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Anglican

Ordination of Donald Luc Boisvert Christ Church Cathedral Montreal September 8, 2013

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Saturday Easter Vigil …

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Yes, that is a McDonald’s across the street from the Cathedral, as the building sits on Ste Catherine’s Street downtown. I took these shots on a vigil some time ago, because there is snow on the ground in the series. Blessedly, there was no snow, but it was chilly outside, and the flame was very big.

It was a glorious night. Many followers attended the service which ran two hours from start to finish. Tonight we hear the five great readings from Scripture from Genesis, a reading from St. John Chrysostom, Exodus, Homily on the Passover by Melito of Sardis, and once again from Exodus, and ending in the Gospel of Mark.

My friend and fellow Deacon Donald was there serving at the mass, he is to be ordained a priest this fall 2013.

From the darkness of the church, the paschal candle is carried into the church where it is proclaimed “Lumen Chrisi” Light of Christ. And we then light our candles one from another and candle light shines as the readings were done, and finally in a flurry of bells and organ and choir sing … Alleluia He is Risen.

A good night was had by all.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and we shall gather at 6:15 for the tradition meeting for the month at St. Leon’s.


The Ordination of Donald Boisvert

The Ordination to the Deaconate
And Priesthood
of the Diocese of Montreal
June 3 2012
Christ Church Cathedral
Montreal

Donald Luc Boisvert
Rev. Robert Camara
Rev. Rhonda Waters

It was a beautiful day for an ordination. Donald Boisvert to the Deaconate, The Rev. Robert Camara to the Priesthood, and Rev. Rhonda Waters, also to the Priesthood. The Cathedral was packed. The choir was heavenly.

And there was controversy, a letter had been submitted to the proceedings calling for Donald and Robert Not to be ordained today because they are both gay and in same sex marriages.

However, our Bishop Barry, having put thoughtful prayer to this petition, decided against it and performed the ordinations to the swelling jubilation of the people inside the cathedral.

It was a beautiful service. My camera phone was very handy. I was like damn, I forgot my camera, and then remembered that my phone had a camera… DOH !!! So here are a few shots.


Maundy Thursday

The Triduum has begun. It was a quiet day, hubby was out all evening for class and a get together with friends, which left me home alone for the balance of the night. So I watched a little tv, farted around on Facebook, and got myself ready for church.

Since it is only 3 stops up from home, I made it in time. Little did I know that our celebrant tonight is newly ordained. A young woman who I have seen before the Reverend Karla Holmes. She is a fresh new face to the ministry at Christ Church Cathedral. I quite enjoyed her. The Rev Joyce was there con celebrating and Donald Boisvert, my academic adviser and friend was there as well, and what a treat, he was preaching tonight.

Tonight’s service was interesting. The washing of the feet, which I participated in, I missed this service last year. As always, the music was GLORIOUS. If you’ve never heard our Cathedral Choir, you should come to the Easter Vigil service on Saturday night. It starts at 7:30. It will be glorious.

The choir outdid itself tonight. The music was just amazing. The range and talent in the group is just beautiful. They were seated under the cupola directly behind the altar, which only lends to sonorous music. They have such great harmony, and add to that the singing from the congregation. I quite fancy myself a singer. I hit all the notes tonight in song. I really do love singing. My spirit soars when I sing in church. Tonight’s hymns were beautiful.

  • Jesus Calls Us
  • Ubi Caritas
  • Tantum Ergo

There were a couple others, from the missal that I was looking at. If you are in Montreal and want to join us Saturday night, leave a message here. The Christ Church Cathedral sits above Place Cathedral at the McGill Metro, and the service once again starts at 7:30. Get there early to get good seats. We usually have a good crowd for the Vigil Mass.

It’s after 4 am so I am off to bed.

More to come, stay tuned.


Rowan Williams issues 'profound apology' to gay Christians

Found on: UK Times Online – Here.

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a “profound apology” to the lesbian and gay Christian community today.

In a powerful address to the General Synod, Dr Rowan Williams warned that any schism within the Church would represent a betrayal of God’s mission.

But he made clear that he regretted recent rhetoric in which he has sought to mollify the fears of the traditionalist wing of the church.

The Archbishop is from the Church’s liberal wing and a man who once espoused equal rights for gays within the Church. More recently he has adopted a conservative line for the sake of Church unity.

Today he said: “There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them.

“I have been criticised for doing just this and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression.”

Addressing the even more contentious debate over gay ordinations — something which threatens to split the Church farther with the expected consecration in May of Canon Mary Glasspool, a lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles — Dr Williams said it had not been helped by those who ignored the fact that many worshippers were gay, as well as many “sacrificial and exemplary priests”.

He made it clear that there was blame on all sides of the argument that has brought the Church to the brink of splitting. He pleaded for Anglicans angry over gays and women bishops to cease fighting, admitting that he and other bishops might have to settle for a two-tier communion.

In his wide-ranging address at Church House Westminster, Dr Williams said that the ordination of women bishops should not go ahead at the expense of the Church’s Anglican Catholic wing, which is currently assessing an offer from the Pope to move over to Rome into a new Anglican Ordinariate.

Dr Williams admitted: “Most hold that the ordination of women as bishops is good, something that will enhance our faithfulness to Christ and our integrity in mission.”

But this good was jeopardised by the potential loss of traditionalists and some evangelicals who oppose women bishops.

Referring to proposals to give women bishops a lesser level of authority, he said the reform should not happen if it is done in such a way that that will “corrupt it or compromise it fatally”.

Dr Williams said that attacks on the Anglican Covenant, a new unity document intended to find a way to keep the 38 provinces under one umbrella, were mistaken.

“There is no supreme court envisaged and the constitutional liberties of each province are explicitly safeguarded,” he said.

Referring to tomorrow’s debate tabled by a lay member from the Chichester diocese calling for the Church of England to recognise the breakaway new traditionalist church in the US, he said: “Certain decisions made by some provinces impact so heavily on the conscience and mission of others that fellowship is strained or shattered and trust destroyed.

“The present effect of this is chaos — local schisms, outside interventions, all the unedifying stuff you will be hearing about, from both sides, in the debate on Lorna Ashworth’s motion.”


