The Anglican Church of Canada and homosexuality
Parishes leaving the Church: 2004-2007
The two provinces of the Anglican Communion in North America -- The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the
Episcopal Church, USA -- have been able to navigate many moral/theological conflicts in the past without a schism.
Notable among these have been the rejection of human slavery and the acceptance of
female ordination. Many conservative Anglicans still have great difficulty
accepting female priests and particularly female bishops because it violates the
former's concept of gender roles in society, the church and family.
A far more serious cultural change affecting the ACC has been the gradual movement in Canada towards equal acceptance of homosexuals.
This change has placed a massive strain
on the church. The main points of conflict appear to be whether gays and lesbians who are in loving, committed relationships
can be considered for ordination, and whether same-sex unions should be formally blessed
in a church ritual. The question of whether the church should somenize same-sex
marriage is the obvious next matter; it has not surfaced yet.
A schism may be inevitable,
either within the two denominations, or between the two denominations and the
rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion over equal
rights for gays and lesbians.
Anglicans have had a history of accommodating a wide diversity
of opinion within the denomination. This is one of their strengths. The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the
Episcopal Church, USA have been discussing equal acceptance of homosexuals for
decades. However when the opinion of the majority becomes translated into
action, some of those who disagree may decide to vote with their feet, and
separate from their denomination.
The New Westminster synod in British Columbia Canada voted in favor of having the church
bless same-sex relationships during 1998, 2001 and 2002. With each vote, the
margin increased. Bishop Michael
Ingham vetoed such blessings on the first two occasions. In 2002-JUN, he finally assented
with the clear will of the majority of Anglicans in his diocese. This decision
had negative world-wide repercussions throughout the
The election of
Gene Robinson, an openly gay male in a committed
same-sex relationship, as Bishop of New
Jersey was confirmed by the Episcopal Church, USA
during its 2003-AUG General Convention. By this time, many in the conservative
wing of the Anglican Church of Canada talked openly about schism. There
have been other gay bishops in the Communion in the past, but Robinson is the
first bishop to have been "out of the closet."
A possible schism in the Anglican Communion:
The worldwide Anglican Communion has divided the world geographically into 38
provinces, each under the control of a single primate. The provinces are divided
into dioceses; each has historically been under the control of a single bishop.
Each diocese is sub-divided into individual parishes. There are indications that
this orderly structure is beginning to disintegrate in both the U.S. and Canada.
Individual Canadian parishes are severing their relationship with their diocese
and joining reform groups under the control of a foreign bishop who is located some
considerable distance from the
parish. A patchwork arrangement is developing: Anglicans in a given
geographical area are divided. Some believers in a diocese are under the leadership of a
bishop recognized by the Anglican Church of Canada; others in the same
diocese are under another bishop recognized by a reform group.
If a permanent split were to occur, it will probably take the form of:
||A minority of Anglican parishes and members in Canada leaving the
Anglican Church of Canada.
||They would join a very conservative reform group.
||That minority would find itself in close agreement with the policies and
beliefs of African and Asian Anglicans who form the majority of Anglicans
||The Anglican Church of Canada would find itself in close
agreement with the policies and beliefs of the Episcopal Church, USA, but
far more liberal than most other Provinces.
2004: Four parishes left the Anglican Church of Canada:
According to ChristianWeek on 2004-APR-24, the rectors of four
parishes in the New Westminster diocese handed letters of resignation to their bishop, Michael Ingham. The four are: Barclay Mayo of St. Andrews
in Pender Harbour, Silas Ng of the Church of Emmanuel in Richmond, Ed
Hird of St. Simonís in North Vancouver and Paul Carter of Immanuel
Westside in Vancouver. They are no longer priests in the diocese. The
four parishes have joined the Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC). 1 They are under
the "Temporary Adequate Episcopal Oversight" offered by five Primates in Africa and southeast Asia:
Congo, Central Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, and SE Asia.
The primates have offered to grant oversight to any "clergy and congregation"
The rectors describe their decision as being:
"...in response to the crisis of faith and order
precipitated by the abandonment by the Diocese of New Westminster of
the unambiguous teachings of the Anglican Communion with respect to
the authority of Scripture and human sexuality."
They stated that by
accepting the African and Asian Primates' offer, the ACiC remains "in
communion" with all faithful and orthodox Christians in the Anglican
Church." The ChristianWeek
"In a statement accepting their resignations posted on the
dioceseís Web site, Ingham said he was 'glad that they have finally
clarified the situation and made it clear they are leaving the
Anglican Church of Canada of their own volition'."
Most parishioners abandon church in a fifth parish:
Most of the membership of St. Martins Anglican
Church, about 80 members, walked away from their mortgage-free building and a
$600,000 endowment fund and have started St. Timothy's Anglican Church --
a new congregation that meets in a warehouse. The group has also joined the
Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC).
