Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another dissident congregation leaves the Anglican Church of Canada

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. II Corinthians 6:17

Another example of those who've finally had enough from an apostate church. And once again, a building that was built and paid for by Bible-believers is stolen by liberals.

As reported by Kelly Patterson in the National Post on June 27, 2011:

It was a historic moment in Ottawa as a subdued crowd of about 300 filed out of St. Alban’s Anglican Church on King Edward Avenue on Sunday, leaving behind a place where some have roots going back to Confederation.

Founded in 1865, the church where Sir John A. Macdonald worshipped has been in the spotlight ever since a showdown over same-sex marriage and other issues led the congregation of St. Alban’s to leave the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, and, after a bitter battle, the building they have called home for 146 years.

“This is kind of historic. We’re in a new era,” said Sheila Lang, 79, as her grandchildren — the seventh generation of her family to attend the church — played in the reception hall of the Ottawa Little Theatre, where the congregation, now called the Church of the Messiah, will meet until it finds a permanent home. Meanwhile, the diocese will establish a new congregation at St. Alban’s, with a relaunch planned for Friday.

The move is historic in a broader sense, Ms. Lang added: “This is a societal shift,” in which traditional Christian values are “eroding and we see the church trying to accommodate the eroding values.

“But we are not deviating…. We stand on the Bible and the Word of God.”

Reverend George Sinclair urged the congregation not to dwell on grief over losing St. Alban’s, but instead to embrace the change as an opportunity for renewal.

“We are entering a time of new dreams and new visions,” he said on the stage of the theatre, flanked by reproductions of three stained-glass windows Macdonald’s wife donated to St. Alban’s after his death. “A church that just has the building, but does not have the dreams and visions that come from God, is on its way to dying,” he warned...

...In an interview after the service, Rev. Sinclair said the move was “an issue of conscience, and for us. Conscience trumps buildings.”

The immediate catalyst for the church’s break with the diocese was the latter’s 2007 decision to allow the blessing of same-sex marriages. But Rev. Sinclair added that his church was also responding to a general sense that the Anglican Church of Canada has been drifting away from Jesus’s teachings.

“If you end up thinking you’re smarter and nicer and wiser than the master, in what way are you still his disciple? The Bible is very clear on certain things, as to what is right or wrong,” he said.

A few months after the diocese gave same-sex marriage the green light, his congregation voted almost unanimously to leave the diocese and the national Anglican body, realigning instead with a breakaway organization called the Anglican Network in Canada. In October 2008, St. George’s Anglican Church on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa followed suit.

Rev. Sinclair said he had hoped to negotiate an amicable settlement, but in May 2010, the diocese filed a lawsuit against the rectors and wardens of both churches for the buildings and property.

“Legally, canonically and morally we believe that we own St. Alban’s,” Rev. Sinclair said, but faced with a time-consuming and expensive legal ordeal, he and the rector of St. George’s opted for mediation, under which his church got cash in return for vacating the building. (St. George’s kept their building, but it is now called St. Peter and St. Paul’s Anglican Church.)

Rev. Sinclair is glad the church has found a temporary home in the urban core, where it can pursue its mission to help the most needy, but concedes that it will be a challenge to find venues for the church’s many activities. For the time being, the church will use community centres and borrowed church halls for events such as potluck dinners, choir practices and youth groups.

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