Primates invited to New West gathering

Published September 1, 2002

The guest list is under wraps, but later this month Anglicans opposed to same-sex blessings in New Westminster are preparing to welcome like-minded bishops and primates from across the Anglican Communion. The event, which is being co-ordinated by the head of a conservative, Texas-based international mission organization, is meant to be a show of support for the “Anglican Communion in New Westminster,” a coalition of eight parishes and 12 clergy who walked out of the June diocesan synod after same-sex blessings were approved. Rev. Ed Hird, incumbent of St. Simon’s, North Vancouver and a spokesperson for the parishes, expects attendance of more than 1,000 people and from beyond the eight parishes in his group. “There are many orthodox parishes which are not part of our coalition,” said Mr. Hird, who anticipates that other parishes will join the coalition when, not if, his group has alternative episcopal oversight. The gathering will go ahead despite a warning last month from Bishop Michael Ingham to clergy and church wardens that a visit from international prelates at this time is “provocative and inflammatory.” Church protocol dictates that bishops visiting another diocese should have the approval of the local bishop. Bishop Ingham is in Rio de Janeiro at an interfaith conference, but is scheduled back by the time the coalition’s meets, from Aug. 30 through Sept. 3. A press release from the group notes that the gathering is being co-ordinated by Rev. Bill Atwood, general secretary of Ekklesia. Mr. Atwood, a Carrollton, Tex. priest, was tapped by the coalition for his connections with bishops and archbishops across the Anglican Communion. Canadian and U.S. observers suggest that Ekklesia is likely helping to pay for the travel of some international guests, though Mr. Hird said he did not think that was the case.


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