Category : Canada

(AC) J.I. Packer: A Remembrance

Already in his 70s at the time, he preferred not to travel on a Sunday, but to travel earlier and serve a local church on Sunday, preaching to and teaching the faithful gathered in that place. He would fly in on a Friday, spend the weekend relaxing and recreating with us, preach and teach on Sunday, and then head off to CT Monday morning. He was always the perfect houseguest.

The first visit was arranged by my friend and parishioner Mark Galli, then editor at Christianity Today. It was thrilling to have him as a guest and to introduce him to my parishioners. The epistle for that Sunday was from Philippians 4, and he urged us not to neglect the important Christian work of rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness. But it was his second visit, rather the arranging of that visit, that opened a particular window onto his character.

I was in my office at the church one afternoon when the phone rang. I answered and heard a soft, British voice say, “Hello Chip, this is Jim Packer. I hope you remember me…”

I hope you remember me? Are you kidding me? But there you are, Jim Packer was perhaps the least presumptuous person I have ever known. He never felt that the renown his work had earned him was his entitlement to any special recognition or treatment.

Here’s another thing about Jim Packer: that man could eat! I never remember him turning down seconds at a meal, or refusing dessert because he was full. Oddly, he didn’t drink water, didn’t like it at all, but ate his food as spicy as he could get it. Once, at the airport in Dallas, we shared a breakfast of eggs and bacon. Lots of folks, myself included, like a bit of hot sauce on a scrambled egg. I remember Jim drowning his eggs in Tabasco Sauce, creating what looked like a sort of Tex-Mex Egg Drop soup.

Another time, driving from Columbia, SC to Tallahassee, FL for a Prayer Book Committee meeting, we stopped at an old Boarding House restaurant in south Georgia for lunch. At those places, you don’t order, they just bring what they have prepared that day: a variety of vegetables and rolls, and a choice of three meats. Jim chose all three. And when the two dessert options were offered, he asked if he might be permitted to have both.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Canada, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education

Monday Mental Health Break–Dizzy – Roman Candles

Posted in * General Interest, Canada, Music

(CT) Bruce Hindmarsh–J.I. Packer Was the Robin Hood of Evangelicalism

J. I. Packer was my teacher at Regent College when I was a young graduate student. Some years later, he became my colleague and next-door neighbor in the hallways at the college and a fellow church member at St. John’s Anglican Church in Vancouver. I will forever be grateful to have known him. He shaped my life and thought in many ways, and I am not alone in this experience.

In light of his recent passing, I have been thinking more about his wider legacy and especially his significant contribution to evangelicalism as a whole. In the present political culture, however, the word “evangelical” or “evangelicalism” is freighted with a good deal of baggage that’s worth shedding immediately.

We can do so by going back in time. The Old English word “gospel” never got a proper Old English adjective and had to steal a Greek one: “evangelical.” But the noun and the adjective belong together. And as the great Bible translator William Tyndale put it, “evangelical” is a word that “signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy.”

This vibrant relationship between word and life, message and experience, doctrine and devotion was absolutely central to the evangelical movements in Germany and English-speaking lands that emerged at the beginning of the modern period.

Evangelicals today claim some sort of genealogical or theological continuity with these movements. But wherever we see the preaching of Jesus Christ generate new life and set people in joyful motion, that is where we properly use the adjective “evangelical” in its most important and basic sense. It is why we cannot, I think, abandon the term. Again, the words “gospel” and “evangelical” ought always to be kept together. Indeed, Jim Packer played a significant role in evangelicalism over the past six decades precisely because he helped those who identify as social evangelicals to be theological and spiritual evangelicals as well.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education

JI Packer RIP

Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet — which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! — declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.)

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 ESV

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. J.I. Packer, a treasured faculty member, author, churchman, and friend.

James Innell Packer died July 17th in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was ninety-three, and humorous, gracious, and prayerful even in his final days.

One of the most widely-respected systematic theologians of the twentieth century, Jim drew his inspiration primarily from Scripture, but was deeply influenced by the works of John Calvin and the English Puritans. Jim brought seventeenth-century Puritan devotion to life for his twentieth- and twenty-first-century students. While named as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals by Time Magazine in 2005 and author of one of the best-selling Christian books of all time, Knowing God, Jim Packer’s description of himself was as an “adult catechist.” “Theology, friends, is doxology” is a phrase students recall, and in many respects, the adage that shaped his lengthy career.

