Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Westminster court decision

Updated Friday

The Vancouver Sun reports Anglican diocese retains ownership of four disputed church properties.

The Anglican diocese of the Lower Mainland will be able to retain ownership of four disputed parish properties worth more than $20 million, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled today.

Justice Stephen Kelleher decided against conservative Anglican dissidents who went to court claiming they deserve to have legal control of St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver — one of the largest Anglican congregations in Canada — as well as three other Lower Mainland church properties…

The Diocese of New Westminster issued a press release, and also published the full text of the judgment as a PDF file.

See A Statement from the Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Reasons for Judgment is a PDF of Justice Kelleher’s decision.

The Anglican Network in Canada also isssued a press release, titled BC Supreme Court issues mixed decision in church property dispute.


Bishop Michael Ingham has issued a pastoral letter. It includes this paragraph:

…I intend to invite these congregations to remain in the buildings where they worship and to move forward together with us in the Diocese as one people under God. I intend to appoint new clergy who will respect and continue the worshipping style of the congregations, who will also work cooperatively with me and the Diocese…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 8:34am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Canada

"The clergy and trustees at the four conservative parishes left the 600,000-member Anglican Church of Canada last year and joined a smaller conservative breakaway organization called the anglican Network in Canada, with about 3,500 members." - Vancouver Sun -

And this, I guess, is the reason for their schism which has resulted in the present judgement against them. The big question now is: How is the Province of the Southern Cone, in South America, going to relate the this newly-impoverished Daughter-Church? Will the dissidents now return to their more inclusive Church in Canada? It will be interesting to hear the reaction of their new patron - Archibshop of the Southern Cone.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 9:57am GMT

"In recent years, the ACoC’s governing body has changed church doctrine to the dismay of the global Anglican Communion," says the Anglican Network in Canada.

No it didn't. They don't give up easily, do they?

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 1:36pm GMT

I'm not sure it has anything to do with Southern Cone now, my understanding is that the New Westminster so-called 'dissidents' are under the leadership of Archbishop Duncan.

Posted by: Andrew Carey on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 2:46pm GMT

From the Anglican Network's home page:

The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is a diocese in the Anglican Church in North America and part of the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans which affirms the Jerusalem Declaration. ANiC also remains affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, one of 38 provinces in the global Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 4:27pm GMT

A foot in every door. They will probably try to join the new Ordinariate as well. As the old song said: "I am Protestant and Catholic and Free!"

Posted by: anthony on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 8:18pm GMT

So why has the Anglican network in canada gone along with" doctrinal " changes on divorce, contraception and women?

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 9:49pm GMT

"While many Anglicans around the world disagree with the blessings, the ACC continues to be the only ecclesial body in Canada that is a member of the Anglican Communion (as the Archbishop of Canterbury stated last year in connection with the dispute)." - ACC Defence Statement -

Whatever happens now, the case for the Diocese of New Westminster has this definitive statement to back up it's claim to be the lawful owner of any properties in the parishes which are party to the dispute. A.N.i.C. is NOT part of the Anglican Communion, per se, neither is it's partner-in-schism, the so-called 'Anglican Church in North America' (ACNA).

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 11:19pm GMT

Comments on this thread should be about the Canadian situation, and not about other topics.

I have removed one published comment accordingly.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 8:09am GMT

In compliance with Simon's admonition to keep this focused on the Canadian situation:

The schismatics trumpeting their victory on a couple of minor points while trying to depict the outcome as a tie is rather like the coffee table conversations in Montreal on Monday morning when Alouettes fans try to explain away their loss in the Grey Cup.

Go Riders!

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 3:41pm GMT

It gives me no pleasure to see friends listed among the plaintiffs (hope I got that word right. I don't know how it can ever have come to this.

I always hoped that as more people got to know gay individuals, couples and families we would be accepted as the ordinary folk we are (only one head per person etc). But this litigation has proved me wrong in at least one painful instance.

Yet religon is alone now in justifying a negative view of us gays-- the other professions etc having recently desisted. Or do doctors, teachers etc just disemble until times return more propitious to anti-gay rhetoric and practice ? I've no idea. But that prospect is chilling to me, as I age.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 5:45pm GMT

I am touched by the Bishop's desire to retain those who would not co-operate with him

Posted by: dodgey_viar on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 7:03pm GMT

I find Rev. L. Roberts to be on target. This is EXACTLY why these homophobes and haters who call themselves followers of Christ must be taken on at EVERY curve and fought until justice prevails. It;s time to EXPOSE them! Nothing less will do. Fear must NOT stop us. These "Christian" fundamentalists are NOT our friends. They ONLY wish us harm and we must not act foolish by just sitting back. We too must fight against their violent and hate filled attacks. Yes, we must always try to love our neighbors but we must also NOT let them destroy us!

Posted by: Chris Smith on Saturday, 28 November 2009 at 5:11pm GMT

I feel that perhaps this blog has become dominated by a certain readership which refuses to hear even the potentially legitimate claims of the "schismatics" and "defectors" and their "hate filled attacks." As a former member of St. John's Shaughnessy I must insist that it is important not to lump Canadian dissenting churches with homophobia in Africa, or to make the claim that because these churches draw some support from conservative diocese, that they must ascribe to every homophobic gesture made in those regions. This is a fallacious attack by association; the company you keep does not determine your integrity. Furthermore, it is important to remember the context of the same-sex blessing fiasco in Canada. For me, my primary objection to being incorporated with a diocese like New Westminister was our Bishop's denial of the bodily resurrection of Christ, which he preached from the pulpit of my former church. I feel, as many do in these conservative churches, that no theological claim about human sexuality can be made on the basis of exegesis that also rejects this fundamental tenet of Christianity. For Gay members of this community I stress the significance of this context to a large number of evangelical "anglican" Canadians. I personally feel a deep shame and sadness for comments made by certain members of my "conservative" community which dehumanize homosexuals. I can only beg your gracious forgiveness for this. I also stress that members of my community are not by nature schismatic, that many of us worked for years to try and avoid schism, and that many of us are open to debate about what scripture has to say about human sexuality; but the basis of this debate must begin and end with Christ. What we are seeking most to avoid is having to choose between our Anglicanism, and our commitment to the bodily resurrection of Christ.

