More Anglicans vote to split over same-sex issue
Another Anglican congregation in Vancouver has decided to separate from the Anglican Church of Canada, mainly because of the issue of same-sex unions.
"We feel the Anglican Church of Canada has strayed from traditional Anglican beliefs and its own founding principles," said St. Matthias and St. Luke Anglican Church in a statement after 137 of its parishioners voted Sunday to make the split. Only one voted to stay.
The decision follows similar moves, made recently by the congregations of St. Mary of the Incarnation in Victoria and St. John's Shaughnessy Church in Vancouver, who say the Anglican Church of Canada has chosen to walk away from Anglican teaching as they have known it.
The main issue, the church's decision to bless same-sex marriages, is one that has deeply divided Anglicans worldwide.
In Canada, seven churches — all in Ontario and British Columbia — have already decided to break away from the national body.
Some have aligned themselves with more conservative Anglican jurisdictions in Africa and South America.
'It's hard for us'
For many parishioners, this was a difficult and emotional decision.
"My parents are buried here, their ashes are out in the garden, and so are my husband's, so it's hard for us,'' said Vancouver parishioner Iris Elliott.
The Anglican Church of Canada has said congregations that leave could face legal action over church assets.
But St. Matthias and St. Luke said it hoped the diocese will respect its position until the crisis in the Anglican community is resolved — without resorting to court action.
That seems unlikely after Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, recently warned the departing congregations that they must leave their church property because it belongs to the local diocese.
Some congregations have abandoned their buildings, while others say that the church property belongs to the congregation, a stalemate that seems likely to end up in the courts.
- Anglican Church of Canada Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz, not Archbishop Andrew Hutchison as originally reported, recently warned departing congregations they can't take church assets with them. Hutchison left the post in June 2007.Feb 25, 2008 3:00 AM PT