From his youth as the son of a railway clerk in Gloucester, England, Jim won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was noted as a remarkable student with a brilliant intellect. Growing up in a nominal Anglican home, Jim became a Christian early in his time at Oxford, largely through the InterVarsity Fellowship Christian Union and St. Aldate’s Anglican Church.

Following his undergraduate degree, Jim taught Greek at Oak Hill Theological College in London. He quickly felt drawn to further study, and commenced his studies in theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was awarded an MA and DPhil, writing his dissertation on Puritan Richard Baxter’s doctrine of salvation under Geoffrey Nuttall. “It was the Puritans,” Jim noted, “that made me aware that all theology is also spirituality.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Happy Canada Day and 153nd Birthday to all Canadian Blog readers!

Posted in Canada

(Regent College Vancouver) A new language for the sexual crisis of our generation- with Dr. Sarah Williams

Dr. Sarah Williams addresses the current sexual identity crisis that we experience today by advocating for 1) a better understanding of history and 2) a more nuanced use of language that can help us have better conversations about marriage, sex, and identity.

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality, Theology

(CBC) Toronto to make face coverings mandatory on public transit, will hand out 1M masks to riders

Mayor John Tory announced the updated regulations for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on Thursday.

“This will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city,” Tory said.

“As the restart and reopening begins, we know that more people will be back on the TTC… at the same time, physical distancing will become a greater and greater challenge.”

The TTC board will need to approve the recommendation at its meeting next week, though TTC CEO Rick Leary has already said he supports the plan.

“I want to make sure people know our system is safe for both customers and employees,” Leary said.

Toronto also announced on Thursday a plan to give out one million non-medical masks to transit users, with a focus on low-income and marginalized communities.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Travel

A Terrific NYTimes profile of British Columbia’s Bonnie Henry–The Top Doctor Who Aced the Coronavirus Test

After high school, Dr. Henry joined the naval reserves, drawn by the camaraderie, naval navigation and communication techniques, and the lure of the open ocean. She enlisted in her third year of medical school and graduated to become a fleet medical officer in Esquimalt, B.C., not far from where she lives now.

“I look back on it now, a lot of the work I was doing with a group of captive men was prevention. They would tease me about always telling them to wear sunscreen and use condoms,” said Dr. Henry, who stayed with the navy for almost 10 years, meeting her husband there. (They separated five years ago, after 20 years of marriage, and never had children.)

During a gastrointestinal outbreak onboard, Dr. Henry used basic epidemiological legwork and a microscope to trace the source of the sickness to contaminated bottled water they’d taken on board in Tahiti.

One day at her job at a clinic in San Diego, a man burst in with a gun, demanding to talk to someone. Dr. Henry stepped forward. “I said, ‘I’m somebody. Let’s talk,’” she recalled. “He burst into tears. He was in pain and distraught.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine

In Flanders Fields for Memorial Day 2020

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve; KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

(NYT) Doing the Bump With the Belugas in Manitoba

Beneath the waves, two smoldering coals for eyes watched me with an intense, unyielding stare. Pristine white bodies floated up elegantly from the depths, one after another, surrounding my kayak in the open water. Their ghostly pale faces with wide, Joker-esque smiles pushed closer. A long, powerful sound burst up through the air, like a slowly deflating balloon, followed by silence and more expectant staring.

I was having a one-sided conversation with a pod of curious beluga whales. The mouth of Churchill River in northern Manitoba, Canada, was calm and quiet on this chilly, overcast July day, but these bright white whales were not. Belugas, nicknamed “the canaries of the sea” thanks to their song-like sounds, are social, playful and highly communicative. They repeated their shrieks and tunes, floating around me in anticipatory silence. There was only one thing left to do: sing along.

In response, raucous clicks and squeals drifted upward out of the dark water, like someone tapping on a microphone for attention, broken by steady streams of blowhole bubbles. I got the distinct feeling that I was being discussed.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Canada

(CTV) ‘I would do anything for a do-over’: Calgary church hopes others learn from their tragic COVID-19 experience

Members of a Calgary church ravaged by COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic are sharing their stories of grief and healing, after Alberta’s chief medical health officer cited them as a cautionary tale.

