Dear Bishop-Elect Lynne McNaughton

I am saddened that the Anglican Church has missed an opportunity to support faithful witness in this matter and instead is supporting the 'party line' of the United Church Head Office.

Your communique simply repeated the stonewalling that concerned United Church congregations have received from the head office, 
The various empty claims include: 
1.) "This decision does not change United Church of Canada Doctrine in any way."   
As I am sure you are aware, the doctrine and polity of the United Church is only as good as the willingness of those in power to follow them. The Toronto Conference Decision effectively redefines ordination by ignoring doctrine and polity. Gretta Vosper did not pass the test of suitability for ministry when examined by Toronto Conference's own Interview board. It is questionable whether she even qualifies to be a member of the United Church in good standing. There is no need to change policy or doctrine when you can just ignore it with impunity.
2.) "This decision does not set a precedent"
None of us have any idea what this decision is, as it is wrapped in a nondisclosure agreement. but it is the contention of General Council Executive that the non-diclosure agreement by its very nature can not be changed or challenged. So only two things are clear: a) It is now possible to remain an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada without holding any of its doctrines, denying the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and without practicing any of its sacraments. b) any decision which results in violation of the doctrine or policy of the United Church can be made inviolate by wrapping it in a non disclosure agreement. These are unusual precedents, but precedents they are. 
3)"This decision was taken by a regional council, not by the National Church"
It is true that the oversight of ordination is exercised at a regional level, This normally functions through trust that each regional council will do their job, faithfully implementing the same standards nationwide. When this trust is broken, there are appeal processes which can be launched. The National Office has been asked to take whatever steps are possible to ensure that the meaning of ordination is upheld, but thus far it has been deaf to all appeals, merely advising individual congregations to write to other bodies, such as the new Office of Vocation and the new Shining Waters Regional Council. Each of thses bodies has already taken decisions not to act on this issue. 
It could be hoped that our ecumenical partners would come to the aid of our church by signalling the importance of maintaining meaningful standards for ordination .
I would hope that as a denomination you would reconsider your position on this issue, and urge the National Office United Church protect its ecumenical relationships by making every effort to uphold the doctrines, ordination standards and sacremental practices which allow us to continue in ecumenical partnerships, 
Rev. Brian Wilkie
St Andrew's Church, Rockland
P.O. Box 509
739 St. Jean St. Rockland, 
K4K 1K6
brian@rocklandchurch .ca

I started the day today in a familiar place of discouragement and depression, and when I say, "Started," I mean I wasn't out of bed yet, and was trying to talk myself into getting up. Maybe you've been there.

Anyhow, I got up and opened the curtains, and sat down in front of the bright winter sun, and started praying. My prayers went in a slightly unusual direction, which proved to be a very good thing.

Psalm 24 (NIV84)
Of David. A psalm.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory.

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world and I, who live in it; for he founded us, and established me, my body, to be his temple. Jesus may ascend this hill of the LORD, Jesus Christ may stand in this holy place. My Saviour has clean hands, My Lord has a pure heart. He does not lift up his soul to any idol. He has received a blessing from the LORD, and vindication from God His Saviour. He is the generation/origin/nature of those who seek him, who seek Christ’s face, the God of Israel.

Lift up, O my head, be lifted up, O my gates -
O my ancient doors - that the King of glory may come in!
Who is this King of glory - Jesus strong and mighty; Jesus Christ mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O my gates; lift them up, my ancient doors that the King of Glory may come into his home, his city, his temple.
Who is he, this King of Glory? The Lord Jesus, Almighty God, He is the King of Glory.

Psalm 24, of course, invites someone to ascend the hill into the temple in Jerusalem and can certainly remind us that we are called to purity and faithfulness as we approach God, the LORD. It is impossible for us to be the one with clean hands, and pure devotion. Who then can enter the temple in Jerusalem, which besides this problem also has been destroyed?

Yet we are his temple built and rebuilt to be his dwelling place. Jesus is already uniquely qualified to enter this, his Holy Place. Therefore, open your heart to Him open your mind to Him, Let down your guard to Him, who alone is pure and trustworthy. He enters this city/temple as the King of glory, the LORD Almighty, strong and mighty, mighty in battle. With your gates open to Him the city is finally secure! For the King of Glory is able to protect and defend all that you entrust to him.

 Lord Jesus, occupy me as your temple. Let my life shine with your Glory. Be my rock and my fortress, my sure defence. Enter in and restore me to purity, faithfulness and love. I mean it, Lord!


A quick Lenten commentary on the four Gospels, chapter by chapter.

New 2-3 chapters will be published each day through Lent 2020.