Congregational leaders of four churches aligned with the Anglican Network in Canada indicated in web statements and in letters read at worship services on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 that they intend to initiate further litigation by seeking Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. To date, the Diocese has not received formal notice of the application, nor of their intention to file.
This announcement indicates they will continue their challenge of the BC Supreme Court’s decision of November 25th, 2009, which was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal November 15th, 2010. The Courts ruled the church properties currently being used by the four congregations are to remain under the authority of the Bishop and Diocese of New Westminster for public worship in and as part of the Anglican Church of Canada, and not for the use by clergy and others who have left the Anglican Church of Canada.
The Diocese of New Westminster under the leadership of Bishop Michael Ingham is satisfied with the decisions of the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal and notes that both BC courts have upheld and supported the statutes, canons and regulations of the Diocese of New Westminster and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Bishop Ingham has offered to meet with the leaders of the four congregations to discuss how everyone can move forward in keeping with the decisions of the courts and appoint new clergy for these parishes.
Bishop Ingham and Diocesan leadership do not believe that there is any need to take any further court challenges, which will incur more expense and anxiety. However they respect the Plaintiffs’ right to request the Supreme Court to hear their case as the final legal option available to them.
The Diocese of New Westminster under Bishop Ingham’s leadership continues its mission of welcoming all people into the worship and ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada. All are encouraged and supported who seek the presence of the Divine and wish to grow in their faith as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Diocesan legal counsel will respond to all the actions initiated by the Plaintiffs (ANiC Trustees and Clergy), and under the direction of diocesan leadership will move to ensure that the decisions of the BC Courts will be acted on in the months ahead.
Counsel for ANiC will need to file their request prior to January 14th, 2011 and until filed, the Diocese is unable to make any further comment on the legal aspects of the dispute.