Friday, 15 February 2008

Canadian warnings and departures

First, the Bishop of British Columbia (that’s the diocese next door to New Westminster), James Cowan issued this letter (PDF file) to his diocese on 30 January:

Then, Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster wrote a letter to his diocese on 6 February.

The Anglican Journal reported all this as West Coast bishops warn parishes against separation on 12 February.

The next day, the Primate of the Canadian Church, Archbishop Fred Hiltz also issued a letter, reported also here):

…“I am very concerned that there are a few parishes that may be considering a motion to withdraw from the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada, and to place themselves under the jurisdiction of another Province of the Anglican Communion,” he wrote, urging reconsideration.

“It is not necessary for any parish to consider such action. The House of Bishops has designed a model for Shared Episcopal Ministry. This model enables a diocesan Bishop to share his or her Episcopal oversight with another Bishop for parishes finding themselves in conscientious disagreement with the Bishop and Synod over the matter of the blessing of same sex unions.

“With this provision in place there is no need for pastoral interventions by bishops from jurisdictions outside of the Anglican Church of Canada. Such interventions in fact are inappropriate. Indeed the Archbishop of Canterbury in a recent letter to me said he cannot “support or sanction” such actions.

Nevertheless on that same day, members of the parish of St John’s Shaughnessy did just that. The diocese reported it this way: Diocese regrets decision of people to leave Anglican Church of Canada

Results from the Vestry meeting of St. John’s Shaughnessy on February 13 indicate that members of that parish plan to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.

The parish congregation voted to request that Donald Harvey, a retired bishop who left the Anglican Church of Canada in November, give it episcopal oversight, as a bishop in a South American Anglican Church. Harvey’s jurisdiction is not recognized by the Canadian Church or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dean Peter Elliott, speaking for the Diocese while Bishop Michael Ingham is out of the country, said: “We regret the decision of any person to leave our Church.”

Read the whole report here.

Press reports:
Anglican Journal Vancouver church votes to leave Canadian church
Reuters Anglican church split over gays widens in Canada
Toronto Globe & Mail Anglican church seeks oversight from bishop in South America
Vancouver Sun Anglicans vote to split over same-sex blessings

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 3:24pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Canada
Comments

Just a small factual correction - Jim Cowan is the Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia on Vancouver Island. There's no Diocese of Vancouver in Canada.

Posted by: Ellen on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 4:43pm GMT

+Michael Bird, Coadjutor Bishop of Niagara, wrote a similar letter, read in all churches on Feb. 10.

http://www.niagara.anglican.ca/docs/2008/pastoral2.pdf

Posted by: Aaron Orear on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 4:58pm GMT

Thanks Ellen, sorry, error now fixed.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 6:44pm GMT

it's confusing but a little episcopal geography

James Cowan is Bishop of British Columbia, which comprises the parishes of Vancouver Island, the large island off the south coast of British Columbia.

Michael Ingham is Bishop of New Westminster, which comprises the parishes in the southwest corner of the British Columbia mainland. Vancouver is the largest city (and the site of the diocesan cathedral) in British Columbia. The diocese includes New Westminster, which was the original diocesan seat.

Posted by: Paul Bunnell on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 6:47pm GMT

This may be a non-starter.

Most provinces have provincial laws (called "Church Temporalty Acts") in place which prohibit the buying, sale or transfer of parish property without the Bishop's permission. The law tends to be much clearer in Canada than in the U.S., which is why most conservatives have just left and started over.

Posted by: toujoursdan on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 7:32pm GMT

My best wishes to the bishops of The Great White North ("that cold but happy land" as it was called by Sojourner Truth). This is unfortunate, but at least they have no diocesan bishops who are betraying their ordination oaths by abandoning the church, as is the case in the USA.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 8:30pm GMT

What I find particularly humorous (in the comments of one of the schismatic parishioners in the Vancouver Sun) that they are holding the property in trust for "Global Anglicanism". Given that the Southern Cone is not attending Lambeth, I think the Anglican Church of Canada is much more compliant with the Solemn Declaration than is Bishop Harvey.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 9:08pm GMT

Michael Bird was a classmate of mine. Always a very mild-mannered fellow, he likely seemed the least ambitious for a pointy hat. It is therefore rather appropriate that he should be (so far) the only one of us to have gotten one.

Jim Cowan was the priest at the parish down the street from my house as I began my journey to Anglicanism. He was a leading priest of our diocese in the early days of my ministry. Before I knew him, he was, according to some reports, an irreconcilable conservative on the ordination of women. By the time I knew him, he had come around.

I've read their pastoral letters.

Today, I am particularly proud to have known them both.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 11:28pm GMT

The Diocese of New Westminster was founded in the 1870s by "The Diocese of New Westminster Act" - this is an Act of the Legislature of the Province of British Columbia. All parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster, (whether incorporated or not), are governed by this Act, and the regulations of that act (The Canons of the Diocese).

In those Canons, it clearly states, that property cannot be sold or leased without the express permission of the Bishop and Executive Council of the diocese. As the parishes are trying to "remove" themselves from the jurisdiction of the Bishop - this is tantamount to selling/giving the property to the "Province of the Southern Cone".

This, I cannot see, how they expect to be able to take their property, as there is no way that the Bishop and Executive Council will approve it.

Posted by: Charles Nurse on Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 5:51am GMT

Readers of this blog may be interested in the Videos that the Diocese of New Westminster put together to make their case, regarding the parishes that are voting this Vestry season on whether to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.

See http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/News/tabid/27/ctl/ViewArticle/ArticleId/625/mid/486/Default.aspx for the story and Videos.

Or http://www.youtube.com/user/diocnw for the Diocese's YouTube channel.

Posted by: Charles Nurse on Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 6:03am GMT
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