VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – After voting to break away from the Anglican Church of Canada because of objections to same-sex marriage and other issues, parishioners have won a temporary victory against the Bishop of British Columbia after they were locked out of a church they built with donations and “sweat equity.” The plaintiffs were barred access to the church on Vancouver Island after the vote, which would put St. Mary’s parish under the Anglican Network in Canada, instead of the Anglican Church of Canada’s.
“The Anglican Church of Canada has been in crisis in recent years, arising from deep differences as to doctrine and practice,” plaintiff David Rand’s says in the complaint in the B.C. Supreme Court.
“The clergy leadership and parishioners of St. Mary’s are concerned that the Anglican Church of Canada is moving away from traditional, orthodox Anglican teaching and practice, and this is imperiling the connection between the Anglican Church of Canada and the world-wide Anglican Communion.”
The complaint states that the Church is held in trust for parishioners “who remain faithful to traditional and orthodox Anglican teaching and practice for the purpose of continuing conservative, orthodox Anglican ministry.”
Neither the complaint nor Rand’s affidavit refer directly to same-sex marriage. Rand’s affidavit cites theologian Packer’s affidavit, submitted in a similar action filed in Ontario Superior Court in February. In that filing, Packer wrote that same-sex marriages, which are legal in Canada, are inconsistent with Anglican religious doctrine because “both Testaments rule out homosexual behavior, and so by implication same sex unions, as not pleasing to God.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.