Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

Welby backs airstrikes against ISIS

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By André Forget



“There is justification for the use of armed force on humanitarian grounds, to enable oppressed victims to find safe space,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said in a debate in the House of Lords. File photo: Lambeth Palace

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has thrown his support behind the military airstrikes against the Islamic State (known also as ISIL or ISIS), a radical organization of insurgents in Iraq and Syria attempting to create a “caliphate,” or Islamic government ruled by a single individual in accordance with Sharia law.

In a debate in the House of Lords Sept. 26, Welby acknowledged that “there is justification for the use of armed force on humanitarian grounds, to enable oppressed victims to find safe space.”

However, he warned the House that the United Kingdom “will not thus be able to deal with a global, holistic danger if the only weapons we are capable of using are military and administrative.” Instead, he urged Britons to offer “a more compelling vision, a greater challenge and a more remarkable hope than that offered by ISIL.”

Welby’s speech, a copy of which was released by Lambeth Palace, highlighted the dangers of a purely technical response to the crisis in the Middle East. Welby exhorted his peers to “face the fact that for some young Muslims the attractions of jihadism outweigh the materialism of consumer society.” He noted that, “if we struggle against a call to eternal values, however twisted and perverted they might be, without a better story, we will fail in the long term.”

The archbishop was careful, however, not to portray the conflict in the stark and reductive terms of East versus West. Instead, he argued that this “better story” must be an ecumenical one to which all people of good faith have access. “The vision we need to draw on is life-giving,” said Welby. “It is rooted in the truths of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, relying heavily in the Middle Ages on the wealth of Islamic learning, the Abrahamic faiths—not necessarily enemies—and enriched by others such as Hinduism and Sikhism in recent generations.”

The motion to intervene once more in Iraq came in response to a formal request by the Iraqi government for military support, which the House of Commons ratified by a vote of 524 in favour and 43 opposed.


Anglican Journal News, September 29, 2014

Why give thanks?

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Fiona Brownlee


“Giving thanks reminds me that even when everything seems to be going in the wrong direction, God is still present in my life and is nudging me in the direction of the gospel,” writes the author. Photo: Mythja/Shutterstock



Jesus is with his friends, sharing a meal: he gives thanks to God for bread and shares it with them; he gives thanks to God for wine and shares it with them. Jesus is surrounded by people who need to be fed: he takes the loaves and fishes, thanks God for them and then has his friends share the food with others. Jesus gives thanks. We as church give thanks. I, as a human being, give thanks as well.

So why give thanks? Why take the time to thank others for what they have done for us, to thank God for what we have been given? Why be thankful?

I regularly turn to this portion of the General Thanksgiving prayer in the Book of Alternative Services (BAS). It reminds me that gratitude is placed squarely in my relationship with God and is made up of all the portions of my life.


“We thank you for setting us tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.”

(A portion of the General Thanksgiving prayer, BAS, p. 129)


When my children were small one of the earliest actions I taught them was to say “please,” to get what they needed/wanted and then to say “thank you” when the action was complete. It was a way to build in that they live in community, even a small family community, and that we take care of each other. As they grew older they realized that saying thanks to others outside of their family made it possible for them to show that same level of caring to others.

Each time I gather at a meal, be it with my husband, extended family or with friends, grace is shared. The community that I am gathered with says thanks to God for the food, for those gathered at the table, for the good things that have happened in our day. We offer all those things up to God to remember that it is not just by our hands that our life is the way it is. We are who we are and have the gifts we have because God is part of our lives.

I give thanks to God because of my relationship with God, our creator, our redeemer, our sustainer. I am fed in this relationship by going to regular Sunday worship and sharing the bread and the wine that is offered during eucharist (thanksgiving) week by week. I am fed by the people who gather there who are also giving thanks.

Gratitude has become the foundation for what I do and how I am in the world. Giving thanks reminds me that even when everything seems to be going in the wrong direction, God is still present in my life and is nudging me in the direction of the gospel. Saying thank you to others for their presence in my life and their gifts places my life firmly in God’s community of love and justice for all.

Here is my gratitude list for this particular moment:

I am grateful that I care about the world that we live in and can see injustice and want to do something about it.

I am grateful that I live in a wonderful home, have caring friends, an amazing family and good work that calls out the best in me.

I am grateful that I have opportunities to share my gifts with others in ways that are meaningful for them and for me.

I am grateful that I am reminded by Jesus’ words in the gospels, by the example of my faith companions, by the goodness I see around me.


Thanks, merci, gracias, migwetch, hi hi, tansi to God for this day and always.


Anglican Journal News, September 29, 2014


Beyond multiculturalism: Grounding Ourselves in a Native Canadian Dimension

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Grounding Ourselves in a
Native Canadian Dimension


By Wayne A. Holst


What does it mean to be a Canadian today?

If you are a Canadian, how would you define
yourself as a citizen?

Over time, that definition keeps changing
and evolving. Through our history – as more
people join us, and we mature as a nation -
our Canadian spirituality is also developing.

