New West Anglican parishes say yes to Yukon bishop
- CALLED OUT
Thursday, March 27, 2003
New West parishes say yes to Yukon bishop
Issue will be on agenda of B.C. bishops meeting
STAFF WRITER, ANGLICAN JOURNAL
Seven out of eight dissident parishes in New Westminster have voted
overwhelmingly at special vestry meetings in favour of accepting
Yukon bishop Terrence Buckle's offer to be their bishop until
General Synod in 2004.
On Sunday, March 23, the seven voted on the offer, made by Bishop
Buckle in both a video and in a letter to the disgruntled parishes
earlier this month. The eighth parish, St. Martin's, North
Vancouver, decided to wait until it has a full-time priest before
holding a voting on the offer.
The vote at the diocese's largest parish, St. John's, Shaughnessy,
was 408 in favour, 11 against and one abstention. The other parishes
all voted at least 95 per cent in favour, said Rev. Paul Carter,
head of the group of parishes which call themselves the Anglican
Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW).
The parishes say they cannot live with the June, 2002, vote of the
diocesan synod allowing same-sex blessings and Bishop's Ingham's
announced intention to proceed with a rite of blessing for those who
"It's about the shifting of the tectonic plates of Anglicanism," Mr.
Carter said. He added that seven parishes "now do everything under
Bishop Terry's jurisdiction. We now look to Bishop Terry as our
overseer and guardian in a pastoral sense." Mr. Carter added that
Bishop Buckle was "very keen to work this out amicably with Bishop
As soon as word of the votes became public, the chancellor (diocesan
legal adviser) of New Westminster, George Cadman, wrote to the senior
bishop of the province of British Columbia, Archbishop David Crawley,
asking that Bishop Buckle be disciplined under church law.
Last month, Bishop Ingham wrote to Bishop Buckle, advising that he
was barred from ministering within the diocese of New Westminster
because of his interference in the diocese.
"What Bishop Buckle has done is ignore the wishes of the bishop who
has proper episcopal jurisdiction and ignore explicit cautions," Mr.
Cadman said in an interview. "The interaction of Bishop Buckle within
this diocese will not be tolerated."
The votes on Sunday were the culmination of the eight parishes'
widely-publicized efforts to find themselves a visiting bishop with
full episcopal authority. Bishop Ingham has instead offered
dissenting clergy and parishes an 'episcopal visitor,' who could
offer pastoral care but would have no jurisdiction. Attempts at
reconciliation between the two diocese and the parishes failed in
early February, with each side accusing the other of pulling the plug
on the process.
In a statement issued shortly after the vote results were known,
Bishop Buckle said that he was convinced that "the crisis in the
diocese of New Westminster is not one that will go away on its own. I
am equally convinced that we as Canadian Anglicans have the resources
to address this crisis within our own church."
Mr. Cadman insisted that the situation was not a pastoral emergency
as Bishop Buckle was characterizing it.
"No parish is required to participate in the blessing of same-sex
union, and the bishop has not even released the rite even though six
parishes have now asked for it," he said.
The matter will certainly be raised at the provincial house of
bishops, which meets this week in Victoria from May 27-30. Bishop
Buckle was clearly holding out hope that the issue could be resolved
peacefully at that meeting, which he acknowledged would be strained.
"Hopefully we can talk about and around this," he said. "I don't know
what to anticipate. Michael (Ingham) and I have not chatted."
Mr. Cadman said the range of possible disciplinary measures against
Bishop Buckle ranged from admonition (a reprimand) to deposition,
which is tantamount to being de-frocked.
Bishop Buckle repeated his intention to honour the wishes of the
seven parishes, but declined to give details.
"I think I want to talk to them more. They would be prepared to talk
to Bishop Ingham within the context of the offer to see if some kind
of peaceful arrangement can be made."
He said he now feels that any resolution will be up to Archbishop
Crawley, who will chair the provincial house of bishops meeting.
Archbishop Crawley said the house of bishops would not be dealing
with disciplinary measures because that is not its role. He said
before an allegation turns into a charge and winds up in an
ecclesiastical court, he as archbishop must decide if Bishop Buckle
has not heeded Bishop Ingham's ban, called an inhibition.
"And I haven't decided," he said. "The decision would not be
solitary, I need to hear the evidence and I need to offer Bishop
Buckle the opportunity to refute it." He said he was not sure when
that would happen.
Archbishop Crawley said that while it was true Bishop Buckle had not
visited the diocese since his inhibition, "by other means he has
directly invited the parishes to take up that offer. So, there must
be some interpretation involved here."
Asked whether outside interest and the influence of seven foreign
primates who were backing the ACiNW and Bishop Buckle's offer put him
under any pressure, Archbishop Crawley said, "It doesn't bother me at
all. Those primates have no business interfering in the business of
the diocese of New Westminster, any more that the Bishop of the Yukon
has to interfere in the affairs of the diocese.
"When they do they act improperly and illegally."
The seven primates signed a letter calling the New Westminster
situation a "pastoral emergency" and endorsing Bishop Buckle's offer
of alternative episcopal oversight with full jurisdiction "as a
faithful and legitimate step to resolve such exceptional pastoral
emergency within the Anglican Church of Canada."
The seven are:
* Archbishop of West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Wellington Gomez
* Archbishop of Central Africa, Archbishop Bernard Amos Malango
* Archbishop of Kenya, Archbishop Benjamin M. P. Nzimbi
* Archbishop of Congo, Archbishop Fidele Balufuga Dirokpa
* Archbishop of Rwanda, Archbishop Emmanuel Musaba Kolini
* Archbishop of South East Asia, Archbishop Datuk Yong Ping Chung
* Archbishop of Tanzania and Bishop of Ruaha, Archbishop Donald
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