Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

For whom the bells toll

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

MIkeOver the last 3 weeks, as part of the #22days initiative, bells have been ringing in churches from coast to coast, tolling for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Based on the posted responses on, there have been nearly 100 churches taking part in various ways, with an estimated 350,000 combined bell tolls taking place. It received a mention on the floor of Canada’s Parliament as a push toward a formal inquiry. It has received good media coverage. It has been a set of moments for the Church to step into the prophet’s role, standing in solidarity with the grieving, and by giving voice to all lives being important.

In many ways we’ve risen admirably to the invitation. We’ve gotten it right, and we’ve done it together. Bell ringing, in some places, has given family members of women on this tragic list a place to grieve, to ring bells with others who care, and to speak and shout the names of their loved ones. It has been a place where healing has had the opportunity to start to grow. I’ve witnessed it: Healing has started to grow. Now comes the hard part. The hard part lies in the ‘What now?’ part of this equation.

It’s great that we’ve risen to the challenge of the prophet task, but can we be the prophet to ourselves? In our own hearts? Can we live with the hard truths voiced in the wake of the TRC? Are we willing to build relationships of equality with Indigenous people? Will we help to call for justice, and the implementation of the TRC recommendations? Are we truly ready to strive for justice and peace for all people, respecting the dignity of every human being?

I’ll be honest; I don’t know what this looks like. I know that as a liturgical people, it’s hard not to know what’s coming after the psalm, much less be asked to remain in the midst of the unknown. But remain we must. We can’t flinch, run away or bail out now.

We’re in this with our words and our bells.

Now is the time to give generously of our hearts and our time, and our continued action. Taking steps forward in faith, here are the principles I’m trying to abide by: People are people, not issues. Relationships need to be based on equality. Justice, to be truly reconciling, needs to be restorative. Healing must be sought for ourselves as well, not simply wished for someone else. In the midst of what promises to be a time filled with uncertainty, I feel that God is doing something wonderfully new in our midst. In continuing on this path of reconciliation, relationship building and healing, we have the chance to reclaim a piece of ourselves lost when we became participants in colonization. This uncertain time is pregnant with holiness and redemptive possibility. I consider it the most important work we can be about right now.

Kyle Norman

About Kyle Norman

I am a Priest in the Diocese of Calgary, serving the wonderful people of Holy Cross, Calgary. I watch reality television, I drink Starbucks coffee, and I read celebrity gossip columns. I am also a magician and often use magic tricks to teach the children at church the lessons of the Bible. I believe that God is present in the intricacy of our lives, and thus I believe that Pop Culture can provide intriguing lessons, examples, and challenges for our lives of faith. Connect with Kyle on

The Community, An update from The Community, June 19. 2015

Making it explicit

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Part of my explanation for why I became a priest is that God knew I would be a lousy Christian otherwise. I am filled with admiration for the many, many Christians who don’t have to live their lives inside the church to be faithful, to reveal God’s love and proclaim the Good News of Jesus whether in word or action. I tried that—and it was exhausting and frustrating to be constantly negotiating the relationship between my faith and the public sphere. I realized that I need to be explicit about my faith, and being ordained gives me permission to do that all the time. This is also, I think, one of the functions of the church. The church, as the Body of Christ, is called upon to find ways to be explicit about who Christ is, what we know of God, and why any of that matters—and all of us, lay and ordained, need to participate in that work.

It is, once again, difficult work. The world in which we find ourselves speaks many different languages and no longer grants the church a privileged voice in any given conversation. I am convinced that this is the great challenge of the moment: figuring out how the church can participate in the public sphere in ways that are respectful and relevant both to its conversation partners and to itself. And while implicit communication is crucial—faith expressed in the work of justice and love and reconciliation—there needs to be a place for the explicit kind, too.


There is, however, a potential danger with explicit communication; it can imply a degree of certainty, a lack of ambiguity and nuance that can push other truths underground. Which is why it is important that we find ways to not only be explicit about what we believe but also explicit about what we doubt; explicit about the wholeness of who we are.