100 years ago, when Canadians fought in
World War One, we did so as British
subjects. When we entered World War
Two we did so as Canadians but many
Quebecois were not pleased that they
were fighting a war dominated by the

Fifty years ago we started to describe
ourselves as a bilingual and bicultural
nation. When that seemed inadequate
to many of my own people, the idea
was expanded to multiculturalism.

In some ways, that still continues to
describe us but a most important
ingredient  has always been missing.
Now, one significant reality has been

We are beginning to understand ourselves
with a Native Canadian dimension. Using
John Ralston Saul’s term in his book
“A Fair Country” we are becoming aware
of ourselves as “A Metis Nation.”

We have been heavily influenced and
shaped by Aboriginal ideas such as 
egalitarianism, proper balance between
individual and group, and a penchant
for negotiation, rather than violence.
All of these are values that Canada has
absorbed. We see the results in our
healthcare system and our evolving
legal system as traditional British and
French law changes to adapt to a new
realities in the new world.

How important it is to recognise that we
are influenced by the fact that Native
Canadians were here first! As we started
arriving from Europe, the United States
and other parts of the Americas, we
have been joined by new Canadians
from around the world. Gradually, we
ware coming to see that there were
significant cultures already present,
to which we had to accommodate, even
though our relations with the First
Nations has always been an uneasy one.

Richard Wagamese, a fine Ojibway writer,
and one of Canada’s best today now
publishes “Medicine Walk” a profoundly
spiritual story that integrates both Judeo-
Christian and Traditional spiritualities.

We are not just different from Americans,
but different in ways that matter. We
are not a melting pot of cultures, but
respectful of the different cultures that
continue to influence us as Canadians.

Wagamese believes that we are far more
Aboriginal than European and American
and our failure to recognize and celebrate
this prevents us from becoming the strong,
confident and progressive country that is
our birthright.

Whether we can all agree that the First
Nations are indeed the founding pillar
of our civilization, and that Native
spirituality is indeed something we
are able to integrate to our nation’s
spiritual values – will be key issues
with which we will be grappling this
fall as people of our congregation study
both Ralston Saul and Wagamese.

“A Fair Country” by John Ralston Saul

“Medicine Walk” by  Richard Wagamese



Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city.


Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 6,  September 7th, 2014

One way of marking koinonia across space and time: The BAS Calendar of Holy Persons (an invitation to contribute)

Posted on: September 27th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


by Eileen Scully


Eileen ScullyOne of the jobs before the Liturgy Task Force is to review the BAS Calendar of Holy Persons, and to make recommendations towards additions or other changes to it. We’ve taken a look at the work done south of the border with The Episcopal Church’s Holy Women, Holy Men, and other Calendars produced or revised since the BAS was authorized in 1985. We’ve also talked a lot about Canadian Anglican identity, and what it means to keep memorials and commemorations in our Church, which connect us in koinonia with the wider Body of Christ ecumenically and across the world, and through time, back those many years. And what it means to be Canadian Anglican Christians, and what more of our shared identity and particular identities within our common life could be better lifted up. Some have asked “what would a post-colonial Calendar look like?”

In my time with Faith, Worship, and Ministry, we’ve seen three additions to the BAS Calendar of Holy Persons. In 2004 we added Florence Li Tim-Oi and Mother Emily Ayckboom, as memorials; in 2010, National Aboriginal Day of Prayer became a special commemoration. Each of these additions say something about who we have grown to be as Anglican Church of Canada, and the practice of remembering and commemorating feeds that deeper grounding and keeps us thinking and celebrating and challenging ourselves about who we are. Are we continuing to live out our commitments to healing and right relationship with Indigenous peoples? Do we support and uphold the ministries of religious communities? Do we welcome the gifts of women in ministry?

In 2004, the Faith, Worship, and Ministry committee approved a document entitled Processes and Procedures for Calendar Review. Based on a Report already approved by the Anglican Consultative Council in the 1990s, it helpfully describes the role of Calendars of Holy Persons, and makes recommendations of processes by which local celebrations can be brought for consideration to the whole church. I’ve attached most of the document below this article, but draw your attention to the qualities of those to be considered for inclusion in the calendar, as follows:

  1. “Heroic faith, i.e. bearing witness with great generosity to Christ and the gospel. Historically, the primary model of heroic faith has been witness to the death, but the term may also include persistent risk-taking as well as a life in which other values are set aside for the sake of devotion and service. True heroic faith is healthy and life-affirming; it is not masochistic or suicidal.
  2. “The fruit of the Spirit. We may expect those commemorated to have exhibited in an exemplary way the fruit of the Spirit to which Paul refers in Gal 5.22, ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ Their lives may not have been perfect, but those who knew them should have been aware of this complex, but unified goal within them.
  3. “Christian engagement. We may expect those who are commemorated to have participation actively in the life of the Christian community and to have contributed to its sense of mission and to its life and growth.
  4. Recognition by the Christian Community. The commemoration of holy people should have spontaneous roots and should grow from the testimony of those who knew them…”

The Procedures part of the document outlines the ways in which local – diocesan, regional – acts of local commemoration might come forward as proposals to be discerned for inclusion in the nationally-authorized Calendar of Holy Persons. What is critical is that the discernment starts locally.

