Diocese of New Westminster to spend $4.5 million in an attempt to revitalise seized parishes

Having won the court battle for the buildings of St. John’s Shaughnessy, St. Matthias and St. Luke, and St. Matthew’s Abbotsford, the Diocese of New Westminster must decide what to do with them. Since it has no substantial congregations in the buildings, the diocese has concluded that it must “plant three new churches” to “establish Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada worship” in the parishes. The diocese makes no mention of worshipping Jesus.

The money is to come from “the assets of the parishes returned to the diocese by the courts of Canada” along with funding from the diocese.

In any other circumstance the diocese would quietly close non-viable parishes but, in this case, there would be too much loss of face and Bishop Michael Ingham is prepared to spend $4.5 Million to make sure that doesn’t happen. I expect that it will anyway.

The whole document is here.

Note the last sentence: the parishes have a limited time in which to spend $4.5 million to “become vital and sustainable” before they are put on the chopping block.

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9 Responses to Diocese of New Westminster to spend $4.5 million in an attempt to revitalise seized parishes

  1. JamesW says:

    Hmmm…some questions on this enterprise that some members of the Diocese of New Westminster just might want to ask themselves:
    1) Has the DNW had any success at church planting/revitalization?
    No. But they seem to be quite skilled at losing members and closing down dying parishes.
    2) Has planting new parishes in empty buildings after the orthodox congregations left worked anywhere else that it has been attempted?
    There have been a lot of attempts in the American Episcopal Church, but they have pretty much all been expensive failures. I actually can’t recall a single non-failure.
    3) Is the Vancouver area an easy place to plant new parishes?
    No, and it is probably one of the most difficult places to do so.
    4) Has the DNW been expanding or contracting in numbers lately? Contracting. Evidence from attempts at re-planting departed parishes in the USA shows that the new Potemkin parishes often draw diocesan supporters away from neighboring parishes. In this way, other parishes are weakened while the plant doesn’t have the numbers to survive either.

    I believe that it is only financial collapse that will eventually end the liberal reign over the established North American Anglican and Episcopal churches, and it will only be from this collapse that a truly united and global Anglicanism will rise again. Wasting $5 million in this way will only bring about that financial collapse sooner and so I say to Michael Ingham – “Go for it!” And to any priest foolish enough to consider taking one of the planter positions “Fly, you fools!”

  2. Muriel says:

    This is an expensive way to try and save face. After much noise about needing these buildings and so being justified in kicking out viable congregations this is a desperate attempt to fool people into thinking that is what they needed these buildings for before they do exactly what they intended in the first place – sell them to the highest bidder. (That is as long as the highest bidder has nothing to do with ANiC). The Diocese of Niagara is going to find itself in the same embarrassing position with the three buildings it professes to need to hold worship services in. Both Dioceses already have an abundance of empty buildings. How very sad and spiteful.

  3. Elizabeth Shore says:

    Why don’t some gospel loving ministers apply ‘under cover’ and see what good they can do in promoting gospel ministry?

  4. Kate says:

    He or she wouldn’t last the year.

  5. JamesW says:

    Elizabeth: These plants are doomed from the get-go. Who in their right mind would apply (or recommend good people to apply) for these positions? When they go bust, who do you think Michael Ingham is going to blame? I would think that these church planter positions are toxic. Gospel loving ministers would be putting their future careers, financial livelihoods, and mental and emotional health at serious risk.

  6. Kieron Wood says:

    We had a not dissimilar situation in Ireland with the Catholic Church. In 1988, Pope John Paul II asked Bishops to allow congregations to use the traditional Latin rite if they wished. Under some pressure, the Archbishop of Dublin granted the traditional Catholic community the use of the historic inner city church of St Michael and John’s. The congregation there had dwindled to a point where Mass was no longer regularly celebrated. But the old Mass attracted such large crowds that the Church authorities soon asked the traditionalists to move elsewhere. Offers by the congregation to pay for the upkeep of the beautiful church were rejected. The church was then sold and converted into a Viking museum – the first Catholic church in Ireland to be sold to a secular group. The museum eventually failed and shut down. The empty, deconsecrated church is now a mute witness to the bitterness of ‘Christian’ liberalism.

  7. Gordon says:

    I’ve spoken to several people about this, both priests and parishioners, both conservative and liberal, and I’ve yet to find anyone who thinks this will work. It makes me wonder how it got through Diocesan Council.

  8. Roger Pearse says:

    Suppose you were an unbeliever with religious tendencies. Suppose you decided to go to one of these ersatz churches, to show your support for their kind conformity to the new gospel of gay.

    Just how much money would you feel like giving these people? After alll, religion is mostly bunk, eh? Why fund it?

    And if you did donate a few bucks, how confident would you be that, should you disagree with them over some matter, that they wouldn’t kick you out on the spot, keeping your money?

    So just who would give a ha’penny?

    The last sentence is gorgeous, tho, if you’re a little cynical. Translated into English it reads, “We’ll try and set up a new, profit-making enterprise here, and spend a bit to get it going. But when it fails, we won’t be out of pocket because we’ll just sell the buildings. Since we didn’t pay for these, we’ll still be in profit.”

    No wonder Jesus warned us against the Scribes and Pharisees! “Not all those who bleat, ‘Lord, Lord…’”

  9. Frank Wirrell says:

    I have noted in the last couple of months that a sign board has been posted beside the main road by St. Matthew in Abbotsford. The primary message on this sign is “A Place for Everybody” and is clearly designed to mislead the public and get them to return to a false gospel. Further Michael Ingham had a public meeting in this building last week and it is my understanding that Fred Hiltz was also out the previous week. Clearly the diocese is more concerned with the financial costs of trying to bring people in than in preaching the true gospel. My sincere prayer is that both the assigned clergy and those attending will come to repentance and reject the false gospel as proclaimed by Michael Ingham and his associates. The diocese has spent considerable monies to improve the appearance of the building and this is obviously another attempt to have people believe in their message.
    I also trust that those who attend will refuse to make any donation to the upkeep and/or improvements to the building as they will find themselves on the outside looking in when they come to see the true gospel. This should also be a sign to all members of ACoC parishes to take a similar stand. We, in Abbotsford, paid fully for our property and buildings with absolutely no contribution from the diocese and the property was legally stolen which only proves that what might be legally correct is definitely NOT morally justified.

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