“I had the opportunity recently to talk to a faith leader whose faith community gathered together in mid-March before many of our public health measures were in place,” Dr Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. “The congregation had a worship service and then gathered together for a celebratory social event. There were only 41 people present, and they were careful to observe two meter distancing and good hand hygiene. They followed all the rules and did nothing wrong. ”

Despite that, 24 of the 41 people at the party ended up infected. Two of them died.

Rev. Shannon Mang is the minister of Living Spirit United Church.

“One of our most beloved members was having a very important birthday and we wanted to celebrate that,” Mang said of the post-service celebration. “Under the circumstances, we thought we were going to be safe. We were very diligent about physical distancing, very diligent about hand hygiene.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(AJ) Canadian Anglican Primate: ‘We are building resilience’

A few years ago, “zoom-zoom” referred to a Mazda car commercial. Today people are more likely to think of an online screen filled with small squares of virtual people holding a meeting. In the Anglican Church of Canada, this is especially true for all of the bishops and the Primate!

Prior to the imposed isolation, my calendar was filled with travel to different parts of Canada to share in parish and diocesan celebrations, present the Award of Merit to last year’s recipients, and meet with diocesan leaders, clergy and parishioners to talk about their mission and ministry. Suddenly I was confined to home in London, Ont., with my cat, feeling disconnected and unsure what I could and should do now.

Over these past weeks a new rhythm of life and ministry has emerged—and with it, reflections on what the future might hold. First, many activities prior to COVID-19 have been transformed into virtual meeting opportunities. Church House staff meet regularly online to continue the work General Synod is called to fulfill. This even includes a weekly coffee break to stay in touch with one another in our relationships and share coping strategies. It is good to see and hear colleagues, though it can be mentally exhausting to engage online for hours every day. We are learning to pace meetings, provide breaks and even have online breakout groups for discussion. Our technological learning curve is steep, but new skills are being mastered!

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(Globe and Mail) At least 19 dead in Nova Scotia shooting rampage

New details of the violence and chaos of a deadly rampage in Nova Scotia emerged on Monday, as the death toll swelled to at least 19 victims and police worked at 16 crime scenes around the province – while warning the number of victims in Canada’s worst mass shooting is expected to rise further in the days to come.

“We have had five structure fires, most of those being residences, and we believe there may be victims still within the remains of those homes which burned to the ground,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said in a press conference in Dartmouth on Monday afternoon. “That part of the investigation is still very much ongoing.”

Among the victims who have been publicly identified are RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force and a mother of two; correctional services managers Alanna Jenkins and Sean Macleod; elementary school teacher Lisa McCully; Heather O’Brien, a nurse from Truro; and three members of the same family, Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck and Aaron (Friar) Tuck.

The killer has been identified by police as Gabriel Wortman, a 51-year-old denturist and owner of the Atlantic Denture Clinic in Dartmouth. He is among the dead.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Violence

(CBC) Physical distancing has halved rate of spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia, official modelling suggests

Health officials say physical distancing restrictions in B.C. are successfully beginning to slow the rate of spread of new COVID-19 cases in the province, perhaps by as much as half.

But despite the “glimmer of hope,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and other officials stressed that the province is not out of the woods and the health-care system still needs to be prepared for an inevitable surge in hospitalizations.

“I’m trying not to over-call it, but I do believe we’ve seen a flattening, a falling-off of that curve,” Henry said Friday, referring to the growth of new COVID-19 patients in B.C.

“What we need, though, is for everybody to continue to pay attention to these [physical distancing] measures so we can continue to prevent transmissions in our communities … for the coming weeks.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine

(CTV) ‘Extremely rare’ sighting of a lynx litter caught on camera by Hydro worker

A Manitoba Hydro worker stumbled across an “extremely rare” sight while traveling the highways in rural Manitoba – a mother lynx and her litter.

Sean Kirchmann, a Hydro employee, was on his way to Grand Rapids, Man., when he noticed some small feline heads poking out of the trees near the highway.

“One by one, the mother came out followed by her kittens, gingerly crossing through the ditch and then at the side of the road,” said Bruce Owen, the spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro.

Read it all and do NOT miss the video.

Posted in Animals, Canada, Photos/Photography

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–The Age of Decadence

The farther you get from that iPhone glow, the clearer it becomes: Our civilization has entered into decadence.

