Parishioners at an Anglican church in Canada voted unanimously on Sunday to join a conservative network and essentially leave a denomination they feel is abandoning traditional Anglicanism.
By a 109 to 0 vote, St. Aidan's in Windsor, Ontario, has realigned with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) – a breakaway body of now 19 parishes that is under the jurisdiction of the conservative South American Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, one of 38 Provinces that make up the global Anglican Communion.
"We are delighted to welcome the people of St. Aidan's into a faithfully Anglican and unabashedly Christian organization," said the Venerable Charlie Masters, Executive Archdeacon of the ANiC. "They join a growing movement of North American Anglicans seeking to remain in full communion with the global Anglican Church."
Since February, the Windsor congregation of about 250 members was part of another conservative coalition called the Anglican Essentials Canada which offers support to those concerned with the liberal direction of the Anglican Church of Canada – the Canadian arm of the Anglican Communion. As a member of that coalition, however, St. Aidan's remained within the Anglican Church of Canada.
By realigning with ANiC on Sunday, St. Aidan's has left the national church.
"The people of St. Aidan's acted because they are determined to remain biblically faithful, true to historic Christian orthodoxy and long-standing Anglican teaching," according to a released statement. "Unfortunately, the Anglican Church of Canada continues to abandon mainstream Anglican teaching and doctrine, particularly in relation to the authority of the Bible, breaking with the vast majority of global Anglicans."
Although the conservative bloc is still small in Canada, ANiC pointed out that orthodox Anglicans are the overwhelming majority worldwide.
Controversy erupted when the Diocese of New Westminster approved same-sex blessings in 2002. Other dioceses in Canada followed. In 2003, divisions widened across the global church body when The Episcopal Church in the United States – the American arm of Anglicanism – consecrated its first openly gay bishop.
A number of congregations in the United States are voting at their annual conventions this year to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas – which will hold its annual convention in November and vote to ratify a proposal for disaffiliation – believes orthodox Anglicans have exhausted every possibility over the past several decades and that now is the time to separate from The Episcopal Church.
"Many leaders of TEC (The Episcopal Church) are teaching a false Gospel and leading people astray," Iker said in his latest statement. "Now is the time for us to take a bold, public stand for the biblical faith and practice of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church."