Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ontario Supreme Court Ruling in Diocese of Niagara

On Monday, the Diocese of Niagara released the following document:

May 5th, 2008

Hamilton, Ontario

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Niagara today responded to the decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Madam Justice Jane A. Milanetti found that three Anglican parishes, St. Hilda’s in Oakville and St. George’s in Lowville, and The Church of the Good Shepherd, St. Catharine’s should be shared by both the departing congregants and the members loyal to The Diocese of Niagara. The Diocese was pleased in the decision, and is now anxious to move forward.

Spokesperson for the Diocese, Archdeacon Michael D. Patterson, stated: “We are obviously very pleased with the decision, Madame Justice Milanetti accepted our proposal for sharing and joint administration as a logical interim solution. We feel that we were completely justified in resorting to the courts after negotiations failed. We can now provide ministry for loyal members of the Diocese and move forward to safeguard the physical heritage of the Churches, which were built by and have served generations of Anglicans.”

It is continued here.

This is the outcome the Diocese had wished for -- that in the parishes where the clergy and congregation had voted to secede from the Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese, both the seceding congregation and the Diocese could hold Sunday services. This also appears on the diocesan website:

Diocesan Services to resume this Sunday at St. George’s Lowville, St. Hilda’s, Oakville and The Church of the Good Shepherd, St. Catharines.

We are grateful and give thanks that Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Niagara, services will resume at the parish churches of St. George’s, Lowville, St. Hilda’s, Oakville, and The Church of the Good Shepherd, St. Catharines. These services will all be held at 8:30 a.m. The services will be taken by the Reverend Susan Wells at St. George’s, Canon Dr. Brian Ruttan at St. Hilda’s and the Venerable Bruce McPetrie at The Church of the Good Shepherd. These are services of healing and rebuilding and we hope will be attended by returning and continuing parishioners. We are able to return to our buildings for these services because of the May 5th court ruling of Madame Justice J. Milanetti which states in part, “The Diocese will have full access to and use of each of the three parish properties every Sunday between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. for Sunday service…”

For more information:
Archdeacon Michael Patterson

It’s a blessing and a sign of God’s grace, that we are being given the opportunity to live the Anglican tradition, and hold common ground even where we disagree. My thanks to all of you who have prayed for the Diocese and its members, and who continue to do so.

I did check the Anglican Network’s website – they haven’t updated since the court’s decision was announced.

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