The Diocese of Cariboo is likely to approve plans to wind itself up during its October 2000 Synod. The diocese has been hit hard by the claims against it from previous residential school students who suffered abuse. The diocese was found liable jointly with national church in Canada for an undisclosed award to a former student at a school in Lytton, British Columbia more than thirty years ago.
The diocese is unable to pay its share of the damages, and faces claims from another eight plaintiffs who were abused by the same care worker. The diocese is currently unable even to afford any more legal representation.
"We've never challenged the fact the plaintiffs were abused," said the Bishop of Cariboo, the Rt Revd Jim Cruickshank, who explained that seven of the eight plaintiffs originally set out to sue just the federal government; it was the government cross-claiming that added the diocese and national church to the lawsuits.
The Bishop said that the diocese was working on a wind up plan so that it would have some control over what happened, rather than waiting for a receiver to walk in and take over the operations. The diocese hoped that its argument that it held church property in trust for parishes would mean that parish property would not be seized to pay the diocese's bills.
"Every bishop in every period of history has to deal with something," said Bishop Jim Cruickshank about the prospect of being out of a job. "As my spiritual director says, at least it's not the Inquisition. I'm not losing my head; I'm just losing my job! It's not a career, it's a calling and I'll be called to something at the end of this."
Item from: Anglican Journal