Rowan Williams issues ‘profound apology’ to gay Christians

Found on: UK Times Online – Here.

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a “profound apology” to the lesbian and gay Christian community today.

In a powerful address to the General Synod, Dr Rowan Williams warned that any schism within the Church would represent a betrayal of God’s mission.

But he made clear that he regretted recent rhetoric in which he has sought to mollify the fears of the traditionalist wing of the church.

The Archbishop is from the Church’s liberal wing and a man who once espoused equal rights for gays within the Church. More recently he has adopted a conservative line for the sake of Church unity.

Today he said: “There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them.

“I have been criticised for doing just this and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression.”

Addressing the even more contentious debate over gay ordinations — something which threatens to split the Church farther with the expected consecration in May of Canon Mary Glasspool, a lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles — Dr Williams said it had not been helped by those who ignored the fact that many worshippers were gay, as well as many “sacrificial and exemplary priests”.

He made it clear that there was blame on all sides of the argument that has brought the Church to the brink of splitting. He pleaded for Anglicans angry over gays and women bishops to cease fighting, admitting that he and other bishops might have to settle for a two-tier communion.

In his wide-ranging address at Church House Westminster, Dr Williams said that the ordination of women bishops should not go ahead at the expense of the Church’s Anglican Catholic wing, which is currently assessing an offer from the Pope to move over to Rome into a new Anglican Ordinariate.

Dr Williams admitted: “Most hold that the ordination of women as bishops is good, something that will enhance our faithfulness to Christ and our integrity in mission.”

But this good was jeopardised by the potential loss of traditionalists and some evangelicals who oppose women bishops.

Referring to proposals to give women bishops a lesser level of authority, he said the reform should not happen if it is done in such a way that that will “corrupt it or compromise it fatally”.

Dr Williams said that attacks on the Anglican Covenant, a new unity document intended to find a way to keep the 38 provinces under one umbrella, were mistaken.

“There is no supreme court envisaged and the constitutional liberties of each province are explicitly safeguarded,” he said.

Referring to tomorrow’s debate tabled by a lay member from the Chichester diocese calling for the Church of England to recognise the breakaway new traditionalist church in the US, he said: “Certain decisions made by some provinces impact so heavily on the conscience and mission of others that fellowship is strained or shattered and trust destroyed.

“The present effect of this is chaos — local schisms, outside interventions, all the unedifying stuff you will be hearing about, from both sides, in the debate on Lorna Ashworth’s motion.”


He is Risen …

10-heisrisen-by-he-qi-china

John 20:11-18

But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Tonight’s service was glorious and wonderful. The choir sang and the music rose to the heavens. It was a most moving service. Everybody was moved to tears listening to the Exsultet… The blessed fire moved throughout the Cathedral from one side to the other. During the service my friend Donald was received into the Anglican Church. His husband and I watching from our pew, I got a little misty eyed – it was just so beautiful. After the service Donald said to me that I would be next. And maybe so ….

And now I am home watching The Ten Commandments. Pharoah’s chariots are being swallowed by the sea, and you know what comes next… wandering the desert and the bestowment of the Ten Commandments to Moses.

Let us pray:

“The God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever; And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you always.”

AMEN…

It has been a day full of holy excitement. I will see you all tomorrow.


God does not 'Ordain' illness …

shhhcopy1

Tuesday has come and gone. A good day was had by all. I attempted to get Ms. Nikki out for coffee after work and she turned me down … It was not a good day for her. Oh well, her loss…

I started the day with service at the Cathedral and the Eucharist. I went for Louise, I went for Joyce, then I went for me. Our sermon today comes from the Gospel of Matthew in the 13th chapter verses 31-32:

The Parables of the Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

You never know when a seed will be planted in the heart of someone you come into contact with. Joyce referenced the youth of the parish, and that they may come with all their stuff to “church” but at least we have planted seeds in them. And once the seeds are sown in the garden, we must take care of that garden so that those seeds one day may sprout.

After service I had class and we talked more about the Apostle Paul and his letters to the Corinthians (1 st and 2nd Corinthians). Did you know that the order of the books do not represent the order the letters were written??? That there are lost letters that do not appear in the canon, and are called the lost letters. but one can infer from the letters here where the order lies.

1st Corinthians was written  in 54 and 55 of the common era.
2nd Corinthians was written after 55 of the common era.

1. Paul’s first visit to Corinth ( 2 Cor 1:19)
2. Paul’s FIRST letter ( 1 Cor 5:9 )
3. The Corinthians wrote a letter to Paul ( 1 Cor 7:1 )
4. Paul’s SECOND letter ( 1 Cor 16:15-17 )

1st Corinthians is the Second Letter – (Paul’s Second Letter)

5. Paul’s SECOND visit to Corinth (2Cor 2:1-4, 2:5-11, 13:2)
6. Arrival of the Super Apostles (2 Cor 11:4-23)
7. Paul’s THIRD letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 10-13)
This is a fragment of the third letter…
8. Paul’s FOURTH letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 1:9)

2nd Corinthians is the FOURTH letter, 1 Cor is the SECOND letter. Second Corinthians is 3 kinds of letters pieced together.

This was a good lecture and sent us all scurrying out of the hall to ponder what we just heard from Prof. Gagne. It was a good time.

I came home for an hour to fart around, after being double layered to get to class I changed out of and back into my clothes over an hours time. UGH!!! I set off for the diner making stops to get cookies and supplies – which left me 40 minutes of down time at the diner to read. I did not get the entire hour today. I was just too busy…

I went to do set up and make coffee and by the time I got the coffee on and the tables set for the business meeting people started coming for the business meeting so it was one thing after another. We had a good meeting. The Topic for today’s meeting was Step Three … and quoting from the 12 and 12:

“The more we become willing to depend on a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.”