The word “decadence” is used promiscuously but rarely precisely. In political debates, it’s associated with a lack of resolution in the face of threats — with Neville Chamberlain and W.B. Yeats’s line about the best lacking all conviction. In the popular imagination, it’s associated with sex and gluttony, with pornographic romances and chocolate strawberries. Aesthetically and intellectually it hints at exhaustion, finality — “the feeling, at once oppressive and exalting, of being the last in a series,” in the words of the Russian poet Vyacheslav Ivanov.

But it’s possible to distill a useful definition from all these associations. Following in the footsteps of the great cultural critic Jacques Barzun, we can say that decadence refers to economic stagnation, institutional decay and cultural and intellectual exhaustion at a high level of material prosperity and technological development. Under decadence, Barzun wrote, “The forms of art as of life seem exhausted, the stages of development have been run through. Institutions function painfully. Repetition and frustration are the intolerable result.” He added, “When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent.” And crucially, the stagnation is often a consequence of previous development: The decadent society is, by definition, a victim of its own success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Canada, Economy, England / UK, Europe, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Crux) Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops call assisted suicide plan ‘deeply troubling’

As Canada’s government works to expand the criteria for individuals seeking medically assisted suicide, the head of Canada’s Catholic bishops has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying his government has failed to provide an impartial consideration of the matter.

“Suffering and death are indeed terrifying and the instinct to flinch from pain is universal. But euthanasia and assisted suicide are not the answer,” wrote Archbishop Richard Gagnon, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in a letter dated January 31.

“We strongly urge the Government of Canada, before proceeding further, to undertake a more extensive, thorough, impartial, and prolonged consultation on the question, in order to ensure all pertinent factors – social, medical, and moral – are carefully and thoroughly considered,” he continued.

The letter is in response to the Trudeau’s government’s efforts to extend the categories of individuals who are allowed to seek medical support to end their lives, following a ruling from the Superior Court of Quebec saying it is unconstitutional only to allow the practice to individuals who are already near death.

Gagnon, who is also the archbishop of Winnipeg, called the move “deeply troubling.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Christianity Today) What Does ‘Evangelical’ Mean?

What does it mean to be evangelical? The term, without a doubt, is widely misunderstood and frequently misrepresented. In recent years, the term evangelical has become highly politicized, invoked to describe a voting bloc or as a blanket label for those with conservative or, perhaps, fundamentalist views. Meanwhile, some from within the movement have dropped the label or left evangelicalism entirely, coining the monicker exvangelical.

Since its inception, Christianity Today has been distinctly evangelical, bringing together a broad readership of Christians from across the denominational spectrum who find common ground in their shared faith in Christ, commitment to orthodoxy, and passion for proclaiming the gospel. Throughout the decades, CT has discussed what it means to be evangelical (such as in this 1965 cover story). In recent years, the conversation has continued with renewed vigor. What is really at the heart of evangelical identity? Here’s a sampling of articles from the past few years that dig deeper into what it means to be an evangelical Christian today.

In “Evangelical Distinctives in the 21st Century,” Mark Galli (CT’s recently retired editor in chief) launched a series of articles meant to “articulate what we [at Christianity Today] mean by evangelicalism—and more importantly, why we continue to think that evangelicals are a people whom God still uses mightily to reform his church and touch the world with the grace and hope of the gospel.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Toronto Star) Amira Elghawaby–Too little has changed since Quebec mosque massacre shattered lives

The attack against the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec continues to symbolize the very worst manifestations of racism, social marginalization, and toxic online culture. Three years on, little has changed to assure us that no other community will ever again be targeted based on religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.

In Quebec, divisive rhetoric and law are being used to justify the second-class treatment of religious communities. Bill 21 is the contentious legislation that prevents some people from holding certain government jobs because of their religious clothing.

Now, a group called Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ), granted intervener status in one of the legal challenges to the bill, is calling for its expansion to cover all public servants, not only teachers, police officers and crown prosecutors.

The Quebec government is also nonsensically moving to abolish its Ethics and Religious Culture course in primary and secondary schools.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Religion & Culture, Violence

(BBC) You owe it to yourself to listen and watch this piece about Auschwitz survivor Max Eisen

Posted in Canada, Germany, History, Judaism, Poland, Religion & Culture, Violence

(AJ) ‘Coming to God without freedom is not coming to God’: Philosopher Charles Taylor on seeing God in church decline

Why are fewer people going to church?

