The top court in Canada has ruled that dissidents in Vancouver don’t own the property they’ve occupied since they left the Anglican Church of Canada. That should give pause to dissidents elsewhere in Canada.
Parishes that leave the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) but seek to retain their buildings and assets may think twice about going to court after a recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision. Ongoing litigation between the diocese of New Westminster and four Vancouver congregations, now affiliated with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), culminated on June 16 in the SCC’s denying their most recent appeal and awarding further court costs to the diocese.
“No member of any congregation in this diocese need leave the buildings in which they worship,” said Bishop Ingham. “However, the clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada must now leave their pulpits.”
Members of the breakaway Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) sought leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada after two lower courts ruled their churches– St. John’s, Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke’s in Vancouver, as well as St. Matthews in Abbotsford — belonged to the Anglican Church in Canada.
The properties are worth more than $20 million combined.
The four Vancouver-area parishes voted in 2008 to join the ANiC, which includes three dozen other parishes across Canada and funnelled $1.3 million to its legal defence fund in the 2008/09 fiscal year.
“We just have to find new places to worship,” Cheryl Chang, special counsel to the ANiC, said today in Vancouver.