St. Matthew’s in Abbotsford impacted after Anglican church appeal dismissed by highest court

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal involving four Anglican churches, including St. Matthew's in Abbotsford.

St. Matthew's Church in Abbotsford is among four Lower Mainland parishes involved in a years-long court battle with the Diocese of New Westminster.

St. Matthew's Church in Abbotsford is among four Lower Mainland parishes involved in a years-long court battle with the Diocese of New Westminster.

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an application for an appeal involving four Anglican churches, including St. Matthew’s in Abbotsford.

The churches have also been ordered to pay legal costs, estimated to be more than $175,000, to the Diocese of New Westminster.

The application to appeal a previous B.C. Court of Appeal decision was dismissed Thursday, ending a long battle between the diocese and the four churches over the issue of same-sex blessings.

The churches, which believe the blessings are contrary to core Anglican doctrine,  broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) – to which the diocese belongs and which permits the blessings – in February 2008 to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).

The two sides have clashed ever since over who has rights to the church properties and buildings.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in November 2009 that the trustees were using the church properties “outside the jurisdiction of the diocese.”

They appealed the decision, but the B.C. Court of Appeal sided with the earlier ruling. This then led to the churches filing an appeal application with the Supreme Court of Canada.

Following the dismissal in Canada’s highest court, Michael Ingham, bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, said any clergy who have left ACC must now “leave their pulpits.”

“I will work with these congregations to find suitable and mutually acceptable leaders, so that the mission of the Church may continue in these places.”

Ingham said the diocese is grateful that the litigation has ended, and he asked for mutual respect from both sides in moving forward.

“I pray that, in time, these sad divisions may be healed,” he said.

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, located at 2010 Guildford Drive in Abbotsford, is now considering its next course of action. Rector Mike Stewart was not yet  available for comment, but has previously said that if the courts did not rule in favour of the ANiC side, another location would have to be considered in Abbotsford.

The majority of the St. Matthew’s congregation has supported the ANiC side.

Cheryl Chan, a former trustee of one of the churches involved and special counsel to ANiC, said the parishes stand by their convictions.

“… we always said that, given a choice, we would choose our faith over our properties, and we have been willing to make that sacrifice if called upon by the courts to do so.”

The other three churches involved in the litigation are all based in Vancouver. They are St. John’s, Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke’s.


Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

There were a total of 182 deaths of trumpeter swans at Judson Lake over the past winter, according to the Save the Swans website. The lake has the heaviest lead concentration of any known lake, the website states. (PHOTO:
Abbotsford man starts petition, saying lead shot is killing waterfowl in Judson Lake and beyond

Farmer Kevin Sinclair says local lake is ‘poster child’ for swans’ deaths from lead poisoning

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read