Diocesan Council at its October meeting declared that while it welcomes a diversity of Anglican views, people and groups working to undermine the Anglican Church of Canada and the diocese are to be opposed.
In a resolution that took time and discussion to craft, the 40-member body that governs the diocese between Diocesan Synods said that it encourages parishes, clergy, and parishioners who wish to do so to support Anglican groups “that reflect their views and operate within the Anglican Church of Canada.”
But individuals and groups working to set up alternative church structures are not welcome, and it named the recently formed “Anglican Network in Canada” as one of these.
It asked Bishop Michael Ingham, after consulting with the regional archdeacon, regional dean, and a diocesan legal officer, “to take such actions as he may consider necessary with respect to any licensed clergy or any parish of the diocese who should choose to declare themselves to be a member of the . . . Essentials Network.”
The Rev. Dale Yardy of St. John’s, Sardis, asked what the practical implications of the resolution might be.
No direct answer was given to the question, and Bishop Ingham was not at the council meeting. The bishop was attending a meeting of the Executive Committee of the American Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, to which he is a official observer from the Canadian church.
Executive Archdeacon Ronald Harrison, who was serving as acting bishop, said that the purpose of the resolution – which had been brought forward by the diocese’s archdeacons – was to “bring clarity.”
|Archdeacon John Bailey proposes the motion on behalf of the diocesan archdeacons at Diocesan Council in October|
The resolution came to the council from a meeting of the diocese’s archdeacons. Archdeacon Louis Rivers of St. Christopher’s, West Vancouver, told the council that other bishops in Canada had taken steps to oppose the Essentials Network on their own, including the bishops of British Columbia and Brandon, but Bishop Ingham wished to consult the Diocesan Council first.
In the Canadian church, the Essentials movement dates to a meeting of Anglicans who considered themselves “orthodox” in belief. Recently, Anglican Essentials Canada, as the group now calls itself, has divided itself into two branches.
One is the Essentials Federation, which includes Anglicans who want to continue to work within the Anglican Church of Canada.
The other is the Essentials Network, which includes those who do believe they are in impaired or broken communion with the Canadian church or their diocesan bishops. On a website the Essentials Network states it is setting up what could become a separate church structure. “in the event the Anglican Church of Canada walks apart from the global Communion and such a structure is required by the [conservative] Primates as necessary to repair the tear in the fabric…”
The Essentials Network also includes members of the “Anglican Communion in Canada” which has formally left the Canadian church, including several priests and congregations once within the diocese.
As originally presented, the resolution encouraged those who wished to join the Essentials Federation (as opposed to the “Network”) to do so, if it reflected their views.
However, several council members expressed concern about the close cooperation of the two groups – the Network and the Federation – including a statement that the resources of Anglican Essentials Canada will be used to support the work and mission of both the Network and Federation.
“It seems to me these two (groups) are quite alike,” said Marcia Sauder of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale.
So council deleted a direct reference to the Essentials Federation and substituted a more general support of organizations that operate within the Canadian Church.
The resolution passed with two abstentions and one member opposed – Brian Strehler of St. James, Vancouver, who objected to the lack of notice before the resolution was put to council members at the meeting.
Motion passed by the council:
Diocesan Council Meeting, October 11, 2005
WHEREAS the evangelical tradition plays a welcome role within both this Diocese and Province as an expression of our life together in Christ within the Anglican Church of Canada and
WHEREAS there has been established an Essentials Federation known as "Anglican Essential Canada (Federation) whose stated purposes include "the promotion of evangelism", "t mobilize prayer for the renewal of the Anglican Church of Canada" and "to help co-ordinate the vision and determination of orthodox Anglicans in Canada to remain faithful to the truth of the Gospel"; and
WHEREAS there has also been established or incorporated an entity known as the "Essential Network" or otherwise as the "Anglican Network in Canada" which seeks to operate outside th structures of the Anglican Church of Canada and to seek to promote an alternate Anglican structure in Canada opposite to the General Synod of Canada, our Primate and our House o Bishops, both National and Provincial, as well as our own Diocesan structure and Communion with Canterbury through our Bishop, the Primate and the Province of Canada; and
WHEREAS there has also been incorporated and established an entity known as the "Anglican Communion in Canada" whose Priests and Parishes have declared themselves to bi Missionaries of the Diocese of Rwanda in North America and who are active members of the Essentials Network;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT this Council:
1. Encourages those Parishes, Clergy and Parishioners, who wish to do so, to support organizations that reflect their views and that operate within the Anglican Church of Canada and are not working to set up alternative ecclesial structures.
2. expresses its opposition to the establishment and operation of the Essentials Network, also known as the Anglican Network in Canada, as well as the Anglican Communion in Canada; and
3. asks the Bishop to communicate to both the National House of Bishops and the Provincial House of Bishops this Resolution; and
4. requests that the Bishop, in consultation with the appropriate Regional Archdeacon and Regional Dean, as well as a Diocesan legal officer, take such actions as he may consider necessary with respect to any licensed Clergy or any Parish of the Diocese who should choose to declare themselves to be a Member of the Anglican Network m Canada or the Essentials Network or the Anglican Communion in Canada, whether by formal resolution or by other public actions or declarations, both to direct their attention to this Resolution as well as to preserve the integrity of our Communion with Canterbury through this Diocese, this Province and the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.