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Anglican Church of Canada Faces Financial Collapse

Anglican Church of Canada Faces Financial Collapse

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
Nov. 134 2017

It is starting to look as though the Anglican Church of Canada, a church in denial for nearly two decades about the direction it has been going, is having to face the reality that it might face collapse as it looks to an uncertain financial future. Archbishop Fred Hiltz might well be the last Primate of the Anglican province.

It goes like this. You no longer believe the Bible is authoritative on issues like human sexuality, so you change your views to compete with the zeitgeist; you watch as your congregations age with no new young people coming along as they won't hear or read anything that is significantly different from their cell phone apps, Ipad news or twitter accounts. You watch as clergy age and retire with no heir apparent waiting in the wings to fill their pulpits. Then talk about things that are mostly irrelevant to the lives of average Canadians who are more concerned with house prices and what happens in the US. Congregations begin to shrink because of the uncertain sounds emanating from the pulpit. Parishes slowly wither and sooner or later, they close their doors. At this time of writing, the dioceses of Huron, Ontario and Quebec are most notably in free fall.

A priest in the Diocese of Quebec recently opined from his pulpit, "that without radical change, the Anglican Diocese of Quebec could soon be extinct." His is clearly not the only diocese.

The three horsemen of the Anglican apocalypse; interfaithery, sodomite marriage and focus on a plethora of social justice issues, coupled with a failure to preach an unerring gospel focusing on the reality of sin, salvation and judgement on clergy who fail to do so, is largely responsible.

As one Anglican columnist noted, "rather than "make disciples of all nations" the mission [of the ACoC] has become "observe similarities with all religions". Furthermore, promoting same sex marriage and participating in queer parades has not filled pews, and never will. The action of former Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham to authorize the blessing of same-sex unions in 2002 was the down payment on the decline that ensued. By May 2003, six of the diocese's 76 parishes received authorization to use the rite, which was nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.

The Anglican Church of Canada is on a kamikaze mission of self-destruction, with its public mission to promote pansexuality and, by an unwritten agreement, to destroy its withering orthodox wing. A case in point was the announcement this week to expunge from its rolls an evangelical, former Bishop-Elect of Caledonia, the Rev. Jacob Worley. He was summarily fired by Archbishop John Privett, Metropolitan of the Province of BC & Yukon in a phone call and a letter for no stated reason. Worley has 10 days to leave the country. Worley's "sin" is that he was once associated with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), an unforgiveable heresy, according to the revisionist bishops of Canada. Former congenial liberals have now become the illiberal Nazis of our time. Instead of the black shirts of fascism we have the purple shirts of fascist bishops with their LGBTQ storm troopers to keep the populace in line.

The truth is, there is no mercy for those whose only desire is to preach the gospel, but there is lots of leeway, indeed adulation, if you wish to participate in unbiblical sexual behaviors. God clearly favors the latter, according to the holy miters of Canada.

But now the rubber is hitting the road, and the issue is money. The ACoC is running out of the stuff.

The Church may soon face "very hard decisions" over money, ran a headline in the Anglican Journal, the denomination's national magazine, which itself faces extinction.

The likelihood that the church's revenue will stagnate in coming years means it might want to think carefully about its priorities, Fraser Lawton, bishop of the diocese of Athabasca and a member of the financial management committee, said in a presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS) recently.

"The trends as we go forward, looking ahead over a number of years, suggest that we need to be mindful of what appears to be a probability of declining income," Lawton said. "It might be wise for us to think about what are the critical things...Why do we exist as General Synod? What is our purpose, what is the priority in terms of funding?"

More than 90% of General Synod's net income comes from the dioceses, Lawton said, but almost all of them are "having some conversations" about their own financial future. Given this, he said, "if everything continues as is, the day is going to come when we're going to have to make some very hard decisions."

Those "hard decisions" include the massive shutting of parish doors across the country, shutting down the Church's endless "social justice" commitments, nixing global "reconciliation" gabfests with fellow Anglicans, even as the last queer couple declares their love for each other using bogus Rites, with church officials locking the doors behind them, never more to return. As coffers empty, so go the churches.

Church authorities noted that the numbers from diocesan giving hover around $8 million. Chump change by TEC standards, but lofty for the ACoC.

There is profound irony in that one 2018 budget item, is the hiring of two new full-time suicide prevention workers in the Indigenous Ministries department. These positions, said an administrator, were highly needed. No one, apparently, is entertaining the possibility that the denomination itself might need to hire a full-time suicide prevention watch bishop to prevent the inevitable.

That another budget item of $460,000 to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation apparently does not mean healing or reconciling with GAFCON or orthodox archbishops of the Global South. That is a reconciliation bridge too far.

In a prescient question-and-answer session, John Chapman, bishop of Ottawa, said that like many dioceses, his own was facing shrinking contributions from parishes, but increasing demands for ministry. He asked what plans the national church had to raise money in new ways--echoing a similar question he had brought before CoGS two years earlier.

The answer, of course, is nothing. Why would anyone give to an organization that has lost its way, has no discernible mission or ministry goals, with endless talk about justice but nothing about righteousness; of gonads, rather than the gospel.

Archdeacon Michael Thompson, General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, said it is necessary to "begin a conversation" about the principles and values the church brings to its decision-making in light of the financial challenges it's facing. It's important that CoGS have such a discussion, he said, "before we reach the kind of crisis that might come, and all of a sudden we're making panicky decisions that aren't well-developed."

Regrettably, that ship has sailed. Post-modern churches like the ACoC are totally irrelevant to Millennials and Generations of X, Y and Z. They don't care and they won't come to the ACofC or the United Church of Canada, a denomination that is sinking faster than a stone in water.

Also under scrutiny is the future of the Anglican Journal, the official mouthpiece of the Church. Can it continue to exist in print form and be free to determine its own content? It is expected to release its preliminary results next spring, according to the Council of General Synod (CoGS). Probably not. TEC got rid of its hard copy publication years ago with news now coming online through websites and boot-licking blogs.

Its editors are also looking into the desirability of keeping the Journal editorially independent--free to determine its own content without external direction. Watch out if it should deviate from the liberal/revisionist party line. There are severe penalties for that.

Sustainability is now the watch word of the day and $400,000 a year is more than the denomination has to keep it afloat in its present form. Indeed, sustainability is the key word for the whole church as it moves forward into an uncertain future.

"It's important to hear stories we might not want to hear...the truth sets us free," said someone. Indeed, that is the truth. Perhaps this story is the first step. If not, then collapse is inevitable. It is only a matter of time.

END

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