Two priests who said last spring they had left the Anglican Church of Canada have failed to formalize their departure, the diocese's chief legal officer told the Diocesan Council last month.

Chancellor George Cadman said that the normal procedure when priests want to leave the church is for them to follow canon 19 of the national Church and sign and submit a "relinquishment of the exercise of the ministry." The form is set out in the national canons (church bylaws).

However a lawyer representing the Revs. Barclay Mayo and Ed Hird, formerly the rectors of St. Andrew Pender Harbour and St. Simon's North Vancouver, wrote the chancellor that he was "not to presume" that the two priests wished to sign the relinquishment form.

"If that meant they're reconsidering, I'd be happy to facilitate a meeting with the bishop _ with or without lawyers present," Cadman told Diocesan Council.

He said that if the priests do confirm their stated intention to leave, the diocese may have to take action to take possession of the parish buildings.

Those Anglicans in the two communities who wish to worship in a local parish that is part of the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada should be able to do so, he said.

Meanwhile, members from another congregation which appears to have abandoned the diocese, Emmanuel Church in Richmond, failed to appear at the council meeting despite an invitation to attend.

Cadman said the congregation had been served notice that a motion to close Emmanuel as a parish of the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada would be brought forward at the October Diocesan Council meeting.

When no one appeared from Emmanuel, the motion passed without debate. Under diocesan canons, closing the parish will require a second vote at this month's council meeting.

Emmanuel Parish was established as a Cantonese language diocesan mission in 1996, and was supported by the diocese at a cost of about $300,000 over four years until it became a parish. It shared space with St. Alban's, Richmond, paying rent, and owned no real estate.

After Diocesan Synod voted to ask the bishop to authorize a rite of same sex blessing, Emmanuel's congregation left St. Alban's and rented other space in the community. When it left, Emmanuel's average Sunday congregation numbered about 220.