simon

Margaret, As someone who has a special interest in Canadian theologians, I would challenge your assumption that J.I. Packer is the ‘most famous’ among Anglicans. Fame depends on which wider ecclesial circles one moves in. Among Packer’s contemporaries, Gregory Baum (RC) and Douglas Hall (UCC), admittedly not Anglicans, are widely-read among Anglicans. Both have had careers teaching Anglican seminarians (among others). Sallie McFague, a self-identified Anglican, is quite popular too. If, in order to be famous, a theologian must advance a theologia gloriæ, then not being famous is perhaps a more reliable criterion of what it is to be faithful… Read more »

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

“Is there any concern in the Anglican Church of Canada about having their (probably) most famous theologian delicensed by Bishop Ingram?” – Margaret

But you see Margaret, Packer is almost totally unknown in Anglican circles in Canada outside the conservative evangelical stream. And in Canada. that stream is small indeed. Certainly less than 1 per cent of active Anglicans.

In theological colleges, he may be better known, of course.

As to whether there are any Canadian Anglican theologians with any public profile at all, at least in Canada — I suspect the answer is no.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Correct theology”, Margaret?

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

With regard to the Reverend Packer, Margaret wrote: “Is there any concern in the Anglican Church of Canada about having their (probably) most famous theologian delicensed by Bishop Ingram?” Good grief. That has about as much validity as being concerned about a “famous” (infamous to the respective majorities) Anglo-Catholic who had been dwelling with the Southern Baptists, or a Pentecostal who had been dwelling with the ECLA Lutherans. Sorry, Margaret, the respective religious beliefs are personally valid, but would not be in their proper places if intellectual and spiritual honesty and respect prevailed. Neither Packer with the ACC, nor the… Read more »

David A.
Guest
David A.

Tangentially and regarding the “Anglo-Catholic … dwelling with the Southern Baptists” Well, there is a case of a pop theologian and Anglo-catholic ‘dwelling’ amongst the Southern Baptists: namely, C.S. Lewis. Lewis and his brother Warnie visited Anglican confessionals on occasion and were certainly high church. Of course, this has nothing to do with anything other than strange bedfellows are everywhere. As for Packer, I first heard of him through a Pentecostal friend. I knew he was a professor at Regent College. I was completely surprised that he was both an Anglican and a parishioner at St. John’s Shaughnessy Church. (I’m… Read more »

Mlcolm+
Guest

Personally, I would hazard to guess that the most famous living theologian of the Anglican Church of Canada is +Victoria Matthews.

Fils de Simon
Guest
Fils de Simon

‘Personally I would hazard to guess that the most famous living theologian in the Anglican Church of Canada is +Victoria Matthews.’
–Malcolm +

Dieu, viens à notre aide.