It’s very hard to put your finger on this, but this is what I’m trying to work out: that there’s another kind of spiritual life, spiritual searching, going on to a great extent in our contemporary West—sometimes it’s in totally different religions, or totally non-religious—and that this somehow is taking off at the expense of an earlier way of expressing one’s spirituality, which involves being members of national churches or in the case of a very diverse country like Canada, at least a church which you know is very big and solid in some parts of the country.

It’s not that religion is disappearing, or spirituality is disappearing; it’s taking different forms. If you put yourself in the mindset of people, in particular of younger people, who are concerned about the meaning of life, concerned about becoming better people, more loving, more open, etc., and are seeking in some way some discipline—it could be meditation, it could be various things—if you put yourself in the mindset of these people, when they go to the pews the least bad thing is that they don’t feel it’s very relevant! The worst thing is they feel that their whole way of approaching this is not really appreciated and it may be seen as threatening the people in the pews. Now of course this is perhaps more the case—I’m a Catholic—in the case of the Catholic church [laughs], where you have these very backward-looking people who are screaming abuse at [Pope] Francis and so on [laughs]!

That’s the extreme case, where you actually feel, “I’d better rush out of this place [laughs]! Or I’m going to be badly treated.” But the least worrying or problematic [for those outside the church] is just that this is not a concern that people [in the pews] recognize, this searching concern. “Everything is all settled, and we’re all together in these pews affirming it.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Books, Canada, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Regent College, Vancouver, Receives $3.5 Million For Endowed Chair In Marketplace Theology And Leadership

Regent College is very pleased to announce the creation of the R. Paul Stevens Chair in Marketplace Theology and Leadership. The Chair’s $3.5 million endowment, the gift of Dr. Margaret Wai Kay Wong of Hong Kong, is the largest gift in Regent’s history.

Dr. Jeff Greenman, President of Regent College, expressed the College’s gratitude and delight:

“We at Regent are deeply grateful to Dr. Margaret Wong for her generous support of Regent’s mission by investing in the College’s commitment to marketplace theology and leadership. A fully endowed chair simply is a marvelous gift to us. It provides a strong and enduring institutional platform for a faculty member’s research, teaching, writing, and mentoring in a strategic area of Regent’s ministry.”

“Throughout our entire history, Regent has sought to equip men and women with a deep, integrated faith that is lived out in a variety of marketplaces and in their leadership roles. This gift advances that distinctive pursuit and ensures the vitality of Regent’s contribution to the church in this important area.”

Dr. Wong, a Canadian citizen, lives and works in Hong Kong. She completed her doctorate in Physics at MIT before moving to Hong Kong to oversee management of her late father’s property developments, including new town residential communities in the New Territories.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Seminary / Theological Education

(Winnipeg Free Press) ‘Dire’ report projects near end of Anglican Church in Canada

Geoff Woodcroft, Bishop of Rupert’s Land (which includes parts of Manitoba and northwestern Ontario) called the report “dire.”

“We need to take it very seriously,” he said.

According to the report, there has been an almost 3.5 per cent decline annual decline in attendance since 2001 and a 2.5 per cent decline in giving in the diocese.

While that’s a cause for concern, it’s not a “death knell for the church, Woodcroft said, as it can’t account for “the vitality of the ministry being done by Anglicans” across Canada.

Anglicans in Manitoba are responding to their communities and neighbourhoods, together with thriving churches such as St. Margaret’s and St. Benedict’s Table (both in Winnipeg), Woodcroft said, calling the efforts a “credit to those people and those communities.”

As for church leaders, they are “taking (the report) incredibly seriously,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Religion & Culture

In Flanders Fields for Rememberance Day and Veterans Days 2019

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

(AJ) ‘Wake-up call’: CoGS hears statistics report on church membership decline

The Anglican Church of Canada’s first reliably-collected set of statistics since 2001 show the church running out of members in little more than two decades if the church continues to decline at its current rate, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Friday, Nov. 9.

“We’ve got simple projections from our data that suggest that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” the Rev. Neil Elliot, a priest for the diocese of Kootenay seconded in 2016 by the national church to collect a new set of statistics, told CoGS. Elliot, who reported on 2017 data collected from all of the church’s dioceses, also told the group about ongoing efforts to expand and diversify data collection.