One reason it took quite a while before I agreed to God’s generous solution to my Christian life is that I have not always found churches comfortable places. Too often, church communities are full of the unspoken: unspoken rules, unspoken expectations, unspoken doubts. Too often church communities require us to leave pieces of ourselves at the door, refusing to allow us to bring our whole messy, complicated, controversial selves into the conversation. This, too, is exhausting as we constantly try to negotiate the boundary between our “acceptable” faith and our “unacceptable” selves. Such communities tear down rather than build up and are not equipped to be trustworthy conversation partners with the wider world. We need to practise being honest amongst ourselves if we want to be honest with anyone else. I need permission to be explicit inside my church as well as outside of it.

Making all of this explicit—our doubts and our beliefs—may not always be comfortable. There’s a reason that the word  “explicit” has a rather naughty tone to it, after all. Being explicit sometimes requires us to cross boundaries we might rather leave alone, to name things we might rather not name. But I am convinced that it is just this rather transgressive kind of communication that is called for if we are to continue to grow as the Body of Christ, negotiating those boundaries between faith, community, and the public sphere with grace, respect, and integrity.


Anglican Journal News, June 22, 2015

What’s next for the churches, after the TRC

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
By Wayne Holst

The national attention paid to the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report in the past few weeks represents a tipping point in the way Canada’s First Nations people relate to the rest of us. As one who has followed, for 25 years, developments centring on the core issue of the great injustice—the Indian residential school system—I truly believe that we have reached a special moment of societal change in the way all Canadians relate together.

Canada’s historic ecumenical churches have expended great efforts to draw attention to the stubborn problems afflicting us, and have already learned a great deal with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters as rituals of apology and serious attempts at healing and compensation have been taking place.

These churches have actively supported and participated in the processes leading to the Berger Commission Report (1977), the publication of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), and the more recent apology of the prime minister on behalf of all the people of Canada (2008).

A pivotal moment in our journey together as a nation has occurred with the recent appearance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report. Its 94 recommendations portend an era of profound change.

Through all these years, the churches have attempted (sometimes poorly, sometimes sublimely) to view their mission as poised and serving on the cutting edge of public policy and advocacy. Now—when it may seem that we have completed our task and can pass responsibility on to other powers in society, like the courts and legislatures—I believe there are new challenges facing God’s people as we enter a new day. The journey of justice-seeking and societal renewal has not ended. In a true sense, it has only just begun.

As a country, over the past century and a half we have progressed through the stages of imperial colonies as well as bi-cultural and multicultural societies. We are now ready to define ourselves as a “nation of minorities.” This means that we will ground our Canadian identity in Aboriginal ways of living inclusive, organic community to an ever-expanding human family within our borders. Aboriginal people will play a key role helping us to define ourselves as Canadians in the future.

Religion in Canada will evolve and expand, not disappear. We will continue to see that our varied faith traditions are connected, at their core, to the primal meanings that strengthen a society best represented among us by our First Nations people. Divisive patterns that characterized our past will be reframed in new, inclusive ways.

This implies the cultivation and development of spiritual practices that will integrate Indigenous Native American with global faith traditions, and open pathways of meaning for all humanity.

There is a lot to unpack here, theologically and spiritually. The TRC has proposed paradigm shifts that will hopefully engage the best, more open and generous hearts and minds.

The ecumenical churches of Canada continue to have much to do.


1. Berger Commission Report

2. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

3. Prime Minister’s Apology

4. Truth and Reconciliation Report Recommendations


Wayne A. Holst continues to teach religion and culture at the University of Calgary and helps to co-ordinate adult spiritual development at St. David’s United Church in Calgary.


Anglican Journal News, June 19, 2015

May life not simply go on

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

The Rev. Monique Stone

As someone seeking to witness, learn and humbly support the journey of healing and reconciliation at this weeks Truth & Reconciliation Commission Closing Events I made my way to Rideau Hall to experience the Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams Heart Garden Ceremony. En route I was forced to stop at a red traffic light on Laurier Avenue at the corner of Elgin Street; an intersection included in the Walk for Reconciliation just three days prior.

As I glanced around waiting for the light to change I realized how normal things seemed; people rushed by to get to work or their next destination, cars were stopped, Starbucks coffees where grasped in hands. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, nothing seemed like it did the Sunday prior when the very same corner was filled with an estimated 10,000 people walking together to honour the beginning of the week’s reconciliation events.