This is where my story really begins

One of the people who came to the meeting tonight spoke early on in the meeting. He said that he didn’t call god – GOD. But He believes that there is something greater than himself. He is having trouble with God right now because the woman he is married to, is dying of Cancer and he is trying to come to terms with her dying, and the fact that there is disease, but where is God amid the sick suffering he is witness to…

Step Three dictates that: (We) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. No matter which way you slice it, one way or another, you find God in recovery. HE is there all the time, patiently waiting for us to come around. God is a jealous God and he wants the best for us, and he wants us to be with him. (This thought comes from Henri Nouwen – The Only Necessary Thing ).

God does not push us in any way, shape or form, but gently He speaks to us through spirit, or by way of action of someone close to us. Or maybe through someone we see during our day.

I shared my take on this topic – quick and simple. I drank, I got sick, doctors told me I was gonna die, I got sober, I may not have known it then, but in practice, I turned my will over to the care of God as I understood him. I had to trust that my team was taking care of me and that God, in his wisdom would do his part. He did…

And I lived … 15 years Lived !!!

I may have gone on for 5 minutes talking about the movement of God in our specific meeting space, because God visits us at Tuesday Beginners. You come long enough, and you watch people getting sober, eventually someone has a spiritual experience in a meeting, or an old timer will come to the meeting one week and become the fount of all spiritual wisdom, as happened today.

God moves in mysterious ways… Step three comes, you don’t need to rush it. I enjoy watching people “Get” step three and when it finally hits, it is like a tidal wave of God moving about the room.

Having worked my share of Pastoral Ministry cases in hospice and having worked a fair share of cancer related deaths in my 41 years of life, I had something to say to our friend who was having issues with God.

“GOD DOES NOT ORDAIN ILLNESS”

It rolled off my tongue like wisdom gleaned from the tree of knowledge itself. I just knew this had to be Godly counsel. I was sure of it from the moment the thought came to my mind. We sat and talked about presence. We spoke about the fact that adversity and illness gives us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. When (another) is sick, or when we get sick,  we have a choice. We can be a victim, or we can be a victor. I had to come to this realization on my own too…

Illness purifies us before God. It is the fire that tempers the steel. Illness asks of us to find the spiritual path. I am 100% convinced that even if the prognosis is bleak, for either party, if you get spirituality, then the road will be easier, even to death.

Sometimes all we can do is be present for someone who is sick. Sometimes we are powerless to stop the ravages of illness. People get sick, some survive, some stay sick, and some die … What ever hand we are dealt, there is a lesson to learn about ourselves. The lesson may be very simple. Maybe to let go. And maybe the lesson comes quick, for many it comes slowly, as we realize that in certain illness cases, illness will go as illness goes. And for many, death is the end of suffering.

It is what WE do between Now and Then

What spiritual fire must we walk through? What is the specific lesson that we are supposed to learn amid the suffering of another human being, or even ourselves? Each lesson is person specific. I may be a seer. I may be an adequate listener. And I am getting better at communicating. I know that in the moment while I sat there with this man, who was clearly shaken, I was just present. He uttered the word “Pity” and I asked him about compassion? I asked him about being present to his wife. There is a lesson in there somewhere for him. I told him he wasn’t alone.

The spiritual path is different for every person in sobriety. Some come to sobriety with their baggage. Some come to sobriety because of prestige, Some come to sobriety because they are facing dire straits, then some come to sobriety out of a sense of desperation. They’ve been given a gift of desperation. Each person comes to the room from a different path, and no two paths are the same. But they lead down the same 12 stairs into the basement of St. Leon’s Church… (yes there are 12 stairs into the basement)

One never knows when God is going to show up. I believed He came for that man tonight, through the ministry of another sober alcoholic with a bent towards Pastoral Ministry. This is how the night was ordained…

We broke the room for the second meeting as Rick was taking his 19 year cake tonight, and once again Ms. Nancy baked another award winning Chocolate Cake. It was festive. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a step back.

We heard tonight that Sylvia, a 20 year member of AA in Montreal has passed away. She was a fixture in Montreal sober circles. Her funeral is Saturday at St. Monica’s Church where my spiritual director is Pastor. We will all go to celebrate her life. You wanna see sobriety in action, attend the funeral of a long time sober member of AA. I have seen this kind of emotion once before, when I first got sober. They used my Big Book on the Altar when John Mack died many years ago. That was a blessing for me. but I digress…

Vivian was the speaker tonight. She has been sober for over 20 years. She shared her story. It was part of her story that took me over the edge. Her son, Chris, is a hemophiliac and contracted HIV and Hep C in a blood transfusion. Some years ago. What she said next took my breath away.

She said my doctors name and she shared a story about the day Chris decided to seek treatment for HIV, and he went to the clinic. They had study drugs for him to take and they needed his approval to get him on the meds. He sat with the doctor and he explained the route for him, and he took a few moments, and said yes to the study. but not first pondering the thought, “what would mom do???”

Funny, this AA

You never know when God is going to speak to you directly. Over the last seven years – I have tested every drug that came through that clinic that was eventually given to patients across the board. As a test patient, you never know what kind of work you are doing in testing HIV medication. You never know the depth of investment we make in doing this for the greater good.

I gave the beginners chip out at the meeting. It was then that I spoke to her and I said to her, that my name is Jeremy and I am a test patient at the General and that all the drugs your son now has – went through me before he ever got them. In essence, I helped save a life. It was a God moment.

Chris is alive because men like me tested those medications to make sure that they worked first. I can’t explain the gravity of a moment like this one.

Many other patients are alive at the clinic for the work we have done for them over the last seven years. This was the first time I met a parent of a patient from the clinic that is alive because of something I did right in sobriety.

She sobbed uncontrollably. It was an amazing moment. this is confirmation that my Higher Power works in mysterious ways, and rewards us at specific moments in sobriety to show us that when we turn it over and step aside and let God be God, God will be God and He will do the heavy lifting for us, if we just Let Go and Let God…


God does not ‘Ordain’ illness …

shhhcopy1

Tuesday has come and gone. A good day was had by all. I attempted to get Ms. Nikki out for coffee after work and she turned me down … It was not a good day for her. Oh well, her loss…

I started the day with service at the Cathedral and the Eucharist. I went for Louise, I went for Joyce, then I went for me. Our sermon today comes from the Gospel of Matthew in the 13th chapter verses 31-32:

The Parables of the Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

You never know when a seed will be planted in the heart of someone you come into contact with. Joyce referenced the youth of the parish, and that they may come with all their stuff to “church” but at least we have planted seeds in them. And once the seeds are sown in the garden, we must take care of that garden so that those seeds one day may sprout.

