Priests force delay implementation of same-sex rites. Archbishop sets up talks
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Mon Dec 2 00:43:14 EST 2002
Priests force delay of same-sex rites. Archbishop tries to set up talks
as dissident parishes withhold money
Vancouver's Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham has indefinitely delayed
implementing same-sex blessings in the diocese.
Ingham, who has tried to champion the marriage-like rites since his
diocese approved them four years ago, has been battling with priests at
eight dissident parishes that have refused to pay the diocese almost
$30,000 a month in assessments.
The protesting clerics continue to receive their salaries, but the
diocese has suffered a 20-per-cent cut in its budget because of their
In response, Ingham has decided he can't afford to fill a chaplain's
position at Vancouver General Hospital. A special gathering of the
synod has been planned for early January to deal with the money
As well, the Canadian House of Bishops told Ingham at a meeting last
month he should try to engage in a process of reconciliation with the
conservative priests -- who are defying Ingham's authority and want to
be governed by an alternative "flying bishop."
Even though three Greater Vancouver parishes have asked Ingham to
authorize a rite that can be used for homosexual couples in their
congregation, Ingham has decided to delay his approval so as not to
disrupt a dialogue he is trying to set up with the dissident priests.
Steve Schuh, president of the B.C. chapter of Integrity, which
represents gay and lesbian Anglicans, said Tuesday he is disappointed
hard-line conservative Anglicans seem to be winning the internal church
dispute over same-sex blessings.
"It's difficult to rationalize another delay. We've been waiting for
this for at least four years," Schuh said.
In June, after a majority of delegates to the Diocese of New
Westminster's annual synod voted for the third time in four years to
bless same-sex unions, Ingham finally gave his consent to the
The diocese then prepared to become the first in Canada, and arguably
the world, to openly and formally create an Anglican rite for committed
homosexual couples. Conservative priests were permitted to abstain from
Ingham's decision unleashed an international furore among conservatives
in the 60-million-member worldwide Anglican communion, and drew
condemnation from the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.
In October, the 40-member Canadian House of Bishops acknowledged it was
divided on whether the Bible condemns homosexual relationships. It
voted to ask Ingham to delay implementing the same-sex rites until the
denomination's General Synod occurred in May, 2004.
Ingham initially balked, but eventually agreed to at least a temporary
postponement while he takes part in a dialogue with conservatives. He
won't say how long he intends to hold off on implementing the rites.
In a statement released Tuesday on the Diocese of New Westminster's Web
site, Ingham told 400 delegates to a January synod to deal with the
financial shortfall that he feels the same delegates who voted for the
blessings in June should "review the consequences of their decision."
Neale Adams, spokesman for the 25,000-member diocese, said Tuesday it
is not yet in crisis mode, because it has financial reserves.
Ingham remains "hopeful a facilitated discussion will lead to some sort
of reconciliation," Adams said. The bishop does not want to comment
publicly on the showdown, Adams added, because he doesn't want to
inadvertently affect the process.
Conservative Reverend David Short, of the 2,000-member St. John's
Shaughnessy Church in Vancouver, said he's pleased Ingham has "seen the
depth of the crisis" in his diocese and agreed to a delay.
Ingham's willingness to put off same-sex blessings while taking part in
a dialogue with conservatives, Short said Tuesday, is a positive move.
"It will create a safe place to talk."
There are 80 parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster. The three that
have asked Ingham to provide a same-sex rite so they can proceed
immediately with blessing homosexual couples in their congregation
include: St. Margaret's/Cedar Cottage parish and St. Paul's, both in
Vancouver, as well as St. Agnes in North Vancouver.
The eight Anglican parishes that are withholding their assessments are
St. John's Shaughnessy; St. Simon's and St. Martin's, both in North
Vancouver, and three Chinese congregations: St. Matthias/St. Luke's and
Good Shepherd Chinese Anglican Church, of Vancouver, as well as The
Church of Emmanuel in Richmond. They've been joined by St. Matthew's
parish in Abbotsford and St. Andrew's in Pender Harbour.
St. Martin's priest, Timothy Cooke, said Tuesday Ingham is facing
"undeniable pressures in terms of member loss and the financial
disaster that's looming."
However, Cooke, who recently tendered his resignation because of
Ingham's support for same-sex blessings, said he does not believe
Ingham will forever delay bringing in the marriage-like rites. In the
meantime, Cooke hopes to find work with an evangelical Reform church in
St. Simon's Reverend Ed Hird, a key organizer of activist conservative
Anglicans in Greater Vancouver, said he wasn't sure how to interpret
Ingham's decision to delay same-sex blessings "because he's been giving
so many mixed messages."
