Episcopal Oversight for Dissenting Parishes Retracted

Task force to hear requests of parishes against blessing same sex unions in Canada
( [email protected] ) Nov 11, 2003 11:11 AM EST

Canada – On Nov. 7, following several days of “disciplinary” procedures from the archbishop of British Columbia, the Bishop Terry Buckle of Yukon decided to retract his initial offer to oversee dissenting parishes in the neighboring New Westminster where same sex unions were given recognition.

Despite a prohibition made by the Bishop Michael Ingham in New Westminster and the motions adopted by the House of Bishops meeting in Ontario last week, Buckle had agreed to the requests made by a group of Anglicans whom, appalled by the policies upheld in their diocese, asked Buckle to take “Episcopal oversight” of their parishes.

The first motion adopted during the four day Bishops’ conference specified that “terms and conditions for adequate provisions for Episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities” in the Anglican Church of Canada be made through the Primate “with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primate.” It also stipulated that all changes or requests be reported to the April 2004 meeting of the House of Bishops.

The second motion restricted the Bishop of Yukon from exercising Episcopal ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster and requested for the Bishop of New Minster to seek a stay of proceedings against the dissenting priests of his diocese.

In lieu of such binding laws, the metropolitan of the province over both Yukon and West Minster, Archbishop Crawley, began “disciplinary talks” with Buckle. By November 7, Buckle, who was unavailable to comment, decided “after much prayerful thought and reflection” to withdraw his initial decision.

"It is apparent to me that the way ahead in this regard is to allow a new process and … it is necessary for me to now withdraw," he wrote in a letter to the coalition of parishes called the Anglican Communion in New Westminster.

He also wrote to the parishes that he had "attempted prayerfully to lead this far,” whom to “stand strong together as (they) worked through (their) response to the Canadian house of bishops."

Consequently, Crawley suspended all disciplinary proceedings against Buckle, stating that he was “just delighted” to receive the letter.

Conservative bishop Donald Harvey of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador said he was "thankful" for the news.

"It enables the task force of the house of bishops to do its work," said Harvey.

The Anglican Church of Canada is part of the international body of believers numbering 77 million worldwide.