After service I had class and we talked more about the Apostle Paul and his letters to the Corinthians (1 st and 2nd Corinthians). Did you know that the order of the books do not represent the order the letters were written??? That there are lost letters that do not appear in the canon, and are called the lost letters. but one can infer from the letters here where the order lies.

1st Corinthians was written  in 54 and 55 of the common era.
2nd Corinthians was written after 55 of the common era.

1. Paul’s first visit to Corinth ( 2 Cor 1:19)
2. Paul’s FIRST letter ( 1 Cor 5:9 )
3. The Corinthians wrote a letter to Paul ( 1 Cor 7:1 )
4. Paul’s SECOND letter ( 1 Cor 16:15-17 )

1st Corinthians is the Second Letter – (Paul’s Second Letter)

5. Paul’s SECOND visit to Corinth (2Cor 2:1-4, 2:5-11, 13:2)
6. Arrival of the Super Apostles (2 Cor 11:4-23)
7. Paul’s THIRD letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 10-13)
This is a fragment of the third letter…
8. Paul’s FOURTH letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 1:9)

2nd Corinthians is the FOURTH letter, 1 Cor is the SECOND letter. Second Corinthians is 3 kinds of letters pieced together.

This was a good lecture and sent us all scurrying out of the hall to ponder what we just heard from Prof. Gagne. It was a good time.

I came home for an hour to fart around, after being double layered to get to class I changed out of and back into my clothes over an hours time. UGH!!! I set off for the diner making stops to get cookies and supplies – which left me 40 minutes of down time at the diner to read. I did not get the entire hour today. I was just too busy…

I went to do set up and make coffee and by the time I got the coffee on and the tables set for the business meeting people started coming for the business meeting so it was one thing after another. We had a good meeting. The Topic for today’s meeting was Step Three … and quoting from the 12 and 12:

“The more we become willing to depend on a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.”

This is where my story really begins

One of the people who came to the meeting tonight spoke early on in the meeting. He said that he didn’t call god – GOD. But He believes that there is something greater than himself. He is having trouble with God right now because the woman he is married to, is dying of Cancer and he is trying to come to terms with her dying, and the fact that there is disease, but where is God amid the sick suffering he is witness to…

Step Three dictates that: (We) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. No matter which way you slice it, one way or another, you find God in recovery. HE is there all the time, patiently waiting for us to come around. God is a jealous God and he wants the best for us, and he wants us to be with him. (This thought comes from Henri Nouwen – The Only Necessary Thing ).

God does not push us in any way, shape or form, but gently He speaks to us through spirit, or by way of action of someone close to us. Or maybe through someone we see during our day.

I shared my take on this topic – quick and simple. I drank, I got sick, doctors told me I was gonna die, I got sober, I may not have known it then, but in practice, I turned my will over to the care of God as I understood him. I had to trust that my team was taking care of me and that God, in his wisdom would do his part. He did…

And I lived … 15 years Lived !!!

I may have gone on for 5 minutes talking about the movement of God in our specific meeting space, because God visits us at Tuesday Beginners. You come long enough, and you watch people getting sober, eventually someone has a spiritual experience in a meeting, or an old timer will come to the meeting one week and become the fount of all spiritual wisdom, as happened today.

God moves in mysterious ways… Step three comes, you don’t need to rush it. I enjoy watching people “Get” step three and when it finally hits, it is like a tidal wave of God moving about the room.

Having worked my share of Pastoral Ministry cases in hospice and having worked a fair share of cancer related deaths in my 41 years of life, I had something to say to our friend who was having issues with God.

“GOD DOES NOT ORDAIN ILLNESS”

It rolled off my tongue like wisdom gleaned from the tree of knowledge itself. I just knew this had to be Godly counsel. I was sure of it from the moment the thought came to my mind. We sat and talked about presence. We spoke about the fact that adversity and illness gives us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. When (another) is sick, or when we get sick,  we have a choice. We can be a victim, or we can be a victor. I had to come to this realization on my own too…

Illness purifies us before God. It is the fire that tempers the steel. Illness asks of us to find the spiritual path. I am 100% convinced that even if the prognosis is bleak, for either party, if you get spirituality, then the road will be easier, even to death.

Sometimes all we can do is be present for someone who is sick. Sometimes we are powerless to stop the ravages of illness. People get sick, some survive, some stay sick, and some die … What ever hand we are dealt, there is a lesson to learn about ourselves. The lesson may be very simple. Maybe to let go. And maybe the lesson comes quick, for many it comes slowly, as we realize that in certain illness cases, illness will go as illness goes. And for many, death is the end of suffering.

It is what WE do between Now and Then

What spiritual fire must we walk through? What is the specific lesson that we are supposed to learn amid the suffering of another human being, or even ourselves? Each lesson is person specific. I may be a seer. I may be an adequate listener. And I am getting better at communicating. I know that in the moment while I sat there with this man, who was clearly shaken, I was just present. He uttered the word “Pity” and I asked him about compassion? I asked him about being present to his wife. There is a lesson in there somewhere for him. I told him he wasn’t alone.

The spiritual path is different for every person in sobriety. Some come to sobriety with their baggage. Some come to sobriety because of prestige, Some come to sobriety because they are facing dire straits, then some come to sobriety out of a sense of desperation. They’ve been given a gift of desperation. Each person comes to the room from a different path, and no two paths are the same. But they lead down the same 12 stairs into the basement of St. Leon’s Church… (yes there are 12 stairs into the basement)

One never knows when God is going to show up. I believed He came for that man tonight, through the ministry of another sober alcoholic with a bent towards Pastoral Ministry. This is how the night was ordained…

We broke the room for the second meeting as Rick was taking his 19 year cake tonight, and once again Ms. Nancy baked another award winning Chocolate Cake. It was festive. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a step back.

We heard tonight that Sylvia, a 20 year member of AA in Montreal has passed away. She was a fixture in Montreal sober circles. Her funeral is Saturday at St. Monica’s Church where my spiritual director is Pastor. We will all go to celebrate her life. You wanna see sobriety in action, attend the funeral of a long time sober member of AA. I have seen this kind of emotion once before, when I first got sober. They used my Big Book on the Altar when John Mack died many years ago. That was a blessing for me. but I digress…

Vivian was the speaker tonight. She has been sober for over 20 years. She shared her story. It was part of her story that took me over the edge. Her son, Chris, is a hemophiliac and contracted HIV and Hep C in a blood transfusion. Some years ago. What she said next took my breath away.

She said my doctors name and she shared a story about the day Chris decided to seek treatment for HIV, and he went to the clinic. They had study drugs for him to take and they needed his approval to get him on the meds. He sat with the doctor and he explained the route for him, and he took a few moments, and said yes to the study. but not first pondering the thought, “what would mom do???”

Funny, this AA

You never know when God is going to speak to you directly. Over the last seven years – I have tested every drug that came through that clinic that was eventually given to patients across the board. As a test patient, you never know what kind of work you are doing in testing HIV medication. You never know the depth of investment we make in doing this for the greater good.

I gave the beginners chip out at the meeting. It was then that I spoke to her and I said to her, that my name is Jeremy and I am a test patient at the General and that all the drugs your son now has – went through me before he ever got them. In essence, I helped save a life. It was a God moment.

Chris is alive because men like me tested those medications to make sure that they worked first. I can’t explain the gravity of a moment like this one.

Many other patients are alive at the clinic for the work we have done for them over the last seven years. This was the first time I met a parent of a patient from the clinic that is alive because of something I did right in sobriety.

She sobbed uncontrollably. It was an amazing moment. this is confirmation that my Higher Power works in mysterious ways, and rewards us at specific moments in sobriety to show us that when we turn it over and step aside and let God be God, God will be God and He will do the heavy lifting for us, if we just Let Go and Let God…


Home Alone with Time on my Hands

christmas-presents_ajm4d6-copy

Officially this is a Tuesday post, but I am writing at this hour (1 a.m.) Wednesday morning, because I finally have free time to write.

It ROCKS to be me…

I LOVE my life. It was an Awesome Day!!! I did not sleep well last night, for some reason as of late I have a case of the “itchies” and it is keeping me from sleeping an entire nights sleep. So I wonder, did hubby change the laundry detergent, or is my body trying to tell me something? I haven’t changed my eating habits, unless you consider that I am on a diet… I know, never diet on the holidays. Yes, I know, I am cooking a full spread on Christmas.

So I tried to sleep in this morning (Tuesday) but my body had other thoughts, so I got up and took a hot shower and started my day earlier than I wanted to but it’s all good. I got some housework done. I cleaned the bathroom and I winterized the windows, plastic and all, now we are sealed in until at least May. I broke out the air cleaning machine and put a new hepa filter in it and a new charcoal liner so we are good to go.

I wrote out my handful of Christmas cards for my home group and packed my bag with some presents that I bought and set off for the diner. It is always the same. The same faces, in the same places eating the same food, talking to the same people. We all know each other after so many years doing the same thing week in and week out.

I had my coffee and read my book. I half expected to see my friends because it was Christmas this week, but what a bummer, nobody showed up!!! Oh well, I am powerless over people, places and things…

I got to the church with plenty of time to set up which I did. My newbies came to help with set up which was nice. I didn’t have to break my back unstacking chairs. Owain got pissed that I did his job last week, so this week I left the chairs stacked for him. He was happy actually to be of service.

Tonight we talked about sober maintenance since it is the holidays and we had a good group of visitors from other countries tonight. Intergroup has been very kind to us over the last few months. We have had a number of referrals to our group of visitors to our beautiful city.

Owain and Madison brought cookies and candies and Ms. Louise brought two boxes of cookies, AND Ms. Nancy baked me a Chocolate cake (more on this in a moment). We had good numbers tonight which was really great. It was the last meeting that all our members were going to attend tonight, as the snowbirds are headed to Florida after the holiday so we will be down a few members until April.

I stayed for the second meeting because tonight was my official CAKE celebration for my sober anniversary. I mentioned that Ms. Nancy baked my cake and Ms. Louise gave me my medallion in a most formal setting. The room was PACKED, which was really beautiful. So the night, on the whole was quite festive. Everybody was happy, We all participated in the night, and we all broke down the space together trying to draw out the time there tonight because like I said, the snowbirds are leaving us in the next few days.

I didn’t get home until 10 o’ clock and I haven’t eaten dinner yet at this hour, not that I can’t, I’m just not hungry. I took some time to talk to  my kids tonight getting them ready for the holiday. I love my kids. They are really great and I love them all so much. They make my life all the more richer.

Hubby is coming home from Ottawa in the morning, and we have to get a few items for Christmas dinner and we will be all set. He’s been gone since Sunday and I am finding myself missing him a little more than usual. We had a brief conversation tonight in the middle of the kids, but I will see him tomorrow.

We raked in the booty from the inlaws again this year…

There is Christmas Eve mass tomorrow night at the Cathedral at 11 p.m. And I am really looking forward to going to church. I’ve invited my posse to join me, although I don’t know if they will make it because we will be pressed for time at midnight to make the trains after service. So it is still up in the air. I don’t know if they are pulling back hours because of Christmas Eve. I looked on the website but there was no holiday schedule. If I have to walk home that isn’t that bad. It is only a 20 minute walk home from the Cathedral to home.

It is snowing at this hour in Montreal.

Hubby and I will be here on Christmas day, I am cooking  full turkey spread and when I cook it is always festive!!! All the present are wrapped and under the tree – it won’t be a huge deal. I didn’t go overboard this year. Every penny was counted this year, I even pinched a few… Yes, Canadians are feeling the pinch too, just like the U.S.

I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas where ever you are in the world. I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday and that you get what you all wished for…

If you can do something good for a stranger this holiday, just because you can, not because you have to. Be kind to others, because you never know when you are entertaining an angel.

