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5 Ways a Diocese Could Help Make Social Media Easier for Parishes. Number 2 Will SHOCK You!

Okay, now that I have lured you in with a click-bait title I can actually get on with it.

I had been at All Saints’ Cathedral from when I started attending Anglican services in March 2008, went briefly to Good Shepherd Church the first half of 2014 as part of my discernment process, and instead of going back to the Cathedral I started attending St. Stephen the Martyr’s at the end of August 2014. I have loved, truly loved, each of these parishes I have been at. Each has been very different how they operate: one is a Cathedral located in a downtown core, another is an Evangelical leaning Parish, and the other is decidedly Anglo-Catholic.

When I came to St. Stephen’s in 2014 the Parish has a stop-gap website without a lot of information, it had no Facebook Page, no Twitter account, no social media advertisement and an average Sunday attendance of around 40. I’d like to say that I came in, set up the website, did a little work and the parish was bursting at the seems. Truthful, it didn’t help us a lot, but it was a good start.

I work full-time, and part-time (being the the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves), I am a father, and also a part time student.

I don’t have a lot of free time.

And the ads felt like a waste of money at a parish that didn’t have a lot of money to waste.

Last year, after realizing I did not have the time needed to do as much as should be getting done for social media I decided to reach out to other members of the Parish for assistance… and I am slowly getting it.

I have always felt that Social Media needs to be a vibrant part of Parish life. It helps connect parishioners, it can help draw people in. And, for an Anglo-Catholic Parish like my current one helping to stand out is very important.

For a few years I have wanted to do a blog post on this, and I only today decided to have the courage to say it: Social Media in Ministry needs to be a full time gig.

Now, before anyone goes “Maple, that’s insane. You’d have to be a Parish with major funds like Trinity Wall Street, St. Martin’s Houston, or St. Paul’s Bloor Street to be able to justify having someone whose full time job was doing Ministry via Social Media”.

Firstly, I am not saying that every Parish needs a full time employee handling their Social Media. Yes, if you are a really, really rich parish go ahead and hire someone. For the 99% that doesn’t apply.

What I am saying it that pooled resources among several parishes can make a difference.

Now, I did compile a list so the click-bait title wasn’t a complete lie. Here it goes.

1. Dioceses Should Operate a Social Media Crew for their Parishes

Rather than have one or two members of a congregation be trying to take on the monumental task of:

  • Updating the Website,
  • Sending out Tweets,
  • Setting up Events on Facebook,
  • Adjusting Ads,
  • etc

It may make more sense for a Diocese (depending on their size) to have a crew that helps front requests for the Parishes from either a coordinator at the Parish, or from their Rector. They could make request by phone call, or email. They could even be their to make suggestions.

2. Dioceses Should Hold Bulk Web Hosting for Their Parishes

With the exception of the Church of Ireland the general standard is that each parish is on their own when it comes to web hosting. It is up to some Parishioner to build the website from scratch and maintain it, or the Parish spends a tonne of money having someone else do it for them.

In view this as Economies of Scale it makes much, much more sense to have a Diocese have a central Web Hosting solution, either with their own servers, or wit a bulk account with a hosting provider. As various contracts the parishes are in come up their move their hosting to be under the diocese, including their domain name.

To top it off a designated person or team at the Diocese is the one with Root/Admin privileges for everything, handing out accesses to authorized users at individual parishes when they need it.

If a Parishioner who was the Website Administrator dies, moves, or suddenly decides to leave the parish in a huff then the Parish is less likely in a lurch.

Smaller Parishes would know that they have access to have a pro do all their work for them. Medium to Larger Parishes would know they have a back up at the Diocese and a way to get access if they need it.

And, yes, I recognize the obvious chance a Bishop or other Diocesan Staff might get on a power trip. However, I think the savings in time, energy and resources would offset that.

3. Dioceses Should Be Encouraging and Enabling Their Parishes to Use Social Media

Every single year in my Diocese the Rector or Incumbent Priest is required to file a slew of paperwork with the Synod Office. This is everything from who was elected and appointed to positions in the Parish at the AGM, to mission plans.

Dioceses should be encouraging and Enabling their parishes to use social media, and actually ask each Parish “What are you doing? What would you like to do? If you need it how can we help you do that?”

4. Dioceses Must Encourage Parishes to Use Their Resources Wisely

Print is Dead.

Actually, that is a lie.

Print isn’t dead yet, but it is in the Hospice … and will soon go the way of video rental stores.

About five years ago I got into a discussion with an Elderly parishioner who was very insistent that the Parish needed to put more ads in the two main newspapers for Edmonton. I regret being as blunt with him as I was, however, the truth of the matter is that Newspapers are a dying industry. You might be able to attract the attention of someone middle age and older with a newspaper ad to your Church, but most of those people already have a Church and are set in their ways.

Newspaper ads do almost nothing to attract Millennials, or teenagers.

Do not waste your Parish’s money on Newspaper Ads.

This is probably the best example I have of money being wasted. There are other ways, and Dioceses should be a driving force behind getting their Parishes to spend their funds wisely.

Last but least

5. Bishops Need to be Visible on Social Media

Before I go any further I want to say this comment is not pointed on any one Bishop or Diocese in particular. So, if you are reading this, and you are a Bishop, this is not aimed at you.

Bishops are supposed to be the Chief Pastors of their Diocese. The very nature of Episcopal polity has in it that Parishes, and each of the faithful, has a relationship with their Bishop.

Is your Bishop on Twitter, or Facebook? They don’t have to be, but are they? If so, how often do they post something? Did they post something they did last time they visited your Parish? Do you know what was the last parish they visited? Do you know when the last time was they were at a House of Bishops meeting, were involved in a local community project, or were at an Ecumenical service with local clergy of another denomination?

Bishops should be very visible on Social Media. I would not dare suggest they should try becoming Social Media Celebrities, however, Bishops should carry a vibrant profile on Social Media.

Visiting a Parish to do Confirmations? Do a post a few days before you show up. Post a picture with yourself with the Confirmands et al on Facebook/Twitter. Tag the parish you visited, and possibly anyone else you interacted with.

Heading to a meeting with the House of Bishops? Post about how you “Look Forward to seeing my fellow Bishops” beforehand, or on your way to the airport. Get a few pictures with yourself and a few of them and post them. Mention some of the stuff you have done, or some of the talks that have occurred.

