Corporations Canada, a federal agency that regulates corporate names, on Sept. 12 ordered a group of dissident churches to stop using the name “Anglican Communion in Canada.”
Aissa Aomari, deputy director of Corporations Canada, wrote to the group’s lawyer that “corporation #409786-6 was granted a name which does not represent the Anglican Communion in Canada nor does it have any recognized ties with the international fellowship of churches known worldwide as the Anglican Communion.”
Ms. Aomari also wrote that if the group does not change its corporate name within 60 days of receipt of her letter, the director will revoke it and assign to it a number name.
A spokesman for Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC), Rev. Paul Carter, who lives in Vancouver, said Corporations Canada subsequently granted the group an extension, but declined to say when it expires.
“It is in the hands of a legal team working on our behalf. The next step is for us to find an agreeable name that Industry Canada (which oversees Corporations Canada) will accept. It is unfortunate that the Anglican Church of Canada is challenging us,” said Mr. Carter in an interview.
The group, which includes seven churches in British Columbia and three in Saskatchewan, was incorporated in July 2002, one month after the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster voted to approve offering blessing ceremonies to gay couples.
Mr. Carter said all the ACiC congregations have left the Anglican Church of Canada and are under the authority of Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, one of five foreign archbishops who oversee the group.
Many conservatives who disagree with the same-sex blessing decision maintain they are the true representatives of the global Anglican Communion and those who hold a more liberal stance are breaking away from centuries of church teaching that homosexuality is sinful.
In February 2004, the group was given permission by Corporations Canada to use the name “Anglican Communion in Canada.” But in January 2005, the Anglican Church of Canada asked the federal agency to bar the group from using “Anglican Communion in Canada,” maintaining that the established church is the only representative of the Anglican Communion in this country.