By Hilary White
VANCOUVER, April 22, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This weekend, the Anglican Network in Canada will welcome one of the leading lights in the movement within the Worldwide Anglican Communion to steer the denomination away from the left-liberal and anti-family direction taken by its North American and British branches. Archbishop Gregory Venables will speak at a conference in Delta British Columbia, which is being organized by the Anglican Network as part of the group’s efforts to build a coalition of biblically-faithful Anglican parishes and individuals in Canada.
The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Fred Hiltz, wrote a public letter to Venables on Monday asking him to “stop interfering” in the Canadian branch of the church.
“While we recognized that your motivation may be pastoral,” Hiltz wrote, “there was a strong consensus that your visit at this time will further harm the strained relations between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Network in Canada.”
The National Post reports that Archbishop Venables responded by asking if Hiltz’ letter was a “publicity stunt”.
“The trip has been planned a long time, it’s not a secret. Is [the letter] a publicity stunt? Is it some strange way of playing a game? It was a strange experience to read a personal letter on the Internet before it came to my e-mail address.”
Since the beginning of the year, ten more parishes have sought oversight with the Anglican Network and Southern Cone.
In February this year, some Canadian Anglican bishops issued threats to clergy if they allowed their parishioners to vote to leave the Canadian Anglican Church. The Anglican bishop of British Columbia, the Rt. Rev. James Cowan wrote to his clergy that attempts by parishioners to seek oversight from any other branch of the Anglican Church would be “schismatic” and a betrayal of a “fiduciary trust”. Clergy who allowed it would be fired without notice or severance pay.
All together, 15 Canadian parishes have requested and received episcopal oversight in the Anglican Network in Canada that is under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and its primate, Archbishop Venables. The province covers eight dioceses in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and is recognized as being in union with the See of Canterbury.
As Dr. Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury predicted in 2003 when the Episcopal Church allowed the ordination of an openly active homosexual, Gene Robinson, as a bishop, the Anglican Communion is being torn apart over the determination of the North American and European branches to abandon traditional Christianity.
With by far the greatest number of adherents in the Anglican Communion, largely in Africa and Asia, maintaining Christian theological, biblical and moral discipline, the ultra-liberal branches of the Church are rapidly being regarded as the breakaway perpetrators of the growing schism.
At the same time, the liberal breakaway factions continue to attempt, often through the courts and financial pressure, to force compliance by parishioners and clergy to the new pro-homosexual, anti-Christian doctrines.
In December 2007, clergy and lay representatives of the Episcopal (US Anglican) Diocese of San Joaquin California voted to shift their constitution disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Bishop John-David Schofield now heads the diocese but his position is in dispute. In January 2008, the head of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, declared Bishop Schofield “inhibited” from exercising authority within the diocese and claimed that he was deposed as a bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Anglican Bishops Use Threats to Force Compliance with New Homosexuality Doctrines
Largest Anglican Parish in Canada Secedes over Same-Sex Blessings