It doesn’t have to be a lot, however, it should be enough so that you are seen as being more “out and about” then some strange who works in an office and occasional comes to peoples Churches to Confirm their kids, and shake their hands.

Oh, and if by some chance you are a Metropolitan or a Primate reading this it goes double for you.

At the same time you should be encouraging, but certainly not forcing, the clergy of your diocese to be more active. Don’t get after them if they don’t feel comfortable.

The internet, and social media, can be a wonderful way of connecting to people. Using it ineffectively might be very costly in people’s time, and parish funds.


My Random Thoughts on the Epiphany

Today, 6 January, is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day that ends Christmastide. The Epiphany is one of those parts of the Christian Faith that in our modern world has lost its relevance and meaning… which pisses me off.

The story of the Epiphany comes from Matthew 2 with the visit of a number of Wise Men/Magi from the East to Christ to pay homage to him as the newborn King of the Jews. For many that might mean a “Well, Duh!” moment, but let me re-iterate that:

In the Gospel according to St. Matthew (who was a born and raised Jew) Foreigners Gentiles come to pay homage to Christ by giving him:

  • Gold, since this is a fitting gift for a King as he was King of the Jews
  • Frankincense, since he is High Priest, and
  • Myrrh, because he was to die and be buried thus needing  something to be anointed with

The importance of what is happening with this also comes in the traditional alternative name for the Epiphany that we find in the Book of Common Prayer: Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

The Epiphany is about salvation, specifically the salvation of the Gentiles. Epiphany is about salvation now being extended to Gentiles, those persons who were previously not part of God’s chosen people.

The Traditional Epistle reading for this feast comes from Chapter 3 of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. St. Paul (someone born and raised as a Jew, but outside of the Holy Land) speaks about the importance of the Gospel being able to be spread among all nations, and that the promise of salvation is available to all.

The Traditional Collect for this feast explicitly states this as well:

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Now, I might shock you with this revelation: I am not certain that the visit of the Magi actually occurred. I am willing to believe that St. Matthew (or someone else) invented the this part of the gospel narrative. However, the theological truth remains in place:

Salvation in Christ is available to all mankind

and not just the descendants of Abraham who were God’s original chosen people.

St. Peter (again, another born and raised Jew) said in his First Letter

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9

I could go on ad nauseam citing the New Testament on this with point but the New Testament is full of examples of people who were born and raised Jews, believing that they were God’s only chosen people because of their bloodline going back to Abraham, suddenly going out and spreading the Word of God to non-Jews.

It is also important that we are seeing this in St. Matthew’s Gospel. We view this Gospel as one being written by someone who was (here I say it again) born and raised a Jew, and his target audience is his fellow Jews. St. Matthew finishes his Gospel account by stating the Great Commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ Matthew 28:19-20

Salvation in Christ is available to all mankind


Failed by One Vote!

Greetings. It has been too long friends since I posted anything here. Now that the 41st General Synod (aka #GS2016) of the Anglican Church of Canada has concluded I would like to release the following official statement:

Oh, FFS! One vote! One Bloody vote!

Now, you might be thinking to yourself: “But, Maple: the resolution to authorize the changes to the Marriage Canon succeed! The recount found it passed by one vote in the House of Bishops and House of Clergy.”

Firstly, I’m not referring to the horribly bungled experience with the non-passing/passing/reconsideration/re-count debacle that was Resolution A051-R2. That, in my view, has resulted in a lot of unnecessary pain and heartbreak for people on both sides of whether to allow Same-gender marriages to occur under Canon Law.

What I am referring to was Resolution A030-R1B. This resolution would have removed a prayer from the “Prayers and Thanksgivings Upon Several Occasions” in the 1962 Book of Common Prayer, specifically Prayer 4 “For the Conversion of the Jews.”. The prayer is as follows:

O GOD, who didst choose Israel to be thine inheritance: Look, we beseech thee, upon thine ancient people; open their hearts that they may see and confess the Lord Jesus to be thy Son and their true Messiah, and, believing, they may have life through his Name. Take away all pride and prejudice in us that may hinder their understanding of the Gospel, and hasten the time when all Israel shall be saved; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“We still have something like that in the BCP?”

Yes. Yes we do

“But no one ever uses the BCP. Let alone that prayer!”

  1. Er, thanks. I go to a BCP-only Parish, and
  2. The 1962 Book of Common Prayer remains the de jure source of prayers.

Based on the principal of Lex orandi, lex credendi that prayer is still an official doctrinal profession in the Anglican Church of Canada.

As I noted in a previous entry we really do need a new BCP, but doing so is incredibly difficult. In fact, as the vote today proved even altering the BCP is frigging difficult.

The only other alteration to the BCP occurred in 1989 when the Third Collect for Good Friday was removed. It was as follows:

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou has made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather the he should be converted and live: Have mercy upon the Jews, thine ancient people, upon all who reject and deny thy Son; take them from all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

If you think that is pretty bad the prayer it is based on from the Church of England’s BCP is this:

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

It is super-obvious that the two prayers are very similar in composition and purpose.  Now, I will admit that I delve into supporting some Supersessionism to support positions to such things as the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist from time to time, however, I recognize that prayers like this can seem incredibly insensitive in today’s world. For that reason, either the prayer needs to be revised or the prayer needs to go.

That brings us to a simple resolution that was called Housekeeping Amendments in the handbook for General Synod. Constitutional, Canonical, and Prayer Book revision requires a two-thirds majority in all three Houses of General Synod: The Laity, The Clergy, and the Bishops. Thus, in order to remove the offending prayer it would have had to pass First Reading at the 41st General Synod in 2016, and then passed Second Reading at the 42nd General Synod in 2019 in order to be enacted in 2020.

This should have been a no-brainer. It wasn’t

Vote result of A030 – R1b
Vote result of A030 – R1b

As you can see, the resolution succeeded in the Houses of Clergy and Laity, but failed with the bishops.

By one vote!

One Bloody Vote!

The result(s) of the Marriage Canon vote, the negative/positive press that has come with it, and the bitterness that has accompanied people who were on both sides of the issue while massively overshadow this failure to remove the offending prayer. While there is good cause that it should overshadow the vastly minor attempt at BCP revision the very fact that we couldn’t get such as simple, super-obvious revision done to the BCP pains me greatly.

It shows that the Canadian Church is dysfunctional.

If anyone is thinking: “Please, Maple, don’t leave Anglicanism/the Anglican Church of Canada/the Anglican Communion” don’t worry; I am here to stay. You can’t get rid of me that easily.