I wanted to yell out of my window, “Don’t you know what has happened here this week?” “Don’t you know you are naively walking on the very same spot of the road where a Women’s Warrior Dance erupted a mere 72 hours ago?” “Don’t you know that Indigenous peoples of this country and those who are standing beside them are here this week declaring the hope for a world that will change?”

The hustle and bustle of a mid-week afternoon screamed out that not everyone knew and maybe not everyone cared about the activities that had consumed so many people who have participated in the past four days of events.

And my heart sank—because the world has changed this week even for those of us who have been simple bystanders and witnesses to the work of others. My heart sank when at the corner of Laurier and Elgin life had so clearly gone on when it feels like so much has happened.

In the past four days the words murder and genocide have passed the lips of truth-tellers and hung in the air ready to be heard by ears throughout the country. The stories of horror and hurt have been laid out for Canada to humbly absorb, accept and honour. The recommendations for next steps have been offered as a gift of hope for all peoples to continue this life-changing journey that can transform our present and our future.

And whether everyone has noticed or whether everyone is ready to care the world has indeed changed. Thank. God.

And for those of us who sought to witness, sought to learn and sought to support may we serve this transformation as it begins.

May we take our heart—even if it has sunk to the bottom of our stomach feeling raw from new awareness.

May we take our heart—even if it is stuck in our throat causing us to not know what to say or consuming us with tears.

And use it. And be guided by it.

And make sure that life does not simply go on at the corner of Laurier and Elgin

… or any other place in this country.

The Rev. Monique Stone

About The Rev. Monique Stone

I am blessed to be the Incumbent at the Parish of Huntley in Carp, Ontario (part of the Diocese of Ottawa) and have lots of fun contributing to the leadership of our rural parish. Whether I am sitting at the local coffee shop or flipping burgers at the annual Fair I consider authentic engagement with the broader community integral to my ministry. I personally feel that this period of church history with all its changes, declines, doubts and concerns is exciting, inspiring and best approached with a sense of hope and a sense of humour.


The Community, An update from The Community, June 12, 2015

The game of minutes

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

minutesHave you ever played “The Game of Minutes”? Do not be alarmed if you haven’t. It is not well known in our modern day. This little game was first described in the personal letters of Frank Laubach, letters written to his father while on missionary work in the Philippines. These letters, eventually published in 1937 under the title ‘Letters by a Modern Mystic,’ described Laubach’s desire to be mindfully focused on the presence of God ‘at least one second of each minute.’

Do not be thrown off by the use of the word ‘game.’ The language of game is not to suggest triviality. The game of minutes describes a continuous walk with our Lord. It is a ‘silent conversation; a ‘practice of the presence of God;’ a ‘familiar friendship with Jesus’; an ‘exhilarating spiritual exercise.’ For Laubach, the game of minutes simply described the manner in which he attempted to hold onto, and follow, the presence and will of God as revealed through the course of the day. He writes, “my part is to live this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will, to make this hour gloriously rich.’

At first glance, we may think the game of minutes is impractical. There are simply too many things before us that demand our attention! We often believe, mistakenly so, that true focus on God must occur in the absence of the regular demands and tasks of the day. We believe that in order to truly engage in our spiritual lives we must retreat; we have to escape; we must jettison all distractions from our midst. There is truth to this in some regards. Jesus often calls us to ‘come away to a quiet place and get some rest.’ It is true that we often find it easier to re-connect with God when we step away from, and put down, the complexities of the world around us. Yet to take this too far is to believe that it is only through the cloistered life of monks and missionaries that such single-hearted focus is truly achievable. We mistakenly see life as just too busy for us, making the Game of Minutes, and other such spiritual disciplines, unrealistic. If we believe this we miss out on cultivating a wonderful closeness with Jesus.

The usefulness of Laubach’s game is that it is meant to occur amid everyday existence. Rather than taking us away from the regular spaces of life, playing the game of minutes is a manner by which we attempt to bring Christ into the demands and tasks of the day. We look for the presence of God around us; we cultivate a conversational relationship with Him; we keep a scripture verse or a prayer in our minds; we view silence as a place to listen to the whispers of God. This has the benefit of connecting our outward life with our inward meditations. While we play the game in the context of living our exterior lives, the game itself occurs inwardly. In our hearts and souls, we attempt to remain in a space of devotion, thus experiencing the blessedness that comes from choosing to live in closeness with Christ.

