Yukon Bishop Faces Discipline

By De Santis, Solange | Anglican Journal, November 2003 | Go to article overview

Yukon Bishop Faces Discipline


De Santis, Solange, Anglican Journal


The controversy in the diocese of New Westminster over whether to bless gay relationships took a grave turn last month as Archbishop David Crawley moved to discipline the diocesan bishop of the Yukon, Terrence Buckle, for asserting "episcopal authority" over disaffected parishes in the Vancouver-based diocese. In a separate action, the bishop of New Westminster also struck a commission to investigate several of his clergy for alleged "disobedient and disrespectful conduct."

In the first development, Archbishop Crawley announced that disciplinary proceedings, as provided for by the church canons, had begun against the Yukon bishop. "Bishop Buckle is acting unlawfully," stated his message to the Canadian church.

Archbishop Crawley, as senior bishop in British Columbia and the Yukon, is Bishop Buckle's supervisor. In his message, he noted that the bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham, had inhibited Bishop Buckle from functioning within the diocese of New Westminster and "I ... have required Bishop Buckle to respect that inhibition."

He noted that any bishop who asserts authority within the bounds of another diocese "can be suspended, deprived of his or her position as bishop, or be deposed from the order of bishops."

Bishop Buckle's lawyer, Stanley Martin, said that no formal charge has been filed against his client. Archbishop Crawley, in an interview, acknowledged that no written charge had yet been laid against Bishop Buckle but that "they know perfectly well what (the charges) are." The procedural problem, he said, is that "General Synod canons and our provincial canons don't exactly jibe on (the disciplining of a bishop)." Under the General Synod canons, he said, "we could proceed by me having a hearing and making a decision. It would no doubt be appealed and the appeal would have to be heard by the provincial court of appeal."

The provincial canon requires that a court of appeal contain a majority of the provincial house of bishops. Currently, there are only four bishops in the province, including Bishop Ingham and Bishop Buckle. The diocese of British Columbia elected Archdeacon James Cowan as bishop on Oct. 18 but he will not be installed until next January and the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, the former diocese of Cariboo, expects to elect a bishop within a few months. …

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