We greet you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We, as clergy of the diocese of New Westminster in the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia (part of the Anglican Church of Canada), are appealing to you for the provision of alternative episcopal oversight as per the provisions of Lambeth (1998) for intervention in cases of pastoral emergency which cannot be addressed within a province.
We make our appeal for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we believe and have been entrusted with. As pastors and shepherds of God’s flock we are being pressured to conform on matters that we believe compromise the Gospel message and we cannot in conscience agree. We appeal to you also on behalf of our flocks whom we have been entrusted to shepherd; in the words of our ordering as priests, we have been called to be “messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the Lord.” As such we appeal to you to aid us in the “defense and confirmation of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:7).
Our diocesan bishop, Michael Ingham, has presented us with a proposal. He tells us that he intends to give his consent to a motion recently passed by our diocesan synod that calls for the blessing of same-sex couples and another motion that calls for the drawing up an Anglican rite for the use of clergy in services of the same.
He has offered those of “traditional conscience” a “conscience clause” which would (for the time-being) protect conservatives from having personally to be involved in these blessings. He has also offered us a temporary form of Episcopal oversight which would be completely at his discretion and subject to removal at will.
Bishop Michael has also told the delegates to the up-coming synod on 14-15 June 2002 that he is making these proposals with the support of both our Archbishop, David Crawley, and with the support of Michael Peers, the Primate of the Canadian Church. (To date, neither Archbishop Crawley nor Archbishop Peers have disputed this public statement.)
We have consulted with a number of Canadian bishops who are dismayed at these events and have followed their advice. Representatives of a number of orthodox clergy in this diocese have met with Archbishop Crawley to discuss the pastoral emergency, with no substantial results. We have reasoned with our bishop not to so proceed, but to no avail.
Our bishop has threatened to withdraw the licenses of those clergy unable to live with these innovations in Anglican moral teaching. We thus find ourselves in an impossible position in regards to our diocesan, our Archbishop and our Primate. We appeal to you to intervene to protect the clergy and congregations in this diocese who want to maintain the doctrines and discipline of the Anglican Communion as we have received them and to respect the resolutions of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
For the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those committed to our charge, we would request that you intervene in this situation in accordance with the Lambeth Resolution which foresaw such an event. Attached please find a document entitled “Background and Commentary on the Appeal to the Archbishops” that provides documentation concerning these matters.
Yours in Christ,[Signed]
The Revd. Dr. Trevor Walters
cc. Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
David Crawley, Archbishop of British Columbia
Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster
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