Posted by: shaun ross on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 7:58am GMT


I have been puzzled in the past by the seeming equation of support of same-sex marriage with denial of the bodily resurrection of Christ. One of my colleagues came up to me fuming mad over a statement made in New West last Easter to that effect. He then proceeded to paint me with the same stance. I pointed out to him and I will point out to you that the two are not related. I would say that the vast majority of our members of the local Integrity believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. I am aware that not all do but they are in the minority.

From my time spent on blog sites that support same-sex marriage, I would also say that the majority believe in the bodily resurrection. I'm not sure why this idea that support of same-sex marriage and denial of the bodily resurrection go hand in hand continues to persist. To support same-sex marriage in no way compromises believe in the latter. There is no need to have to choose between Anglicanism in the Anglican Church of Canada and the bodily resurrection. Not once have I denied the bodily resurrection nor have I ever been pressured to do so by my colleagues that support same-sex marriage. Quite simply and bluntly - there is no real correlation between the two when one looks at the larger base of support for full inclusion of GLBTs. To equate the two would be similar to me tarring all who do not support full inclusion with the theology of some of the more extreme non-supporters.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Posted by: Ann Marie Nicklin on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 3:29pm GMT

" is important not to lump Canadian dissenting churches with homophobia in Africa, or to make the claim that because these churches draw some support from conservative diocese, that they must ascribe to every homophobic gesture made in those regions. This is a fallacious attack by association; the company you keep does not determine your integrity....I personally feel a deep shame and sadness for comments made by certain members of my "conservative" community which dehumanize homosexuals." - Shaun Ross

I am grateful for the temperate statements by Mr. Ross, but what I fear he does not appreciate is that hate-filled acts by "Christians" or anyone else requires more than shame or sadness as a reaction.

No doubt many Germans felt shame or sadness for what their government was doing in the late 30's and early 40's, and that feeling was undoubtedly true of many outside the Nazi controlled world.

But caring requires more than a feeling; it requires Christians to speak out, to speak love and truth to hate and evil.

And, since some in the evangelical Christian world are cooperating with their allies in Uganda and other radical states in Africa, those in the evangelical world outside Uganda must publicly pronounce their strong dissent, and must be willing to isolate allies in Uganda if that nation goes ahead with their proposed brutality, and they must then publicly divorce themselves from Uganda if they do go ahead with their evil plans.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 5:53pm GMT

Ann Marie,

I in no way wanted to suggest that the two positions, being in favour of same-sex marriage and believing in the resurrection of christ, are mutually exclusive positions. Just that in the case of New Westminister, the basis for the arguments about same-sex blessing have been made with the same kind of assumptions that promote a weak theology of a symbolic Jesus. Thus the reason we should accept gay marriage is presented as "scripture and doctrine as a whole are fundamentally subordinate to how we feel about a certain issue, we feel very strongly about this persecuted and disenfranchised group, therefore we ignore the troubling bits of scripture." This feeling is wholly justified, but it is not, in itself, sufficient to ignore scripture and doctrine. Let me stress, that this is not the only argument for same sex blessings. I have nothing but respect for people who make arguments for same sex blessing based on scripture itself, the gospel message of love, and the significance of certain passages over a small few in a particular socio-historical context. This is a position that even the most conservative Anglican's should respond to. I am also sure that your integrity as a believer is not dependent on your stance on gay issues, and is probably reflected by it. But I can hear your position on these issues respectfully, prayerfully and with deference because of the starting place of Christ's centrality in the gospel message of love. When a bishop like Michael Ingham, who is suppossed to represent the church, steps outside of his authority and prior to sanction from the province, to make social changes, he must do so as a representative of Christ. In the case of New Westminister, this was not true. This is not a statement about the wider community of support for GLBTQ Christians. Thanks for your graceful response.

Posted by: Shaun on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 8:16pm GMT

Surely, same sex relationships and marriage bear witness to the Resurrection of the Body and the Life of the age to Come.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 9:46pm GMT

"the company you keep does not determine your integrity." - Shaun Ross, on Tuesday -

Precisely, Shaun - in that those who support the LGBT cause do not necessarily, nor even generally, deny the physical Resuurrection of Jesus.

This is an esoteric theological matter which is determined by 'faith alone'. Arguments about the Resurrection phenomenon have been in vogue since the beginning of the Church, but one's Baptismal Covenant still requires assent to 'Resurrection of Christ from the Dead' - whatever one's understanding of this may be. It should not, however prevent one from affirming the validity of the LGBT cause within the Church.

Lots of Anglicans have different ideas about the 'physical' nature of Christ's Resurrection. However, that should not prevent us from our own interpretation of what 'Resurrection' meant. For us to have to be identical in our understanding of signs and miracle in the Scriptures would indicate our unwillingness to accept that God's ways are not necessarily our ways, nor God's thoughts, our thoughts. We'll all get a better understnading one day, when the Resurrection will mean something in common for all of us.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 at 10:03pm GMT
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