The major lesson we are talking away from General Synod this year is that one vote matters. And while those who support Same-Gender Marriages come away at the end rejoicing that we are on the road to making these Marriages a reality we are also coming away having damaged not only our internal relations with one another but also our relations with the Jewish Community.

Because at the end of the day General Synod just said it is still our belief to pray that God will take away the hardness of hearts of the Jews.

No, the RCL is not the Best Lectionary

This blog post is a response of sorts to one by the Rev. Bosco Peters, @Liturgy on Twitter, on a critique of the Revised Common Lectionary which is itself a response to another blog post by the Rev. Chris Duckworth.

For those of you who might not know the Revised Common Lectionary, or RCL, is a Lectionary implementing a a three-year cycling of readings and is used by a number of different Protestant Churches. It is based, in large part, on a Lectionary developed for the Novus Ordo Mass for the Latin-Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

Before the 1960s the Church in the West (Protestants and Catholics) had being using Lectionaries based on one (purportedly) developed by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th and 7th Centuries A.D.

The overwhelming argument in favour of a three-year cycle was that it would greatly increase the amount of Scripture being read at Mass and/or Sunday services allowing for a greater biblical education for the laity. It also was different from the the Gregorian style Lectionaries in that it had Three readings (Old Testament or Acts, New Testament, Gospel) rather than Two readings (Epistle/Lesson and Gospel).

However, the fact remains that the RCL isn’t a great lectionary. Without going into great detail on why I can say that I have preached three times, and each of those three times I massively lucked out on the readings I had to work with. The issue is that for a lot of the year the three readings in anyone service don’t match up, and then it is difficult for the Preacher to compose a sermon covering the readings. In many cases someone can bridge together two of the three, and during the seasons of Advent, Lent, Easter and Holy Days all-three readings will work but many times a Preacher is left with “material” that just doesn’t let them Preach as effectively as they could.

The older, one-year lectionaries that trace themselves to the time of Gregory the Great have two-readings that were purposefully chosen to work together, or being preached on separately. Examination of the Lectionary though the Church year reveals a two types of themes intended for Preaching

  • From Advent Sunday through Trinity Sunday is based on Credal issues, and
  • After Trinity Sunday is based on Moral issues.

Now, I do not want to make this post, or anything else for that matter, about Morals. Very truthfully Moral Theology bores the snort out of me. However, given our “Post-Christendom” world that we live in now it is extremely important to focus on issues of Doctrine, and more importantly, carrying out the Mission of expanding the Church.

This is not to say that the RCL is a horrible Lectionary. There are a number of ways it is better then the earlier Lectionaries. For example, the readings for Holy Week are superior.

However, we have to accept that the RCL has flaws. It’s use originally assumed a Congregation that was going to turn up every Sunday thus allowing them to hear more of the bible spoken of in Church. The truth is that many Christians do not attend services every Sunday.

We also have to accept that compared to the older lectionaries the RCL is much more challenging to make a sermon from. Our Clergy are overworked enough as it is. Throwing them softball readings to Preach on would make their lives easier.

So, to paraphrase on Father Bosco who paraphrased on Churchill, the RCL is not the worst Lectionary… except all the others that have come since the 1960s. We tossed aside ones much better in the name of progress when what would have made more sense would been to have revised the Gregorian-style lectionaries already being used.

In Christ,

Christian Zionism is False. There, I said it.


Before I go any further into this bringing down the wrath of God only knows what on my head I want to make this absolutely, crystal clear: I am not talking about the State of Israel, it’s right to exist, nor am I in any way supporting or encouraging the hatred of Jews in general or Israelis in particular. So, without further ado

Christian Zionism is False. There, I said it.

With the recently agreed on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany, and the European Union we have seen some very negative reactions to the agreement, primarily from conservatives in the United States and Israeli politicians. This post is not about the JCPOA nor any of it’s details, but it was very striking to see the reaction of persons were against a “bad deal” who actually hadn’t read the 109 page agreement. [Disclosure: Neither have I] What was more shocking was a short video produced by AJ+ showing the reactions of some at a conservative summit in Iowa. The video is just below, is quite short, and I encourage you to watch it:

Well wasn’t that fun. Sigh

Now, let’s be fair to the interviewees that is a short video, and we only get small tidbits of the reaction from the persons being interviewed. However, we do get a sense that some of the interviewees are holding to their position on the JCPOA because they think it is bad for Israel and then suggest their support for the modern nation of Israel is required of Christians. This concept is part of something bigger called Christian Zionism.

Christian Zionism is (I’m doing the horrible thing of quoting Wikipedia) “is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. The term began to be used in the mid-20th century, superseding Christian Restorationism.” It is massively problematic beyond Christians have nearly blind support for the State of Israel. This modern idea began with English and Scottish clergy but it is much more identifiable with North American Christianity particularly with Evangelical Christians.

In 2006 four prominent Bishops for Christians in the Holy Land signed the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism and it was responded to by another statement published by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. The response is rather telling as it actually points out some major issues theologically and politically:

  1. “God, by a sovereign choice, gave the Land of Canaan as an everlasting possession to the Jewish people, for His kingdom purposes. (Genesis 17:7-8)”
  2. “Our Messiah and King, Jesus Christ, was born of Jewish parents, into a Jewish society, thus making the Jewish people our ‘royal family'”
  3. “Christian Zionists .. base their theological position .. on the faithful covenant promises of God given to Abraham some four thousand years ago”
  4. “[T]here are biblical considerations that regulate Israel’s national existence”

Firstly, the modern State of Israel is not spoken of in the Bible any more than the modern Arab Republic of Egypt is spoken of in the Bible. Secondly, we have to remember that the creation of the modern State of Israel rests on the formal end of the British Mandate in Palestine, the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948 and the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 which was suppose to carve up the mandate into three areas: a Jewish area, an Arab one, and the City of Jerusalem to be under a “Special International Regime”. The modern State of Israel should in no way be viewed as a legal continuation of the Roman Province of Iudaea nor any other political division that was jurisdiction for the Jewish people. And while I point out this blog post does not speak to Israel’s right to exist I will point out that the State of Israel’s right of existence does not come from Scripture, more importantly not from the New Testament.

The passage in Genesis that is quoted deals with the offspring of Abraham through his son Isaac and deals with the Old Covenant. However, the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant revealed to us through the Incarnation, Birth, Baptism, Ministry, Passion, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3 Saint Paul wrote “those who believe are the descendants of Abraham.” If this is extended to Genesis 17 then this not mean that we Christians have a claim to the land promised to Abraham’s descendants?