As I look across the country, I see examples of how holy women and men are being remembered and celebrated. The strongest example of which I’m aware, through the story-telling of colleauges and friends, is of William Winter, priest, pastor, teacher in what is now the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh.

Who are the others?

I encourage you to start discussion in your own region and diocese. Pay attention to whom you remember, and in remembering, connect deeply in that koinonia in space and time, to feed your present community as it seeks to serve God’s mission in your time and place.

And, as usual, start a discussion here… And send additional comments to the Liturgy Task Force at

Principles and Procedures for Calendar Review (FWM 2004; Adopted from Report of the same name, adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council, 1993)

The first step in a process of commemoration is the spontaneous devotion of people who knew the person involved and testify to his/her holiness. Authority enters the process to encourage or discourage its continuation, and to provide guidance to situate the cult within the larger liturgical tradition. At every point, testing is necessary.

Calendars should be developed to honour and expand the thankful remembering of Christian people. They should not be developed in order to meet pedagogical, regional or sectionalist goals. However, a cyclical pattern exists, as worship forms the community of worshippers, educating us in the broadest sense of spiritual-intellectual-and-affective formation about our ancestors in the faith, and deepening our awareness of the communion of saints, into whose praise of God we enter in every act of worship. The calendar is a tool for re-membering the koinonia in space and time into which we are called, and in which we are held.

The commemoration of holy people is always an act of anamnesis. We remember not only the person’s historical events but the power of grace in their lives and consequently of ‘Christ in us the hope of glory.’ Holy persons are remembered not as examples of “perfection” but as signs and witnesses to God’s grace.

Some calendars restrict the word ‘saint’ to pre-Reformation figures; others do not. Anglicans should be neither intimidated nor beguiled by the technical terminology used traditionally and by Christians of other Communions in regard to the commemoration of holy people and heroes and heroines of the faith. The word ‘saint’ means only ‘holy person’ and should not be used as though it separated a loved and respected Christian from the ordinary levels of humanity. The use of the term is optional. Similarly, the word ‘canonized’ should not be used as though it implied human knowledge of divine judgement. There is, in fact, no compelling reason for Anglicans to appropriate the term, although it has been proposed in at least one province. A process of recognition after the cult has begun and historical statements have been attested will be valuable and may be called ‘canonization’, but the term should not be used as though people become saints as a result of such a process; they become saints, if at all, through holiness of life and witness to the Gospel.

Originally the word ‘martyr’ meant simply ‘witness’, but it was attached at an early date to those who persevered as witnesses to the point of death and whose death was itself the ultimate act of witness. The concept of martyrdom has become more complex in the intervening centuries. Is it to be restricted to those who might have avoided death but chose to remain firm in their resolve? Does it include those who were killed for their faith without the option of escape? Are only those who were killed by persecutors who were hostile to Christianity as such to be accounted martyrs (some Provinces in the Communion have so ruled), or does martyrdom include those who have suffered at the hands of other Christians, perhaps for their doctrinal position or for their engagement with social evil? In societies which are nominally Christian it may be necessary to define martyrdom to include the killing of Christians by Christians. It is more than possible that those who were responsible, directly or indirectly, for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Oscar Romero, to name but two, were not only technically Christian (i.e. baptized) but acted on the basis of values which they misguidedly perceived to be Christian. The question is not who killed these witnesses, but whether they died for the authentic Gospel.

While remembrances begin at the local level among those who knew and remember a holy person, it is not inappropriate for them to spread more widely, especially if the style of holiness expressed in the life of a person addresses in a striking way the aspirations of a particular generation of Christians. The love and courage of some people makes an almost universal appeal as their story becomes know. In such cases the boundaries of geography and of divided Christianity make little sense. It is not surprising that some Anglican calendars contain the names of people who lived in other parts of the world or belonged to other Christian Communions.

Reports of extraordinary phenomena (miracles, appearances) in association with a cult are not to be equated with evidence of holiness of life and witness to the gospel. They should be treated with caution and not encouraged among those who may wish to promote a commemoration.

Principles for Calendar Revision

The following traits will be found in those who are commemorated:

  1. Heroic faith, i.e. bearing witness with great generosity to Christ and the gospel. Historically, the primary model of heroic faith has been witness to the death, but the term may also include persistent risk-taking as well as a life in which other values are set aside for the sake of devotion and service. True heroic faith is healthy and life-affirming; it is not masochistic or suicidal.
  2. The fruit of the Spirit. We may expect those commemorated to have exhibited in an exemplary way the fruit of the Spirit to which Paul refers in Gal 5.22, ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ Their lives may not have been perfect, but those who knew them should have been aware of this complex, but unified goal within them.
  3. Christian engagement. We may expect those who are commemorated to have participation actively in the life of the Christian community and to have contributed to its sense of mission and to its life and growth.
  4. Recognition by the Christian Community. The commemoration of holy people should have spontaneous roots and should grow from the testimony of those who knew them. The task of authority is to prevent the spread of inappropriate or misleading devotion, not to impose a commemoration which promotes a line of thought or boosts regional self-esteem. The larger church is not obliged to approve such recognition as local Christian communities may give to particular people; however, it should take them seriously.