St Timothy's web
site states that:
"...the congregation at St. Timothyís have
applied for affiliation with the Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC) and will
now exercise its ministry under the Temporary Adequate Episcopal Oversight
offered by the Primates of Rwanda, Congo, SE Asia, Kenya and Central Africa. The
ACiC affiliation will afford them fellowship and communion with other faithful
Anglicans and Anglican Churches across Canada and North America who are facing
similar challenges. Their new Bishop will be the Rt. Rev. Thomas (TJ) Johnston,
an Anglican Mission in America Bishop from Little Rock Arkansas."
Paul Carter, an ACiC spokesperson, said:
"They could see no future within
the Anglican Church of Canada and that's when some of them said, 'We want to
stay Anglican, but we we're going to go the circuitous route to Canterbury via
the ACiC and licensed priests from the Province of Rwanda'."
They chose "St. Timothy" as the name of their church because he was a
companion of St. Paul during the first century CE and is remembered as a Defender of the Gospel."
This is the role that they see themselves fulfilling in Canada. They plan to
reach out to other conservative Anglicans and potential Anglicans in Greater
Vancouver's North Shore area. Spokesperson Peter Haigh said:
"In planting a new church we wish to foster a growing
vibrant congregation that brings and welcomes people of all ages,
giving strong emphasis to youth and young families through our Youth
and Church School programs. Our new church is to be purpose driven,
deeply rooted in Biblical truth with historical Anglican faith and
practice in its worship, supporting one another in growth to
spiritual maturity, fellowship, ministering to each other and
reaching out to the community in which we live." 5,6
About the Anglican Coalition in Canada (ACiC):
The ACic was founded as the Anglican Communion in Canada in 2002-JUL. The Anglican Church of Canada's national
office asked its legal counsel to research the legal title to the term "Anglican
Communion" which forms part of the ACiC's full name. The national
church has always regarded itself as representing the Anglican
Communion in Canada. In 2005, Corporations Canada required ACiC to
change its name. It has since been called the Anglican Coalition in Canada,
with the same acronym ACiC.
The ACiC describes itself as:
"...a fellowship of ministries and local
congregations who have accepted Temporary Adequate Episcopal Oversight (TAEO) as
offered by a panel of International Archbishops (Primates) within the Anglican
Communion, thereby maintaining communion with the majority of Anglicans
world-wide while being distinct from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). This
means pastoral care from bishops and archbishops who submit to the authority of
Scripture, adhere to the Faith once delivered to the saints, and are committed
to Jesus Christ and the expansion of His Kingdom."
implication is that the ACC no longer follows "Scripture" and the
2004-AUG-23, The ACiC's web site was in the very early stages of construction. They had three registered users and no articles posted to their
Forum. Three of their home page's menu options -- their list of parishes,
documents, and faith statements -- are blank. So were their E-mail directories,
"What's New? section, events calendar, etc. By 2007-MAR, their website
still lacked some functions. AS of 2008-FEB, they listed 13
congregations affiliated with the ACIC: nine in British Columbia, two in
Saskatchewan one in Ontario, and one in Quebec.
It is not clear where the ACiC stands on female ordination: whether they
would consider qualified female candidates for ordination or whether they will recognize
existing ordinations from women priests who want to transfer to the ACiC, etc.
We have been unable to find either an Email contact or a postal address on their
website, so we are unable to determine their position on this and other matters.
The ACiC is in close fellowship with the Anglican Mission of America which
currently has a "moratorium on the ordination of women until a consensus
emerges within the Anglican Communion that can be declared to be such by a
Lambeth Conference." At this time, most Anglican Provinces ordain female
priests, but this is far from a consensus. The Anglican Mission of America
(AMiA) issued a report on female ordination in 2003-JUL. They have suggested
eight "possible solutions" ranging from a complete denial to a complete
acceptance of ordination for women as deacons, presbyters and bishops.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Marites N. Sison, "Who owns the name 'Anglican'? Question is raised:
'what's in a name?," Episcopal News Service, 2004-MAY-26, at:
Most Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung, et al., "An offer of temporary adequate
Episcopal oversight," at:
Frank Stirk, "Anglican parishes form new orthodox network,"
Christian Week, 2004-APR-27, at:
- The Orthodox Members of St. Martin's Have formed St. Timothy's Church, A
member of the Anglican Communion in Canada," St. Martins, at:
"Vancouver area church dismisses former Anglican Bishop and joins the
ACiC," St Timothy's Anglican church, undated, at:
"Dissenting Anglicans start new 'biblically-based' church; Ex-St. Martin's members put faith ahead of property,"
St. Timothy's Anglican Church, undated, at: http://www.st-timothy.com/
The Anglican Communion in Canada's web site is at:
http://www.acicanada.ca/ Their address is
1655 West 41st Ave., Vancouver, BC, V6M 1X9. Phone is: (604) 222-4486. They do
not seem to list a Fax line or E-mail address.
Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers et al., "A report of the study concerning the
ordination of women undertaken by the Anglican Mission in America,"
Copyright © 2004 & 2008 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2008-MAR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson