Canadian Anglican rift deepens as two sides go to court

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The cracks in the Anglican Church of Canada are widening over the issue of blessing same-sex marriages, with three more congregations voting to split with the national organization over the weekend - and the two sides headed to court on Friday.

So far, the legal battle is limited to the diocese of Niagara in Ontario, where two congregations voted to break away last week and a third, the Church of the Good Shepherd in St. Catharines, followed suit yesterday. Two congregations in the diocese of New Westminster in B.C. - Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke, both of Vancouver - also voted to break away, bringing the total of dissident churches to 15. They have all put themselves under the authority of the Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

That traditional branch of the Anglican church does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada

11 Comments
Posted February 25, 2008 at 5:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. azusa wrote:

The way things are going, Southern Cone will have to rename itself soon - maybe ‘Southern Cone & Northern Ice’? ‘Estados Unidos y Helados Burridos’? ‘the Chosen Frozen’?
or seriously: ‘Province of the Americas’.

February 25, 6:39 am | [comment link]
2. Toral1 wrote:

Mr. Patterson said the position of the church would be the same, even in the face of a unanimous vote: The church building and its lands remain the property of the Anglican Church of Canada. He said a key consideration is that graveyards form part of the property, and that the church does not want to see that land leave its possession.

Not a great argument. No graveyards at Good Shepherd in St. Catharines.

So if there are no graveyards, the congregation can leave?

And re graveyards: is Mr Patterson thinking of “whited sepulchres”? They tend to be found in congregations composed of people like Mr Patterson.

February 25, 7:34 am | [comment link]
3. azusa wrote:

#2: Let the dead bury the dead.

February 25, 7:44 am | [comment link]
4. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

From the Globe and Mail:

That traditional branch of the Anglican church does not recognize same-sex marriages.

So I guess we’ll just have to resign ourselves to being in the “branch” defined by its rejectionist sexuality? There are a few reporters that “get it,” but even they are defeated by the headline-writers.
The Rabbit.

February 25, 9:18 am | [comment link]
5. Anvil wrote:

This is an article from Toronto’s Globe and Mail which has been known in the newspaper industry as an agressive advocate of gay rights. The fact that the coverage on the ACC church votes here is relatively unbiased shows that Essentials is getting its message out. Initially all coverage up here only focused on gay rights as a social justice issue. The heavy handed tactics of the Niagara bishops in taking immediate legal action has even left a bad taste in the mouths of their liberal supporters -and the media is beginning to pick out the real issues.

February 25, 10:20 am | [comment link]
6. Wilfred wrote:

#1 - “I’ll have a Southern Cone with white sprinkles on top.”

February 25, 11:02 am | [comment link]
7. David+ wrote:

Down here in our hot Cajun summers “snow balls” (shaved ice in a cone covered with flavored syrup) are a real treat.  My vote for a name change would be The Snow Ball Province.

February 25, 11:26 am | [comment link]
8. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Yeah, but watch out for the flavor of that syrup.
The Rabbit.

February 25, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
9. Sue Martinez wrote:

Many years ago, my rector told us that if we were asked our religion, we were never to reply that we were Episcopalians.  “You are Christians first,” he said, “then you are Episcopalian.”  He was right, of course, but it still provided a large part of my identity.  What I didn’t identify myself as was a [world-wide] Anglican in a meaningful way. Yes, I knew that the Episcopal Church was part of the Anglican Communion and we prayed for the Archbishop of Canterbury each Sunday, but it didn’t mean much to me except that I knew that if I found myself in another part of the world, I could look for an Anglican parish and receive Communion.

Over three years ago, my parish left TEC, and we were no longer Episcopalians, but Christians of the African Anglican variety. It took a period of mourning and adjustment for me. Perhaps others in separated parishes have the same feelings; it must be particularly difficult for clergy. It wasn’t a full-blown identify crisis, but I could no longer think of myself as being part of the venerable institution I had loved since childhood. (And it is just that—an institution, and it no longer exists in the form I loved.) Being an Anglican of the African variety is a big change, but not really, because I’m Christian first.)

The Anglicans who are leaving the Canadian Anglican Church will not have to redo their signage, their stationery, or their thinking, as radically as we did.  “Being African” or “being South American” will be a new opportunity for growth. There will be freedom from their familiar, but stultifying, former identity.  Even threats and lawsuits can’t quench what the Spirit will be doing in their lives!

February 25, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
10. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

It’s interesting to me that although Canada is generally more liberal than the U.S., and although the Diocese of New Westminster took the rebellious step of initiating SSB’s before the election, confirmation, and consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003, when it comes to actual realignment, the Canadians are actually trailing far behind us in America.  There are over 250 churches in the U.S. that have left TEC (quite apart from the dioceses of San Joaquin, Ft. Worth, and Pittsburth), whereas there are just 15 congregations in the whole of Canada that have done so, all of which have formally departed in the last couple weeks. 

Of course, different contexts call for different responses.  I’m not suggesting the Canadians have been procrastinating, or anything of the sort.  But on both sides of the Canadian border, the departures from TEC and the ACoC have only begun.  Still, I think it’s good news that the realignment is clearly underway and beginning to pick up momentum.  I fully expect this train to gain speed in the future.

“Let goods and kindred go…”

David Handy+

February 25, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
11. Bill in Ottawa wrote:

#10 - Despite New Westminster, we have closer to 50/50 liberal/conservative split in the House of Bishops than in TEC. We don’t have a Bob Duncan or Jack Iker among our conservative bishops, though. It may be that the more conservative bishops still feel that they can effect reform from within. It may also be that the more liberal bishops are not willing to move forward as quickly as Mr. Ingham and are waiting on the political processes through General Synod.

The fight up here is just as intense, but it has been behind the scenes until recently.

February 25, 11:21 pm | [comment link]
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