There is something very painful happening in the worldwide Anglican Communion. This story in today’s National Post (Canada) is a microcosm of that tale.
The first sign that St. Hilda’s Anglican Church is under siege is a posting on its front door warning locksmiths who may arrive to change the locks to think twice. The posting said they are walking into the middle of a “legal dispute” between the parish and the Diocese of Niagara and anyone who fools with church property could be liable.
In the six days since the unanimous vote to remove itself from the Anglican Church of Canada, St. Hilda’s has been visited by a delegation from the diocese demanding the keys to the building, their senior minister, Paul Charbonneau, has been suspended with pay, and the parish bank account has been frozen. The diocese has already appointed a new minister and he is expected to show up Sunday.
“I’m not supposed to be on the church property, I’m not allowed to minister in Canada, and I am not to speak disparagingly against the bishops, other priests, or the Anglican Church of Canada,” Rev. Charbonneau explained.
Read the full story here. I confess that I am of two minds. Part of me wishes the congregations that are leaving would stay, pray and take a very long view of the church’s life – and part of me understands how the heterodoxy of too many Anglican Bishops force the hands of parishes and dioceses. (Bird and Ingram come to mind – and one wonders why the ACC has never effectively dealt with their heterodox issues.)