There should exist within the church:

  1. Commitment to protecting Sundays as the weekly commemoration of the Lord, as well as the integrity of the great feasts and seasons (If a holy person died on Christmas Day, for instance, it may be appropriate to commemorate him/her on his/her birthday or on the date of some other significant event in his/her life.)
  2. Commitment to the commemoration of persons whose witness provides models for Christian life in the present context.
  3. A climate in the church that is hospitable to local commemorations.
  4. Recognition by bishops and other church leaders that they have a responsibility to review local commemorations and to encourage or discourage them as they appear (or do not appear) to foster devotion and holiness.
  5. Provision for dioceses to suggest the names of people remembered locally to an appropriate body of the Province for review (e.g., a Liturgical Commission or a sub-committee of a Liturgical Commission). In the case of the Anglican Church of Canada, Dioceses and Provinces may bring a motion for revision through appropriate avenues to the Faith, Worship and Ministry committee of General Synod, whose responsibilities as outlined below would guide the decisions of the General Synod in revising the Calendar.
  6. Provision for local (diocesan) educational tools to assist local discernment. Individuals or individual communities wishing to forward a cause for inclusion in the calendar, for example, would bring their request to their local diocesan structures for testing and decision before it is brought to a wider, national level. There may also exist local practices of remembrance that are judged to be appropriate locally without necessarily being of benefit to the whole Province. This is to be discerned locally.
  7. Provision for the appropriate national body (the Faith, Worship and Ministry committee) to test the acceptance of commemorations and memorials with a larger representation of the church.
  8. Support for the preparation and publication of accurate biographical material on those who are commemorated.
  9. A process within Faith, Worship and Ministry for the regular review of the BAS calendar that would include possibility of ‘retiring’ of names which no longer command significant attention.
  10. Provision for the General Synod to adopt names to be included in the BAS calendar, to assign them to a particular proper prayers and readings.
  11. A process for sharing calendar revision among the Provinces of the Communion. This to be done through the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, the Anglican Consultative Council and other, informal, ways of information sharing and partnership.

Eileen Scully

About Eileen Scully

I’m serving the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada as Director of Faith, Worship, and Ministry and have a passion for how worship and learning form disciples for God’s mission in the world, and how that mission shapes our common prayer.

Weekly Update from The Community, September 26, 2014

In praise of restraint

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Michelle Hauser


The folder is labelled “Emails I didn’t send to the Principal.” It contains one unsent message: a rant about leprechauns and St. Patrick and, Why so much of the former and so little of the latter?

I created the folder last year, when my son was in Grade 1 and I realized how big a test of faith it was going to be to sustain positive, long-term relationships with the people who will educate him.

Unfortunately, I am genetically predisposed to high-strung, emotional responses. Add to this an acute case of “Mama Bear Syndrome” and I have the potential to be an elementary school teacher’s worst nightmare.

Whether it’s bristling at the heavy-handed tone of a letter—Thou shalt make cupcakes, or else!—feeling embarrassed by an unfavourable note in the agenda or a knee-jerk reaction to my son’s one-sided account of a bad day, I’ve been amazed at how quickly a hot head of steam can build.

My mother was a teacher, though, so I grew up with an insider’s view of the chain of command: when to have a rational conversation with the teacher versus when to bear a lit torch into the principal’s office. Going over a teacher’s head is a huge no-no, so I created the email folder as a way to train myself to bite my tongue.

Practising restraint in such a way called to mind some friendly advice, given to me years ago: “You need to be a non-anxious presence.”

At the time, my friend was referring to church, not school. Once upon a time I was similarly tied up in knots about parish life—prayer books and soup spoons and tea towels and other petty distractions that prevent Christian people from behaving like Christians. Having spent the first three decades of my life as a fringe participant in religious culture, becoming Anglican was a challenge.

To be a non-anxious presence is not in my nature, but I took the advice to heart. I continued to advocate for a changing of the ways—outsiders can have good ideas and I’m convinced God brings us inside the church for a reason—but I did it with less urgency and judgment.

Interestingly, when I was no longer frothing at the mouth, I could see that although many of us had different worldviews, we were all there for the right reasons: everything we did, even the things we did imperfectly, was out of love for Christ and his church. I remain convinced that the same is true about education. The system is not without flaws—some very big ones, in fact—and yes, the people in it make mistakes, but they are, for the most part, there for the right reasons: they are passionate about teaching and they care very much about our kids.

