Four more Canadian congregations have voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada and to be under the episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), and under the primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
The departures of the congregations of St. Aidan’s in Windsor, Ont., St. George’s Ottawa, Church of St. Peter, Hamilton, Ont., and St. Bede’s, Kinosota, Man., brings to 14 the number of parishes that have left the Anglican Church of Canada amid clashing views on the blessing of same-sex unions.
There are about 2,800 congregations in the Canadian church, which is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion of churches.
A statement from Charlie Masters, executive archdeacon of ANiC, welcomed the congregations. “They join a growing movement of North American Anglicans seeking to remain in full communion with the global Anglican Church.”
St. Bede’s, a small rural congregation of the South Parkland parish in the diocese of Brandon, voted to leave Oct. 15.
“I am the rector of the parish, and was not consulted about the meeting, which the canons of the diocese require,” said Rev. Bob Bettson, adding that he has subsequently dismissed the wardens of St. Bede’s. He said that St. Bede’s non-stipendiary honorary assistant, Joan Weitzel, has indicated to the diocesan bishop of Brandon, Jim Njegovan, that she was relinquishing her orders.
Mr. Bettson added that the ANiC had also tried to initiate a vote at another congregation that Ms. Weitzel ministered to – St. Michael and All Angels – but that the wardens there had agreed to his order to cancel the meeting.
St. George’s is located in downtown Ottawa, and has an average Sunday attendance of 250. It was formed in 1885. St. Aidan’s, in the diocese of Huron, was established in 1924.
The diocese of Niagara said it regretted the development and would “secure the same agreement that exists between the other breakaway parishes and the diocese;” the shared use of the facilities and “mutually convenient worship times.”