Thursday, June 13, 2002

Vancouver BC Calls for Help

(Because of the autonomy of each province there is little, as we have found over the last decade, that the A of C and the Primates can do...even if they so wished..., thus I see no remedy in sight for the minority in BC; but they can claim all the promises in the Good BOOK given to those who faithfully wait upon the Lord in tribulation... and in so doing they will prosper in tribulation.)

Vancouver, BC Canada

June 2002

An Open Appeal to George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury
And the Primates of the Anglican Communion

Dear Archbishops,

We greet you in the name of the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit.

We, as clergy of the diocese of New Westminster in the
ecclesiastical province of British Columbia (part of the Anglican Church
of Canada), are appealing to you for the provision of alternative
episcopal oversight as per the provisions of Lambeth (1998) for
intervention in cases of pastoral emergency which cannot be addressed
within a province.

We make our appeal for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ that we believe and have been entrusted with. As pastors and
shepherds of God's flock we are being pressured to conform on matters
that we believe compromise the Gospel message and we cannot in
conscience agree. We appeal to you also on behalf of our flocks whom we
have been entrusted to shepherd; in the words of our ordering as
priests, we have been called to be "messengers, watchmen, and stewards
of the Lord." As such we appeal to you to aid us in the "defense and
confirmation of the Gospel" (Philippians 1:7).

Our diocesan bishop, Michael Ingham, has presented us with
a proposal. He tells us that he intends to give his consent to a motion
recently passed by our diocesan synod that calls for the blessing of
same-sex couples and another motion that calls for the drawing up an
Anglican rite for the use of clergy in services of the same.

He has offered those of "traditional conscience" a "conscience clause"
which would (for the time-being) protect conservatives from having
personally to be involved in these blessings. He has also offered us a
temporary form of Episcopal oversight which would be completely at his
discretion and subject to removal at will.

Bishop Michael has also told the delegates to the up-coming
synod on 14-15 June 2002 that he is making these proposals with the
support of both our Archbishop, David Crawley, and with the support of
Michael Peers, the Primate of the Canadian Church. (To date, neither
Archbishop Crawley nor Archbishop Peers have disputed this public

We have consulted with a number of Canadian bishops who are
dismayed at these events and have followed their advice.
Representatives of a number of orthodox clergy in this diocese have met
with Archbishop Crawley to discuss the pastoral emergency, with no
substantial results. We have reasoned with our bishop not to so
proceed, but to no avail.

Our bishop has threatened to withdraw the licenses of those
clergy unable to live with these innovations in Anglican moral
teaching. We thus find ourselves in an impossible position in regards
to our diocesan, our Archbishop and our Primate. We appeal to you to
intervene to protect the clergy and congregations in this diocese who
want to maintain the doctrines and discipline of the Anglican Communion
as we have received them and to respect the resolutions of the 1998
Lambeth Conference.

For the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those
committed to our charge, we would request that you intervene in this
situation in accordance with the Lambeth Resolution which foresaw such
an event. Attached please find a document entitled "Background and
Commentary on the Appeal to the Archbishops" that provides documentation
concerning these matters.

Yours in Christ,


The Revd. Dr. Trevor Walters

cc. Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
David Crawley, Archbishop of British Columbia
Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster

Background and Commentary on the Appeal to the Archbishops

The Diocese of New Westminster, within the Anglican Church of Canada,
faces an imminent crisis where actions by the Bishop, Michael Ingham,
will have not just a Diocesan or national effect, but will present major
consequences for the world-wide Anglican Communion. The following is a
brief statement of the nature and development of the crisis and an
urgent appeal for international assistance according to the
responsibilities given to the Primates' Committee by Resolution III 6 b,
for Episcopal 'intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are
incapable of internal resolution within Provinces.' (Lambeth 98
Resolution III. 6. b)

