Comments: parishes appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

Of course David Short , the Rector ( Sydney trained) will not be losing out, but there are always wealthy professional mugs in his congregation to keep the lawyers singing, " What a friend we have in jesus. "

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 13 December 2010 at 5:50pm GMT

There seems to be some debate, notably on the "Essentials" website, as to who started this litigation, with each side accusing the other. From the other side of the Pacific Ocean, here in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is a bit hard to know the facts.

My understanding is this; can someone correct me if I am mistaken?

After much discussion and debate in the Diocese of New Westminster about the blessing of same-sex unions, the Diocesan Synod and Bishop Ingham affirmed that such blessings might take place in particular situations. In response, the leadership of the four parishes signified their intention of breaking their links with the diocese, and joining a new grouping, the Anglican Network in Canada.

Bishop Ingham responded by removing the clergy concerned, and appointing new trustees for the property of the four parishes, who then took him to court to claim ownership of the buildings and property.

If I am right in this summary of facts, then indeed the parishes "started it".

And if I further understand correctly, the courts have consistently ruled that the property remains in the ownership of the diocese, except for a particular legacy that can be claimed by the congregation concerned (and can presumably be used to fund the ongoing legal struggle). Of course the courts made that ruling - they could do no other.

Rev Edward Prebble
Auckland, New Zealand

Posted by Edward Prebble at Monday, 13 December 2010 at 7:26pm GMT

This is actually an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The right to appeal is not automatic. The SCC may or may not grant leave.

Posted by Copyhold at Monday, 13 December 2010 at 9:15pm GMT

Edward Prebble and Copyhold are both correct.

Posted by Alan T Perry at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 1:53am GMT

You've got the give these dissidents marks for their determination - to take the family silver, even though it was they who left the marriage Chutzpah!I wonder who's funding the ongoing litigation?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 1:58am GMT

Isn't this but another example of dishonesty? The "Anglican Network of Canada" wants property that clearly does NOT belong to them. Isn't this also called outright THEFT? If this is the case, is it not a shameful and hostile act? Is this really nothing more than a play by Fundamentalist far right elements to deplete funds of the Anglican Church of Canada? It is too bad that the so called "Anglican Network of Canada" does not bear the costs of these frivolous lawsuits. Is this so called "Network" recognized by the Anglican Communion as a fully authorized member and if not, why do they even have what is called in America "standing" to even bring such a costly lawsuit?

Posted by Chris Smith at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 2:35am GMT

Mr. Prebble is correct, except for one fact. The Bishop did not remove the clergy in these parishes. They resigned their orders in the Anglican Church of Canada, and accepted licenses from the Primate of the Southern Cone. Then they refused to leave the buildings.

Posted by Canada Anglican at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 9:52am GMT

...what a terrible witness to the world........

Posted by ettu at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 12:18pm GMT

Canada, welcome to the wonderful world of thieving Christians. We all do wonder where the money comes from - Jim Naughton's Follow the Money articles laid it out pretty clearly for the US. Time for an enterprising Canadian counterpart to do the same: follow the money. And good luck.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 12:40pm GMT

To ettu: If you mean that it's not good for people to see the Church in conflict, you are right. But don't fall into the trap the Essentials/Network have set. The expect to have the property because they assume that the Diocese will lie down. They initiated the idea of taking the property and expect to get away with millions of dollars worth and assume that the Church can be guilted into letting them have it. They are always saying how unChristian and mean the Anglican Church is only because they cannot have it their way. The more they say that this is bad behaviour for Christians, the more they count on gullible people NOT to blame them for stealing, but to blame the Diocese for stopping them. In all of this, the Diocese is doing what it is legally and morally bound to do. As to 'church fights" being a bad witness, let's not assume there was ever a golden era of peace. If there was, the Church was moribund. It's not good for people to see the Church not behaving responsibly and rewarding people for bad behaviour.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 4:45pm GMT

Our Anglican issues seem small compared to this:
http://iwpr.net/report-news/church-rivalry-threatens-brim-over

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 5:41pm GMT

Thank you for those who have confirmed my understanding, and for the correction by Canada Anglican. That clarifies the legal issues - the parishes do not have a leg to stand on, and I would not be surprised if the CSC refuses the right to appeal on the grounds that the appeal has no chance of success.

