Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) parishes have paid the Anglican diocese of Niagara $20,000, which it was awarded for legal costs by an Ontario Superior Court ruling.
The payment is part of an ongoing legal dispute between the diocese and three congregations that left the Anglican Church of Canada over theological issues that include blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.
The parishes joined ANiC, which is composed of churches that have decided to leave the Anglican Church of Canada over similar issues.
In May 2008, Judge Jane Milanetti ruled that the diocese of Niagara should be allowed to share the church buildings – St. George in Lowville, St. Hilda in Oakville and Good Shepherd in St. Catharines, all in southern Ontario – until the legal question of who owns the church properties is resolved. The judgment also said that the three churches must pay the diocese’s court costs.
The parishes’ lawyer filed a leave (request for permission) to appeal but it was denied and the $20,000 award to the diocese for legal costs pertained to that appeal application, said ANiC chancellor Cheryl Chang.
She said the Jan. 14 written judgment did not give reasons for the amount awarded but noted that the diocese had asked for about $80,000.
Archdeacon Michael Patterson, chief executive officer for the diocese of Niagara, said the diocese would reserve any comments until after the next judgment in the matter is made.
That ruling will determine what amount should be paid to the diocese for its legal costs in the interim possession hearing.
Ms. Chang said the diocese is claiming about $200,000 in costs for that hearing.