The Bishop of New Westminster, Rt Rev Michael Ingham, has appointed new wardens and clergy for the congregations of St Simon’s Deep Cover, and Christ the Redeemer, Pender Harbour. Last June, the bishop warned the two priests that he would take control after the Rectors of both parishes had left the diocese and accepted the ecclesiastical oversight of the Archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini.
The bishop regained control of two parishes while their clergy, the Rev Ed Hird, rector of St Simon’s and the Rev Barclay Mayo, rector of Christ the Redeemer, were away at a conference held in America.
A spokesman for New Westminster diocese said: “What you will see is that the bishop has accepted the advice of diocesan council and appointed Bishop’s wardens for two parishes where the former rectors have left the Anglican Church of Canada, so that the Canadian Church’s ministry can be returned to those places.”
Mr Hird has said that: “Any attempt to disrupt the worship will not be countenanced. Our assistant priest is in charge of the services in our absence, even though the bishop has said that the Rev Sarah Tweedle has been assigned to the parish this Sunday.” They will not accede to Bishop Ingham’s demands unless he produces a court order, Mr Mayo said. “The decision is just part of the ongoing diocesan harassment of orthodox clergy and congregations and we believe it has no legal standing.”
Following the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision that Parliament could legislate for same-sex marriage to be given the same standing as heterosexual marriage, Bishop Ingham argued that there should be no latitude for private conscience as this would allow conservatives to “discriminate”. The proposed bill currently has no penalty for clergy who decline to perform the proposed rite. Bishop Ingham asserted that “tolerant’ forces would eventually compel the Church to do the right thing if legislation is enacted.
The Primates of Rwanda, Southeast Asia, Kenya, the Congo and Central Africa have denounced the action taken by Bishop Ingham against the two priests. “We are deeply concerned to hear about the recent actions of the Bishop of New Westminster,” they wrote. “He has deliberately disregarded the recommendations of the Windsor Report by his unwarranted attack on our congregations and priests in Canada.” They said that the issue would be raised at the forthcoming Primates’ meeting.