Thursday, 23 October 2008

Canadian Bishop: "Schism worse than heresy"

Ed: Note, this is the same article as below, but referring to a different area of Canada.

[...] In a related development, the diocesan bishop of Brandon, Jim Njegovan, addressed the issue of cross-border interventions in his charge to the diocesan synod held Oct. 16 to 18.

“Sadly, our diocese, even though we as a synod have not even begun to address permitting parishes to bless same-sex couples, has been one of those parts of the communion affected by cross-provincial intervention and it is all the more painful because it has been done by those who many of us considered friends and colleagues,” said Bishop Njegovan.

St. Bede’s, a small rural congregation of the South Parkland parish in the diocese of Brandon, voted to leave Oct. 15.

Bishop Njegovan noted that his predecessor, Malcolm Harding, had relinquished his order of ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, “meaning that for all intents and purposes he was ‘laicized;’ that is, he could no longer exercise any ordained ministerial function within the church and could not use ministerial titles or wear clerical vesture.” He said that following ancient practice and polity of the church, this would apply not only to ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada “but also within all churches in full communion with us, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and all the churches of the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Njegovan said that his predecessor, now recognized as a bishop by Archbishop Venables, has been meeting in various communities in the diocese “with the intent of planting ‘ network’ (ANiC) churches.” He cautioned parishioners against believing what they have been told “that they would still be Anglicans recognized by the communion” once they leave the Canadian Anglican church and fall under the jurisdiction of another province like the Southern Cone.

He said that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stated in a letter to him that his office and that of the Anglican Communion only recognizes “one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitute part of the communion, that being the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Bishop Njegovan said that while the Southern Cone is a recognized part of the communion and Archbishop Venables was invited and present at the Lambeth Conference of bishops “those claiming to be under his jurisdiction in Canada were not and are not so recognized.”

In his strongly-worded charge, Bishop Njegovan added, “It could be argued that the promotion of schism within the church has always been considered an even greater heresy in that it flies directly in the face of the scriptural call to unity…” Read more
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