BUT

I wonder of Bishop Ingham is being a bit disingenuous in hoping that this legal victory can bring an end to the matter. It won't. I don't need to know the detailed geography of Vancouver, or the internal politics of the diocese to assume that among the four are some of the largest parishes in the diocese, well-known for their Evangelical and/or Charismatic theology. We are therefore discussing some hundreds of Anglicans, loyal to the traditions of those parishes and to their clergy, who are now feeling aggrieved at their diocesan leadership.

I think, rather than words such as "theft" to describe what is going on, the language of divorce might be more helpful. In a messy divorce case, the law, however clear, is rarely the best way to reach an amicable end to the dispute. At some point the couple have to sit down and decide how to divide up the property, the children etc etc.

How about this as a way forward for a bishop who has succesfully proven the strength of his legal case, but still needs to show compassionate leadership to a thousand or more of his flock who no longer believe they belong to his diocese? Chose one (or if he is feeling especially generous, two) of the churches, and negotiate fair terms for that property to pass to the congregation or to ANiC. Perhaps chose a building where other parishes close by can pick up the pastoral responsibilities. Or, if one of the congregations built a shiny new church in the last 20 years? Offer them the building that they fundraised for, but require them to buy the land.

The other 2 ((or 3) churches would remain in the diocese, in keeping with church and state law.

This way Bishop Ingham could say good bye graciously to a group of people who want to leave, and he would not be left with four buildings, and no congregations to maintain them.

Just a thought

Edward Prebble

Posted by Edward Prebble at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 8:33pm GMT

To Adam A - sorry I was too brief and/or cryptic in my first post - of course the thieves should be resisted - they are the ones who are responsible for starting this deplorable chain of events - leave but do not take the property with you....

Posted by ettu at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 9:10pm GMT

"How about this as a way forward for a bishop who has succesfully proven the strength of his legal case, but still needs to show compassionate leadership to a thousand or more of his flock who no longer believe they belong to his diocese?"

- Edward Prebble, N.Z. -

I'm sorry, Edward, but you seem to have mistaken the situation on the ground in Canada. Those who have decided to opt out of their Anglican C.of C. provenance, and have deliberately tried to dis-enfranchise the remaining parishioners in their respective parishes, would very much like the local bishop to accommodate their schismatic action - by giving in to their demands. This is not the way to deal with intentional schismatics.

From the outset, there has been no effort on the part if the dissenters to hear what the diocesan authorities have to say about these matters = as witness their persistent, and continuing efforts to secure favourable legislation to suit their agenda. It might be best for us Kiwis to not be seen to aid and abet schism in another Province.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 8:48am GMT

A little off topic, but can anyone fill me in on the Charismatic Anglican Tradition?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 11:44am GMT

To Edward Prebble:

In the Diocese of Virginia, Bishop Lee tried to reason with the dissidents and to negotiate with them. In response, they filed lawsuits demanding that the diocese turn over property that the Diocese holds in trust for TEC, and occupied said property, and kicked out any in their congregations loyal to the Diocese and TEC.

Similar things happened in other dioceses.

These people are not to be negotiated with because they are not trustworthy. It would be good for your bishops and ours to have on call locksmiths, lawyers, and forensic accountants.

Appeasement will lead where it always does with bullies - more bullying.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 1:15pm GMT

Lapinbizarre, in the U.S. the charismatic Anglican tradition is an ancient one, stretching all the way back into the dim, misty reaches of the 1970s, when tongue-speakers began showing up in most American denominations.

Most churches sent them packing right away, but these new arrivals took full advantage of TEC's famous tolerance (which they refused to extend to anyone else, naturally) until they formed the power base that provides most of the energy and infrastructure behind the current schismatic movement.

If we had only known back then what we know now....

