Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Former New Westminster clergy and lay leaders sue diocese


[Anglican Journal] 16 Sep 2008--Seventeen former clergy and former lay leaders of three parishes on Sept. 9 filed a lawsuit against the diocese of New Westminster and its bishop, Michael Ingham, over the diocese’s decision to evict breakaway priests who continue to use diocesan properties and to dismiss trustees believed to be supportive of them.

The plaintiffs have asked the B.C. Supreme Court to declare that the dismissal of the trustees is “of no force and effect,” and that the parish corporations “or, in the alternative, the trustees” and not the diocese hold the property of the parishes in trust. It also asked the court to declare that the bishop “has no jurisdiction or authority to dismiss or appoint trustees to parish corporations.” It also asked the court to issue a “permanent injunction concerning the use of the property of the parishes.”

The lawsuit was filed in response to a diocesan decision on Aug. 26 asking clergy who had left the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada because of bitter disputes over the issue of homosexuality to vacate their former parishes. The diocese also said that under a provision in its canons (church law) it was returning control of the parishes to the diocese.

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