The parish of St. Martin’s, North Vancouver, which earlier joined a coalition of parishes opposed to a diocesan synod resolution allowing same-sex blessings in the diocese of New Westminster, has began repaying its assessments as a “full and active member” of the diocese and is now in the process of hiring a priest.
But some parishioners are protesting the decision, announced during Sunday services on Jan. 11, saying they were not consulted about it in a vestry meeting. They say they will take the matter to court and gave Bishop Michael Ingham a deadline of Feb. 23 to allow the church to control its own affairs or they will seek a decision from the British Columbia Supreme Court, according to the Vancouver Province newspaper.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Buchanan, one of the church’s three wardens, said voting on the matter of rejoining the diocese was not possible since the parish was already under Canon 15, which Bishop Michael Ingham invoked last September, allowing him to restructure St. Martin’s. “In June, (Bishop Ingham) told us that we really needed to commence our canonical process to get a new minister since we only had an interim for six months,” said Ms. Buchanan. A six-member executive committee was granted the power to make decisions for the parish, including the hiring of a new priest and the payment of dues, which was stopped when parishioners voted to join the ACiNW last September.
St. Martin ‘s has not had a permanent rector for more than a year. Its former rector, Rev. Timothy Cooke, resigned Jan. 31, 2003, because of his objections to the 2002 diocesan synod resolution approving same-sex blessings.
Ms. Buchanan, meanwhile, said that St. Martin ‘s continues to be a conservative parish and that it would hire a conservative priest.