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 2:28pm GMT

I salute Cynthia Gilliatt for her honest appraisal of the kind of human beings we are dealing with here. They have shown their true colors in such places as The Diocese of Virginia. The worst thing a bishop can do is to try to negotiate with thieves. They knew the property was NOT theirs but they didn't care and their behavior was indeed that of thugs. Shameful. Yes, to Cynthia's comments in this thread. Locksmiths, forensic accountants and lawyers should be ready to take action of behalf of the diocese when thieves try to take what does not belong to them.

Posted by Chris Smith at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 4:29pm GMT

Well, it looks as though I am in a similar situation as Erika Baker did on another stream a month or so ago, when she generated over 100 replies! I don't know why, as soon as someone suggests behaving in a compassionate, or forgiving, or even a gentle way, a whole lot of fine Christians start quoting Neville Chamberlain.

No, Ron, I don't think I have misunderstood the Canadian situation at all. The clergy in these four parishes have behaved abominably. They had no right, and probably knew they had no right to those properties. And I don't doubt that they have tried to force out parishioners who wanted to stay loyal to the diocese. They certainly do not deserve any leniency at all.

But when did our faith start being based on what people deserve? Who was it who recommended settling with your adversary on the way to court?

I return to my analogy of a divorce. Breakups of loving and trusting relationships (in a marriage or in a diocese) are inevitably riven with misunderstandings, disagreements about facts, who bought what, who has a right to what, which was the better parent, who make what error of judgement when, and all the rest. The parties can chose to hide behind the law, and insist on their "rights", but the risk is that the hurt will become deeper and longer-lasting. At some point, in most divorces, the partners have to figure out a way forward that they, and the kids, can live with. That's noting to do with appeasement.

I acceept that perhaps Bishop Lee started negotiating too soon in Virginia. Bishop Ingham has been right to let the legal processes take their course, but now that they have (or nearly), he is in a very, very strong position legally and morally. He can probably afford to lose a building or two, and maybe a financial headache or two with them, and create a graceful exit for a group of people who think they have already left. He can then invite parishioners at the other churches to go with his blessing to the new ANiC church, or stay behind and behave.

I don't think Munich is the right historical analogy. Maybe Yalta,Potsdam and the Marshall Plan.

Edward Prebble

Posted by Edward Prebble at Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 12:42am GMT

Who drove the money changers out of the temple, Mr. Prebble? Who suggested taking a sword "from henceforth?" Who said that those not with Him are against Him?

Simplistic answers are simplistic, whether generous or severe. What makes you believe that your way would be a way forward that brings "healing?" Would it heal those who behaved abominably - finding there are no repercussions for their behavior? Would it heal those to whom they have behaved abominably, denying their own dignity and convictions to allow a valuable foothold to those who abuse them?

There is a difference between charitable and unexamined, self-serving apple polishing.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 9:16am GMT

Being "charismatic" means you get to wave your hands in the air during worship because 1), you don't get enough attention, 2), you need to prove to others that you're better than them, 3), you're full of soppy self-sentimentalism that you have to exhibit your emotions openly, and 4), you have all the answers. Common disease in America it seems.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 2:35pm GMT

I wish TA had a "like" button so I could click it on evensongjunkie's comment!

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 8:17pm GMT

Are there charismatic congregations in the English Church?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 9:03pm GMT

Crazy Rabbit, I seem to remember a place on the west side of London (Metro area) called Shepherd's Bush or Shepherd's Green that got pretty silly. I have to wonder about that place across the street from BBC as well...

As a summer dep in a major SW cathedral one summer we had to sing for the local RC parish, as they had some big "do", complete with [B]eagle's Wings and Bread of Life....that was, uh, fascinating.

Thanks Fr. Mark, I calls 'em as I sees 'em. This behavio(u)r is not to be confused with openly weeping in John's, which I confess am guilty of..