Ingham backs down Anglican same-sex blessings on hold
VANCOUVER (CBC) - In the face of opposition from conservative clergy,
Vancouver's Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham has postponed same-sex
blessings for gay and lesbian couples in the Lower Mainland.
Eight parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster are withholding almost
$30,000 a month from the diocese. That financial boycott represents
about 20 per cent of the diocese's budget.
The dissident priests say marriage-like ceremonies for homosexual
couples have no place in the Anglican Church.
Last month, the Canadian House of Bishops told Ingham to begin a
reconciliation process with the eight ministers. Ingham announced the
postponement while setting up talks with the dissident parishes.
The split was created back in June when delegates to the Diocese's
annual meeting voted to go ahead with blessing same-sex couples.
At least three parishes have asked Ingham for a church-authorized rite,
so they could start to bless homosexual couples.
There are 80 parishes and about 25,000 churchgoers in the Lower
VANCOUVER (CKNW/AM980) -- Same-sex blessings in Vancouver-area Anglican
churches are on hold.
Vancouver Bishop Michael Ingham has delayed implementing blessings
because of the continued fight with hard-line Anglican leaders over the
Priests with eight dissident parishes are refusing to pay the Diocese
almost $30,000 a month in assessments.
That's led to Ingham delaying plans to fill a chaplain's position at
Vancouver General Hospital.
Ingham has shelved the same-sex rites while trying to set up
discussions with the dissident priests. End
4)Topic Newspaper (Synod of New Westminster)
The bishop said he would not issue the rite that then allows same sex
blessing to go ahead "until we see where this process may lead us."
Reconciliation process requested by the Canadian House of Bishops to
begin after facilitator is chosen
Bishop Michael Ingham has welcomed the request by the Canadian House of
Bishops that he engage in a process of reconciliation within the
Diocese of New Westminster.
The bishop and representatives of eight parishes in the diocese are
currently working to find a mutually acceptable facilitator for the
Priests and parishioners in eight of the diocese's 79 parishes and two
missions have protested the Diocesan Synod's decision to ask for a
blessing of same sex unions, and the bishop's consent.
The protest took the form of a walkout at the Synod meeting in June,
and continues with their refusal to pay their apportionments to the
The House of Bishops met in Mississauga from October 25 through 29 and
suggested that a mutually agreed-to facilitator enable a conversation,
and that the process should provide "safety" for all participants.
The bishop met with the Rev. Trevor Walters of St. Matthew, Abbotsford,
the Rev. David Short of St. John's Shaughnessy, Vancouver, and Michael
Bentley, rector's warden at St. John's, on October 31.
They agreed that names of persons who might act as a facilitator would
be proposed to the bishop, and that he would choose one acceptable to
All involved are to share in the cost of the facilitation, and that
they would work toward its conclusion by a definite time, possibly the
January 18 special Diocesan Synod.
"We are not talking about a labour management negotiation, we are
talking about reconciliation within the Christian community," Bishop
Ingham later told Diocesan Council.
He added that at the House of Bishops there was no attempt to rescind
or overturn the Diocesan Synod's decision, and a motion that would have
censored the diocese was withdrawn.
The bishop said he would not issue the rite that then allows same sex
blessing to go ahead "until we see where this process may lead us." He
said he wants to keep the pressure off the reconciliation process.
In response to questions at Diocesan Council, the bishop said that the
timeline was "not that of our two year dialogue."
"I think there was the hope among all of us that we should be able to
report to that Synod" at least some progress _ or whether
reconciliation is possible.
The bishop said that once the facilitator is chosen, some issues would
have to be resolved at the beginning: Who will represent the diocese?
Who will represent the parishes?
"I think there is a strong imperative that this should not just be a
discussion among clergy," said the bishop. He said he intended to enter
the discussions without pre-conditions.
To another question at Diocesan Council, the bishop said that he felt
the decision of the Rev. Timothy Cooke of St. Martin to resign because
of the same sex decision - but not attempt to take his parish out of
the diocese - was an "honourable thing to do."
Cooke met with the bishop last month to offer his resignation as rector
of the parish as of January 31. He said he would take a sabbatical then
look for work outside the diocese.
Diocesan Council has called a special Synod for January 18 to deal with
the financial fallout from the refusal of the eight parishes to pay
The focus of the Synod will be to chart a long-term financial plan for
the diocese, in line with the changed financial circumstances.
Secondarily, recommendations for changes to some canons and regulations
may come before the body.
To date, three parishes have requested to be authorized to perform
rites of blessing: St. Margaret, Cedar Cottage, and St. Paul's, both in
Vancouver, and St. Agnes, North Vancouver.
The eight protesting parishes include St. John's Shaughnessy, Church of
the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias/St. Luke in Vancouver; St. Martin's
and St. Simon's in North Vancouver.
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