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New West Anglican parishes say yes to Yukon bishop

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    CALLED OUT ... Thursday, March 27, 2003 New West parishes say yes to Yukon bishop Issue will be on agenda of B.C. bishops meeting JANE DAVIDSON STAFF WRITER,
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 27, 2003
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      CALLED OUT
      --------
      Thursday, March 27, 2003
      New West parishes say yes to Yukon bishop
      Issue will be on agenda of B.C. bishops meeting
      JANE DAVIDSON
      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
      seek it.

      "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
      Ingham."

      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
      Mtetemela


      This story is archived at http://anglican.ca/news/ and at
      http://anglican.ca/pipermail/acc-news/
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