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A Statement from
the Right Reverend Michael Ingham,
Bishop of New Westminster

January 14, 2011

I was saddened today to learn that 22 individuals in 4 congregations have taken their claim to ownership of Anglican Church properties to the Supreme Court of Canada.

This is a costly and divisive decision that will consume even more of the time, energy, and money that should be used for the mission of the Church. Already this unnecessary dispute has caused us to cut back on our chaplains ministering to patients at St. Paul’s and Vancouver Hospitals, as well as our support for the Church in the North and for our worldwide partners throughout the Anglican Communion.

It marks a refusal to accept the unanimous rulings of the Supreme Court of BC and the Appeal Court of BC. These courts have upheld the integrity of church structures, Canon Law, and our historic traditions of governance. This legal action today seeks to overturn all that in an effort to reject the decisions of our Synod to bless gay and lesbian Christians in permanent, faithful, and lifelong unions.

We remain a Church that welcomes all people who seek a deeper knowledge of God. We remain committed to human dignity and mutual respect, to social justice and lifelong faithfulness in love. This Diocese is home to Christians of traditionalist conscience as well as Christians whose ethics now embrace those who were once rejected. No one is required to act against their conscience. I have asked only that we respect one another and get on with the work of mission.

Once more, I appeal to members of these 4 congregations to remain in the buildings where they worship. My duty is to replace the clergy who have abandoned their ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada. No one need choose between their faith and the buildings they love. I again ask the trustees and leaders of these congregations to meet with me and plan an orderly transition of ordained ministry so we can move past this debilitating conflict.
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