Anglican Samizdat

November 25, 2009

ANiC loses buildings in New Westminster court battle

The judgement is here

No doubt lawyers will be dissecting the judgement over the next few weeks, but the following statement from the judgement seems fairly clear:

A parish does not have authority to unilaterally leave the Diocese, and it is consequently ultra vires for it to pass a resolution purporting to do so. Additionally, while parish corporations may hold title to real property, the effect of s. 7(4)(a) is that that property effectively remains within the Diocese unless the Executive Committee and Bishop agree to mortgage, sell or otherwise dispose of it. In using the church properties for purposes related to ANiC, the parish corporations are using them outside the jurisdiction of the Diocese, and, indeed, the ACC. In my view, this is sufficient to bring the properties within the ambit of s. 7(4)(a) such that the consent of the Executive Committee and Bishop is necessary. As that consent is obviously not forthcoming, the properties remain with the Diocese.

A not particularly surprising view by a secular judge.

Another section says:

The evidence is clear that the ACC remains in communion with the Anglican Communion: the ACC remains in Communion with the See of Canterbury; it was invited to send its bishops to the Lambeth Conference in 2008 and those who were able to attend, did; it continues to participate as a full member in the Anglican Consultative Council; and, it continues to participate in Primates’ meetings. I observe, as well, that the Archbishop of Canterbury affirmed in February 2008 that his “office and that of the Anglican Communion recognize one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitutive member of the Communion, the Anglican Church of Canada”.

Clearly Rowan Williams’ reluctance to discipline heretical Canadian and TEC dioceses has not helped ANiC’s case. It will be interesting to note how far this judgement is seen as a green light for the ACoC to chart new waters of apostasy in its General Synod of 2010.

I imagine this does not bode well for any of the ANiC parishes who are legally contending for their buildings.  But, as Primate Bob Duncan says, “And we’ll have the souls and they’ll get the stuff. We’ll get the future, they’ll get the past. I’d rather have the souls and the future.”

For my part, I think that is not such a bad deal; if – as seems not unlikely – my parish family ends up being thrown out of its building, as far as I am concerned it will be a time to stiffen the spine, be firmly united, look to the future, trust in God, and rejoice in the reality of the salvation that Jesus offers through his atoning sacrifice on the cross.

Coincidentally, this Sunday is St. Hilda’s 50th anniversary celebration; I have a feeling that it is going to be a wonderful time of worship because, regardless of the plans of man, God will be there.



  1. I am a loss to see why a “secular judge” would be any more likely than a “Christian judge” to take the view you mention in the first paragraph. There is nothing about it that has anything to do with doctrine, orthodox or otherwise. It’s simple logic, really. The Anglican Church of Canada has never been a congregational church.

    Comment by Toral — November 26, 2009 @ 6:15 am

  2. I would not necessarily look upon this as a bad precedent for other ANiC parishes. The situation differs elsewhere in the country. In the Maritimes, for example, the parishes typically predate the existence of the Diocesan synods and are separately and individually incorporated in their own right. In contrast to the authority this decision accords to the Diocese of New Westminster, other dioceses have very little legal power over the affairs of their parishes.

    Comment by statguy — November 26, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  3. It is simple. Thou shalt not steal. End of story

    Comment by jim stevenson — November 28, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

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