Toronto offsets New Westminster’s legal fees

The Vancouver diocese will receive $250,000 to help cover litigation costs in property rights dispute. Photo: Joe Mabel
The Vancouver diocese will receive $250,000 to help cover litigation costs in property rights dispute. Photo: Joe Mabel
Published June 28, 2012

On June 16, the diocesan council of the diocese of Toronto announced its unanimous support for a proposal to send $250,000 from its ministry allocation fund to the diocese of New Westminster. See story here.

“This is a contribution to offset the costs of litigation borne by the diocese of New Westminster in establishing the property rights of dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada,” said the Most Rev. Colin Johnson, Archbishop of Toronto, in a June 11 letter to New Westminster’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham.

Johnson made the decision public at the Toronto diocese’s corporate synod exactly one year to the day after the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear further appeals of the British Columbia Supreme Court’s previous ruling on four disputed New Westminster parish properties. In a watershed decision, the B.C. high court had ruled that the properties, which were being claimed by four dissident churches, were to remain in trust with the diocese of New Westminster for the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“Indeed, we regret that litigation became necessary at all,” said Johnson in his June 11 letter. “But we offer this contribution in recognition of the diocese of New Westminster’s leadership in pursuing the court’s decision that affirms the principles that undergird our ecclesiology and governance as Anglicans.”

On June 20, Ingham responded with a letter expressing both his personal gratitude and the gratitude of the diocese. “This thoughtful generosity is most welcome, not only for the relief it affords us from the considerable expense of the recent litigation…but, more importantly, for the gift of partnership it embodies in the shared mission of our beloved church.”

While also regretting that the parties failed to reach agreement outside of the courts, Ingham added, “It is this determination, as you rightly observe, that has given every diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada clarity and precedence that will strengthen our structures and therefore, ultimately, our capacity for mission.”


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