Anglican Church of Canada responds to New West case

The responses are, to my mind, laying it on a bit thick. But it is to be expected I suppose, and I am only glad that they do not speak for me any more.

First, Michael Ingham:

Dear Friends in Christ:

By now you may have heard that the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed Leave to Appeal by those who launched law suits against the Diocese in an effort to oppose the blessing of same-sex unions.

This means that the litigation is now ended. The money, time, and energy taken up by this long and unnecessary conflict can now be directed back to the real work of the Church. For this we should all be deeply thankful.

For many of us, the debate about same-sex relationships has faded into distant memory. We have moved on from those questions into the challenge of implementing the 10 mission priorities of our Diocese, such as addressing homelessness and poverty, developing youth initiatives, renewing parish worship, and deepening Anglican identity.

Litigation was not our choice or wish. At stake, however, was more than simply ownership of church properties. The courts have affirmed that the Church has the right to examine its beliefs and practices in accordance with its own traditions and structures.

We are, and continue to be, respectful of genuine differences of conviction among faithful members of our Church.

I want to take this opportunity to repeat that no one is being asked to leave the church buildings in which they worship, except those clergy who have resigned their ministries in the Anglican Church of Canada. My hope is to work with each of these congregations to appoint mutually agreeable clergy who will be loyal to the Church in which they serve.

Let us all pray that in time these sad divisions may be healed. And let us get on with the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed through the mystery of the Holy Trinity, whom we celebrate today.

Kindest regards,

The Right Reverend Michael Ingham
Bishop of New Westminster

Secondly, Archbishop Hiltz. This one I am surprised about. I expected some attempt at magnaminity from the head of the ACoC; this comes across as triumphalism and self-congratulation.

June 16, 2011

The Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham
Bishop of New Westminster

Dear Michael,

I am pleased to hear the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to deny Leave to Appeal to those who have launched law suits against the Diocese of New Westminster over its decision concerning the blessing of same sex unions.

I am relieved to know that this marks an end to what has been a long and arduous process. I am deeply conscious of the huge amounts of time and money this cost the diocese.

I am especially grateful for the great care you took in preparing for hearings in court over the last several years.

With integrity and insight, you represented the Anglican Church of Canada, its constitution, Canons and recognized decision making processes within the synods of our church – diocesan, provincial, and General. Our entire church owes you a great debt of gratitude. That expression of thanks is extended to your chancellor, solicitor, communications officer and others who supported you in your endeavours to represent our church with such resolve, grace and dignity.

I realize, Michael, this entire matter has not been without personal cost to you. You have been the brunt of a lot of slanderous attacks both professionally and personally, but, you stood your ground and upheld the decisions of your synod and the spirit in which they were made and acted upon. You consistently modeled every effort to be as pastorally accommodating of a variety of theological perspectives in these matters as possible.

I know this decision comes as a great relief. I know you view it not simply as victory, but as an opportunity to redirect time, energy and financial resources to the ministries to which the Diocese of New Westminster is so passionately committed in serving God’s mission.

My respect for your leadership is deep and my gratitude for the witness of the diocese to our Lord Jesus Christ and his reign of love, justice and peace for all is profound.

With the assurance of my prayers as you go from strength in the service of the Gospel,

I am,

Sincerely yours,

Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate

Lastly, Archbishop Privett. Perhaps the most reasonable of the three, no triumphalism here.

June 16th, 2011

To the Bishops and People of thee Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon:

Dearly Beloved in Christ:

Today the Supreme Court of Cannada has denied Leave to Appeal to those who have brought law suits against the Diocese of New Westminster in the disputes over property arising from the decision to proceed with the blessing of same-sex unions. This marks an end to the litigation that has consumed a great deal of time and money and spiritual resources and has affected the whole Canadian Church. Although our court systems by the decisions asked of them create winners and losers, I encourage us to resist framing the decision today in that way. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ who seek to respond faithfully to the call of the Gospel. When we take our
disputes or are taken to the secular courts we are, in many ways, all diminished.

Although matters of law have been clarified, there will still exist deeply held and yet differing convictions in our church with respect to the blessing of same-sex unions. We will continue as a Church to seek the most generous pastoral responses possible in our differing contexts as we continue, in good faith, to responnd to God’s call to love and justice. It is my prayer that in God’s time and with God’s grace theree will be a healing of the divisions amongst uus and a renewed commitment to the Mission of God that we share with all Christians throughout tthe world.

Faithfully,

John E. Privett

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9 Responses to Anglican Church of Canada responds to New West case

  1. Kate says:

    After all this, Ingham still hopes that the New West folks would betray their principles and their leaders and stay?

    Reign of love, justice, and peace for all? I think what he is really talking about is a reign of “lets all be nice to each other”, or “luv”, not love. Real love is costly.

