As God liveth, who hath taken away my right; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; Job 27:2
I went out tonight expecting a gentle evening. A good friend, and fellow occupier, told me that Occupy Faith was having an event at the Anglican Church Of The Holy Trinity. So, I hopped onto a bus, threw-in a token and was off on my way…
I arrived to the outside of the church to find a number of friendly Occupiers who gave me warm OccuHugs. Also standing outside was Lee Ann McKenna, a woman who I met at the May Day event. She went running inside to talk to the Anglican priest as soon as I got near the door.
On paper, Lee Ann seems like a rather honourable person. She’s the director of The Gathering Of Baptists, a specialist in conflict resolution, Winner of the 2010 Toronto YMCA Peace Medallion, a Tar Sands Protester, and one of the Occupy Chaplains who was arrested on May 1st.
I first met Lee Ann on May 1st, in front of City Hall. It was a few minutes after I filed a police report about being assaulted by Dave Vasey & Octavian Cadabeschi. I was standing peacefully, filming the day’s activities when both Dave and Lee Ann swooped-in and tried to block my camera. It was a rather juvenile move- particularly considering there were at least a dozen other people (and three TV networks) filming the same event.
As usual, Dave made accusations against me, and refused to qualify any of them. But, I’m used to that, so it didn’t really phase me. But, I was shocked that Lee Ann, someone who I had never met was also so negative towards me- what did Dave say to her? I also asked Dave about the poor soul whose 13 year old brother Dave harassed on Facebook– rather than answer to that he finally walked away.
Oh, and just to make it clear Dave NOBODY has been asked to leave Occupy Vancouver. And, you know as well as I do that my being ‘banned’ from Occupy Toronto only passed because I was physically barred access (and assaulted) from a General Assembly by Judy Rebick’s brutish thug Alex Hundert!
There’s something seriously wrong with this picture…
Anyhow, back to today’s story. So I went into the church and saw Lee Ann talking with a couple of women. About a minute later, the two other women approached me. Here’s the video:
The woman on the left is Rev. Alexa Gilmour of Windemere United Church– one of the Occupy Toronto Chaplains. The woman on the right is Maggie Helwig, an Anglican priest who works at Holy Trinity. It was a bizarre experience to have two women of god (both who I have never met) come forward and ask me to leave a church! They both left and got into a conversation with Sakura Saunders, and a couple of other people.
It Turns out that Maggie is quite an interesting person. She is an Activist priest, and a well-published author. She’s also the daughter of Order of Canada winner, and former Poet Laureate David Helwig. I guess I should have felt honoured to have the attention of such a distinguished woman! That said, my stomach was turning to see myself being bullied by a complete stranger. What did Lee Ann McKenna say to her?
So, for the first time in my life as an activist, I was ready to be carried-away and arrested by the police! I knew I was doing the right thing, and that the majority of the 99% would approve- because, if my own family’s church is going to behave this way, the world needs to know! I told some of my fellow occupiers and they told me it was good I was standing my ground.
I quietly sat down on one of the chairs. More occupiers came into the church, and I received some more hugs, handshakes and warm greetings. I love my fellow occupiers! (Even the ones who are so nasty to me, they can’t help themselves and I love them regardless.)
Then, the meeting began- and was I ever shocked at what came next! Have a look at the video. (sorry for the poor sound quality, church acoustics are not conducive to recording):
Wow! Rev. Alexa Gilmour actually started the meeting by attacking me! She told people that I am an unsafe person who makes others uncomfortable, and then spoke out my name and pointed directly at me. I felt like I was in some weird church movie, Never in my life could I had imagined such a thing would have happened!
Sakura Saunders posting on the Occupy/Decolonize TorontoFacebook pageThat said, never in my life would I imagine that an Anglican priest would throw any out of a church based on unstated allegations! I never expected this sort of discrimination from any place of worship to be honest. I’ve been to churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues in at least 50 countries and this is a first!
I was particularly shocked after having read this church’s mission:
The Church of the Holy Trinity is a community of people who seek to express Christian faith through lives of integrity, justice and compassion. We foster lay leadership, include the doubter and the marginalized, and challenge oppression wherever it may be found.
Both of my grandparent’s are resting at an Anglican church in Victoria, BC. The vicar of this church was the chaplain at my Sea Cadets detachment. And, I have never had a single negative incident with the church.
Holy Trinity Church in Victoria, BC where my grandparents are restingAs for Occupy, my only sin is my writing. That is, if one considers writing to be a sin. Everything I’ve written has been backed with well-researched facts- and, whenever someone has pointed out a mistake, I have quickly made a correction. That said, my politics are somewhat different from many of my detractors– one key difference is that I am not a far-left member of the International Socialists.
There is another important, and highly-relevant, difference in my politics. It is that I don’t buy into the whole decolonize issue. That said, decolonization is a direct attack on the sovereignty of the Queen. I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue in an Anglican church- quite the opposite really.
If you look at the previous video though, you will see that Sakura Saunders was standing beside Alexa Gilmour. Sakura, and all of the people at OT who have been working so hard to attack me, are strong supporters of the Decolonize movement.
Sanctuary is not what this church was offering…So, in essence, Maggie Helwig tried to discriminate against and eject an Anglican Englishman based on lies told to her by someone who is working towards the goal of ending Her Majesty’s sovereignty over Canada. Wow, can you see how scandalous this situation is? Honestly, just thinking about it leaves me breathless!
And, regardless of the politics, what sort of priest asks someone who hasn’t caused any disruption to leave a church on behalf of ‘safe space’ politics? Never in my wildest imagination could I have imagined this sort of discrimination could happen!
Archbishop Fred HiltzTomorrow I will be writing a, very detailed, letter to The Primate of the Canadian church, Archbishop Fred Hiltz. Copies of this letter will be sent to The Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams, a man I have deep respect for) and also to Canada’s Governor General David Johnston. My letter will explain the situation that happened today, and the events that led up to it. I will then ask for his assistance in mediating this whole mess and solving the problem for once and for all.
As I’ve previously written, the people who have hijacked Occupy Toronto and hijacked Occupy Vancouver are in the process of, amongst other things, trying to create a native uprising and overthrow the Queen. This whole situation has gone too far already, and I’ve met very few members of the Canadian 99% who agree with this. It is time that this silliness is stopped…