by Tony Copple
22 May 2006

There is a telling sentence in Bishop Peter Coffin’s 3 May 2006 pastoral letter to Ottawa Diocese clergy: “My brother bishop spoke most highly of her”. Bishop Coffin refers to the Bishop of Massachusetts, Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm. From a newspaper headline in 2003: “Two Episcopal Bishops of Mass. Violate Vows on Front Page of Boston Globe as They Rebuke Catholic Church and Glorify Homosexuality.” Ref.

In December 2005, Bishop Coffin granted permission to function, as a priest in the Diocese of Ottawa, to the Rev. Linda Fisher-Privitera, who had recently moved to the area with her lesbian partner, married under same-sex marriage laws in the Diocese of Massachusetts, where she was an outspoken advocate of gay and lesbian causes. Ref 1. Ref 2. The Rev. Linda Fisher-Privitera joined the ministry team at St. John the Evangelist, Elgin Street. When this change in diocesan policy became known in January 2006, the Ven. Désirée Stedman resigned as Archdeacon of Ottawa Centre, where the parish of St. John the Evangelist is situated.

Another telling sentence, in Jennifer Green’s comprehensive piece “Torn asunder” in the 20 May 2006 Ottawa Citizen, quotes Linda Fisher-Privitera (she who was spoken highly of by Bishop Bud) as feeling: “Canada seemed to be welcoming to gays; after all, the federal government had just made same-sex marriage legal.”

Both Bishop Coffin and Linda Privitera were strangely naive in matters that have now started to dominate both their lives. Did he not know that Massachusetts has the distinction of being the most liberal / progressive of US states in the gay revolution? Did Linda not know that Ottawa Diocese includes the church of St. Alban the Martyr, a leading advocate of biblical orthodoxy. Jennifer Green rightly states “The Bible has nothing good to say anywhere about same-sex relationships.

The on-line version of Jennifer Green’s piece is differently titled: “Same-sex ceasefire ends for Anglican Church. Ottawa at centre of possible international schism.” While Ottawa is thus labeled by the Anglican world, you would never know it as a parishioner in most churches here.

Yesterday I attended my Anglican Church in Ottawa. There was nothing from the pulpit about the bombshell piece in the Citizen the previous day, and there was no indication that parishioners felt it relevant to them. It was just business as usual. I felt like screaming out to them “Don’t you know you are being torn asunder!” In a later survey of a few congregation members that I made by telephone, I found that people had seen the article but had not felt that it was of any real importance to them.

There is a connection between the Bishop’s independent initiative to invite the gay priest, the gay priest’s ignorance of the cauldron she was climbing into in a foreign country, and the lack of interest of most congregations in these matters of international and eternal significance. I liken it to the situation with global warming. In the not too distant future, we are told the changes in ocean temperatures that are already detectable will precipitate tidal waves and rising sea water levels that could devastate coastal regions and accelerate the demise of species. The signs are there but few are doing anything about it or even taking much notice. It is also reminiscent of the “emperor has no clothes.”

The changes in our beloved church have the potential for far greater danger even than global warming. Particularly concerned are those genuinely seeking the Kingdom of Heaven and grieving that many friends have not yet even embraced Jesus as saviour, and may be looking in the wrong places for him. Even worse is the potential fate of those leaders who are seeming to preach a new gospel which sets store by the enjoyment of pleasure and the subjugation of the word of God when their so sophisticated modern lives suggest the Bible is outdated. For decades now we have allowed the watering down of our faith in order to make it easier to believe for those who can’t accept the supernatural basis for everything we believe in. They (influenced by the Jesus Seminar) have in effect invented a new religion after their own hearts that reflects current society. All around us the bastions of faith are crumbling as we fail to teach our children the truth. The homosexual issue is just one aspect of this; the direct result of the gay revolution that has infiltrated our schools, the media and the entertainment industry with devilish cunning.

But there is a way out of this. Where the clouds are darkest, the shaft of light shines brightest. There are many men and women of God who are risking livelihoods in the service of Christ rather than submit to these new leaders. In Ottawa, one group of concerned Christians formed the Anglican Gathering of Ottawa. Similar groups are springing up wherever the official church is derailing itself. If you would identify with those who believe the gospel still works, seek them out and join them. They are making plans for the future. And it is a bright future in our Lord, who has planned it all for his glory. But please, don’t expect things to get better while you sit on your ass and hope for the best. Educate yourself. The Internet is essential for that. There is no longer any excuse for naiveté or ignorance for Christians, and certainly not in Ottawa now that Jennifer Green sounded the alarm.

Torn Asunder by Jennifer Green, Ottawa Citizen
Anglican Gathering of Ottawa
Same-sex Blessings

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