Former Sydney Anglican, the Rev David Short, who has been charged with abandoning Anglican doctrine, has now been threatened with charges of trespassing if he sets foot on the property of St John’s Shaughnessy, in moves which could see more Canadian churches forced from their properties.
Mr Short, who is the rector at St John’s, and all other clergy belonging to the Anglican Network in Canada in the Diocese of New Westminster received letters outlining the charges from Bishop Michael Ingham on Monday.
The letters also advised that the clergy were forbidden to "trespass' on the church properties, exercise any ministry and remove anything from the properties, including books.
While smaller churches have been given deadlines ranging from mid-to-late July, St John's Shaughnessy has been given no date for the charges to "take effect'.
"This is not surprising as they are taking the usual strategy of picking off the smaller parishes first," says Mr Short's wife, Bronwyn.
Mrs Short has asked for prayer for the parish's lawyers and trustees who are currently working out how to respond
Mr Short's father, Bishop Ken Short, a retired Sydney bishop, also indicated his son's concern for the 700-strong congregation, who Mrs Short said were likely to be "distressed" by the news.
"David has asked that all will show a godly attitude to the news when they arrive for services on Sunday morning," says Bishop Short.
Mrs Short indicated that many clergy, however, have been anticipating such action since the Diocese first decided to have same-sex blessings in 2002.
"David is in very good spirits," says Mrs Short.
"It's the waiting period that has been most difficult".
For the time being, it will be "business as usual' at the parish, with services and ministries running as normal.
In April, Mr Short and prominent theologian Dr JI Packer, who also ministers at the church, resigned from the Anglican Church in Canada and since then have been working under Bishop Donald Harvey, under the authority of the Most Rev Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, since that time.
Last month, St Andrew's, Roseville rector, the Rev Mark Calder, who helped out at the parish while in Vancouver on special leave, pointed out the sad irony of the current situation.
"They ( the people of St John's) have been sharpened by the fire of trial," wrote Mr Calder.
"Are their troubles over? No. The Bishop of their former diocese has vowed to come after their property, so a legal challenge awaits. So the tragedy and irony is that the flock are now gearing up to protect themselves from their former "shepherd'."