For all the benefits of Laubach’s game, we need to clearly realize that perfect execution of the game is impossible. Laubach himself states this. In a letter dated June 3, 1930, Laubach asks himself the question “Can it be done all the time?” to which he honestly answers, ‘hardly’. Throughout his letters, Laubach frequently speaks of his own failings. Yet perfect execution, however, is never the focus. “We fix our eyes upon Jesus and not on the clock” Laubach advises. It is the effort, the longing, the soulful desire for Christ’s presence in our minds that is both liberating and fruitful for our spiritual lives. The benefit found in playing the game of minutes emerges out of the whole-hearted attempt to draw closer to Christ, and not from achieving a score of 100%.

Don’t like the ‘game of minutes’? Why not try ‘a game of people’? Try to pray for every person you come in contact with during the day. Or, how about ‘a game of places’? Whenever you physically enter a new room or space enter prayerfully, looking, and listening for The Holy Spirit in that place.

Kyle Norman

About Kyle Norman

I am a Priest in the Diocese of Calgary, serving the wonderful people of Holy Cross, Calgary. I watch reality television, I drink Starbucks coffee, and I read celebrity gossip columns. I am also a magician and often use magic tricks to teach the children at church the lessons of the Bible. I believe that God is present in the intricacy of our lives, and thus I believe that Pop Culture can provide intriguing lessons, examples, and challenges for our lives of faith. Connect with Kyle on

The Community, An update from The Community, June 12, 2015

Beyond metaphors

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Mark MacDonald

Recently, I had a conversation with an Indigenous friend and theologian. We discussed the Indigenous experience of salvation in Christ, knowing that some folks are a bit nervous about such language. We agreed that the Indigenous experience of the Gospel has a particular character: salvation is almost always experienced as tangible and practical freedom from very present and oppressive forces.

The forces that impact Indigenous Peoples are often expressed in personal difficulties, spiritual or moral weakness, addictions, sickness and despair. The power of these is often amplified by poverty, marginalization and the experience of feeling like a stranger in the only land you or your ancestors have ever known. These forces are powerful, but the experience of God’s power is greater. Salvation is not a metaphor for feeling forgiven or feeling good about the certainty of heaven. It is that, but it is also knowing that life could have a very different meaning apart from God’s intervention in your life.

Indigenous folks have this experience, I suppose, because of a mixture of the urgency of their personal and communal circumstances, as well as a readiness of mind and heart to see the spiritual. This experience is not isolated to them, by any means. Go to an AA meeting and you are likely to hear similar stories. This is something that often and even commonly characterizes the experience and understanding of Indigenous Christians. It certainly is a part of the communal expression of Christian faith that we experience in the Indigenous network.

This is not mentioned here to claim any advantage or priority in the Christian faith and life. At least part of the circumstances that give rise to it should not be desired by anyone. It is, however, something that should be understood by our fellow Christians. It does influence our view of life and our faith. It means that there is a desire, an expectation and a hope for liveliness to faith, being both a practical and miraculous faith. Faith should be healing.

This experience of faith often means that people are willing to forgive quite a lot about the past, before people come to active faith; it also means that quite a lot is expected after people come to faith. In addition, the immediacy of spiritual reality is expected in every aspect of the faith experience and journey. It is why our meetings always begin with a healthy period of time engaging the Gospel of the day. It is also why we believe God wishes to do something big in all of us—the whole church—to bring goodness to this Land.

Bishop Mark MacDonald is national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.


Anglican Journal News, June 17, 2015

RIP, average attendance

Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

RIP, average attendance

That number means much less today because the definition of an active congregation member has shifted. So, what numbers should we track now?
Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, News & Ideas, May 27, 2015

Pentecost: have we missed the point?

