Bishops Michael Ingham and Terry Buckle

Bishop Michael Ingham has lifted an inhibition he imposed in February of 2003 against Bishop Terry Buckle of the Diocese of Yukon. The inhibition prohibited Bishop Buckle from engaging in any ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster. .

Bishop Ingham’s action came after Bishop Buckle wrote a letter in which he offered to serve as the bishop for parishes under the jurisdiction of Bishop Ingham, contrary to the canon law of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Eight New Westminster congregations (out of 80) subsequently voted to take up Bishop Buckle’s offer, but in November, faced with proceedings which could have led to his removal as a bishop in the Canadian Church, Bishop Buckle withdrew.

Bishop Ingham said that he had a conversation with Bishop Buckle while a meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops was taking place in Saskatoon this month, and suggested that the two men come to a reconciliation.

“He assured me of his intention to adhere to the canons and protocols of the Church with respect to diocesan boundaries and the jurisdiction of bishops,” wrote Bishop Ingham in a letter to the Canadian bishops and his diocese.

“Specifically, he declared his willingness to respect my jurisdiction as Bishop of New Westminster,” he said.

“I hope that this act will be seen as one small step toward the healing and reconciliation so badly needed in our Church,” he added. “There is much work to do in this hurting world, yet enormous energy has been spent on being at enmity with ourselves over sexuality.”

“Let the ministry of bishops, clergy and laity serve the mission of Christ, and let all of us respect the conscience of others in matters of honestly held difference,” wrote Ingham.

Removal of the inhibition means that Bishop Buckle can come into the diocese, take part in services, teach and preach, without the threat of facing disciplinary charges under canon law. Accepted practice requires that in each instance a visiting bishop inform the local bishop and seek the local bishop’s approval.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the Anglican Journal, Bishop Buckle has agreed to be chaplain to a newly-formed group called Zacchaeus, based in Vancouver, made up of people with a homosexual orientation who are either celibate by choice or who believe they have experienced a reorientation to heterosexuality due to their Christian faith.