Dissident Canadian churches accept offer of alternative oversight

March 25, 2003

Eight Canadian churches calling themselves 'The Anglican Communion in New Westminster' (ACiNW) have voted to accept an offer of 'alternative episcopal oversight' by the bishop of the Diocese of Yukon, Terrence O. Buckle.

The ACiNW churches walked out of the New Westminster diocesan synod over a disagreement with a June 2002 decision asking for a liturgical rite to bless bless same-sex relationships. Attempts at reconciliation broke off in early February.

In a letter dated February 24, New Westminster's Bishop Michael Ingham accused Buckle of issuing 'ultimatums and threats against the bishop and the synod of the Diocese of New Westminster' and imposed inhibition against Buckle, preventing him from exercising ministry within the boundaries of the diocese. Failure to abide by the inhibition of ministry would result in referral of the matter to the metropolitan (senior bishop) of the Province of British Columbia, Archbishop David Crawley, for disciplinary action.

Responding to the vote by the churches, Buckle expressed thanks for support for the proposal from seven Anglican primates, the American Anglican Council, and 12 American bishops in recent weeks.

'Although the bishop of New Westminster has so far indicated he is not open to this solution,' Buckle wrote, 'I trust he will accept the expressed will of the parishes to permit them the episcopal support and encouragement in remaining faithful to the widely accepted teachings of the Anglican church here in Canada and around the world.' Buckle said he would be speaking with fellow bishops of the Province of British Columbia later in the week.