When it is said that “Our Messiah and King, Jesus Christ, was born of Jewish parents, into a Jewish society, thus making the Jewish people our ‘royal family'” are we not ignoring what Saint Peter said of us, the Christian people, his First Letter when he said “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” he also points out that Jews (unlike those like Saint Paul and himself) who rejected Christ had rejected the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:7Psalm 118:22). In fact, if one reads Saints Peter and Paul close enough one has to come to accept that they believed the Jews of their day had lost their status of being God’s chosen people and that status came to lie exclusively with those in the Church.

If there are Christians among us that are wanting to hold to a view that the Covenant given to Abraham was not transformed into the New Covenant of the Gospel then we have to be willing to point out that their Theological position is one of a selective interruption of Scripture that involves ignorance of a large portion of the New Testament because the New Testament is very clear that Christians have become God’s chosen people: the new IsraelThe Circumcision of the Old Covenant has been replaced with the Baptism of the New Covenant, the Passover meal has been replaced by the Eucharist, and the Law of Moses has been fulfilled.

Christian Zionism must be rejected as False Doctrine. This goes beyond what anyone thinks about the right of existence of, and the actions of the modern State of Israel. Given the Apostles writings in the New Testament it is scandalous to accept that both Christians and Jews can simultaneously be God’s chosen people. That should in no way be a reflection that Jews should be the target of ridicule, bigotry or hatred for they (like any non-Christians) are still Children of God and made in his Image. Nor does it mean that it is acceptable to target the State of Israel with violence or hatred. But we as Christians must be prepared to point out that Christian Zionism is False Doctrine, Heretical, and a horrible reason for which to base foreign policy and political decisions.

Reflections on Waterloo and Edmonton

In 2001 the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada reached an accord officially named Called to Full Communion but is better known as the Waterloo Declaration. The accord established a relationship of Full Communion between the two Churches in which the validity of the Sacraments and Ordained Ministers of each Church were recognized, among other things. This was the result of discussions between Anglicans and Lutherans going back decades worldwide. The Waterloo Declaration is one of several Full Communion agreements between Churches of the Anglican Communion and Churches of the Lutheran World Federation, the most noteworthy being the Provoo Communion Statement of 1992 which established inter-Communion between Six Anglican and Seven Lutheran Churches.

It is no secret that I am a proud Anglican. I also have made it no secret that I consider myself a Nordic Canadian with ancestry from Denmark, Norway, Sweden along with Volga German and Lowland Scots. Thus, for me the fact I am in Full Communion with fellow Nordic and German Canadians is really cool, and I have proudly exercised Full Communion by receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist from a Lutheran Pastor (and Bishop) twice.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of dropping in on the National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada here in Edmonton, notably to have a beer with the Rev. Erik Parker, host of the blog The Millennial Pastor. While I was enjoying my Keith’s IPA Erik had told me about a motion to be debated the next day that might “Test Waterloo”. That motion (which passed) started hitting the Anglican blogosphere yesterday in part due to the Anglican Journal’s story entitled ELCIC approves lay communion presiders and preachers, and the reaction has been primarily negative and for good reason.

The ELCIC motion (see pages 1-3) allows for authorized lay ministry to be approved by the Bishop of a Synod (equivalent of a Diocese) where in some situations a lay minister would be appointed to Preach and Preside at a service of Holy Communion. It specifically does not allow said lay ministers to conduct baptisms, weddings, funerals or “or other activities which are normally in the purview of ordained ministers.”

Now, if you are not an Anglican you might be thinking “I don’t see the problem”, and if you are Anglican (or Catholic, or Orthodox) you might be thinking “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?!?!”.

The reason for this motion is that some isolated Lutheran Congregations do not have a Pastor, nor an Anglican Priest or some other Ordained Minister that can fulfill the need to preside over the Eucharist for them. Most Anglican Parishes celebrate the Eucharist weekly, or bi-weekly at worst. The frequency for Lutheran parishes is less than the frequency for Anglican Parishes. However, for many Lutherans it is difficult to get an Ordained Minister to Preside over a service of the Eucharist monthly.

Anglican and Lutheran Theology differ on a number of issues, not least of which is the nature of Ordained Minister which even Anglicans will debate among themselves. Lutheran Theology is very much confessional (What do our Confessions say), while Anglican Theology is very much Liturgical (The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief). For example in the Augsburg Confession the early Lutherans stated that “no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.” (Article XIV, Augsburg Confession) while the closest thing in Anglicanism would be from Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. However, Anglican liturgical resources such as the Books of Common Prayer are quite clear that only Priests (or Bishops) can preside over the Eucharist. The only jurisdiction in the Anglican Communion willing to contemplate otherwise is the Anglican Diocese of Sydney in Australia.

With the recent change to practice within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada does present a question: Can the Anglican Church of Canada continue to be in Full Communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and does this action violate the Waterloo Declaration. I am going to answer with a definite Yes, and No.

But, Maple, you attend an Anglo-Catholic Parish and are a stuck up guy on rubrics and liturgy.

Yes, I do presently attend an Anglo-Catholic Parish, and I can be a bit of a rubrics snob but I am knowledgeable enough to understand what is going on.

Firstly, if you take the time to read the Waterloo Declaration you will notice that while the validity of the Ordained Ministers of each Church is recognized and the encouragement of members of either Church to communicate in the other Church the document does not indicate the necessity of an Ordained Minister to Preside at the Eucharist.

The Waterloo Declaration defines Full Communion as:

Full communion is understood as a relationship between two distinct churches or communions in which each maintains its own autonomy while recognizing the catholicity and apostolicity of the other, and believing the other to hold the essentials of the Christian faith. In such a relationship, communicant members of each church would be able freely to communicate at the altar of the other, and there would be freedom of ordained ministers to officiate sacramentally in either church. Specifically, in our context, we understand this to include transferability of members; mutual recognition and interchangeability of ministries; freedom to use each other’s liturgies; freedom to participate in each other’s ordinations and installations of clergy, including bishops; and structures for consultation to express, strengthen, and enable our common life, witness, and service, to the glory of God and the salvation of the world.

So, the Waterloo Declaration does not force the Anglican Church of Canada to recognize the validity of a service of the Eucharist which was presided over by an authorized lay minister. If an Anglican would find themselves at a Lutheran Parish and such a lay minister was to preside nothing requires them to receive the sacrament in order to keep up the appearances of Full Communion.

