An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on Feb. 29 that the diocese of Niagara may not send its clergy into two area churches in the next two weeks to hold Sunday services for members of the congregations that remain loyal after most of their fellow parishioners voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.
“I am disappointed with the decision today, but we have to respect and abide by it. I feel for those faithful members of the parishes. We will try to make some arrangement for them if we possibly can,” said Bishop Michael Bird, who is based at the diocesan office here. It was the first court decision since 11 Anglican Canadian parishes decided, at their regular vestries (annual meetings) in February, to separate. They now identify themselves as part of the Anglican Network in Canada.
Clergy and lay people who supported separation were cheered by the ruling. “We are so thankful. We want to be able to worship together as a community uninterrupted. (Those loyal to the diocese) are more than welcome to attend any of our services,” said Rev. Ray David Glenn of St. George, Lowville.