The current projection should be taken especially seriously by Canadian Anglicans, Elliot said, because it is suggested by five different sets of church data, all collected in different ways: older data from 1961 to 2001; Anglican Journal subscriber data from 1991 to 2015; and three sets of data from his own survey of the dioceses as of 2017: the number of people on parish rolls, average Sunday attendance and regular identifiable givers.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Religion & Culture

(EJ) ‘Back to earth’: Edmonton church groups exploring growing interest of green burials

[John] Matthews is also chair of the north-side Christ Church Polar Lake Cemetery, one of only a few in Edmonton currently offering plots for the green practice. He said his church was approached about two years ago by a resident interested in having a green burial, or what Matthews calls a “traditional burial,” and so they decided to provide the option.

Four speakers took to the podium during the seminar at St. Stephen the Martyr/St. Faith Anglican Church on Alberta Avenue to explore some of the spiritual considerations and challenges with natural burials. It’s about opening the door for conversation and not being scared to talk about the inevitable, Matthews said.

“The whole idea is to get death out of the closet and to confront it directly,” he said. “The more you put it aside … that’s going to prolong the grieving process or impede it really to its proper completion.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecology, Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Congratulations to Bianca Andreescu, Winner of the 2019 Women’s US Open Tennis Tournament

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, Sports, Teens / Youth, Women

(FE USA) Where is the Church in North America Heading and What are the Implications?

Last month, I was in a room in Central Pennsylvania with North American leaders and kingdom practitioners from around the country for a retreat. After lunch we centered our conversation around this question:

“Where is the Church in North America heading and what are the implications?”

For those who know me, you know I am passionate about discussing a great question. And this certainly is a significant one.

Many missiologists, theologians and scholars believe the Global Church is becoming more diverse and moving south (that is, the center of Christianity is no longer in North America, but its greatest movement is in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly South America and the southern part of the continent of Africa.)

But what about North America? What does the future of the Church look like here? Well, we don’t know for sure, but we are seeing it become more diverse (ethnic, racial, gender, etc.), more urban, and more post-Christian/postmodern. With all this as the foundation, we dug deeper. We broke down our answers into three categories:

  • Sociological (what does this mean for how we interact with others)

  • Ecclesiological (what does this mean for the Church and localized churches)

  • Missiological (what does this mean in how we join with God and His mission)

Here is what we surmised for each category….:

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(TGC) George Sinclair–The State of Orthodoxy in the Anglican Church of Canada

In 2016 the Chancellor of the ACoC made clear that just because something is affirmed does not mean that alternatives are rejected. He pointed out that there is nothing in the current Canons that forbids same-sex marriage. He said the same thing this year.

The General Synod then overwhelmingly passed a series of affirmations which made clear that it agrees with the Chancellor’s ruling. Listen to this, “We affirm that, while there are different understandings of the existing Marriage Canon, those bishops and synods who have authorized liturgies for the blessing of a marriage between two people of the same sex understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.” The House of Bishops made a similar statement.

It gets worse. The Synod overwhelmingly passed “Affirmations” that say that both views on marriage are held “with prayerful integrity;” that all sides on this issue hold their convictions “in good faith” and that “we hold dear their continued presence in this church;” and that “we affirm our commitment to walk together and preserve communion.” In other words, different views on marriage are at best a third-order issue.

This means that biblical orthodoxy has lost the war. To make the Canons clearly biblical, the ACoC will have to change the Canons to add something to the effect that they reject same-sex marriage as biblical and that this is a first-order issue. This is not possible.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Vancouver Sun) Anglican Church rejects same-sex marriage in Vancouver vote

The Anglican Church of Canada has defeated a motion allowing for same-sex marriages, despite overwhelming support from both the denomination’s laity and clergy.

Had it passed, the motion would have changed the church’s definition of marriage, deleting the words “the union of a man and woman” from the canon and thus permitting clergy to officiate gay weddings.

The vote, which occurred late Friday night in Vancouver at the church’s general synod, required a two-thirds majority from each of the church’s three delegate groups: the laity, clergy, and bishops.

The laity voted 80.9 percent in favour, and the clergy 73.2 percent in favour.

But the bishops of Canada defeated the motion, with two abstaining and just 62.2 per cent voting in favour of the resolution, disappointing many of the church’s members.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture