Thinking Out Loud

July 15, 2019

Canada Connect

Since there won’t be a Wednesday Connect column this week, I wanted to share four things which developed over the weekend that are of Canadian interest, but also worth sharing with the larger readership here.


Overwhelmed, little Ayo Moran gets the view from the stage as he meets his new Canadian church family yesterday in Abbotsford, BC. (Facebook)

🇨🇦 First and foremost, Ayo is home in greater Vancouver, British Columbia!

This is an adoption nightmare that shouldn’t have happened. The general feeling is that the Canadian government simply didn’t do all that it might have done. The story just didn’t get the publicity it deserved, and it wasn’t in the politicians’ interests to make things happen. So this family languished on the back burner, having to fly back and forth to Africa for months because their son, Ayo was at that point theirs, so they couldn’t abandon him at that point. 

The Province (BC) reported,

Not in their worst nightmare could Kim and Clark Moran have imagined it would be almost one year before the three would be together at their home in Abbotsford — 50 weeks of taking turns flying to Africa to look after now three-year-old Ayo while red tape and runarounds Kafka would’ve blushed at using as plot devices made them dizzy and despairing.

The couple are pastors at Abbotsford Pentecostal Assembly.

In November, we linked to a story from the CTV News Network where the couple had hoped their son would be home in Canada by Christmas. In fact, it would be another six months. At one point the couple was accused of trafficking him.

Here’s the updated report from the Vancouver Sun:


🇨🇦 Next, the Anglican Church of Canada did not ratify same sex marriage. The vote would have required a two-thirds majority from three constituencies consisting of lay-delegates, clergy and bishops. It was the bishops who failed to reach the two-thirds, coming close at 62.2%.

The Anglican Journal reported on Saturday morning:

The Anglican Church of Canada will maintain its traditional definition of marriage after a vote to amend the marriage canon failed to pass at General Synod 2019.

The 42nd General Synod voted against Resolution A052-R2, which would have amended the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage, after the resolution failed to pass by a two-thirds majority in all three orders. While two-thirds of the Order of Laity (80.9%) and Order of Clergy (73.2%) voted in favour, less than the required two-thirds (62.2%) voted in favour of the resolution in the Order of Bishops…

…The announcement of the result left many synod members visibly in shock. A scream could be heard. Many members began crying, and one young delegate ran out of the room in tears…


🇨🇦 Canada’s David Wesley’s latest acapella video has really connected with people. It’s hard to quote numbers here because the count is rising so fast (about a third of a million as I type this) but you should give this a listen. It’s 1500 years (560-2017AD) of Christian music crammed into 7.5 minutes. I’ve embedded here — which will still count as views — but if you want to see some of the over 3,000 comments, click this link.


🇨🇦 A Canadian gets a first-hand look at the process faced by the many Middle East refugees in Germany for the visit to the immigration office.

On a rainy Friday morning it seems like there are a couple of hundred people waiting in the corridors of the Landratsamt (that’s District Office in English), waiting for their number to appear on the screen, waiting to see an immigration official.

Everyone wonders if they have filled out their paperwork properly. So many pages, so many questions. What happens if you make a mistake? Will they send you back to the country you fled?

Arabic seems to be the most common language. The little German I hear comes from translators, which many have brought with them. It does seem though that everyone here speaks a little bit of German, just not enough for a formal interview. I understand that – I’m in the same situation…

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February 10, 2014

U2Charist: Rock’ n Roll Communion

u2charist St Peters

On Saturday we attended our first U2charist: The music of Bono, The Edge and the rest of U2 combined with an Anglican (Episcopalian in the U.S.) communion liturgy. Two very different forces. Do they complement each other, or stand in stark contrast as opposing elements? I’m still not sure. You can read more about it at this Wikipedia page.

I believe part of the concept is to open up the Eucharist to the broader community; perhaps to attract lapsed Anglicans or former C. of E. (Church of England) members. I didn’t see a lot of that, though. Most of the people we saw seemed to be stalwart adherents of the host church. Many were retired. It was actually demographically awkward. My wife reminded me that U2 is a boomer band, but I still clung to the opinion that if only out of curiosity, members of the church’s youth group should have shown up.

We also spoke with a lot of people afterward who said they would have attended had they heard about it, though we did our best to put the word out. The church hired a U2 tribute band, and I must say that for their part, they played their role flawlessly, this being the first U2charist they’ve performed at.

I don’t quite understand why Anglicans can’t worship without the Eucharist. Maybe that’s a bit harsh. What I mean is that it always comes back to the same default. They do have Vespers (Evensong) and something called Compline, but for the most part, the church is very Roman Catholic about re-staging the mass on a rather constant basis. And unless you’ve taken a non-Christian to a high church service lately, the enactment of communion, the drinking of Christ’s blood, which we find rather normal, appears cultic or even pagan to the uninitiated.  Could you offer a broader community a “church” experience without the Eucharist? From an Episcopal perspective, maybe not.

Could you do a “rock” Eucharist with the modern music of a leading Christian worship leader such as Paul Baloche, David Crowder, Brian Doerksen or Chris Tomlin? Again, probably not since Anglicans don’t recognize those names at all, much less the wider populace.  Still, the ‘worship concert’ format — an oxymoron to some, I realize — is the Evangelical outreach format de jour.

Again, I think the band did a great job and the host church had good intentions. Some of the songs seem well-suited to the occasion. It was the demographics of the audience that failed for me; more effort should have been made to tap into and invite various segments of the community, rather than simply make an announcement and figure that the broader community would come to them.

August 1, 2013

Gay Marriage: Where Society is Headed

Same Sex Marriage - Roseanne KyddLast week I was given a copy of a Canadian study on the history of the same-sex marriage debate as it pertains to the Anglican Church of Canada. Same Sex Marriage: Is There a Leg to Stand On? by Roseanne Kydd is probably the most comprehensive synopsis of the topic available.  Though the topic is not of interest to everyone, the author provides a chronology of events and definitions of terms that ought to satisfy anyone coming late to the discussion. While some of this is old news to people who have followed the debate, it’s presented in a well-written succinct manner and is written according to high academic standards.

The heart of the book is that for the Anglican Church — Canada’s equivalent of The Episcopal Church — church policy has always been guided by the “three legged stool” of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, and that this has provided the denomination with a firm equilibrium. It is the author’s view that the present direction of the church is not consistent with following those guiding principles.

The first chapter traces a history of the gay rights movement back to the mid-1950s, and the implications of homosexuality’s inclusion in the original edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM) and the efforts that were made to overturn this inclusion. This chapter probably has the most Canadian content, but overall, the book has implications for readers on both side of the border. The second chapter clarifies the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender,’ and why activists want to move from the former to the latter, and why it’s important for LGBT individuals to want to drop terms like ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in favor of the more generic ‘queer.’

91 of the book’s 136 pages (including extensive footnotes) form the core text, and of those, chapter four, ‘Same Sex Marriage and the Anglican Church’ represents the heart of the book. Kydd fine tunes the distinction, for example, between the ‘blessing’ of same sex marriage, and actually having ‘rites’ for the institution of such (p.67) and also deconstructs the notion that the encounter between the Apostle Peter and Cornelius qualifies as a precedent for the ushering in as acceptable things that were formerly forbidden (pp 74-75). [We discussed that passage here at Thinking Out Loud just one week ago.]

The author extrapolates from recent headlines where the broader society is headed, what she calls the “unintended consequences” of successive liberalizations of law and societal norms resulting from increased activism, or what some would call the ‘slippery slope.’ Polyamory is the example most cited, while the consequences for things such as Pederasty, incest or other such variations considered by other writers, are omitted here, perhaps to avoid sensationalist rhetoric.  Here the greatest fear is that when the activists win battle after battle, we begin a descent into a destabilized state of anomie (p. 91).

In Canada in general, and the Anglican Church in particular, conservative voices are often perceived as a small minority. Clearly the more liberal views occupy the most space in books, periodicals and online; and right-wing writers are seen as representing an antiquated or quaint fringe. Books like this one are necessary to allow a balanced debate to take place, and while this is highly charged, emotional issue, and one which will trigger knee-jerk reactions, I would commend the book to readers on both sides of the divide.

Same Sex Marriage: Is There a Leg to Stand On? by Roseanne Kydd is published by the Anglican Communion Alliance and is available for purchase at www.essencebookstore.com or on Kindle or Kobo.

August 20, 2012

United Church of Canada Elects Openly Gay Moderator

Following in the steps of some Anglican national groups,  on August 16th, the United Church of Canada (UCC) Canada’s second largest religious denomination has elected Rev. Gary Patterson to its top post.  Patterson has been in a high-profile gay relationship for thirty years. You can read more, and see a video interview at BDBO.

The UCC was formed in 1925 through a merger of Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist churches; though each denomination also survived in some form with congregations that did not submit to the merger. My father once said, “When you try to merge three denominations, you end up with four,” and certainly that proved true here.

Although the phrase consisting of the last 75% of its name, “Church of Canada” isn’t heard too often, the vision was to create something that would form a national brand church in the same way Anglican churches are referred to in Britain as “Church of England.”

However, on the spectrum between conservative Evangelicalism and liberalism, the UCC has been progressing toward the latter. Some would argue that statement and say it’s more of a progression from orthodoxy toward universalism.  A Wikipedia article notes the church’s inter-faith stance:

“The church believes that there are many paths to God. The United Church’s path is through Jesus Christ, but the church also recognizes that Christians’ understanding of this is limited by an incomplete comprehension of God; their belief is that the Holy Spirit of God is also at work through other non-Christian faiths.”

There are however some very evangelical congregations currently under the UCC umbrella. This raises the question as to whether or not they will wish to continue in the denomination or if this leadership vote constitutes a ‘last straw.’  In 2002, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) diocese of New Westminster created a rite for the blessing of same sex marriages.  This resulted in a backlash both nationally and from two African countries who felt they couldn’t continue in an Anglican body that would permit that position. 