Posted on: May 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

pentecostWe often describe Pentecost as the ‘birthday’ of the Church. We read about the descent of the Spirit and make the claim that what occurred on that day was the ‘birth’ of the community of called out ones. This means that prior to this event, the disciples merely existed as scared and disjointed people; a people whom, while together in one room, remained as individuals. Thus, the sermons of the day preach about how the tongues of fire, the sermon from Peter, and the baptisms that followed, speak to a new act of creation – a formation of a new people. Some communities may even sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and eat cake.

But what if we have missed the point? What if Pentecost is not really about our own creation as people of faith, but about our calling as disciples? What if Pentecost is more about The Spirit’s activity rather than our own? What if it is about empowerment not birth?

Personally, I have never understood the link between Pentecost and the birth of the Church. If the Church was born on Pentecost, how then do we understand the ‘mini Pentecosts’ that we see throughout the book of Acts? Are these re-births? New-births? Alternative births? Did the first one not take?

The Church was not born on Pentecost; The Church was born on Easter morning. It is the Resurrection which is the defining event for all of Christians. Pentecost can only be rightly understood in light of Easter, not the other way around. The disciples became the ekklesia – called out community of faith – as soon as they believed in the resurrected Lord. We see this reality in Scripture. Prior to Pentecost, the disciples were constantly together in the temple worshiping the risen Lord (Luke 24;53). If that’s not a description of the Church, I don’t know what is. The fact that they may not have been an involved in active evangelistic ministry does not discount this reality. In fact, in proves why they needed to be empowered from on high in order to fully fulfill that to which they were called.

This may seem like splitting hairs. After all, why does it matter if the Church was born on Easter or Pentecost? Yet all sorts of problems emerge if we mistakenly associate Pentecost with the birth of the Church.

For one, we can find it too easy to rest upon the ease of our existence. Just think of it, we never view our own birthdays as a call to work, to be uneasy, or serve. No! In fact, we see the exact opposite; we see our own birthday as a day in which we are to be served. It is a day where we are celebrated for our existence. There is no call to be uncomfortable. No call to die to ourselves. No call to reach out to others. Instead, our birthdays call us to one simple task: receive the messages that we are loved and special.

Is that what Pentecost is? On the day where we recognize the Holy Spirit coming in power, is the point of it all just to sit and reflect how great we are? In a day and age where the church is struggling to move from a maintenance model to a more missional model of life and ministry, heralding Pentecost as the celebration of ourselves seems quite dangerous. It turns us inward, so that instead of seeing where the Holy Spirit calls us, beyond the locked rooms of our comfort, we turn inward and merely reflect upon our existence. This, in turn, leads us to the uncomfortable conclusion that we don’t actually need to do anything for our job is to merely exist and wait for people to make their way to us.

Isn’t this something the church has been struggling with? Again, maybe we missed the point.

If we see Pentecost as a celebration of the Church’s birth then we fail to adequately grasp our constant need for the Holy Spirit’s presence for our ministry and spiritual growth. To see Pentecost as our birthday is to see it as a completed event, one that will never be repeated. Sure we can celebrate our birth – but it won’t ever happen again. We thus limit the Holy Spirit’s activity to the pages of the past and assume that such powerful filling of the Holy Spirit in the community of faith would not, and could not, ever happen in our day. Thus we rob the Holy Spirit of all effectiveness and make the third person of the Trinity a mere phantom with no substance or power.

Pentecost is not a birthday to be remembered but an empowerment to be entered into. It is not something merely locked in the past. It calls us into the an unknown future. It calls us to realize that the very same Spirit that descended upon that first community of faith is still being poured out today. And that means we simply can’t sit comfortably, or keep our eyes upon ourselves. It means we are called out – we are given the supernatural power of the Spirit to enter into life-changing ministry in this world. It means we must risk ourselves, and step into the unknown resting not on our own power but on that of the Spirit. It means we are called out of comforts to preach the good news, and to be witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit being continually poured out among us, to empower us for the ministry to which we are continually called. May we all find fresh empowerment in our celebration of Pentecost this Sunday.

Kyle Norman

About Kyle Norman

I am a Priest in the Diocese of Calgary, serving the wonderful people of Holy Cross, Calgary. I watch reality television, I drink Starbucks coffee, and I read celebrity gossip columns. I am also a magician and often use magic tricks to teach the children at church the lessons of the Bible. I believe that God is present in the intricacy of our lives, and thus I believe that Pop Culture can provide intriguing lessons, examples, and challenges for our lives of faith. Connect with Kyle on

The Community, An update from The Community, May 22, 2015

‘Why can’t God do anything for himself?’

