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Network moderator condemns parish ‘seizure’ in Canada

11 September 2008

by Pat Ashworth

THE MODERATOR of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), the Rt Revd Donald Harvey, has condemned the attempts of the diocese of New Westminster to “seize control of the parish properties” of clergy now under the jurisdiction of the Province of the Southern Cone (News, 29 August).

In an open letter to the Arch­bishop of Canterbury and the Pri­mates of the Anglican Com­munion, Bishop Harvey de­scribes it as ironic that the letters im­plementing “such hostile ac­tion” arrived on the same day as the Archbishop of Canter­bury’s ap­­praisal of the Lambeth Con­fer­­ence, which emphasised the need to build trust.

Bishop Harvey says he con­sulted with the Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables, before send­­ing the open letter. All ANiC’s overtures to seek a nego­tiated settlement had been re­buffed, he said. He pre­dicted that New Westminster’s latest action would almost certainly end in the courts.

The ANiC has eight parishes in British Columbia, two in Man­itoba and Newfoundland, and six in Ontario. The clergy of two parishes in British Columbia were given up to two months to hand over the keys and to cease using the prop­erty of their former parishes — an action, said the diocese, that it took with regret after many years of dispute.

“Last week’s action by [New Westminster] shows yet again that unless this pastoral forum provides immediate, equal, or greater protection from such dioceses, there can be no reason­able expectation of adequate safety,” Bishop Harvey said.

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