Bishop pulls licences of priests for ‘abandonment of ministry’

By on February 1, 2005

Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster has revoked the licences of four priests when they failed, after three months, to respond to a notice of presumption of abandonment of
ministry. The bishop said he was “left with no alternative” but to confirm that they had, indeed, abandoned their ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada.

Formal notices of abandonment of ministry were sent last Nov. 30 to four clergy: Rev. Paul Carter, who was previously on leave without permission to officiate from the diocese; Rev. Ed Hird, former rector of St. Simon’s, North Vancouver; Rev. Barclay Mayo, former rector of St. Andrew’s, Pender Harbour; and Rev. Silas Ng, former incumbent of the Church of the Emmanuel, Richmond. The four announced their departure from the Canadian church in spring 2004 and formed a fellowship called the Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC). They were originally part of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW), a group of parishes, lay people and clergy who left the diocese after its synod approved the blessing of same-sex unions in 2002.

“You have chosen not to respond to that notice, either directly or through your counsel,” Bishop Ingham said in a letter to the priests. “It is with regret that I must now exercise my right, pursuant to Canon XIX (2)(d) to affirm your abandonment of the exercise of ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada.”

With their licences declared null and void, the four men no longer have the right to exercise the office of priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, including “the spiritual authority as a minister of word and sacraments” conferred in ordination, said Bishop Ingham.

All metropolitans and diocesan bishops of the Canadian church were sent a copy of the notices in accordance with General Synod Canon XIX (2) (f).

In a statement, Mr. Hird said that he and other members of ACiC are “canonically resident” in the Anglican province of Rwanda and are licensed by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, primate of Rwanda, and are, therefore, in “another provincial jurisdiction within the international Anglican Communion.”

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