I reread my leprechaun email recently and was terribly relieved that I hadn’t sent it. In hindsight, the message is emblematic of the worst kind of micromanaging—a nuisance that teachers and administrators need less of, not more.

Why not work with them, instead of against them? Why not be at least as willing to pray for them as to criticize them?

I got my son ready for school earlier this month: he got new coloured pencils, notebooks and shoes. I got myself ready, too, but my back-to-school checklist looked a little different:


How to be a non-anxious presence

Continued commitment to restraint

Unshakeable faith

Always remember the power of prayer

Note to self: “Light torch only when necessary.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 25, 2014


Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


by Mathew Zachariah

  Calgary, Alberta

I was baptized in my father’s ancestral
church, The Orthodox Syrian Church in
Vanchithrain the village of Thekkemala in
central Kerala, India. But I almost always
attended Anglican churches because of my
mother’s strong Anglican (Church Missionary
Society or CMS) roots and because I grew up
with my CMS adoptive parents in Alapuzha
(a coastal town in Kerala) and attended the
Anglican Christ Church there.

When I visited my mother in our ancestral
paternal home in Hekkemala in my youth for
holidays, I accompanied her and attended the
Orthodox Church. In the Orthodox tradition,
the Lay Leader recites aloud and from memory
the Nicene Creed and the congregants affirm
the creed’s truth by saying “Ameen” (Amen)
at intervals. On rare occasions when the Nicene
Creed was recited in the CMS church in the
1940s and early 1950s (because we recited
the Apostle’s Creed most of the time), the
priest and the congregation read aloud that
Creed from the translated Book of Common
Prayer (BCS) in Malayalam, the language of
Kerala. I could not have realized then that
the Nicene Creed recited in the CMS Church
had the “filioque.”

What is filioque? In Latin it means “and the
son.” According to one of many sources I
consulted (Orthodox Wiki found with the
help of Google): “[Filioque] was added to
the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed by the
Church of Rome in the 11th century, one of
the major factors leading to the Great Schism
between East and West. [Some scholars claim
that the filioque has been present in earlier
documents]. This inclusion in the Credal article
regarding the Holy Spirit thus states that the
Sprit proceeds from the Father and the Son.”
(Bold italics in the original). The Anglican
Church accepted the tradition handed down
from Rome in the matter of this creed.

We cannot tarry to examine the fascinating
filioque controversy here. Let us note that
on page 71 of the Book of Common Prayer
(1962, Canada) the filioque is present,
although it is not identified as the Nicene
Creed. But, most of us do not know that
The Book of Alternative Services (BAS) of
the Anglican Church of Church of Canada
(copyright 1985) has chosen to extend the
hand of rapprochement to the Orthodox
churches. On page 176 of BAS we read thus:
“The words “and the son” (filioque) have been
removed from the Nicene Creed in accordance
with the Lambeth 1978 Statement: The
conference… [based on the work of the
Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal
 ] requests that all member
Churches of the Anglican Communion should
consider omitting the Filioque from the Nicene
Creed…” It goes on to say that “the omission
of the filioque does not imply a change of
doctrine or belief on the part of the Anglican

When I was doing research for the “My Christian
Faith” chapter in my book “Making Anew My
Home: A Memoir” (, 2014), I
read with sadness in the second 2001 edition
of the World Christian Encyclopedia that: “Of
all Christians, 1,888 millions are church members
affiliated to 6 major ecclesiastico-cultural
megablocs [such as the Anglicans], also some
300 different ecclesiastical traditions, also
33,820 distinct Christian denominations across
the world.” In 2014, the number of divisions
would have certainly increased based on major
or minor differences, thus making our Lord’s
devout wish “That they may all be one” an even
more remote possibility.

Yet, I – shaped by both the Eastern and
Western church traditions – am pleased
with the Canadian Anglican Church’s
significant contribution to church unity
in its doctrinal teaching and modern services.

Mathew’s story and book -
“Making Anew My Home” Friesen (2013)

Read about the Malabar Christians
of Kerala State, South India:

Read about the Church Mission Society
including the work in Kerala State:

Read about the filioque controversy
in the broad sweep of Christian history
Colleagues List, July 13th, 2014, Vol. X. No.1

Anglican and Lutheran leaders share pastoral message on climate change

Posted on: September 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


A Pastoral Message on Climate Change from the heads of Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada published on September 19, 2014. 

Please click here for a PDF version of this message.

We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbors and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures. Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. Glaciers are disappearing, the polar ice cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. Incidents of pollution- created dead zones in seas and the ocean and toxic algae growth in water supplies are occurring with greater frequency. Most disturbingly, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an unprecedented rate. At the same time we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste.

Many have reacted to these changes with grief and anger. In their outrage some have understandably focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. However, an honest accounting requires a recognition that we all participate both as consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. In addition, as citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects. People who are already challenged by poverty and by dislocation resulting from civil war or famine have limited resources for adapting to climate change’s effects.