Posted by evensongjunkie at Friday, 17 December 2010 at 3:05am GMT

I have met some of those so called "Anglican Charismatics" right here in San Francisco. They tried to form a parish community separate from the existing Episcopal Church Diocese parishes but they were unsuccessful and very much at odds with the progressive minded San Francisco Episcopalians. They were intolerant and at times aggressive in their demands in that they tried to promote a false claim that the Episcopal Church in California did not reflect "true Christianity" and the Protestant Reformation. They were in your face and not in a gentle manner. Since many converts to the Episcopal Church are former so called "Vatican II Catholics" it turned many people off. The liturgies in Episcopal Churches in San Francisco are very diversified. Many are quite traditional and embrace the Old Catholic styles, many are Vatican II type modern liturgies and contemporary Masses, some are a combination of the two. The so called "Charismatic Anglicans" wanted to impose their brand on many of the diversified and progressive minded Episcopalians. Their plan failed. In reading many of the comments in this particular thread, it appears we have similar situations being played out all over the globe. It really does beg the question "Why don't they just join one of the many existing Protestant established churches such as the Southern Baptists"? These seem to be Fundamentalists similar to the Jerry Falwell and Pat Roberston operations. If you disagree with their ideas of what it means to be "Church" they behave like thugs and essentially condemn you to hell. They operate below the surface and they do not like transparency. It is these same types who are trying to steal property that is not theirs. The self appointed "Archbishop Duncan" comes close to the kind of thinking we are talking about here. Forensic Accountants are good sources for embattled bishops and church members who remain loyal to recognized diocesan parishes. Many members of the so called Anglican Church of North America subscribe to the so called Charismatic movement. These are the kind of people who very much want a "Covenant" as a means to punish those who do not fit their molds by subscribing to a very narrow view of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. They are not interested in dialogue. A parallel Catholic Fundamentalism is also at play in some of these groups who have chosen to become Roman Catholic in one corporate move as entire parishes try to leave and take property that does not belong to them. They are losing the legal battles but they continue to fight anyway. Perhaps if we follow the money we will find many of the reasons for their protracted battles. It's not pretty.

Posted by Chris Smith at Friday, 17 December 2010 at 3:19am GMT

"It really does beg the question "Why don't they just join one of the many existing Protestant established churches such as the Southern Baptists"? "

I don't know about other places, but in the metropolitan centers of the US, there is no political or cultural cachet given to being Southern Baptist. Indeed, in many northern, eastern, and Californian cities, it might well be considered a detriment.

You have to remember, these people are after more than power within the church. They want to direct the surrounding culture to meet their view of what is "right"...and you can't do that if your church affiliation is not looked at as "proper" among the powerful people in your area.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 17 December 2010 at 11:39am GMT

Not much charismatic about Southern Baptists.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 18 December 2010 at 5:08pm GMT

Just heard Cheryl Cheng ( legal advisor to the Canadian branch of ACNA) give her spin on Anglican TV.

She claims that their appeal is taht they ahve kept the traditional Anglican faith and a re not the innovators.

She doesn't tell the whole truth...as she forgets to tell the audience..Anglican network Canada goes along with 1962 changes to allow divorce and re-marriage and 1976 changes to allow women priests.

Their case is so weak the Justices will laugh them out of court.. what a sad waste of money.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Tuesday, 21 December 2010 at 8:05am GMT

Re Bizzarre rabbit.
Yes there are. there are a number of them which preach a responsiveness to the Holy Spirit as a personal experience and do this in a responsible way. The enormously successful Alpha course has this imbedded in it and is used throughout the uk and in a vast number of anglican churches. However there are also churches which are picking up the pieces of those who went overboard on an excessive 'charismatic' pentecostal type theology and church lifestyle. It can clearly be dangerous.
What seems to have happened in the uk is that there has been an explosion of loose knit american style independent and often pentecostal churches which thrive in inner city locations and university towns. Their worship style is characteristically loud electric guitar/drum led and very very intense. ( eg see youtube videos of Hillsong) These however have not impacted the mainstream church too much with notable exceptions in some cities. However good old evangelical churches with happy clappy chorussy type singing and long sermons but not charismatic are on the ascendancy within the anglican church. Just a layman's observation and perhaps some would disagree.

Posted by Peter Lusby Taylor at Friday, 21 January 2011 at 6:51pm GMT
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