Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So much for Indaba: Bishop Ingham takes hostile action against Candian clergy and laity and their churches

Guess Bishop Ingham did not have such a marvelous time in Canterbury after all.

In fact, this is what comes to mind to be a more accurate representation of what the Bishop of New Westminster brought back with him from Canterbury. Nothing like a party before taking your ship to the bottom of the sea:

He finds his way back to Canada and exerts the sort of behavior that our ancestors in Virginia made sure would not be exhibited in this Commonwealth by Anglican bishops (or Anglican Kings for that matter) following the American Revolution. The Bishop of Virginia does not have the power to do what Bishop Ingham is threatening to do and with reason - we have long memories in Virginia. Let's just recall that little document that came out of Philadelphia that started it all - including vast reforms in the polity and philosophy of governance that was embraced by the founders of the Diocese of Virginia, including in ecclesiastical structures "before the dark times, before the empire," to quote Obi Wan.

When does the word "despot" start to make sense?

Read this memo to the clergy of the Diocese of New Westminster and decide for yourself:

Memorandum to Diocesan Clergy
From Dean Peter Elliott, Commissary
for Bishop Michael Ingham
Regarding Canon 15
at St. Matthew’s Abbotsford & St Matthias and St. Luke Vancouver
August 26, 2008

On Monday August 25, 2008, with the authorization of Diocesan Council, and in consultation with the Executive Officers of the Diocese, the Chancellor has written to the former clergy and wardens of the parishes of St. Matthews Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke Vancouver informing them that Canon 15 has been imposed and that new clergy and wardens have been appointed. I have attached a public notice of this action which has been released to the press today August 26, 2008.

This action comes, with regret, after many years of dispute with the clergy and lay leadership of these two parishes. The clergy in both parishes have relinquished their licenses as priests of the Diocese and their orders within the Anglican Church of Canada. In our polity, a parish is a creation of the diocese. Parish properties are entrusted to clergy, licensed by the diocesan bishop, to offer the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada. Loyalty to the Bishop is a key part of the oaths that clergy make at ordinations and inductions. Since the clergy no longer hold the bishop’s license, the diocese is legally required to ensure that the authorized ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada continues in those places. Canon 15 has therefore been invoked for these two parishes. Implementing this Canon is a time consuming process; hence at this time we are only proceeding with the parishes of St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke Vancouver.

What the diocese seeks now, as it has in similar cases in the past, is for a mutually agreeable date to be set for the clergy and members of the congregations who choose to affiliate with them, to vacate the properties. In anticipation of this move, the diocese is conducting an inventory to ensure that all properties of the parish are maintained in the parish buildings. After the former clergy have left the properties, the diocese is prepared to have new clergy and wardens establish a renewed presence of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Two requests come with this memo:

1. Should the media contact you for comment on this action, please refer them to Neale Adams at the Synod Office. Given that these matters may find their way into courts in the future it is important that only diocesan officials make public statements about them.

2. Please keep Bishop Michael and the Executive Officers of the diocese in your prayers as we move through this difficult period. Also, keep in your prayers those with whom we are currently in dispute.

I am proud of the life and witness of our diocese: the direction of the strategic plan endorsed by the 2008 Diocesan Synod affirms that we are committed to engaging in God’s mission in the places where we serve. We are not a congregational church — we are a diocesan church under the leadership of our bishop. We respect the diversity of views in a variety of issues within our diocese and it is important that our ministries be centered in Jesus Christ, faithful to the tradition of the Anglican Church of Canada and united under the leadership of our bishop. Thank you for your part in furthering God’s work in our diocese.

Yours in Christ,

The Very Reverend Peter G. Elliott
Dean and Commissary.
Why would anyone, anyone, willingly join an organization that operates in the manner described in this memo? I don't even think they notice how authoritarian they are.

Tip of the Tinfoil to StandFirm


Padre Wayne said...

"The clergy in both parishes have relinquished their licenses as priests of the Diocese and their orders within the Anglican Church of Canada."

Then why the angst over +Michael's inhibition? IMHO the clergy voluntarily relinquished their association with the ACoC -- the Bishop is doing little more than cleaning up the paperwork, bringing closure to what I must agree must be a difficult situation. But to blame the Bishop for the actions of the clergy is out of line. "Authoritarian"? Hardly.

Anonymous said...

Not a surprising action to be sure but perhaps an unnecessary one? Why not just issue letters dismissory or letters of tranfer to another Anglican jurisdiction of the AC? That would really acknowledge the facts on the ground and it would certainly be a more pastoral response. That's what Bishops are, right Wayne? Pastors?

BigTex AC

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this kind of stuff is not limited to the Inghams of this world. I was subjected to similar "justice" at the hands of a Common Cause Partner member for the crime of disagreeing with my priest and some of my fellow members of the church council.

Hubris and egocentrism are not restricted to the heterodox. I'm beginning to think there is something about Anglicanism that attracts the pompous and arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Ha - SF were all of 24 hours behind us on this:

Us Canucks have our ear to the ground on events N of the border!

TLF+ said...

Indaba is dead - long live Ubuntu!

Unknown said...

The deal is, some TEC diocesan bishops have been - and continue to transfer clergy from their dioceses to other provinces while the clergy remain in ministry in the U.S. So when a bishop like Ingham or Lee or Howard or O'Neill or Smith who decide to pretend that these clergy have gone to another denomination (which makes us all wonder what did they think they were doing in Canterbury for three weeks anyway?) it shows us all how deeply afraid they are. If they were not afraid - as the North was not afraid during the Civil War - they wouldn't depose the clergy, they would just wait patiently until the clergy come back to their senses as the Yankee Episcopalians did about the Rebel Episcopalians during the Civil War. The Yankees merely marked the Rebels absent - and I can't think of a conflict that could be worse than that one and yet the Yankees waited the Rebels out and the Rebels came back. And the Yankees took them back.

What we see here in these actions are bishops who are very much afraid and are striking out and acting out their fear. Perhaps deep down they are grieved - I'd like to think that - and in their grief they lash out.

Or - the lawyers are actually running all these dioceses now and it's the franchise that's at risk - or is it the fifedom?

What happened to malice toward none and charity toward all? Oh, well, what did Lincoln know? His side won.

We should keep that in mind.


Anonymous said...

"The Very Reverend Peter G. Elliott
Dean and Commissary....or COMMISAR".

"Scarlett, what have you done to make hell yawn before you?"

Ask these hirelings. They envision a Church... without people. People are always dispensable in their effort to "establish a presence". Just ignorant. Hell yawns before them.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear from the Archbishop of Cantebury, et al, who seems to be telling the Diocese of New Westminster not to continue with this action but so far hasn't spoken out about it.

I wonder how long the Diocese is going to be able to bus in enough people to pay the expenses of a big, expensive church building while paying staff and clergy.
As far as I can see they didn't do to well in Pender Harbour.