While an accounting of climate change that has credibility and integrity must include our own repentance, we find our hope in the promise of God’s own faithfulness to the creation and humankind and in the liberation that comes from God’s promise.

God, who made the creation and made it good, has not abandoned it. Daily the Spirit continues to renew the face of the earth. All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident that they are not pursuing a lost cause. We serve in concert with God’s own creative and renewing power.

Moreover, we need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions — deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors. In Christ we have the promise of a life where God has reconciled the human community. In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavors where we find each other at our best.

While the challenge may seem daunting, the Spirit’s abundant gifts for service empower us to find common cause with people who exercise countless insights and skills, embodied in hundreds of occupations and trades. We have good reason to hope in all the ways God’s grace is at work among us. We can commend ourselves to the work before us with confidence in God’s mercy.

Opportunities to act imaginatively and courageously abound in all our individual callings. The Holy Spirit’s work in us leads us as faithful consumers and investors in a global economy to make responsible choices to reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and the wasteful consumption of water and other natural resources. As citizens, we have voices to use in educating children about the climate and in shaping public and corporate policies that affect the environment. The Spirit has also given us our voices to contribute our witness to public discussion of just and responsible use of natural resources.

We also have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effect of climate change in the spirit of the seventh Millennium Development Goal, “to ensure environmental stability”. World leaders will meet this month in New York for a Climate Summit, and in December in Lima, Peru, to discuss global cooperation on climate change. Working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), participants in the UNFCCC’s negotiations hope for an agreement in 2015 that will move toward reduction of carbon emissions, development of low carbon technologies, and assistance to populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

We encourage you to take the initiative to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life — in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life. We are not powerless to act and we are not alone. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope and courage.”i

The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as faithful individuals and churches in solidarity with God’s good creation.


Bishop Elizabeth Eaton Presiding Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz Primate Anglican Church of Canada

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church

Bishop Susan Johnson National Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, September 19, 2014

The gift of possibilities

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Marites N. Sison 


In its early years, the Canadian Churchman (the Anglican Journal’s predecessor) was dominated by advertisements.

The oldest surviving copy of The Dominion Churchman—now called the Anglican Journal—dates back to Aug. 22, 1878. Holding the fragile, brittle, yellowed and frayed 16-page newspaper, it’s difficult not to feel awed by the weight of the Journal’s 139-year history and to feel a palpable sense of duty arising from the trust the church and its faithful have gifted it.

The passage of time has, of course, meant that along with the rest of the world, the Journal has gone through momentous transformations since its birth in 1875. In its early years, the front page was dominated by ads offering the services of barristers, architects, homeopathic pharmacists and a French remedy for nervousness. That all changed in the mid-19th century, when news and features finally claimed their rightful place on page one. The newspaper hired its first lay editor and professional journalist in 1968. In 1977, it enshrined the principle of editorial independence in its charter, stating that while it was the national newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, it was not the official voice of the church. 

The tides of change have strengthened the core values and mission of the Journal. The newspaper exists to freely inform, edify, motivate and challenge Anglicans and to help them be engaged participants in the life of the church, in their communities and the rest of the world.

It has been said that the Journal—which, along with the diocesan newspapers, goes directly into the homes of 141,000 Canadian Anglicans—is a glue that helps hold the people of the church together. On some level, it is a permanent residence of the collective memory of Canadian Anglicans. It provides a forum for a discerning audience to express their ideas and opinions, and therefore remains the best vehicle for gauging the pulse of Anglicans from coast to coast. Throughout the Anglican Communion, it symbolizes the diversity and transparency of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Journal has many ardent supporters, but like any newspaper worth its salt, it also has its share of vociferous detractors. Love it or hate it, the very fact that the Journal moves Anglicans in extremely diverse ways means that it is a newspaper that is loudly alive and it is truly yours. 

As the editorship of the Journal changes hands, the inevitable question is whether it will undergo yet another metamorphosis. The answer is yes and no. Change can be unsettling, but it can also mean endless possibilities for growth and renewal. 

Our immediate goal is to provide readers with more thought-provoking stories that will be told in new ways. In today’s networked age, we will enhance our website and explore ways to serve you better, even as we strengthen our print publication. We will go beyond reportage on church governance and events, and tackle big questions about faith, ethics, religion, spiritual and social issues and, yes, everyday living. Even with a small staff and limited budget, we will strive to be where you are—on the ground and on the road—to gather stories that offer encouragement and hope, provoke deep and meaningful discussions and inspire positive change. 

In short, we will look deeply at issues and concerns that impact you right here, right now. 

What will not change is our abiding commitment to you and the free, robust exchange of information and ideas that are central to the living out of Christian faith and community. It is what we owe you who generously support us year after year and our audacious predecessors. 

* * *

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”—Martin Luther 

In the coming months, we will launch new sections in the Journal and on our website,, which will rely heavily on contributions from our readers. We hope that we can count on you to kick down our doors and share your voices. 

