Same-sex blessings dispute splits two Anglican Church of Canada bishops

Posted: Friday, April 04, 2003

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Debate over same-sex blessing rituals, which have caused intense debate in the Anglican Church of Canada, has grown more bitter with a confrontation between two bishops.

Some local congregations oppose the decision of Bishop Michael Ingham and the Vancouver diocese to allow such rituals, and they have accepted an offer from Yukon's Bishop Terrence Buckle to become their alternative leader.

In response, Ingham's diocese is demanding that British Columbia's Archbishop David Crawley take disciplinary action against Buckle. The diocese says Buckle's intervention shows contempt'' for church unity and, if not overturned, would gravely affect the order, structure and ministry'' of Anglicanism.

Buckle wrote Ingham last month offering himself as an alternate bishop for the conservative dissenters, but Ingham issued an inhibition'' against Buckle.

The urgency of this situation is such that foreign primates are now prepared to step in and address the situation directly,'' Buckle said. The primates, who lead the world's 38 Anglican and Episcopal branches, will meet soon but dates have not been announced.

Vancouver's dissenting congregations organized as the Anglican Communion in New Westminster'' and have withheld payments to the diocese. and

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