Two dioceses have made generous donations to the diocese of New Westminster to help offset legal costs associated with litigation over church property rights.In June, the Most Rev. Colin Johnson, Archbishop of the diocese of Toronto, announced $250,000 was being sent from its ministry allocation fund to the diocese of New Westminster. Then on July 26, six weeks after receiving the news of the diocese of Toronto’s gift, Bishop James Cowan of the diocese of British Columbia sent a letter to Bishop Michael Ingham of the diocese of New Westminster along with a cheque for $100,000. The letter acknowledged New Westminster’s crucial role in establishing property rights. “The diocese of British Columbia is mindful of the sacrifice made by the Diocese of New Westminster in its defence of not only property but our polity,” Bishop Cowan wrote. It was just over a year ago that the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear further appeals of a ruling made by the British Columbia Supreme Court.
In that ruling, it was decided that four New Westminster parish properties were to remain in trust with the diocese. -with files from Randy Murray