Parishioners at St. Matthew's Church in Abbottsford, B.C. are feeling "pain and anger" that their chosen speaker for century celebrations has been banned from participating by their bishop.
St. Matthew's had invited Most Rev. Moses Tay, primate of Southeast Asia, to speak at 100th anniversary celebrations Oct. 28, 2000.
However, when the parish sought permission on behalf of Archbishop Tay for his participation, Bishop Michael Ingham refused, because he would "not be a unifying force in this diocese." (Clergy visiting another diocese require the permission of the bishop to function in that diocese.)
In a June 3 letter to the rector of St. Matthew's, Rev. Trevor Walters explaining his decision, Bishop Ingham said that he did not "want to see any episcopal ministry exercised here which might disturb my efforts to create a climate of dialogue and mutual listening among members of the diocese."
In a telephone interview with the Journal, Bishop Ingham said his two main concerns about Archbishop Tay were his "aggressively anti-homosexual stance" and comments he made during his last visit to British Columbia 10 years ago about totem poles in Stanley Park.
Archbishop Tay was one of the most outspoken conservative bishops at the Lambeth Conference last year. He opposed a Lambeth motion saying all parts of the church should discuss the issue because, he said "we don't want any polluting literature" in the church in Singapore.
On a previous visit to B.C., Archbishop Tay said totem poles represented evil spirits and he invited people to pray for exorcism.
These actions and others prompted the rejection, said Bishop Ingham. "Both our relationships with aboriginals and our discussions around gay and lesbian spirituality would make his presence difficult," he said. Bishop …