Friday, November 23, 2007
It’s happening. The Anglican Church of Canada is splitting....or maybe the better word is “splintering.”
When Don Harvey jumped ship a few days ago (to use a metaphor from the Essentials group) he poised himself to become the leader fo the “TRUE” Anglican Church in Canada. So far his new ‘ecclesial community’ has not had the great effect of a schism.
The only other Anglican bishop to follow so far is Bishop Malcolm Harding (a person for whom I have had much respect). But again, like Don, he is retired and can afford to make this bold gesture. (For a great reflection on Don Harvey’s ‘leaving the church,’ check out Kevin’s Blog from November 18th - “Elvis has left the building” - http://revykevy.spaces.live.com/)
There was a claim that there were 400-500 individual members and 16 supporting parishes included in their blog yesterday, but those figures look like they’ve been carefully removed.
A good move for them, the sheer insignificance of their numbers would be of great consolation to the Church. Without listing any numbers, leaders like Don can suggest that this is more significant of an event that it really is.
Still included on their blog is the following:
“There are 52 million in the Anglican communion. Official number 77 million (lots of nominal CoE in that). Provinces that have sent greetings today total 12.5 million.” (Nov 22)
In logic this is called “an error of inclusion” just because a bishop (Primate or not) sends greetings (with support or not) to the Essentials gathering, this does not mean that the whole membership of their respective Dioceses or Province offer support!
Remember, there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics!
To be honest, the only troubling thing that seems to be happening in Burlington is the change in the symbolic theology being used to describe their purpose.
I again quote from their blog:
“Church planting. Not so much here about creating a lifeboat than it is about creating a fishing boat. Church planting should be a normal part as what we are about.
St Johns Richmond, planted from St Johns Shawnessey - took 30-40 key people from St Johns Shawnessy.” (Nov 22) (Emphasis mine.)
All along the PR for this group has been focussed on the image of a “lifeboat” - a safe place for people to go if they felt alienated from or by the ACC.
Now the truth is revealed (to no one’s surprise). The intent is to ‘take’ people from existing congregations and set up new ones.
Though at the end of the day I have little doubt that this event will become a footnote rather than a chapter in our Church’s history, I take exception to the clearly divisive and un-Christian plans of this splinter group.
Since this group likes to quote scripture, I would like to offer a little myself, from this coming Sunday’s readings.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them” (Jeremiah 23:1-2).
I am proud to remain a member of a church that respects the views of conservatives and liberals alike and seeks to maintain unity at all costs.
Shame on those, especially those who used to be bishops, who seek to splinter us at the fringes.
My friends, splinters are irritating, but that’s about all. I’m not losing any sleep.
If you wish to keep abreast of the goings-on in Burlington you can check out their blog at http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/wordpress/ Don’t expect much of interest. As I hinted above, the site is now being carefully monitored for content.