The Diocese of Niagara and ANiC have come to a new “sharing” agreement for the three ANiC parishes that were taken to court by the diocese in 2008: the diocese gets exclusive use of St. George’s and ANiC gets exclusive use of St. Hilda’s and Good Shepherd until the building ownership is finally settled. And the diocese has to start paying its bills – finally, maybe…. the cheque’s in the mail.
The court ruling of May 2008 stated that ANiC and the Diocese of Niagara had to share the three buildings; each had a timeslot to conduct a service. The diocese advertised healing and rebuilding services:
We are grateful and give thanks that Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Niagara, services will resume at the parish churches of St. George’s, Lowville, St. Hilda’s, Oakville, and The Church of the Good Shepherd, St. Catharines.
“These are services of healing and rebuilding and we hope will be attended by returning and continuing parishioners.” We hope that all who wish to worship in an Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Niagara service will feel welcome.
There wasn’t much healing or rebuilding since there was no congregation at all at St. Hilda’s, a very small congregation in Good Shepherd – which was non-viable in the opinion of its priest in charge – and a small congregation in St. George’s.
It seems that the diocese has abandoned the fantasy of rebuilding congregations in Oakville and St. Catherines; unfortunately the diocesan leadership has not abandoned its intention of seizing the buildings:
We are now anticipating moving this legal case forward here in Niagara and to have this matter settled so that we may continue in our mission and ministry.
If the diocese eventually wins the battle over the ANiC buildings, the mission and ministry will primarily involve bulldozers, since the properties will be sold to provide cash to bolster a financially troubled diocese, pay the expensive diocesan lawyers and keep the diocesan leadership employed.