Posted on: May 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

The question came from my small son in response to the story of Moses’ commission to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. “Why does he always get other people to do stuff?”

It’s a fair point – why, if God is all-powerful and all-wise, does God insist on working in partnership with humans, who are most certainly neither? Why is the Bible full of stories about God calling people rather than stories of God just getting it done all by Godself?

The answer, as with many answers about God, is both simple and completely inadequate. God works with humans because that’s who God is. God doesn’t just prefer partnerships — God is a partnership, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in dynamic, perfect, complex unity. God’s desire to draw all of creation into that partnership is an expression of God’s very nature. So God can do whatever God likes without any help from us whatsoever. But what God most wants is for us to get involved, to join in God’s desire for the world, God’s mission in the world, so that we might be in God and God in us.

In the middle of May, I spent three days at the second Vital and Healthy Parishes Consultation. I was sent by my diocese to join in conversations with Anglicans and Lutherans from across the country about what makes Christian communities vital and healthy. For three days, I talked and listened and thought about strategic planning, stewardship of resources, meaningful worship, courageous experimentation, bold leadership, and creative formation of both lay and ordained ministers. Over and over again, one theme emerged (for me and possibly only for me) — God desires us to work not only with God but with one another.

Of course, partnerships are not new in the church. We spend lots of time working to nurture ecumenical partnerships and interfaith partnerships and partnerships with secular community organizations, seeking opportunities to make common cause in spite of differences. We form official partnerships with other dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada or in other Communion churches, sending representatives to one another’s synods, praying for one another, sharing resources as appropriate. We even, on occasion, manage to join with our neighbouring Anglican/Lutheran congregations and hold a fundraiser or an outreach project or a worship service together.

But I’m talking about the kind of partnerships that last beyond special events and extend deeper than holding one another in our hearts and minds. I’m talking about the kind of partnerships that are built on the knowledge that our distinct ministries are all part of one mission. These partnerships would seek to build up the ministries of one another through a generous sharing of resources — material, human, and spiritual.  They would enable us to have hard conversations and make tough decisions about which ministries are most critical at this time in our common missional life — and not simply leave such decisions to the tides of fortune, as if wealth was an indicator of God’s approval.

Such partnerships are hard. They require us to lower our walls and give up our territories and our pet projects. They require us to recognize that the context in which we work is bigger than our own little communities and that our ministries, wonderful though they may be, are not the whole of the mission. They require us to think about a vital and healthy church rather than just our own vital and healthy parishes.

But I’m convinced that such partnerships are worth it — after all, if God wants to work with us, we must have something pretty good to offer.


Anglican Journal News, May 25, 2015

Listening will ‘open hearts’

Posted on: May 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Dixie Bird (right) with Archbishop Fred Hiltz at the 2012 Sacred Circle. Photo: Anglican Video

Dixie Bird grew up and has worked with youth on the Montreal Lake reserve in northern Saskatchewan. She now lives in Prince Albert, Sask., and will be a delegate to General Synod 2016 as one of the representatives of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. She is also a member of the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Healing. From those vantage points, she says she sees reconciliation happening in the opportunities for Indigenous Anglican voices to be heard in the church.

But what those voices say isn’t always easy to hear. She described an emotional moment when Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, told the commission members that a young Aboriginal person had asked him, “What more do we have to risk?” in order to feel accepted in the church. Bird wasn’t surprised by the question, because it resonated with her own feelings of not being accepted and of continuing oppression.

Listening is key if the church wants to change that, she said. “I think it will open not only [their] eyes and ears, but it should open their hearts.”  She suggested setting up panels for people to express pain that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Youth suffer the consequences of previous generations’ residential school experience, Bird said. “Today’s youth are vulnerable,” she added. Lacking a sense of belonging and spiritual grounding, youth can be drawn to anything that promises that security, from other churches to gangs, she said.

Bird said trying new approaches to church like outdoor gospel jamborees might help reach youth.


Anglican Journal News, May