The Diocese of New Westminster, after several years of controversy,
dialogue, and lobbying regarding the blessing of homosexual unions finds
itself in irresoluble division on the issue, as its Synod approaches the
hour of decision, 13 - 15 June, 2002. Conservatives have attempted to
recall the Diocese to the Scriptural teachings and traditions of the
Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as reaffirmed clearly in the
Lambeth 1998 meeting of Bishops. Revisionists, with the full support of
the Bishop and Diocesan resources, have obtained bare majorities for
their cause in the past two Synods, the largest margin being 56.5%. The
Bishop withheld his consent to wait for a larger consensus, which he
specified as 60%, while also counselling the conservatives to adjust to
their minority status and to count on his provision of fair treatment.

With Synod approaching, and with controversial Motions in place
regarding homosexual blessings and Alternative Episcopal Oversight
(Appendix I), conservative clergy sought the counsel of Canadian
Bishops, who advised discussing the provision of Alternative Episcopal
Oversight with our Metropolitan, Archbishop David Crawley. A Petition
was prepared setting out our case (Appendix II) and presented to the
Metropolitan on 23 May.
On the same day Bishop Michael presented 'A Proposal To Address
Pastoral Needs Within the Diocese of New Westminster' to a meeting with
conservative clergy (Appendix III), which conveyed the Bishop's decision
to give consent to a rite for the blessing of homosexual unions, to
operate at the local option of parishes and their incumbents. He also
offered a conscience clause to protect laity and clergy who opposed this
innovation, and a temporary Episcopal Visitor under his appointment and
authority with functions limited to the provision of pastoral care to
those parishes and clergy who desired and voted for it. The Bishop
suggested that his proposal would end the need for Synod to address the
controversial motions, both for homosexual blessings and Alternative
Episcopal Oversight. Clergy who could not comply with the new regime
were warned in the Bishop's proposal that they could lose their
licenses. The conservative clergy were required by the Bishop to respond
by 6 June.

Conservative clergy and laity concluded that this innovation was so
offensive to Scripture and Anglican tradition as to be beyond the remedy
of a conscience clause (Appendix IV). Also, they found the minimalist
nature of the Bishop's proposed Episcopal Visitor to hold no attraction.
Accordingly they responded to the Bishop in a meeting on 6 June
(Appendix V), where their opposition was explained again, together with
their resolve to remain loyally within the Anglican Communion according
to the vows they had undertaken. They also advised the Bishop that they
found his threat to remove licenses unacceptable and that if he gave his
consent to the implementation of rites for homosexual unions they would
find themselves in a state of impaired communion, being forced to appeal
to Anglican Primates for external Episcopal intervention under Lambeth
98 Resolution III. 6. b.

The Bishop gave no accommodation in the meeting but rather treated the
conservative clergy as mutinous, threatened they would all lose their
licenses if they persisted, and advised that he would implement the
homosexual rite even failing the previously specified 60% Synod
majority. Indeed, even before awaiting the response from the clergy he
had required by 6 June, the Bishop had on 4 June written to all Synod
delegates outlining his proposal of 23 May, suggesting this was an
acceptable means of surmounting the Diocesan impasse and dispensing with
the controversial resolutions, while warning against other unofficial
proposals calling for the partition of the diocese along theological
lines (Appendix VI). Refusing to countenance what he termed 'the
balkanization of the diocese,' or 'the weakening of the episcopate in
Canada,' the Bishop claimed to have discussed his proposal 'with both
the Primate [Michael Peers] and the Metropolitan, and have their support
in bringing it forward.'

In light of the impasse in this Diocese, and the desire of its many
conservative laity, priests, and parishes to remain as loyal members of
the Anglican Communion, subscribing fully to the tenets of our
Scriptural teaching and Episcopal tradition, we would petition faithful
and Godly Primates to assist us in our hour of need according to the
pattern set out in Lambeth 98 Resolution III. 6. b. Failing such remedy,
we are likely to see our Chinese Parishes and others join a new Anglican
Mission in Canada.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor,
England & Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large
of The Prayer Book Society of America

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