A letter in Abbey News manages to misinterpret the New Westminster vs ANiC court ruling with such wilful plodding determination that it is difficult to se it as anything other than a clumsy spin:
“I intend to invite these congregations to remain in the buildings where they worship.” So wrote Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham in his recent open letter. Yet two letters to the editor printed during the first week of December suggested the diocese would be turning people out of St. Matthew’s in Abbotsford. Not so.
But the diocese has turned the priests out of the churches. When St. Matthew’s voted to join ANiC, 186 were in favour, 4 against and 5 abstained; the 186 people would hardly abandon their priests after they have taken such a stand, so Ingham has effectively turned the congregation out of their church.
Highlighted recently in local media have been the views of clergy and lay leaders who in May 2008 voluntarily left the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC). For the past 20 months these non-ACoC clergy and lay leaders have excluded ACoC clergy from the building. They have also spent a great deal of money on the unsuccessful lawsuit they started in 2008
Not entirely unsuccessful, since ANiC won the $2.2M bequest.
Not highlighted in local media have been the views of another group with an affiliation to St. Matthew’s. I refer to Abbotsford residents who are members or supporters of the ACoC. For 20 months these people have had nowhere to go in Abbotsford to attend public worship presided over by ACoC clergy. Some have continued to worship at St. Matthew’s at services led by non-ACoC clergy. Some worship in sympatico non-ACoC churches in the city. Some, like me, drive to an ACoC church in a nearby community. Others have stayed home.
One must assume that those who feel that attached to the ACoC would have turned up to vote: 4 people voted to stay in the ACoC, so this “group” MacAdams refers to is comprised of 4 people including him.
Mr. Justice Stephen Kelleher in his decision of Nov. 25, confirmed ACoC clergy should be allowed to resume using St. Matthew’s. He called on both the officers of the Diocese of New Westminster and the current leadership of the congregation to arrive at a workable resolution. I understand Bishop Ingham and diocesan officers will invite the current congregational leaders to start talking. Presumably this means a resolution which meets the needs of all concerned. Both those who are wanting to worship under the leadership of ACoC clergy and those who are not.
The trustees at St. Matthew’s were unwilling to continue under Ingham’s leadership when they had orthodox priests who could at least act as a buffer against Ingham’s heresies. Once Ingham moves his pick of priests in, for the trustees to return would be a practical application of Pr. 26:11.
Your readers should be spared incorrect allegations about people being turned out of St. Matthew’s. My hope is many of those who have stayed at St. Matthew’s will respond to Bishop Ingham’s invitation. And I hope as well they will be kind enough and generous enough to welcome newcomers, returnees and ACoC clergy to participate in public ACoC worship.
It didn’t work in Niagara, it won’t in New Westminster.