Secondly, while the Waterloo Declaration would put the Anglican Church of Canada in the position of being in “mutual recognition and interchangeability of ministries” with the Evangelical Church of Canada this in no way would require us to allow such lay ministers to preside over the Eucharist in one of our own services. They would effectively be the equivalent of Lay Readers in our Church.

Thirdly, and I am not going to lie, this act by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada might represent a threat to continued Full Communion depending on where this action takes the theology of the Lutherans. I could speculate for a number of paragraphs, however, the best thing to say is that this very well could create a problem in the future.

The Waterloo Declaration, and the path that brought both Churches there, forced both Churches to examine their own beliefs and doctrine, along with having to make some changes within their Churches to make Full Communion work. By far it was the Lutherans that had to accept more compromise then the Anglicans have.

If there are persons among us in the Anglican Church of Canada who believe that this change by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is important enough to end our Full Communion then they have the ability to voice that concern at General Synod next year in Toronto. However, this change for a very small amount of Lutheran Parishes is unlikely to affect any Anglicans or Anglican Parishes. If it did then I would say there is more cause for concern.

So, my fellow Anglicans (especially all my High Church friends): let’s calm down, take a deep breath, and relax. It is best to wait and see what develops. The only way this is going to affect you is if you show up at a Lutheran Parish in a rural community and you see someone wearing an Alb but no stole trying to preside at the Altar. If you happen to see it happening just don’t take Communion and be polite. If something else develops in the next decade or so we can politely withdraw from Full Communion, but until then this isn’t that bad.

Thoughts on CWOB: Communion without Baptism

The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is currently going on in Salt Lake City. One of Resolutions being considered was C010 “Invite All to Holy Communion”. The Resolution had the purpose of forming a task force to look at allowing all persons to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion. The Resolution originated in the House of Bishops and was defeated 79-77.

While The Episcopal Church, like my own Anglican Church of Canada, does allow Christians of other traditions to receive the Eucharist such persons must be baptized. The reason why many clergy and laity seek to do this is that they very honestly feel that having the barrier of requiring someone to be baptized is unwelcoming. This viewpoint is actually one held in the Church I grew up in, the United Church of Canada, however the Eucharistic Theology in the United Church of Canada is very different from Anglicanism. (No! I will not be bashing the United Church in this, or any other post of mine.)

When I first started attending Anglican services in 2008 I was just coming out of being an Apostate for some 5 years. (There you go: you know one of my dreaded secrets.) Thus, before I took Holy Communion for the first time in an Anglican Parish I checked to confirm I could out of respect for the Parish. (At the time I didn’t know I would be staying. Ta da!!!) Thus, my being baptized and raised a Christian enabled me access to Holy Communion some 5 years after I had left the Church. And while I greatly appreciated the fact that I could, and that I did commune that Second Sunday after Easter in 2008 (yes, I remember the date) I can tell you I would have very likely come back the next Sunday had I not taken Communion.

However when it comes down to it there are some major issues with Communion without Baptism (CWOB).

The first, and very obvious reason, is that it simply not been part of the Christian tradition as the standard practice of the Church. Heck, if we want to get technical the Catechumens, that is people seeking baptism (hence unbaptized) got kicked out of the Church and didn’t get to witness or be present at the consecration of the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. However, one could easily and honestly retort that Tradition on its own isn’t enough and that things change. Okay, I will give them that… but this is a rather important tradition.

Second, we have scripture. Now, there is nothing explicitly saying we aren’t allowed to Commune the Unbaptized. But, it is pretty clearly that at best the New Testament points to it being a bad idea. For example in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 St. Paul tells us:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves.

If someone has little to no experience of the Christian faith how can we expect them to be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord? How can we put that on someone? I mean, we can barely put that on ourselves.

Scripture does speak to us a great deal more on Baptism then it does the Eucharist. There are seven I usually like to point to when discussing Baptism:

  1. Matthew 28:19-20 which states Christ’s Great Commission to spread the Gospel, but also importantly to Baptize.
  2. Mark 16:16 which states that Baptism is necessary for Salvation
  3. Romans 6:3-11 in which St. Paul links our Baptism to Christ’s Death, Burial and Resurrection.
  4. Titus 3.5-7 which states that we are saved through the “water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”
  5. 1 Peter 3.18-22 which states that Baptism “now saves you”.
  6. Colossians 2.11-15 which effectively establishes Baptism as either a replacement of Circumcision, or as the Circumcision of the New Covenant
  7. 1 Corinthians 12.12-13 which states that being Baptized makes one part of the mystical Body of Christ a.k.a. the Church, and therefore Christians.

It is very apparent that Scripture tells us that Christ told us to Baptize people abd that it was key to our salvation, and that the Apostles said it saved us, and that it made us Christians. It is also very likely the Circumcision of the New Covenant as in the Old Covenant the act of Circumcising a male made him Jewish.

Chapter 12 of the Book of Exodus deals with the institution of Passover, which was (and still is) an important part of the Jewish. The festival involves the slaughtering and consumption of an unblemished young male sheep or goat in celebration of their deliverance from Slavery in Egypt. The Chapter ends with the relatively important Verses 43 to 49 which makes in fantastically clear that the uncircumcised were not to partake of the Passover. What does this have anything to do with the Eucharist? In short, I would argue that the Eucharist is Passover meal of the New Covenant. For, as St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8:

Christ our passover is sacrificed for us

So, if we were to postulate and hold that the Eucharist is the Passover of the New Covenant, then those uncircumcised according to the New Covenant (the unbaptized) are to be excluded.

I will admit that my analysis can seem cold and harsh but the truth is that the Christian doctrines surrounding the receiving of the Eucharist to the Baptized in good standing has an incredibly strong foundation in Scripture and Tradition.

The Didache (which is not part of our Canon as Anglicans but is still an excellent reference) states in Chapter 9 that only those baptized can Commune. It is from the 1st or 2nd Century AD.

The Apostolic Constitutions (Book VIII, Chapter XXXV) also states that the unbaptized are not to receive. It also states that if such a person has to instruct him and baptize him quickly. The Constitutions are argued to be from the late 4th Century AD.

Heck, it was not until the mid-20th Century that in Anglicanism that a unconfirmed person would receive the Eucharist.

