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Planned ordinations amount to schism, says diocesan bishop

by
21 November 2007

by Pat Ashworth

BISHOP Harvey’s first action has been to arrange the ordinations of two men in New Westminster on 2 December. The Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt Revd Michael Ingham, has explicitly withheld permission for the ceremony.

Deliberately undertaking an irregular ordination would be an act of schism, he told his diocesan council on 13 November, before news broke of Bishop Harvey’s secession but after he had received a copy of an email announcing a “service of ordination” for two men in the diocese.

The Bishop told his council that he knew nothing of these ordinations, and had delegated no other bishop to perform ordinations in his diocese.

Bishop Ingham wrote to Bishop Harvey and to a number of diocesan clergy withholding his permission. He has told the two men by letter that, if they undergo the ceremony, their ordination will not be recognised by the Anglican Church of Canada or the Anglican Communion. He has also warned ten clerics in the diocese who belong to four dissenting parishes that they may be subject to disciplinary action if they participate in the ordinations.

Bishop Ingham told the Anglican Journal on Monday: “This is full-blown schism now within the Canadian Church, and it is a direct attack upon the catholicity of the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“It is one thing to hold differing opinions, as many Anglicans obviously do, on matters of sexual ethics. It’s quite another to establish alternative ecclesial bodies, which is schism.”

He told his diocesan council: “Centuries of Christian tradition, as well as many of the Church’s canons, provide that there is just one bishop in charge in a diocese. Otherwise, the work of the Church is undermined, confusion reigns, and the Church can be diverted from its work of community outreach and care for parishioners.”

The four dissenting parishes in New Westminster walked out of the 2002 diocesan synod when it approved same-sex blessings.

The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Bishop Greg Venables, confirmed on Wednesday that Bishop Harvey was now operating in his jurisdiction: “Bishop Don is ministering under my authority. There are congregations in Canada who have been waiting more than five years for an episcopal visit from a bishop who can confirm or ordain them into the faith once delivered.Who would insist they they wait any longer?”

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