As a result, there have been numerous breakaway congregations in the ACC —  forming alternative denominations or just becoming independent — and some feel this trend could surface in the UCC over this choice of moderator. The problem in both cases is that the denomination claims title to land and buildings; groups that leave are left with nothing in terms of property or facilities. 

But others note that land and buildings are all the denomination has. Certainly attendance is flagging, and many churches meet their bottom line each year only because of bequests from parishioners who have died. (The UCC congregation where this writer did pulpit supply occasionally over the past three years was staying afloat through rentals to two ethnic churches and the income from a Montessori school and daycare.  Attendance averaged 25-30 adults with no children or teens present.)

There was a record field of 15 candidates for the UCC Moderator position and news reports did not mention the sexual orientations of other individuals the 350 delegates could have chosen.

June 22, 2011

Wednesday Link List

To link or not to link, that is the question…

  • This is a real masterpiece, and if I could, I would steal the whole thing and post it here.  Perry Noble has written a list of ten things he desires for each and every person who calls NewSpring Church home.  Follow the link to the first one, watch any related video, and then click the arrows for each of the other nine.  Sample: ” #6 – I want every owner of NewSpring Church to know how to lead someone to Christ and feel the calling/responsibility to do so.”
  • TBN refused to air an episode of Jack Van Impe‘s weekly rant because it slammed Robert Schuller and Rick Warren, so Van Impe has decided to take his ball and his bat and go home, and has pulled his programs from the TBN schedule. “Although I understand, and actually agree with, your position that you ‘will not allow anyone to tell me what I can and cannot preach,’ I trust you understand that TBN takes the same position with its broadcast air time as well,” TBN President Paul Crouch wrote in a letter to Van Impe. More on this here tomorrow from a different perspective…
  • Here’s a great article for this time of year published a month ago at Leadership Journal, for people involved in ministry to young people who are leaving the local (church) area to go on to college.  Love what this Texas pastor says, “Our job doesn’t end at graduation, we call that ‘Day One.’  Each graduate leaving for college receives a $10 Starbucks gift card with the following instructions: go find a spiritual mentor on campus to take out for coffee.”
  • “Something good is going to happen to you.”  Remember that phrase?  I found this tucked away in a remote corner of the net, and even though it’s a full year old, someone here might like to have a look.  Randy R. Potts is now in his mid-thirties, he’s the grandson of Oral and Evelyn Roberts and he’s gay and estranged from the church.  If you’ve got 8-10 minutes take a look at life from his perspective.
  • The whole Xtra Normal text-to-animation method of making a point is awesome.  My son made one for a school presentation that he did, and here’s one I found on How to Be Really Terrible at Interpreting the Bible, aka “How To Show”  part two.
  • Two Perry Noble posts in one link list?  This is a must for singles; some of you may want to cut/paste and send this out as a FWD.  Check out Ten Reasons I Should Not Be Dating Him/Her.
  • On the one hand, I can’t believe Pete Wilson posted this video of a mother/daughter discussion on heaven and hell and religion in general; on the other hand, it’s probably more true to life than we realize.
  • On the weekend’s U.S. Open golf tournament, NBC-TV ran a video of a somewhat edited U.S. Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God” edited out.  Twice.  What were thinking?  Apparently they are ready to admit they weren’t. Meanwhile the Supreme Court has decided not to hear another appeal to delete the clause from the pledge.
  • Canadian Anglicans in four churches that split from the apostate Anglican Church of Canada have decided to give up the fight to keep their buildings.  They will revert to the denomination which in fact is one of the largest holders of real estate in the country.  Legally legit I suppose, but morally wrong.
  • And speaking of Canadians, here’s a cold and snowy edition of one of the classic “religious” Peanuts comic strip — featuring Linus, of course — which actually isn’t the first time we’ve included Peanuts here in a Wednesday Link List.

December 6, 2008

Anglican / Episcopal Church Heading for Major Split in the U.S.

episcopal_churchGiven that American English seems to modify every noun from British English, it seems only fitting that those we Canadians, the Brits and other people know as Anglicans (a.k.a. the Church of England), Americans know as Episcopalians.

But the Episcopal Church is charting its own course in another way, as this USAToday story I was reading earlier this week revealed.    The converative wing of the church in North America has had enough of the recent (and not-so recent)  liberal leadings of the British group in particular, and is writing its own declaration of independence  (sound familiar?) with the formation of a new North American body, or what the Anglicans call a “province.”

Our friend Jon Rising at the Word and Spirit blog, had just completed a series of general interviews with charismatic Episcopal priest Peter Davids, and today asked him if he would comment additionally on this week’s developments.    You can read that comment here.

There are 2.1 million Episcopalians in the U.S., but a higher per capita 640,000 in the Anglican Church of Canada.

A key factor in this story is the issue of ownership of church property.   The California Surpreme Court is expected to rule on cases there in January.

November 23, 2008

Too Funny

Filed under: Christianity, Church, Humor — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:39 pm

sign-dedication

HT Nathan Colquhoun at the blog Based On A True Story who adds the musical question ” I wonder though if they are allowed to use the sign before they dedicate it?”

Rather sad, really.   I truly hope not too many people drive that route.

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