I do not, in the least, want to seem disparaging to my brothers and sisters in Christ who honestly think that the Church is being unwelcoming to the unbaptized. However, we have good case not to admit them. No one is expecting that Priests be carding people at the Altar rail, or to be giving a long winded speech after the Consecration to tell the unbaptized to come up. However, if they are aware of someone attending that is not yet baptized they should not be communing them. And if at the altar rail says they never have been baptized the Priest should refrain from communing them. Beyond that our Clergy should assume likely any newcomers or visitors are baptized when they come to the Altar Rail.

In Christ, MA~

Note: Please note that an Earlier version of this post said that the Resolution was D051 and did not mention the proposed Task Force.

Could we all stop having Negative Assumptions about one another, please? Thanks.

Could we all stop having Negative Assumptions about one, please? Because, I am really, really sick of the finger point that has happened over the last week and a bit. Maybe I should go back to the beginning.

On 2 May 2015 Rich McCaffrey of Orlando, FL posted on an issue close to his hear and that of his husband Eric McCaffrey. Yes, I said husband; They are a Married Same-Sex couple. Rich posted a public status onto Facebook where he expressed his disappointment and sadness in that the baptism of his son, Jack, had been cancelled. The baptism was originally suppose to have happened on April 19 but was cancelled/postponed on April 16 and was to be held at St. Luke’s Cathedral, which is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida.

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida is considered on of the more conservative Dioceses of the Episcopal Church. It’s current Bishop, the Rt. Rev’d Greg Brewer, is openly opposed to the blessings of Same-Gender unions and Same-sex marriage. His predecessor the Rt. Rev’d John Howe was much more vocal in his views on the matter.

Normally when a sacrament is being denied the Ordinary of the Diocese, in this case Bishop Brewer, is given some sort of notification. It has been reported that Bishop Brewer first learned that Jack McCaffrey’s was via Rich McCaffrey’s Facebook post. At least, that is what Bishop Brewer said. This incident reached the religious and then the secular press with Bishop Brewer making a statement to the Orlando Sentinel that he was going to be meeting with the McCaffrey’s.

The online reaction to the baptism being postponed (as per Bishop Brewer in the Orlando Sentinel article) or being outright cancelled (as per two posts by Rich McCaffrey) was very much in opposition… unless you count the unsigned blog post on the website of the Anglican Communion Institute which never mentioned the case of Rich McCaffrey. Regardless of whether the Baptism was set for April 19 and then either cancelled or postponed that date was removed from the Cathedral’s calendar by the Very Rev’d Anthony Clark, who is the Dean of Central Florida and Rector of St. Luke’s Cathedral. However, Dean Clark was not the target of most of the online scorn here on the internet. The majority of the blame rested on the feet of Bishop Brewer.

The backlash against Bishop Brewer has been tremendous. In fact, I would say downright absurd. The reason I say so is that it appears many of us have gone on the assumption that because Bishop Brewer is opposed to both blessings and marriages of Same-Sex unions that somehow this is either his fault, or he must have been doing a lot more interference then has come out. Hypothesis abound that:

  • Read the first Orlando Sentinel Article: It seems like he is going to be asking them a lot of questions? It’s like they are back at Square One.
  • It’s his Diocese: He is suppose to know what is happening and be notified if something like a Baptism is being denied,
  • It was at his Cathedral: Bishops have to work closely with their Cathedral Deans since it is their own Cathedral Church. Plus his office is probably right down the hall, and
  • He a conservative that doesn’t like LGBTQs: Why do these parents have to meet with the Bishop? Are we to expect that all LGBTQ parents are going to have to meet with the Bishop to have their children Baptized.
  • He had to be involved or condone it otherwise the Dean would have been fired.

So, I am about to warn people: Cut the Bull S**t please! Cut it. I am seriously pissed off. Way too much rage was directed at keyboards because of Negative Assumptions about Bishop Greg Brewer in large part because he is a conservative. Does the man support Same-sex blessings or marriages? No. Why? Because he has well grounded theological concerns, that is why!!! If anyone thinks “No he doesn’t” or that I am somehow taking he side please understand that the Christian Faith has seen a wide variety of stances on a multitude of issues that is fairly well grounded even before we ran into our current issues on Human Sexuality.

That all being said the negative assumptions about Bishop Brewer and his diocese have in my view lead to what I think is some less then acceptable commentary by my fellow Anglicans/Episcopalians over this past week. It’s going to go through the four points I had earlier and show how bad assumptions about Bishop Brewer and the Diocese of Central Florida got us into this mess.

The Orlando Sentinel Article

If anyone in their right mind thinks that  of the Orlando Sentinel went into Bishop Brewer’s office and said “Let’s write an article together”, sat for an hour or so to make the story you probably have no idea how articles like this get written. At best Mr. Kunerth was in the Bishop’s office for a half-hour or so asking questions while the Bishop answered them and took quotes. At worst it was a five minute phone call that the Bishop squeezed in between seeing a Priest with a major maintenance problem at his parish and a person seeking information on becoming a Vocational Deacon.

This might be news to some but reports, especially in the secular media, don’t get all the religious facts straight. No, really: They Don’t. We don’t know exactly what happened. The quotes from Bishop Brewer are very likely accurate, don’t reflect the entire conversation but are designed to be read by persons who don’t know much of what was going on. So, yes, the Bishop said in the article he was going to be asking questions; Why should he not be asking questions if his intent is to confirm that there is no reason why Jack McCafferty shouldn’t be baptized

Bishop Brewer’s Diocese

This might come as a shock to people but Bishop’s don’t always know what is going on in their Diocese even when they are trying to keep appraised and it comes down to people just not telling the Bishop what they need to hear. They are human! Their Episcopal Consecrations don’t make them omniscient. Conversely, this might also come as a shock but clergy don’t tell the entire truth or outright lie to the Bishop. I know, shocker. Turns out clergy are humans too.

Bishop Brewer’s Cathedral

Yes. The Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Orlando is the Cathedral Church of Bishop Brewer. Does anyone have any idea how often a Bishop is at his/her Cathedral Church? It’s not as much as people think it is.

Most people know this but for 5 years I was a Parishioner at my own Diocese’s Cathedral. When I was first attending Bishop Jane Alexander was Dean Alexander. I would be lying to say that as a parishioner of the Cathedral I knew the Bishop well; She most definitely knew who was I was because I was a server at the Cathedral and was thus at Diocesan services, but the reason Bishop Alexander knows the people of the Cathedral so well is because of her two years there as Dean Alexander. She has a geographically large Diocese to cover and her primary concern (like Bishop Brewer) is the pastoral oversight of the Diocese.

