2nd July 21:13
Feud Hurts Church: bishops (diocese homo***uality image 350 church)
Feud Hurts Church: bishops
Anglicans say same-*** blessings could lead to persecution of Christians
By Matthew Ramsay
The Vancouver Sun
A long simmering feud between Anglican supporters of same ***-union
blessings and those who would take the traditional view of marriage in
the Diocese of New Westminster is having profound effects on the
Anglican church both locally and internationally, according to North
America, India and Africa.
The bishops, in the Lower mainland Sunday to show their support for a
group of 10 parishes who oppose the Diocese of New Westminster's
decision to bless same ***-unions, say the actions of the local
diocese could lead to the persecution of Christians overseas and are
undercutting the image of the church in general.
"We are becoming a laughing stock. Morally, we are becoming weak, said
the Most Reverend Bernard Malango, Archbishop of Central Africa.
Malango said that Muslims see the issue of same-*** unions as a
weakness in the church and the Right Reverend Robert Duncan (bishop of
the Diocese of the Diocese of Pittsburgh) that the perception of
weakness is heating up a competition between the faiths and could
possibly lead to mob violence against Christians in developing nations.
In the meantime, the battle over blessing same-*** unions has again
descended upon the parish of St. Martin's Anglican Church in North
Vancouver. In a surprise move Sunday morning, Diocese of New
Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham, a supporter of same-*** blessings,
invoked church law to fire the governing authorities of the parish who
oppose the blessing of same-*** unions.
The Diocese of New Westminster became the first diocese in the world
to officially sanction the blessing of same-*** unions when it passed a
motion to that effect in June 2002, defying the Canadian House of
Bishops policy and an international church resolution on the issue.
A 60-per-cent majority of St. Martin's congregation voted in July to
accept an alternative bishop rather than remain under Ingham's
spiritual leadership, but the Diocese of New Westminster refused to
accept the vote.
The Sunday firings of two parish trustees and three wardens (who were
replaced by three wardens who favour same-*** blessings) is the latest
shot in the inter-church conflict.
St. Martin's parishioner Ron Edwards says Ingham's actions are helping
to cement opposition to him.
'He is helping us unify the parish even further." Edwards said. "The
issue has driven a wedge between the people...Our mission should be to
help them [homo***uals] see that [their ***uality is a sin], overcome
that and repent."
Edwards said homo***uality is a sin as serious as murder and the church
should have nothing to do with blessing ***s and *******s who choose to
live a sinful "lifestyle".
"No one would think of blessing a murderer who had no intention of
repenting.', he said. "I don't have a problem with including them as
Christians, just don't ask the church to bless the sin."
Peter Turner, president of Fidelity B.C., a group that promotes the
traditional conception of marriage as that between a man and a woman,
said the firings in North Vancouver come as a shock even as the
international team of church officials arrived in the Lower Mainland
to voice their opposition to the diocese's actions.
"We are extremely disappointed that Bishop Ingham would take this kind
of tactic," Turner said. "It's a bullying tactic...It's almost as if
Bishop Ingham is lashing out at the international community. What
Turner and the international bishops want is for the Diocese of New
Westminster to back down and follow the anti-same-*** blessing lead of
the splinter faction, the Anglican Communion in New Westminster, a
faction they say is supported by the majority of the worldwide Anglican
Communion with approximately 77 million members around the world.
They also want the diocese to accept Bishop Terry Buckle as an
alternative to Ingham. According to Malango, primates (heads and
senior archbishops of Anglican jurisdictions) outside Canada and the
U.S. find it impossible to understand why Ingham is going against the
wishes of Anglicans around the world and why *** minister Gene Robinson
was recently appointed bishop of New Hampshire in the US.
"They want to be on their own," Malango said of the New Westminster
diocese. "They're cutting off themselves...We find it very hard to
understand. We don't even talk about these things [in Africa]. It's
taboo to talk about same-*** blessings."
The Anglican Communion is also not swayed by the Canadian government's
move to legalize same-*** marriages.
"The church and the state are different," said the Most Reverend K.J.
Samuel, moderator of the Anglican Church of South India. "The church is
a spiritual body and should be controlled by the word of God."
Samuel, who along with 37 Anglican primates from around the world,
will take part in a special conference later this fall in London to
discuss the emerging split in the church, said it is a time for bishops
to be bold in finding a solution to the schism between Christian
obedience and changing social standards.
Opponents of same-*** marriage marched on MPs' offices across Canada
on Sunday in a public demonstration of unity against changing the
definition of marriage to include same-*** couples. Organizers had
hoped to draw more than 100,000 people to 200 prayer rallies across the
country, but attendance was low in most cities.
In Windsor, Ont., 300 people bowed their heads to condemn same-***
unions. In Halifax, more than 1,000 people attended, the rally and
signed petitions opposing same-*** unions.
At Calgary MP Jason Kenney's office, more than 350 people added their
names to a petition.
However, journalists outnumbered protesters in front of Justice
Minister Martin Cauchon's Montreal office. And only four people turned
up for the rally at the office of Liberal leadership candidate Paul
Sharon Paterson, Langley chapter leader of the Canadian Family Action
Coalition, said the several hundred people expected to march on MP
Randy White's office after a service at the Christian Life Assembly
church were there to send a message to the government.
"Marriage is a lasting union between a man and a woman. Why should we
change that definition for them [homo***uals];' Paterson said. "If
they're wanting to do that [get married], they should be a man and a
woman.... Why should we have to redefine marriage to suit them?"
Rose Evangelista of the East Vancouver Jesus is Lord Church echoed
Paterson's sentiments before heading to a rally outside Vancouver
South-Burnaby MP Herb Dhaliwal's office.
"We are against same-*** marriage. It's against our faith," she said.
"What we are fighting for is that marriage will be defined as the Bible
Approximately 200 people showed up at the rally and prayed for
parliamentarians to change their mind. Sixty-six-year-old Marlene
Tarnowsky was among them.
Tarnowsky, who showed up at the rally because she missed the protest
prayer in her hometown of Battleford, Saskatchewan, said she had no
problem with *** people joining together in a relationship equal to
marriage, as long as that relationship isn't called marriage.
"I believe strongly in the sanctity of marriage and that marriage is
between a man and a woman and that cannot be changed," she said.
"If they wish to have a union, that's fine, but don't call it a
On the edge of the crowd stood 19-year-old Joan Pham, a lifelong
Catholic who said she is confused at the opposition to the legalization
of same-*** marriage when churches have already been told it will be up
to them to decide whether they wish to perform marriage ceremonies for
"I see so much mobilization here and I really admire that. I wonder why
it hasn't happened in respect to other issues [such as famine]," she
said. "It's hard for me to see why there would be barriers put up
[against same-*** marriage]...It's something I can't understand. It
really has been a test of faith for me."
A public opinion poll by SES-Research indicates that 47 per cent of
Canadians support the proposed law accepting *** marriage, while 44
percent are opposed.