And, as always, letters to the editor are welcome.



Anglican Journal News, September 12, 2014

Christians facing more persecution

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Diana Swift


Christians face persecution in 151 countries, according to the Washington-based Pew Center for Religion. Photo: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria; Boko Haram in Nigeria; Kim Jong-un in North Korea; the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt—these are all players in a worsening world pattern of persecution targeting Christians as well as other religious and ethnic groups.

The calamitous plight of the uprooted faithful in the Middle East may currently be the most media-documented example of animosity against Christians, but practically anywhere on the planet, the followers of Jesus are the likeliest to be persecuted for their religion, according to the Washington-based Pew Center for Research. Christians face religious oppression in 151 countries.

And in findings from the Netherlands-based Open Doors, an evangelical Christian group that monitors the oppression of Christians worldwide and facilitates the practice of their faith, number one in the top 10 of today’s persecuting nations is North Korea—for the 12th consecutive year.

“An estimated 70,000 of North Korea’s several hundred thousand Christians are currently consigned to labour camps for their faith, ” says Paul Estabrooks, a spokesperson for Open Doors Canada.

That Supreme Leader-worshipping country is followed by Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Iran and Yemen, where persecution of Christians is driven largely by Islamic extremism. With heart-wrenching images of thousands of Christian, Yazidi, Shia and Turkmen families fleeing ISIS jihadists seeking to establish a Sunni Muslim caliphate, northern Iraq and Syria have recently dominated the world’s television screens, provoking pity and alarm. According to UN estimates, at least 400,000 people have been forced out of their homes since ISIS forces swept across the Syrian border into Iraq in June. Many have been killed, raped or abducted. Churches, sacred monuments, tombs and documents have been destroyed.

In observations by Donatella Rovera, an Amnesty International crisis response adviser, the militants have turned northern Iraq into “blood-soaked killing fields.” According to Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Washington’s Hudson Institute, “Christians are being systematically eradicated from the region.”

In late July, France responded to the brutal religio-ethnic cleansing by offering asylum to Christians expelled from the city of Mosul, home to one of the Middle East’s oldest Christian communities.

Following suit in early August, several U.K. Anglican bishops argued that, given its participation in the destabilizing 2003 Iraq war that opened the door to Islamist extremists, Britain has a responsibility to grant prompt sanctuary to Mosul Christians after militants threatened them with speedy execution, ruinous taxation or forced conversion. To ignore their needs would be “a betrayal of Britain’s moral and historical obligations,” the bishops said in their letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby backed their demand a few days later.

Before the U.S.-led invasion that left the north vulnerable to radical jihadis, Iraq was home to about 1.5 million Christians (5 per cent of the population), who had lived there for almost 2,000 years. Since then, the Christian population has hemorrhaged out of Iraq, as elsewhere in the regional cradle of Christianity.

“In a sense, the current situation is only the latest in a long series of bloody attacks on Assyrian Christians, except this time it appears that in many places they have been permanently wiped off the map,” says Archdeacon Bruce Myers, the Anglican church’s co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations.

Referring to the annihilation of ancient Christian communities in an Aug. 13 media briefing in Melbourne, Justin Welby said, “…what is happening right now in northern Iraq is off the scale of human horror.”

Back in July, in solidarity with Iraq’s Christians, Welby had replaced his homepage photo with ن (nūn), the Arabic letter for N, standing for Nazarene, which was being branded on the doors of Christian homes for expropriation.

In August, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, joined other faith leaders in condemning the brutal violence against religious minorities in Iraq, Christians particularly. And the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund also announced an initial grant of $10,000 through the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance to help assist those displaced by the conflict.

Speaking on CBC, Andrew Bennett, Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom, called on the region’s influential Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to step up and condemn the barbaric violation of human dignity, “which has all the characteristics of a genocide.” The delicate Sunni-versus-Shia religious politics of the Middle East, however, may conspire against gestures that might seem obvious from afar.

Given the enormity of the crimes, though, has the response of global leaders been sufficient? With thousands of Christians so obviously suffering, why, some ask, did it take the expulsion of the Yazidis to spur the Obama administration to forceful action by air strikes? The Bush administration had sidestepped Christians’ persecution as a “sectarian issue.”

Taking up this question in an Aug. 19 op ed piece in The New York Times, Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress slammed the world’s—including the United Nations’—relative indifference to the large-scale brutalization of many thousands of Christians in the Middle East, while being quick to protest Palestinian casualties in Gaza. “There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars—why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?” Lauder wrote.

Bennett shed light on the West’s reluctance to decry the persecution of Christians in an Aug. 22 commentary in the National Post, noting that this may reflect “a domestic cultural instinct to shy away from public reference to religion, or a concern that such advocacy could be somehow cast as renewed Western imperialism.”

Dr. Paul Cere, an assistant professor of religion, ethics and public policy at Montreal’s McGill University, offers this explanation: “One of the challenges is that when enforcer nations such as Britain and the U.S. that are already viewed with suspicion in the Middle East come to the defence of religious minorities, does it complicate issues for these minorities since they’re perceived as being in alliance with the West?”