Bishop Alexander and the present Dean, the Very Rev’d Neil Gordon, get along very well. Without trying to mess around too much about any internal politics of my Diocese I would say that communication between these two awesome clergy-persons is not perfect. They are humans. And their offices are in the same building about 25 meters away from each other.

So, I would expect that the Bishop and Dean of Central Florida would have the occasional communication glitch. Their offices are about a mile away from each other as the Diocese Offices and the Cathedral are not co-located. The Bishop is usually only going to be on site for one service around Christmas and Easter, one or more services a year for Ordinations or Installation of Diocesan officers, and a canonical visit to the Cathedral itself once every one to three years. That is it. Bishops hang around their Cathedrals a lot less then you think they do.

Bishop Brewer is a Conservative

I am just going to be frank here: This is a dumb attitude to take. If he was so conservative why is he having the meeting with the parents in the first place? Why do the article and say what he said in the article? Why is he taking time out of an evening of his to meet with the parents? Do you have any idea how much clergy don’t like making appointments in the evening and want it during their daytime so they can spend it with their family? But, here is this Bishop who is “probably being a giant homophobe” making an evening appointment with the McCaffreys which is likely much more convenient to them. He went out of his way to make that appointment.

The Dean was not fired

Sigh. Clergy are humans. They make mistakes sometimes. As well, they operate in a world that is outside the business world. There are a lot of clergy who do things that should be fired that aren’t. But, that is a how other issue. Could have the Dean been fired over this? Maybe. He could have gotten a verbal warning. However, since the Dean wasn’t dismissed we probably never will know what happened because it would be considered a confidential matter and wouldn’t be disclosed unless the Dean chose to or the Dean was seeking employment elsewhere and the new Bishop (or a Nominations Committee) was asking for information.

The McCaffrey’s Final Post

Finally, there is Rich McCaffrey’s (presumably) final Facebook post on the incident does shows Bishop Brewer, and the congregation of St. Luke’s Cathedral, in a very positive light. It states that:

  • “The Bishop acknowledged he learned the Cathedral set a firm date of April 19 for the baptism, but did not support postponing the baptism.” (We don’t know when the Bishop learned this was a firm date)
  • “He genuinely wanted to learn about us and expressed his apologies for how it had been handled.”
  • “Most importantly, he was clear he is supportive of Eric and I, two dads, baptizing our son at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it.
  • “We are appreciative and are looking forward to the baptism to take place this summer.”

Read the post for yourself if you want to but this post reads like the McCaffreys concerns have been addressed and dealt with, that the Bishop was truly apologetic for what had happened, that the Bishop did not support a cancellation or postponement of the Baptism, that he was supportive of them getting their son baptized, and was more than willing to be a part of it.

There is also the Facebook post that Bishop Brewer himself made that I also encourage you to read. In it Bishop Brewer states that he and the McCaffreys had the chance to “talk through the events” of the postponement, that the “conversation was open, warm, and frank”, that the McCaffreys had asked to wait until the summer “‘after the dust settles'”, but very importantly that he refers to Jack as “their son”. It also points out that he has meet with the “leadership of the Cathedral” on this matter. Hint: that means the Dean.

After reading carefully into the posts by Rich McCaffrey I have come to the conclusion that if he wanted to “burn” the Bishop, the Diocese, the Dean or the Cathedral congregation in any of these posts he would have… especially in that final post. He didn’t. Instead, we are seeing Bishop Brewer doing what he was elected and called to do: Be the Chief Pastor of the Diocese of Central Florida. His flock includes the McCaffreys… and in a few months it will include little Jack as well.

A lot of people made some bad assumptions about Bishop Brewer this last week. The article which included an interview with the Orlando Sentinel did not help and may have made things a bit worse. However, not doing the interview would probably have made things much worse as all the article would say was that “Bishop Brewer has no comment” and silence can sometimes be deafening.

Likely his own Dean should have been more honest with him from the beginning. Dean Clark was probably getting leaned on from parishioners of influence at the Cathedral and made a bad choice and was less then honest with the Bishop. The Dean is human. He makes mistakes. So do I.

Bishop Brewer deserves an apology from many of his this last week as we played armchair Church politics all over the internet. He got dragged through the mud. A lot of people made some bad assumptions about him because of his theological positions on Human Sexuality. It turns out as a “conservative” Bishop he is just fine with Baptizing the children of a Same-sex married couple. The Dean got some mud on him to, but it was far less then Bishop Brewer got on him. And that pisses me off.

For a long time now we have been using the internet to cast stones at one another over our theological differences. This “Liberal”/”Conservative” divide. Because of Bishop Brewer’s (and the majority of his) Diocese known position on Human Sexuality a lot of us made the negative assumption that this was done because of Homophobia, specifically on Bishop Brewer’s part. Or, that the McCafferys’ meeting with and “scrutiny under” Bishop Brewer was based on Homophobia. Because of these assumption people jumped to various opinions. And, let’s be honest: They were mostly Bull S**t opinions.

A bad assumption was made about a Bishop in the Church of God, people extrapolated information that didn’t exist from their bad assumptions and suddenly Bishop Greg Brewer becomes a Homophobic boogeyman. I saw a lot of downright despicable posts this past week from good people and smart people that should have known better. Frankly it pissed me off. For someone who gets identified by most as a “liberal” on issues related to human sexuality I wanted nothing to do with “liberals” for a while. After all, aren’t the “liberals” suppose to be the ones that rise above on matters like this over the “conservatives”.

All of this happened because of negative assumption. In our little Anglican/Episcopal corner of the internet we had a little S**t storm without half the facts. How are we going to build up on the Church when we did stuff like this? Does it help us at all when we do this? Blog posts, and comment threads like I saw last week show me we are not using the medium of the Internet to reach out and build up the Kingdom of God. I saw a lot of scorn and I only saw two people offering prayers; That should have been flipped.

Could we all stop having Negative Assumptions about one another, please? Last week it caused us a lot of unnecessary pain. Better still can we stop using the internet to throw mud at each other? Can we use this as a forum to actually build up the Church? Or are we just going to use this as a place to show our contempt for others that don’t share our exact theological view?

