Thursday, 25 April 2013

A New Day (Updated)

A group of us have officially left our Anglican Church of Canada parish to form a new congregation (now - "Christ the King") in the Anglican Network in Canada, a more theologically orthodox denomination but still within the Anglican Communion.

Many such church splits across Canada have been marked by bitterness and anger on both sides - even spitefulness by some, but that has not been the case here, I don't believe. At least not to as great an extent as in some cases. We even had a service of leaving and blessing for the benefit of both those departing and those staying. I will say it again that St Paul's Edmonton has been the most wonderful Christian community I have ever known, and what has happened to tear it apart is both painful and disgraceful.

Yes, there has been anger. On my part it was not toward our leaders, or those who decided to remain, but toward those who were responsible for promoting and passing the motion allowing the Bishop to bless same-sex unions at last fall's Synod. That is what destroyed our church, not those within it who held differing opinions. But pass it did, and those responsible knew it would cause a split, but they did it anyway. That is what angered me - the deliberateness of it all.

But the time for anger is past. It is time to move on, each gracefully going his own way. My only hope is that each of those who stayed did so out of genuinely held convictions of faith, not for reasons of convenience or personal attachments to either people, buildings or institutions. I believe those who left did indeed do so because we were sure we were following God's call to stand firm in our faith.

The one thing a genuine Christian should never be heard to say is, "I know I should (or shouldn't) but..." That indicates a compromise of one's faith, and our very faith has been built on the shoulders of those who did not compromise in the face of attack or opposition.

Take Care

2 comments:

Nicky said...

My prayers are with you and your friends on both sides of this division; my church recently split, although for far less vital reasons, and I am familiar with the anguish...and with the determination to move forward where we believe God is calling us. Blessings be upon you, John.

Drastic Plastic said...

That is the best way to go, I agree.

The strange thing is that, even from a worldly point of view, the lawsuits and threats and so on are stupid, even from the secular point of view. Most church disputes burn themselves out. If you just let people do what they want to do, a lot of these things run out of steam. So long as you haven't burned bridges, your wayward sheep will come straggling back.

Unless, of course, you stole their money, sold their building, evicted their priest, screamed abuse at them and threatened their vestry with prison. In that case, funnily enough, the divide tends to persist. I seem to recall the splits from the 1660's are still going strong, even now.

God bless you all.