  2. Frank Wirrell says:

    The following is a letter I submitted to most larger papers:-
    As reported the Diocese of New Westminster under the direction of Michael Ingham has been successful in the courts in removing our excellent priests. I do not refer to Michael Ingham as bishop as by his writings and his actions he has shown himself to reject both the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. I should also state emphatically we are not “dissidents” as we have always upheld the doctrine and practices of the Anglican Communion. The truth of the matter is that Michael Ingham and his followers are dissidents.

    This case was initiated by Michael Ingham and the Diocese of New Westminster when he issued an edict ordering our clergy and trustees from the parish and froze the bank accounts. Similar edicts were issued to other churches within the Diocese whose clergy and trustees rejected his so-called leadership. This required the churches involved to take action to protect both the clergy and trustees. The courts did find that the actions of Michael Ingham and the Diocese in this respect was illegal. With his arrogance Michael Ingham went back to court knowing full well that the courts and the judges know nothing with respect to theology and would probably accept his authority. As a result Michael Ingham has managed to have the courts support his initial actions despite the initial finding that his actions to order the clergy and trustees from the churches was illegal. To add insult to injury the court has even granted the Diocese a large portion of their legal expenses.

    This should be a warning to all members of the Anglican Church of Canada who have faithfully contributed to the church. Several years ago the members of Saint Matthew’s sacrificed significantly to eliminate a mortgage of about $300,000 and there was absolutely no contribution from the Diocese of New Westminster. Members of churches within the Anglican Church of Canada should immediately cease any and all contributions that could be used for repairs, maintenance or mortgage on their properties as the courts have shown they will allow the Diocese to legally steal their properties. This is what has happened to us.

    Clergy that continue to accept the leadership of Michael Ingham must do so either due to:-
    1. concern for their pensions and job security is more important than fulfilling their vows at the time of their ordination; or
    2. they seem to believe that one can mix orthodoxy and apostasy by simply ignoring the latter.
    In either case they show themselves to be false leaders.

    It is more than tragic to see the Primate and the House of Bishops seem content to allow these actions to take place. If similar situations occurred within the normal business world, persons like Michael Ingham would be fired. The time has long since passed for the Primate and other members of the House of Bishops to rid the church of persons who, like Michael Ingham, have come to believe their word is superior to the Scripture.

    We have indeed prayed for his conversion and repentance but until that occurs he and any who accept his authority should be removed from office.

  3. Anne says:

    Well and truly spoken Mr. Wirrell. The court decision is a sad one. Mr. Ingham has all my prayers, and so do the faithful clergy who have left and those who try to stay….as God leads them.

  4. Michael Li says:

    Regardless whether we are for or against the blessing of same-sex unions, all of us must love our enemies. I must confess that loving one’s enemies is very hard to do.

  5. Frank Wirrell says:

    For Michael Li:-
    The issue is much larger than the blessing of same-sex unions – something that is impossible regardless of whatever liturgy is created – but the issue is accepting the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ both of which are clearly rejected by Michael Ingham and other apostates within the church. Their loyality is with the enemy and that is precisely why they should be removed from office until they come to repentance. Tragically we have a House of Bishops that seem to think you can blend orthodoxy and apostasy and they appear to be willingly deceived.

  6. Steve L. says:

    It is a shame that the faithful will move to some other venue and churches that were overflowing will become echo chambers. Will this soften the faux-bishop? Not likely. The cost of maintaining these structures will be borne on the backs of those remaining in the ACoC. The legal costs recovered will be spent on just that, a bunch of lawyers without principles.

    The response of Fred XIII was a typical gloat. Here in Red Deer there are two small Anglican congregations, surrounded by well attended Catholic churches and an endless list of smaller thriving Gospel proclaiming churches.

    We tried to plant here but I suspect the word Anglican spooked away any interest

  7. Gordon says:

    My hope is to work with each of these congregations to appoint mutually agreeable clergy who will be loyal to the Church in which they serve.

    He waited all of ten days to appoint the first of the “mutually agreeable clergy”. If this is New Westminster’s idea of consultation, I wonder if the diocese has been taking lessons from BC’s Liberal Party…

  8. Pageantmaster says:

    Thoroughly nasty.

  9. Pageantmaster says:

    “I realize, Michael, this entire matter has not been without personal cost to you. You have been the brunt of a lot of slanderous attacks both professionally and personally, but, you stood your ground and upheld the decisions of your synod and the spirit in which they were made and acted upon. You consistently modeled every effort to be as pastorally accommodating of a variety of theological perspectives in these matters as possible.”

    No he didn’t – he deposed a godly British priest, JI Packer, something both of you will one day presumably stand before the King of Kings to explain. I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes. I would stick to singing songs if I were you.

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