The Prayer Book Society of Canada is planning a September special meeting to discuss its future direction in the wake of losing the services of its national director.
Earlier this year, the society terminated the services of Graham Eglington, who was national director for nine years and the society’s only paid staff member.
Ted Siemens, the society’s national chairman, told the Anglican Journal the elimination of Mr. Graham’s job was for financial reasons. He said there has been talk of appointing an interim director. “We could not afford someone with Graham’s capabilities and provide that kind of a budget to undertake activities,” Mr. Siemens said.
In a news release, the society said that under Mr. Eglington’s leadership it had grown to be the largest nationally governed lay organization in the Anglican Church of Canada, with an international profile. It has about 10,000 members.
Mr. Eglington did not return a call from the Journal.
Mr. Siemens told the Journal he was sorry to see Mr. Eglington go. “He is an extremely clear visionary who understands the problems and with his legalistic mind has been able to establish a lot of directions in the past ? The rank and file may not always necessarily understand and appreciate that to the degree that others would.”
Mr. Siemens said the loss of the national director should not be interpreted as a slacking off in the society’s thrust and activities.
Founded in 1985, the PBS seeks to “ensure the retention of the doctrine and worship of the Book of Common Prayer as required by the Solemn Declaration of 1893, the founding document of the autonomous Anglican Church of Canada.” Mr. Siemens said the society wants to engage the church in dialogue as to “who and what the church is.” He said ecumenism and a movement towards “conforming to the secular world” are costing the Anglican Church its identity with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.
He said church teachings and the 39 Articles of Faith are not necessarily taken into account when legislative or canonical changes are made. He said, “Look at the history of the ’88 and ’98 Lambeth Conferences and you will see the positions taken as a Canadian church as opposed to the worldwide Anglican Church.”
Mr. Siemens said there was a clear message from last year’s Lambeth Conference that bodes well for the society. “Three quarters of the Anglican Communion has certainly the same perspective as we (in the society) have,” he said. Mike McAteer is a freelance writer and former religion editor of the Toronto Star.