Category : Canada

(Vancouver Sun) When churches become marijuana dispensaries

It was probably inevitable, especially on the cannabis-loving West Coast.

A Christian church has been turned into a marijuana dispensary.

The quaint building that used to house Shawnigan United Church on Vancouver Island has now been “re-christened” the Green Tree Medicinal Dispensary.

There is symbolic power in the transformation. And, depending on your tastes, the metaphorical shift is positive or negative.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Economist Erasmus Blog) How the travel crackdown is affecting the N American debate on Islam

As one immediate result, the travel crackdown is forcing the diversion of some academic events from America to the more liberal atmosphere of Canada, which seems not to have been dented by the killings at a mosque in Quebec City. An Ivy League law school is understood to be raising funds to switch a long-planned conference to a Canadian campus.

At least until recently, academia in Anglophone North America was a more-or-less seamless web, with scholars happily dividing their studies and careers between the two places. Certainly the reaction against the shutdown has been a continent-wide phenomenon, according to Mohammad Fadel, an associate law professor at the University of Toronto, whose early life and research were spent in the United States. (He ponders the compatibility of Western political philosophy with Islamic law and thought.) “North American universities have reacted quickly to defend their students and teaching staff who are nationals of the targeted states,” he reports. “Many departments in the United States stand to suffer directly from the exclusion of highly trained graduate students and faculty from those countries, and they will likely discover that their own academic work, such as lectures, workshops and seminars, is impoverished as they are prevented from inviting leading scholars.” Some non-American scholars who are still entitled to travel might boycott the United States, he adds.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iraq War, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Monday Mental Health Break–Stunning Light Pillars Captured In Ontario, Canada

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Photos/Photography

(AP) Mosque president says 5 dead in Quebec City shooting

Five people have been killed in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque, the president of the center said Sunday.

Mohamed Yangui, the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre president, confirmed the number of dead late Sunday in a telephone call from the provincial capital.

Police said via Twitter that there were “deaths and injuries” after gunmen opened fire around the time of evening prayers but did not specify a number.

Quebec City police spokesman Constable Pierre Poirier said two suspects were arrested.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(CW) Wycliffe College can boast of two new canons within its close knit family

If you haven’t grown up in the Anglican (or Episcopal) Church, you might think a “Canon” is just a fancy kind of camera. But to those familiar with Anglican tradition, a canon is much more. And now, Wycliffe College can boast of two new canons within its close knit family.

The positions were formally conferred on Annette Brownlee and Ephraim Radner, both professors at Wycliffe, during a late afternoon service of sung Scripture and prayer on Sunday, January 15, 2017, in Dallas, Texas. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, George Sumner, bestowed the honours.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, Theology

(AJ) In Edmonton, Anglicans help city mobilize against poverty

A collaborative anti-poverty initiative co-chaired by Jane Alexander, bishop of Edmonton, will receive $2.4 million in funding from the city over the next two years””and the diocese is undertaking a slew of its own projects to support it.

Alexander says she was thrilled when Edmonton City Council unanimously approved funding for the EndPovertyEdmonton Implementation Road Map, a citywide initiative of which she is co-chair, December 13.

“You know, it’s a tough year for everybody economy-wise, and we were asking for a lot of money, and they gave us every penny we asked for”¦We couldn’t believe it,” she says.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Statement from the Genl Secy of the Anglcn Ch of Canada regarding the legacy of Ralph Rowe

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Children, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

Magical Footage from British Columbia

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Photos/Photography

(IS) David Millard Haskell–Of Christmas and Church Closings

It’s also commonly asserted by our liberal critics that it is not the type of theology that matters for church growth but whether the theology is believed strongly and articulated clearly. However, we would suggest that different convictions, though equally strong and clear, produce different outcomes.

For example, all the growing church clergy in our study, because of their theological outlook, held the conviction that it is “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians.” As theological conservatives, these pastors believe Jesus is the only way to salvation and that they must “Go and make disciples everywhere.”

Conversely, half the clergy at the declining churches held the opposite conviction, believing it is not desirable to convert non-Christians. As theological liberals, these pastors believe there are many paths to salvation and that it’s culturally insensitive to peddle your beliefs on those outside your religious community. Comparing the two theological outlooks, which do you think is more likely to generate church growth?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Soteriology, Theology

(RCI) What’s happening to Canadian churches?

All across Canada, churches are being abandoned and sold, the historic buildings are often then torn down.