Remember Karma flows full circle – in the direction that you sent it out in, so be mindful of that over the next few days…

Goodnight from Montreal…


Loving our Enemies …

cccinside1

Last night I was listening to late night radio, as I am apt to do on any given night and a caller shared some thoughts on 2012. The Western Calendar is off from the Maya Calendar, and if that is so, then we don’t have to wait until December 21, 2012 to see what is going to happen.

The caller stated that if we are following the old calendar – 2012 – is upon us now. That would mean that we are or we should be preparing for what is coming in the next few days…

December 21, 2008… We only have a few days to make this happen…

And he said this: “If we are to change the world in a dramatic way, we must begin to Love our Enemies…” Because if we could master this thought, we could in essence change the face of humanity as it exists today.

Scripture reference: Luke 10:25-40

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?””What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Prayer:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
In Thought, Word and Deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us,
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your name. Amen.


CANADA: Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing

[Anglican Journal] Link

After this week’s discussions with bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal plans to launch a process to work out a rite for blessing same-sex couples in the diocese who have been married in civil ceremonies.

In an opening statement October 24 to the annual synod of the Diocese of Montreal, the bishop said he believes that in the current debate about same-sex issues some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, others with a voice of caution.

“For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Montreal, are among those who have been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice,” he said. “It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the church. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing and a means of God’s grace. In time our voice will either be affirmed by the body, or stand corrected.”

About a year ago, the 2007 Montreal synod adopted a resolution calling on the bishop to grant permission for clergy, under certain conditions, to bless duly solemnized civil marriages, including same-sex marriages. Clarke, like the bishops of two other dioceses where such motions were passed around the same time, has not yet implemented it by authorizing such blessings.

Speaking at this year’s synod, the bishop described his decision as one that “does constitute an incremental step forward, which is consistent with the wishes of synod, all the while observing the cautious posture voiced and upheld in other parts of the Anglican Communion” and expressed at the Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops this summer.

Delegates to this year’s Montreal synod took no further action on the issue except to debate and vote down, by clear although not overwhelming majorities, two resolutions presented by people opposed to same-sex blessings.

One resolution asked the bishop to refrain from implementing same-sex blessings until there had been extensive consultation with the Anglican Communion worldwide, until the diocese had established a process for consulting its members, until the General Synod of Canada changed the marriage canon, and in any event not before the 2010 Montreal synod.

The other resolution asked that, if the bishop did authorize the blessings, a process called shared episcopal ministry be made available to parishes and clergy requesting it. (Basically, this could mean that, with Clarke’s assent, a bishop opposed to the blessings would provide certain services, probably including confirmations, in similarly minded parishes. Last May, Eddie Marsh, retired bishop of Central Newfoundland, carried out a confirmation service for candidates from two parishes in the Montreal suburban area known as the West Island. Clarke authorized this, at least with regard to one of the parishes, and the experiment was considered by some to be a trial run for shared episcopal ministry.)

The two motions were rejected, although their sponsors used conciliatory language in presenting them.

David Johnstone, rector’s warden of the evangelical St. Stephen’s Church in Westmount, said the motion on consultation would not reverse the 2007 decision but would help to preserve Anglican unity in a situation where “the diversity once cherished by Anglicanism has been stretched beyond limits.”

The Rev. Timothy Wiebe of two churches in the Eastern Townships described the motion on shared episcopal ministry as “creative, generous and fully inclusive of all points of view” and “an Anglican solution, a via media.”

In his opening address, Clarke said that, shortly after the meeting of the House of Bishops (October 27-31), he would establish a commission with the responsibility of drafting an appropriate rite for the blessing and guidelines for implementation.

“In this process, I am committed to an open dialogue, and to this end, I will provide opportunities on a formal basis for listening, dialogue and further discernment,” he said. He added that the diocese would work alongside the faith, worship and ministry committee, which had been charged by General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, to develop a process to engage dioceses and parishes in study of the Christian perspective on human sexuality in light of scripture, reason, tradition and current scientific understanding.

“Let me make it absolutely clear that in this process, no cleric and no congregation will be required to participate in any future blessing of same-sex civil marriages,” said Clarke.

— Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Diocese of Montreal.


Episcopalians to seek repeal of ban on gay, lesbian bishops

BANGOR, Maine — The man Maine Episcopalians chose a year ago as their bishop presided Friday over the 189th convention of the Episcopal Diocese.

Bishop Stephen Lane, 59, told the more 300 lay and clergy delegates attending the annual convention at the Bangor Civic Center that he was looking forward to “many long years in ministry with you.”

He also stressed the importance of the church’s annual gathering.

“It is here that we consider together the mission of God and our ministries as followers of Jesus Christ,” he said in his first convention address Friday afternoon. “It is here we adopt a budget for our life together. It is here that we worship God together. This is an occasion to be celebrated and savored.”

One of the things the convention did was to call for the national church to change its stance on the election of gay and lesbian clergy as bishops. By a show of hands, the delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling for the Episcopal Church at its General Convention next summer to repeal a resolution, known as B033, that was passed two years ago. The original document called upon the national body to restrain from approving the election of gay and lesbian bishops.

Bishops are elected by delegates to diocesan conventions but the national body must “consent” to those elections. Supporters of the repeal who attended the 2006 General Convention told the Maine convention Friday that B033 was passed at the eleventh hour under pressure from the retiring Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the newly elected bishop, the Rev. Katharine Jefforts Schori.

Jefforts Schori expressed concern that she and other American bishops would not be allowed to participate in the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a meeting of bishops from around the world held every 10 years. It was held in Canterbury, England, in July and August amid anxiety over a possible schism.

Concern over whether the denomination would split began five years ago when the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. American bishops consented to his election.

The Anglican Communion, headed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, demanded an apology from the Episcopal Church and a moratorium on the election of gay and lesbian bishops. Several dozen congregations and a few dioceses have left the Episcopal Church over the issue.