I hope and pray that Jack McCaffery is baptized this summer and grows up to be a fine Christian, possibly by Bishop Brewer himself. I hope and pray that between now and when Jack’s own children come to be baptized we have learned how to use the internet much more positively to build up the Church. And I pray we stop making so many negative assumptions about each other because it is going to hurt the Church.


Trolls, Michael Coren and other Social Media Observations from the Last Week

When I started up the ministry that is Maple Anglican, something beyond just little ole me, I was attempting to be part of what I feel is the going to be the greatest tool to re-evangelize the Western World. Anyone reading this thinking “Re-evangelize? Does MA know the Western World is pretty Christian already” I would retort with the plummeting Church membership and attendance rates occurring across the board in most denominations that Re-evangelization is necessary. But, on to other things that are possibly more depressive.

On April 28, 2015 the story broke that author and columnist Michael Coren had left the Roman Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion. The first time I saw this my good friend Brett Fawcett (aka Papist Witness) had posted a link on his Facebook Timelinefrom the Catholic media organization called Church Militant. The name of the story was “Michael Coren Leaves the Church”. Now, I am going to be honest (and Michael, if you are reading this please forgive me) but when I saw the link the first thing that went through my mind is “Who is Michael Coren again?” I think had to do a little Google searching which jogged my memory.

Michael Coren
Michael Coren, left, enters St. James Cathedral with the Rev. Canon Susan Bell for his reception into the Anglican Communion.
Photo by Michael Hudson.

It turns out that Michael was received into the Anglican Communion 5 days earlier at St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto (lovely place, by the way) and a photo of him outside the Cathedral was posted to the Anglican Diocese of Toronto’s Facebook feed that day, 23 April. So, this was publicly available information that no one in the Church based media picked up on for 5 days.

Now, if you look back on a number of articles that Michael has penned in the last year you can see that this was a possibility. He has publicly shifted his views on human sexuality very massively. However, Michael is a big wig in the Canadian conservative community and also among Catholics. He is the author of the aptly named Why Catholics Are Right that he published back in 2012. So, him leaving the Roman Catholic Church for Anglicanism is rather big.

After leaning that Michael had left Roman Catholicism for Anglicanism (and yes, using Google to jar my memory of who he was) my first reaction was “Okay. No biggie” (Sorry Michael if you are reading this but I am being truthful) and I jokingly remarked “I’m not entirely certain we wanted him.”

That all being said Michael has picked up an incredible amount of flak around the internet for his conversion to Anglicanism. This was the first Tweet showing the reactions and was published 3 days before the story broke on religious media:

  I could post things from Michael’s Facebook timeline and Twitter feed for a few weeks as he has been involved in a number of spats were people have contacted him about his conversion. It also increased a lot today as hit hit the mainstream media, namely a published interview in the National Post. A lot of Catholics have sad that they are sorry to hear he is leaving the Church and pray that he comes back. Many are not that way:

Now, Michael has been Twitter a long time and he can handle himself. However, what his happening to him is a sign of a massive problem with Social Media: Humans have the capacity to act like monsters on it and on Twitter it gets a lot worse.

This week also saw the reveal of the nominees (so far) for the position of the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. This July the Episcopal Church will be meeting in Salt Lake City UT and one of their duties will be to elect the successor to the Most Rev’d Katherine Jefforts Schori. There have been a lot of blog posts about this. There were pre-announcement posts by people like the Rev’d Canon Scott Gunn on his blog Seven Whole Days and post-announcement reviews by people like the Rev’d Tom Ferguson (aka Crusty Old Dean).

Now, I am not going to analyze the slate of nominees because it has already been hashed. But, I will say that i was really cool to see my fellow Anglicans (yes American Episcopalians, you are Anglicans when we speak about the global Church) get excited about the nominees. I will admit that when I saw that the Rt. Rev’d Michael Curry I went “Huzzah!!” in my head not because I thought it was great to see an African American nominated for the post but because Michael Curry is a really cool Bishop.

Why is it that we see divides like this on Social Media? How is it that we can get so engaged and positive about four middle age-to-elderly men being nominated for a Church position but when a famous author and columnist publicly is received into our Communion we aren’t either getting excited or saying “Welcome” en-mass? Why is it instead the man gets more scorn and ridicule form his former co-religious? For me it seems like we need a lot more effort to do positive work in Social Media if we are going to use it as an Evangelization tool.

There is one other thing of note with Michael Coren’s conversion. While he has left to go from Roman Catholicism to Anglicanism he has specifically attending St. Martin-in-the-Fields’ Church in Toronto (not the much more famous one in London, England). St. Martin’s is a Parish in the Anglo-Catholic Tradition, of what my own Parish (St. Stephen the Martyr’s) belongs to. So, the fact he is attending a similar parish is kinda cool in my books.

So, officially from me: Welcome to the Anglican Communion Michael. I’m sorry you’ve probably had a few crappy days with the Twitter Trolls but I am certain you are use to it.

In Christ,


Announcement Concerning Lent Madness 2015


Many of you that for the last two years I have produced videos with Archbishops’ Thomas Cranmer and John Chrysostom giving colo(u)r commentary on Lent Madness. Doing these video productions has been an awesome experience. However, it appears that my participation may be coming to a close.

After some careful thought I am having to withdraw from further participation in Lent Madness. I want to be very clear on this: at no point have Scott or Tim of the Supreme Executive Committee asked me to withdraw nor am I in a dispute with them. And, I still consider Forward Movement the owners of the content I created for Lent Madness 2014 as it was uploaded to a YouTube channel that they control and not me. So, please do not think this was the result of any dispute or squabbling in the back scenes.

That being said I will say what this was about: Me. I have been producing few videos recently and that comes down to having less time to do the work to create the content. I love doing it, but finding the time is difficult. Back in 2013 I changed positions with my employer and production of the videos in 2014 for Lent Madness was possible in that I had a very fixed schedule with fewer duties. However, just since last month my duties have expanded greatly and I do not have the time needed to commit to producing the videos in Lent Madness this year.

The Archbishops have been fairly supportive on this. They are going to miss not doing videos this year, but they do plan to give commentary via Twitter. However, they had been considering retiring so as they could go back to competing.

I am not closing the door on my involvement in Lent Madness. I am just unable to create the type of content I did in 2013 let alone 2014. Conversely, my schedule in April and May should allow me to participate in the equally wonderful 50 Days of Fabulous.

I would also like to give a chance to publicly thank both Scott and Tim for bringing me onto the crew back for Lent Madness 2013. You guys helped to give me a lot of expose that I am grateful for.

In Christ,