An open letter to Bishop of Ottawa John Chapman

by Tony Copple
5 August 2007

Dear Bishop Chapman

So, many of the Anglican churches around Ottawa may be closed - Ref Ottawa Citizen article 3 August 2007

I have a plan for one of them.

Please may I buy one from you. In it I will run church services that will seem similar to the services being run in the other Anglican churches. We will respect the liturgy and beliefs of the Anglican Church, and maintain all traditional values and sacraments. But there will be differences from the Anglican Church of Canada as it has become.

I would seek episcopal oversight from a bishop, preferably Canadian, who supported our aims. I would engage a (retired) priest who supported our vision. This would enable us to partake of communion and other sacraments.

The first priority of this church will be to convert people to Christianity. This includes atheists and agnostics, and it also includes people who have being sitting in pews for years but have never asked Jesus to come into their hearts and rule there. I would reach out to the neighbourhood where there are hundreds of people that we love. I will certainly use the Alpha Course as my main tool for this crucial work. However, our church would teach members of the congregation the skills to make new Christians from all of those they meet in the regular course of their lives.

The reason this is the first priority is that the ultimate aim of the church will be to show people how to find eternal life and not end up in hell. Yes, we will remind people that hell is a very real place, both before and after we die, and not to go there is a truly significant incentive for the kind of lives our people would lead.

The church would attract preachers who would explain that there is only one way to achieve eternal life, through the atoning blood of Jesus. Any suggestion that religions could provide alternatives would be firmly countered. Although our church would respect some of the beliefs of religions where they did not conflict with Christianity, we would never fail to try and show their followers the true faith. Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy of life. It is the true story of God’s creation, of His allowing us free will, and then the supreme sacrifice of His only son’s life in reparation for the sins that we continually commit with that free will.

In regard to sexuality our church would encourage marriage only between a man and a woman, and we would also acknowledge the purity of the single life. Such are embedded in church doctrine, and should not be tampered with or downgraded to adiaphora (“things that do not make a difference”). We would welcome homosexuals to our service but would not bless their unions or perform “marriage” ceremonies. Neither would a practising homosexual be considered for any leadership position in the church.

We would remind the congregation regularly of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) as an encouragement to them to walk the walk and talk the talk of true faith. And we would encourage all members of the congregation in all matters that they are engaged in, secular and Christian, on a continual basis.

All members would be strongly encouraged to tithe.

Such a church would soon grow and become self supporting.

Now there is a problem. Before we grow to be a large titheing congregation we could not afford to buy a church from you. You would presumably be interested in selling to anyone who had the money. So this is where miraculous powers are called for.

I believe God wants this to happen, and that He will provide.


- Tony Copple

Bishop Chapman was interviewed on CBC Radio, 7 August, on local church closures -