Skip to comments.Anglican Network in Canada adds churches
Posted on 03/27/2006 12:26:07 PM PST by sionnsar
Until recently, only individuals were joining the Anglican Network in Canada. Now six churches across the country have joined and four others in New Westminster are prepared to take that step.
by Sue Careless The Anglican Planet
Membership in the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), according to Network literature, is for those "who are in a state of 'serious theological dispute' or impaired or broken communion with the Anglican Church of Canada or their diocesan bishop," and who "wish to be recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the global Primates of the Anglican Communion."
Almost a dozen churches have joined, or soon will join, the Anglican Network in Canada. Some of the priests in those parishes: (Top Row L to R) Trevor Walters, Simon Chin, Archie Pell, Alex Lewanowicz, (Bottom Row) Stephen Leung, James Wagner, David Short.
Holy Cross, Abbotsford, was the first to join. The church had been a mission project of the Diocese of New Westminster but when church members objected to the diocese blessing same-sex unions, and then proceeded to accept the offer of alternative episcopal oversight from Terry Buckle, Bishop of the Yukon, the diocese cut all funding to the mission. The diocesan council then formally voted to "terminate" the mission in the fall of 2003, effectively removing any legal status of the congregation and severing its connection with the ACC. The blow came just days before Christmas, 2003, when the bishop delivered his decision to the mission but the congregation and its priest, Rev. James Wagner, have soldiered on together.
"Holy Cross effectively became an ANiC affiliate when we made an application that was later approved by the provincial and federal governments for society and not-for-profit status," said Wagner. "We named the ANiC and the moderator as the body we would consult in the event that the congregation made any plans to hire a priest. That application was submitted in January 2005 and accepted shortly afterward."
Last October, the vestry of Christ Church, Hope near Chilliwack, voted 65% to join the Network. In January, Bishop Ingham removed the incumbent, Rev. Archie Pell, effective immediately. Pell was able to negotiate a severance package that permitted him to take early retirement effective Feb.1 and have his medical benefits reinstated. His benefits had been terminated by the bishop in 2005 without notice or consultation with the priest or congregation. His removal did not deter two-thirds of the congregation from leaving the church building and worshipping in another facility in town when they learned of his dismissal. That group, calling itself the Church of the Resurrection, considers itself a Network church. Pell and his wife, Barbara, are instructors at Regent College.
Then in February, two churches in Alberta: St. Peter's, Okotoks, south of Calgary (Rev. Paul Orritt), and St. Barnabas, Medicine Hat (Rev. Gene Packwood) and two churches in Ontario: St. Alban's, Ottawa (Rev. George Sinclair), and St. Andrew's, Vars, and Trinity, Bearbrook (Rev. Alex Lewanowicz) which share a single vestry also voted to join the Network. Vars and Bearbrook are communities east of Ottawa. Their vestry vote was unanimous with one abstention. Of the four parishes, St. Alban's has the largest average Sunday attendance with about 160 people.
In addition, the vestries (or Annual General Meetings) of four churches in the Vancouver area authorized their trustees to seek affiliation with the Network "in a manner and at a time that maintains unity with the other parishes of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster, while awaiting adequate episcopal oversight being developed by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Panel of Reference...."
All four vestry votes were unanimous with a few abstentions.
The four churches and their priests in charge are: St. Matthew's, Abbotsford (Rev. Trevor Walters), St. John's (Shaughnessy), Vancouver (Rev. David Short), St. Matthias and St. Luke, Vancouver (Rev. Simon Chin) and the Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver (Rev. Stephen Leung). The latter two churches offer services in English and Cantonese, with a Mandarin translation and fellowship as well as a Japanese service at St. Matthias and St. Luke. St. John's (Shaughnessy) has the largest average Sunday attendance of any Anglican church in Canada: 748 adults with an additional 160 children in the Sunday school.
Each of the four vestries claimed that "this parish recognizes with regret that there is a serious theological dispute between this parish and our diocesan bishop" and "confirms that this parish remains within the Anglican Church of Canada."
At the St. John's (Shaughnessy) vestry, it was mentioned that a legal defence fund with a commitment of $1million was being established in case the diocesan bishop took legal action against the parishes. In October 2005, the Diocese of New Westminster passed a motion essentially outlawing membership in the Network and requesting the bishop, in consultation with the Chancellor and others, to take such action as he deemed "necessary" against any clergy or parish that declared itself to be a member of the Network. Ironically, in the same month, the Archbishop of Canterbury publicly declared members of the Network to be in full communion with him.
The Network, which is part of Anglican Essentials Canada, states that it will work "in submission" to the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury "during any suspension or removal of the Anglican Church of Canada from the Anglican Communion."
When contacted for comment, Cheryl Chang, Executive Director of ANiC, said "This was a very difficult decision for each of the parishes to make and it was done after much thoughtful and prayerful consideration. However, joining ANiC is seen to be the only way these parishes can be recognized internationally as remaining in full communion with our brothers and sisters around the world."
Chang continued, "When people understand that the Anglican Church of Canada has been suspended from participation in the [Anglican Consultative Council of] the Anglican Communion, that 22 Primates have declared impaired or broken communion with the bishop and diocese of New Westminster, and that those same Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury have declared full communion with members of the Network, they feel that joining the Network allows them to fully express their orthodox Anglican faith and commitment to global Anglicanism."
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