Peter Bickford of Christ Episcopal Church in Norway told the convention Friday that he had voted for B033 but had done so reluctantly. He urged delegates to pass the proposed resolution to repeal it because it was in conflict with Canon Law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“After prayerful consideration, I believe we need to pass this,” said Geoffrey Schuller of Mount Desert, who worships at Saint Saviour in Bar Harbor. “This is our position [concerning the election of gay and lesbian bishops] and we need to come to terms with it. We need to consider the feelings of the Anglican Church, but we need to take a stand.”

The Rev. Barbara Clarke, who recently retired after serving St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Brewer, urged the convention to pass the resolution. A lesbian who has been in a committed relationship for many years, Clarke called B033 a “de facto denial of access” for gay and lesbian clergy to the possibility of being elected bishops.

Lane did not vote on the issue but Robinson participated in his consecration service earlier this year.

“My greatest joy, as your new bishop, has been meeting the people of the Diocese of Maine,” Lane said. “Everywhere I go, I’m impressed by the energy and the commitment of our congregations. Most have a solid worshiping community and are engaged in serious ministry to the larger congregations.

“And yet everywhere I go, I encounter concerns about aging congregations and shrinking budgets,” he continued. “Parish leaders are concerned about burnout and succession planning. I’ve been asked if I intend to close congregations or merge them. People are very concerned about the future of their churches. And so am I. It seems to me that we need an alternative to simply letting the economy have its way with us.”

Lane said that he did not intend to close churches, but pointed out that the diocese has many small congregations. The diocese has 66 parishes that are served by 29 full-time clergy. Nearly, 40 percent — a total of 26 congregations — need diocesan grants to stay afloat.

The bishop said that he wanted the diocese and congregations to engage in priority setting and strategic planning over the next year two years. He also announced a committee to study how the convention is planned, where it is held, and whether the work can be completed in one day instead of two.

The convention is scheduled to conclude today.


Bishop of Ottawa Proposes Blessing Of Same-Gender Civil Mariages

Found on: Walking with Intergrity

Below is the relevant portion of Bishop Chapman’s charge to his diocesan synod on Thursday…

“Synod 2007 adopted a motion ‘requesting the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that he authorize an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.’

“For a year now I have reflected on how I should respond to the mind of Synod. I have prayed for God’s guidance, sought the counsel of fellow bishops, and listened carefully to all who have spoken from various perspectives. In forming my response to this motion I have been strengthened in my conviction that God remains faithful in guiding His Church to the truth, that our chief call on this matter is a pastoral one, and that we are challenged to proclaim a prophetic voice to the Church and to the world.

“When we gather at Synod, we pray that our church will be guided by the Spirit of God. I believe God is faithful to us in this and as we discern how to proceed, the decisions we make, informed and shaped by healthy debate and conversation, are the result of the leading of that same Spirit for which we have prayed.

“With the benefit of scientific and medical knowledge we know sexual orientation is a given and a gift from God in the lives of all people. Our challenge is to determine how all persons may rejoice in and celebrate this God given gift so it honours our creator and gives dignity to the creatures of God. I believe our dealing with the issues of human sexuality is fundamentally a pastoral matter. How is God calling us to proclaim the gospel, the good news of Jesus, to those whose sexual givenness has resulted in their marginalization and has often made them victims in their communities, families and churches?

“I am mindful that we do not normally act in isolation. The question of blessing same-sex civil marriages is before our sister and brother Christians in many Dioceses and Provinces of the Church. My observation of how various parts of the church deal with the question leads me to believe that we will not go forward at the same pace nor with uniformity. At the Lambeth Conference this summer the Bishops of the communion articulated a strong desire that we remain together as a communion. Equally strong were convictions held on all sides of human sexuality issues.

Moratoria emerging from Lyambeth, while reflecting a majority view, hold neither the command of consensus nor the proscriptive authority of legislation. In other words, it appears that a majority of Bishops desire a moratorium but a legislation or decision has yet to be taken. As well, majority support for a moratorium was not evident among the Bishops from Canada, the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Scotland, Ireland and the Congo to name just a few provinces.

At this juncture I believe some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, challenging long held assumptions, unseating prejudices, and advocating on behalf of those whose circumstances to not permit them to advocate for themselves. Others are being called to speak with a voice of caution calling the Church to evaluate and test all positions with the longstanding three-fold reliance on tradition, reason, and scripture.

While the prophetic voice and the voice of caution may not find a common place within the Chruch from which to speak they can both be embraced within the breadth of the body of Christ. For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Ottawa, are among those who have been called by God to speak with the voice of a prophet. Synod 2007 reflects this communal desire. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the Church. It is our voice that is calling to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing.

“It is my intention to place before the Canadian House of Bishops, next week, my prayerful hope regarding the issue of ‘blessings’. It is important that I honour the collegiality of the Canadian House; we are, after all, an episcopally led and synodically governed church. It is my intention at this meeting to discuss my hope which includes my desire to make the following statement: ‘That we, in Ottawa, begin to explore experientially, the blessing of duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; to charge the Doctrine and Worship Committee with the responsibility to develop an appropriate rite for this blessing. Upon the authorization of a rite, I will give my permission for one parish within the Diocese to offer the blessing of civil marriages between same-sex couples. Discernment continues!’

This hope is not and must not be understood as a conclusive statement affirming that the church must and ought to proceed with the blessings of same-sex civilly married couples. As the church was not able to come to a clear mind regarding the benefits of the ordination of women to the priesthood until the church experienced the priestly ministry of women, so must we take the process of discernment to a place beyond discussion. We have talked about this issue since I was a seminary student in the mid-seventies. In order to further the discernment process, we must ‘experience’ the issue as church before clarity of heart and mind might be attained.

For this reason, I hope to proceed, but slowly and cautiously. This would be an initial step from which we can observe and learn. If we are to interpret our scriptures using prayerful reason in interpretation and application as generations before us, most especially on matters that reflect a historical context and appear inconsistent with a scriptural mandate, e.g., divorce, slavery, usury or the role of women, then, we must encourage discernment fully and completely.

What I propose will allow for a continuation of our discernment process without obligation or a non-negotiable commitment. Our process will allow ourselves to be better informed as we go forward to General Synod 2010 where this issue will be discussed again.

