Back in 2010 a story broke loose about an Anglican vicar in Canada. The story made it all the way to the BBC.
Reverend Marguerite Rea of St Peter’s Anglican Church, in Toronto, received complaints from Christians all over Canada after she fed communion bread to a German Shepherd cross named Trapper.
Area Bishop Patrick Yu said the priest had contravened church policy with her "strange and shocking" actions.
Ms. Rea said it had been a "simple church act of reaching out" to a new congregation member and his pet. …
Sadly, one writer in the religious news field made the following statement recently:
It seems that strange and dramatic events of this kind happen year after year in the global Anglican Communion — truly one of God’s gifts to headline writers.
Recently the Presiding Bishop of USA Episcopalians, The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, made the following comments with regards to the continually declining numbers of the The Episcopal Church:
The challenges that both our churches have experienced around issues of inclusion of all human beings in recent years have reminded us that God is always at work — on us, within us, and among us. … Some have judged our smaller numbers as faithlessness but it may actually be the Spirit’s way of pruning for greater fruitfulness.
In other words, the changing doctrine and practice of First World Anglicanism has nothing to do with the declining numbers. Or, to put it another way, Bishop Jefferts-Schori is claiming that they do have to do with the declining numbers, but not for a human reason, but for a spiritual reason. Supposedly, what we are seeing is God Himself pruning Anglicanism so that it may emerge even more ready to proclaim the true Word of God, the reformed Word of God. She sees Christianity as entering a new Reformation, and that this type of reformation movement takes place every 500 years.
We live in an age that Phyllis Tickle has called an ecclesiastical garage sale – the next in the 500-year cycle of churchwide reforms. Martin Luther started the last one. The major shifts of focus of these periodic seismic events are profoundly unsettling to many people, but they seem to be necessary to God’s mission.
Needless to say, the struggle for inclusion is considered by her to be part of God’s work and that people are responding just as they always respond to prophets, by shunning them and walking away from them. The implication is that someday, of course, we will all know better and look back on this reformation in the same positive way that we look back at the reformation 500 years ago.
Sadly, of the two stories I think that the dog story may have been the more positive one. It is sad to see the venerable Anglican Communion so slowly undoing itself while trying to convince itself that it is heading toward a bright future of God’s approval and the Spirit’s empowerment.