But what immediate action can Canadians take? Estabrooks of Open Doors thinks Ottawa should follow France’s lead in offering immediate asylum to expelled Christians. The problem is, many Christians would prefer to remain in their ancient communities. And while, Estabrooks says, diplomatic intervention might achieve this in some regions, “others, I’m afraid, are a losing battle.”

Is there something immediate that Christians can do to help their oppressed co-religionists around the world? “The most tangible way we can respond to this appalling persecution is to support efforts to provide temporary refuge for those fleeing for their lives, to urge our governments to let our countries receive these refugees of religious violence and to pray for these persecuted sisters and brothers in Christ,” says Myers.

Estabrooks concurs and looks beyond the Middle East. “The first thing persecuted Christians everywhere ask us almost universally is to pray for them,” he says. “The second thing is to assure them they are not forgotten. People are aware of what’s happening in Iraq and Syria but may not be aware of how serious the persecution is elsewhere.” ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 5, 2014

Confusion, relief over residential school ruling

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Leigh Anne Williams


The Ontario Superior Court ruling applies only to testimony given in private by former Indian residential school students to the Independent Assessment Process. Photo: Kuzma



Some former students of Indian residential schools are concerned and confused about an Aug. 7 Ontario Superior Court ruling that testimony about the abuse they suffered in the schools should be destroyed after 15 years unless individuals agree to provide their personal information to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

The ruling applies only to testimony given in private by about 40,000 former students to the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), an out-of-court process set up following the negotiation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The IAP was intended to hear individual claims and provide compensation for abuse suffered in the schools. Those who came forward and spoke of their experiences at the IAP were promised that their testimony was private and confidential.

The Rev. Andrew Wesley, a former residential school student, now an Anglican priest who works in urban native ministry with the diocese of Toronto, told the Anglican Journal that there has been some confusion among the people he works with at Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, who are mostly survivors. “They think they are the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] records that are going to be destroyed, but actually that’s not so.”

Records from TRC events and hearings that have taken place across Canada since 2010 are public and will be archived in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to be established at the University of Manitoba. (The TRC was established as a key component of the residential schools agreement; its mandate is to document the 130-year history of Indian residential schools and to educate Canadians about it.)

In a speech in June, IAP chief adjudicator Dan Shapiro read a few lines from a former student that underlined the reasons confidentiality was promised:

“In my IAP compensation hearing, I was questioned about my life before, at, and after residential school. I testified in excruciating detail about my most painful, devastating, intrusive and intimate experiences and suffering. I disclosed violations and trauma of which I never speak. The fortitude, support, and trust that was necessary for my compensation hearing is difficult to adequately describe. It took me many years to even consider taking my case through the IAP. The shame, mistrust and fear [that] I felt made me very hesitant to proceed.”

In August, Shapiro issued a statement praising the decision of Justice Paul Perell. “The Court has issued a clear statement confirming the privacy of claimants and others identified in compensation claim records,” Shapiro wrote. “This will be a huge relief to the thousands of claimants who have appeared at our hearings fully expecting that their accounts of the abuse they suffered at Indian Residential Schools would not be made public without their consent.”

Esther Wesley, co-ordinator of the Anglican Healing Fund, established by the Anglican Church of Canada, agreed that the decision will be a relief to many people who recounted their experiences to the IAP, trusting in promises of confidentiality made at each hearing. “I was concerned, too, because…[for] many of them, their families know some of the story but not the detail that was presented in those hearings…Some of the stories that were written are very graphic.”

She acknowledged that others may feel differently and want their personal information to be archived at the research centre. “They have that choice, which I think is wonderful.”

Shapiro’s statement said the IAP has also “supported this voluntary right of claimants, provided that documents are redacted to protect the personal information of others, the necessity of which the court also recognizes.”

Canon Murray Still, who has been an Anglican representative in the diocese of Rupert’s Land at the IAP, said that opinions about what should be done with the records are mixed among former students he has spoken with.  “They were promised that confidentiality, and that’s what we try to honour as the church. It should be up to those survivors to be able give the permission…whether their story is heard or not.”

The Rev. Andrew Wesley said that some of the people he has spoken to have said that they would prefer to have the transcripts of their testimony to the IAP returned to them rather than having them destroyed or archived at the research centre.

When the Journal inquired about that point, a communication officer for the IAP responded by email, writing that claimants can request a copy of their transcript in a number of ways:

  • asking the adjudicator at their hearing;
  • contacting the Chief Adjudicator’s Office directly at 306-790-4700306-790-4700 or
  • asking their lawyer to contact the Chief Adjudicator’s Office on their behalf.

Information identifying other people, such as staff or other students, will be redacted from the transcripts before these are mailed to individuals who have requested them, the spokesman wrote, noting that the IAP has received about 900 such requests to date.


Anglican Journal News, August 20, 2014