“Within one month following the completion of the House of Bishops’ meeting next week, I will make a conclusive statement to the Diocese regarding next steps.”


Central Interior assembly says ‘yes’ to blessings

Similar request declared out of order at Ontario synod
Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Oct 22, 2008

The assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) has requested its bishop, Gordon Light, to allow clergy whose conscience permits to bless civilly-married gay couples where at least one party is baptized. The assembly passed the motion when it met Oct. 17 to 19.

A notice of a similar motion was filed at the synod of the diocese of Ontario but was declared out of order by the diocesan bishop, George Bruce, who acted on the advice of the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor). The ruling was appealed at the synod held Oct. 16 to 18 but was upheld by a majority vote of delegates.

At the APCI assembly, Bishop Light gave concurrence to the motion but suspended any action pending consultations with the Canadian house of bishops, which meets Oct. 27 to 31 to discuss, among others, how best to respond to renewed proposals for moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of persons living in same-sex unions to the episcopate, and cross-border interventions.

Since the 2007 General Synod four dioceses have already passed similar motions – Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara, and Huron. The diocesan synod of New Westminster approved same-sex blessings in 2002.

Of the 50 clergy and lay delegates at the APCI assembly, 36 voted yes (72 per cent), 10 voted no (20 per cent), and four (8 per cent) abstained. APCI is composed of 18 parishes (including 35 congregations) which was constituted after the former diocese of Cariboo closed its diocesan office in 2001 because of financial pressures surrounding lawsuits about abuse at the St. George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton, B.C.

“We had a very respectful discussion. All voices were heard,” said Rev. Susan Hermanson, rector of St. Peter’s Anglican church in Williams Lake, who moved the motion. She said that approval of the motion “allows us to accept gays and lesbians fully as part of our family and, as in all families, we can disagree with one another and still be part of the family.”

In a telephone interview, she added that the motion was also meant to “take a reading” of where APCI was on the issue. She noted that in 2000, the diocesan synod of Cariboo had approved  a motion affirming the full inclusion of gay and lesbian couples in the life of the church.  Since then, parishes have been discussing and studying the issue further, she said. “We have, in fact, been discussing this issue for the last 30 years now,” she said.

In her written background and explanation, Ms. Hermanson noted that APCI “is a diverse community and therefore respects and honours those who, because of their theological position or as a matter of conscience, cannot agree with the blessing of same-sex unions.”

Anglicans opposed to same-sex blessings believe that homosexuality is contrary to scripture and to Anglican teaching. To date, 14 of about 2,800 congregations have left the Canadian Anglican church over theological disagreements over homosexuality. These churches have joined a group called the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and placed themselves under the episcopal oversight of the primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables.

Meanwhile, Bishop Bruce said he referred the notice of motion to approve same-sex blessings to the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor) to determine “whether what it sought was within the authority of both synod and myself as bishop.”

In his charge to the synod, Bishop Bruce said that the chancellor had advised him that the motion is ultra vires (beyond the power) of both him and the synod. “Firstly, because at its inception, matters relating to doctrine were ceded by dioceses to the General Synod and secondly, as you heard, General Synod 2007 clearly affirmed that blessing same-sex unions was a matter of doctrine,” he said. “Therefore, until such time as the General Synod addresses the question of whether the theology of marriage can be extended to all legally qualified persons and decides for or against amending Canon XXI (the national church canon on marriage), the request made in this motion remains within the authority of General Synod.”

At its triennial meeting in June 2007, General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national governing body, agreed that same-sex blessings are “not in conflict” with core church doctrine, but declined by a slim margin to affirm the authority of dioceses to offer them.

Nathan Brinklow, who filed the motion and is a parishioner of St. Thomas’, Belleville, Ont., said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the synod’s decision. “I am a little concerned that bishop so obviously ignored the precendent set by several other dioceses when we’re all interpreting the same Constitution and canons,” he said. “There is a growing level of frustration amongst many that we’ve run out of ways to put this decision off.  We either need to move forward and practice what we preach or we need to own up to the way things really are and stop pretending we’re something we’re not. “

While the motion was declared out of order, the synod of Ontario engaged in indaba group discussions designed “to help us discern God’s will around same-sex matters,” said Bishop Bruce. (Indaba, which is Zulu for “a gathering for purposeful discussion,”was a process used at the recent Lambeth Conference of bishops.)

In a related development, the diocesan bishop of Brandon, Jim Njegovan, addressed the issue of cross-border interventions in his charge to the diocesan synod held Oct. 16 to 18.

“Sadly, our diocese, even though we as a synod have not even begun to address permitting parishes to bless same-sex couples, has been one of those parts of the communion affected by cross-provincial intervention and it is all the more painful because it has been done by those who many of us considered friends and colleagues,” said Bishop Njegovan.

St. Bede’s, a small rural congregation of the South Parkland parish in the diocese of Brandon, voted to leave Oct. 15.

Bishop Njegovan noted that his predecessor, Malcolm Harding, had relinquished his order of ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, “meaning that for all intents and purposes he was ‘laicized;’ that is, he could no longer exercise any ordained ministerial function within the church and could not use ministerial titles or wear clerical vesture.” He said that following ancient practice and polity of the church, this would apply not only to ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada “but also within all churches in full communion with us, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and all the churches of the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Njegovan said that his predecessor, now recognized as a bishop by Archbishop Venables, has been meeting in various communities in the diocese “with the intent of planting ‘ network’ (ANiC) churches.” He cautioned parishioners against believing what they have been told “that they would still be Anglicans recognized by the communion” once they leave the Canadian Anglican church and fall under the jurisdiction of another province like the Southern Cone.

He said that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stated in a letter to him that his office and that of the Anglican Communion only recognizes “one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitute part of the communion, that being the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Bishop Njegovan said that while the Southern Cone is a recognized part of the communion and Archbishop Venables was invited and present at the Lambeth Conference of bishops “those claiming to be under his jurisdiction in Canada were not and are not so recognized.”

In his strongly-worded charge, Bishop Njegovan added, “It could be argued that the promotion of schism within the church has always been considered an even greater heresy in that it flies directly in the face of the scriptural call to unity…”