Saturday, June 15, 2002

British Columbia & Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

See below for report of the acceptance of the new sexual morality in the Anglican Church of Canada.

It has been on the horizon for a while and now has drawn near and has been much assisted sociologically since divorce & remarriage is a major reality in the Anglican Church of Canada. I fear that Anglicanism of the North/West will continue to absorb the new morality until it realizes that it has made a gigantic mistake...other parts of Canada, Australia and Britain watch out -- for there is much more of this to come all over the place and soon.

It is interesting to me that the Bishop who has approved the same-sex blessings vote, is the one who was chosen to commend in print the Canadian Book of Alternative Services of 1985. (Some will think that I am out of line in stating this but I state it...)

Regrettably, few Canadian Evangelicals recognized that the BAS and the (unorthodox) trial services which followed it ( cf, the USA with the 79 prayer book and the new rites that have followed it) were undermining the Faith and opening the doors for innovation in worship, doctrine, discipline and morals. In my criticism of Bp Ingham's commendation of the BAS and later rites etc I was myself criticized by Canadian Evangelicals for resisting good change! Many thought that the BAS was great.... and that I was out of touch. Further, there has been a general acceptance of the divorce culture by Canadian evangelicals and the adoption of the lesbigay agenda is, as we learn from sociological studies, really only the next step of "progress" in sexual rights and freedoms.

Yet I MUCH sympathize with the evangelicals in Vancouver & BC for they have now met the new face of the Northern secularist expression of Anglicanism, which is more controlled by rights' doctrine than that of the Creed. When prayer changes so does morality; regrettably they can expect little or no official help from the Anglican Communion, for Canada is an autonomous province as is the ECUSA and as are the other 36.

In my view they need to absorb what has happened prayerfully and not rush into any decisions or actions for as long as possible. Going into schism will not help and spending money going East in search of Archbishops to lay hand on one of then will not solve the problems. Joining the AMiA or imitating it will not be work well in the former British territory.

They may simply have to stand firm and resist the entrance of the new morality and the bishop into their parishes and do so as long as it takes and in a spirit of humility and graciousness.Meanwhile they should declare days of prayer and fasting topray for the conversion of their Bishop to historic, orthodox Christianity.

Let us pray for the whole diocese, for those who have innovated and those who resist it. Worse problems have faced the Church in the past and She has come through by grace. These parishes have not yet been put out of business or silenced...if they humble thesmelves under the mighty hand of God, who knows what that HAND will do through them and for them! Let them use this opportunity to make sure that they are truly biblical and anglican in their worship, doctrine, discipline and morality and that especially in sexuality they adorn the gospel by commending chastity, holy matrimony and not supporting the divorce culture. Maybe the Lord is speaking to them via this innovation in the diocese... He that hath ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

June 15, 2002: Synod D-Day 2
1:15 EST, 9:15 PST

NEW WESTMINSTER DISASTER-- of 371 eligible, 344 voted: 215 yea (63% of votes cast), 126 nay for Motion 7 (previously #s 9-4) in favour of same-sex blessings for the Diocese of New Westminster. MOTION PASSED, episcopal assent immediately given.

When the vote was announced, Rev. Trevor Walters stood up, swiftly withdrew Motion 6 (request for a new diocese) on behalf of the Essentials Parishes, and invited delegates and churches to calmly leave Synod, and to affiliate with world Anglicanism, since Synod had separated schismatically from Anglicanism by this unauthorized action. He asked for the prayers of Synod, and then many people left en masse.

Further to previous claims by Bp. Ingham during the debate to influence the delegates, he asserted that there were already fully and officially authorized same-sex blessings in ECUSA-- this new act in New Westmister would be nothing new. Not exactly. ECUSA same-sex blessings are in one sense unauthorized, nationally-- not via General Convention permission. Those bishops and priests who so act are acting in a canonical/constitutional limbo.

He also claimed that military chaplains under Abp. Andrew Hutchinson (+Montreal) had authorized and carried out same-sex blessings with the authorization of the House of Bishops (HOB). A current member of the Canadian House of Bishops has just advised us that the claim by Michael Ingham that the blessing of same-sex unions by the armed-forces military chaplains under Bp. Hutchinson was done with the full support of the Canadian HOB is in fact "blatantly untrue". The Canadian HOB had no motion or discussion on this matter, but planned to discuss it later.

The New West Essentials Anglicans are even now convening at an area church. As we spoke to two of them one was weeping, one was in shock, but filled with grim determination, in a pastorally agonizing time for thousands of people in New Westminster, across Canada, and around the world in the face of this unprecedented first-time-ever vote to officially bless same sex unions in the Anglican Communion.

Their initial response (subject to revision) may be found here in a prepared Press Release.

Christ have mercy.


A Press Release ....


In accordance with our obedience to the authority of scripture, the moral tradition of the catholic Church, the teaching of the Anglican communion, and the dictate of our conscience, we, the synod delegates of the undersigned parishes, dissent from the resolution of the synod of the diocese of New Westminster in its authorization of the blessing of same-sex unions. We cannot support the synod and its bishop in their defiance of those values of the Church we uphold.

We abhor the disunity which this schismatic act of synod has created. We regret the severing of pastoral relationships which it entails. We have, therefore, appealed to the leaders of the Anglican communion to provide us with alternative episcopal oversight so that we might abide in the church which we love. We appeal to the faithful in our diocese to support us "in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints." We believe that under a new pattern of leadership God will use this current diocesan crisis to enable us to minister more effectively and to continue faithfully to lift high the Cross of Jesus Christ the Lord.

Christ Church, Hope
Church of Emmanuel, Richmond
Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver
Saint Andrew's, Pender Harbour
Saint John's, Shaughnessy, Vancouver
Saint Martin's, North Vancouver
Saint Matthias and Saint Luke, Vancouver
Saint Matthew's, Abbotsford
Saint Simon's, North Vancouver


The Revd Mr Ed Hird has asked that anyone in the Anglican Communion who wishes to
contact him to support the faithful parishes can contact him at:


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