Magazine article Anglican Journal

New West Bishop (Michael Ingham) Warns off Interlopers: Says Yukon Bishop Issued `Ultimatums'

Magazine article Anglican Journal

New West Bishop (Michael Ingham) Warns off Interlopers: Says Yukon Bishop Issued `Ultimatums'

Article excerpt

After reconciliation talks broke down, the bishop of New Westminster tried to head off dissenting parishes' efforts to find themselves a new bishop and asked other bishops in Canada -- and one in particular -- to keep their noses out of the fray.

In separate moves, Bishop Michael Ingham tried to assert his authority as diocesan bishop and stave off the arrival of an outsider, or "flying bishop," to administer to eight unhappy parishes, called the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW).

Bishop Ingham wrote: to Bishop Terrence Buckle of the Yukon, warning him not to interfere in the affairs of the diocese of New Westminster and imposed inhibition, forbidding him to exercise any ministry in the diocese.

In the letter, dated Feb. 24 and released to all clergy in the diocese, Bishop Ingham accused Bishop Buckle of issuing "ultimatums and threats against the bishop and the synod of the diocese of New Westminster."

He referred to two letters written by Bishop Buckle, one of them co-signed by Bishop William Anderson, of the diocese of Caledonia, and addressed to the metropolitan (senior bishop) of the church province of British Columbia and Yukon, Archbishop David Crawley, on Feb. 11 and on Feb. 17.

"Taken together, it is clear from both these letters that you intend to commit an ecclesiastical offence by asserting `pastoral responsibility' and `episcopal jurisdiction' with the diocese of New Westminster without my permission," Bishop Ingham wrote.

Failure to abide by the inhibition, the letter added, would result in referral to Archbishop Crawley for disciplinary action. The archbishop declined comment until after a regularly scheduled provincial house of bishops meeting in late March.

Bishop Buckle said, "I remain firm in my offer of episcopal oversight with jurisdiction to the parishes that form the ACiNW and those parishes in the diocese ... that may wish to join that coalition. Parishes are on the brink of leaving the Anglican Church of Canada and that should not have to happen."

Meanwhile, Bishop Anthony Burton, of the diocese of Saskatchewan, wrote a letter to clergy in his diocese supporting Bishop Buckle's offer. In the letter, released Ash Wednesday, Bishop Burton acknowledges that he was among the conservative bishops contacted by the ACiNW for support.

"It is difficult in the circumstances not to feel a debt of gratitude to Bishop Buckle," wrote Bishop Burton.

Facilitated talks between the eight parishes, Bishop Ingham and diocesan representatives broke down in early February after three meetings. Even throughout the reconciliation process, the ACiNW worked hard to find another bishop either from within the Canadian house of bishops or from outside the country. …

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