It seems membership in traditional Christian churches is declining. The Anglican church for example went from a high of over 1,360,000 parishioners in 1964 to less than half by 2001 at 641,865.

In 2003, in the province of Quebec, some 2,751 places of worship were identified by Quebec’s Religious Heritage Council. Since then 400 have closed. Quoted by Post Media, Council project manager Denis Boucher says the rhythm of closures is increasing, “A church closes every week. It is a huge phenomenon”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Religion & Culture

Rod Dreher's Deeply Troubling piece on Some Canadian RC Bps Pastoral Letter on Assisted Suicide

(You need first to take the time to read read the original document there.

“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber,” said Flannery O’Connor. Her point was that sentimentality cannot restrain the darker forces in human nature. Which brings us to the Catholic bishops of eastern Canada.

They recently published a pastoral document indicating how, in their opinion, Catholics who commit suicide voluntarily, through doctor-assisted euthanasia (which is now legal there), should be treated by the Church….It is a masterpiece of Francis-speak. The document can be summed up like this: “Yes, euthanasia is strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church, but we know that some people are going to choose it anyway, so we intend to offer them all the sacraments to help them along the way, because who are we to judge?”

Here are some passages from the document. This is the opening paragraph:

In our Catholic tradition we often refer to the Church as our Mother. We perceive her as a mother who lovingly accompanies us throughout life, and who especially wishes to support and guide us when we are faced with difficult situations and decisions. It is from this perspective that we, the Bishops of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, wish to share with you this pastoral reflection on medical assistance in dying.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology

(Globe and Mail) David Haskell–How to grow a church: some church leaders might not like the answer

If you went to Sunday school, you heard the story of Jonah and chances are you remember that he was swallowed by a whale. But what often gets forgotten is the story’s larger theme. Jonah is given a divine message and is instructed to deliver it to a people on the verge of calamity but, for some specific reasons, he’s reluctant.

Minus hearing the voice of God, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt a little like Jonah.

The information I’m delivering relates to a study some colleagues and I conducted that explored mainline Protestant churches. Since the 1960s, churches in the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United denominations have been steadily losing members and we wanted to determine why.

Through statistical analysis of survey data from a near-even mix of growing and declining church attendees and their clergy, we found that conservative religious doctrine, known for emphasizing a more literal interpretation of scripture, is a key driver for church growth in mainline Protestant congregations. Liberal doctrine, which emphasizes a metaphorical interpretation, leads to decline.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

(Toronto Star) Polyamory looks a lot like ordinary family life: Modern Family

People tend to think of swingers when they first hear about polyamory, she says. “That’s kind of where our brains go ”” that ’70s-style key party is the image that that conjures up.”

But for the estimated 4 to 5 per cent of the Canadian population that self-identify as polyamorous, according to a study published in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy in 2012, when given the opportunity to live as they please, polyamory looks a lot more like ordinary family life than one big, free-loving party.

Yovanoff’s journey into polyamory began with her and her current domestic partner ”” who prefers not to be named for privacy reasons ”” dating other couples.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Polyamory, Canada, Sexuality

(AJ) Churches should do more to end racism, says Lutheran partner

Anti-racist activism could be an excellent opportunity for Lutheran and Anglican congregations to engage in grass-roots ecumenical action, says Pat Lovell, representative to Council of General Synod (CoGS) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

“We have this close relationship, we have power together, and I’d like to see us do more work together at the grassroots,” Lovell told CoGs in a November 19 partner’s reflection, noting that while both churches are involved in initiatives around responsible resource development, homelessness and poverty, there has been less co-operation on anti-racism.

Lovell said the recent defacement of a synagogue, a church and a mosque in Ottawa, is a reminder that racism and anti-Semitism remain problems in Canada.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Macleans) It has risen: Is this the key to growing Protestant churches?

Eventually, through word-of-mouth””which often turned out to be more hopeful than accurate, adds co-author Flatt””the researchers found their examples. They surveyed clergy and””a step ignored by earlier studies””2,255 lay attendees.

Answers in accord with traditional Christian orthodoxy””basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), the importance of daily prayer””were tightly bound to growing life in individual churches. As well, conservative churches had a lower mean age among attendees (53 to 63), emphasis on youth groups, the presence of young families, wide participation by congregants (not only on Sunday mornings) and a commitment to evangelism.

The lessons absorbed at growing churches are not confined there, but are being spread as ministers transfer to new churches. In recent years, two priests have left St. Paul’s Anglican to head up their own, already-established churches in Toronto, where attendance has climbed by 23-50 per cent since 2013.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture