Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

Seeing God in the world

Posted on: October 25th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Rhonda Waters on October, 25 2016

In spring 2017, a delegation of Anglican youth and adults will visit Guatemala “to witness the work of God with the Guatemalan people.” Photo: Tati Nova/Shutterstock

Do you remember the first time you hosted your parents or other significant elders around your table? Did you feel all grown up, proud to demonstrate your ability to take care of yourself and them? Or did it backfire and leave you feeling adrift, anxious and alone?

Or perhaps you remember the first time you took a loved one with you to see the place where you grew up, showing them favourite haunts and the sites of the various events that shaped you into who you are now. Did you feel more deeply understood, more profoundly known? Or did it backfire and leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable?

Inviting people into your home is a brave move, full of wonderful possibilities, but also with very real risks. Being invited into someone’s home, therefore, is a great privilege.

 This spring, the parish I serve, Church of the Ascension, Ottawa, is sending a delegation of youth and adults to Guatemala to witness the work of God with the Guatemalan people as they strive to achieve justice and peace for themselves and their country. It is not a mission trip; although we hope that our members will be helpful while they are there, we are under no illusions. There is nothing they can do that isn’t already being done by the people who live there…with one important exception: being good guests.

Being a good guest means more than just wiping your feet and not using all the hot water. It means being willing to receive more than you give. It means being quick to see the beauty and meaning in the lives around you, even if it looks different from what you’re used to. It means knowing that you are not in charge and that your ways do not hold sway. And it means taking the story of what you saw and what you learned away with you to share with those who haven’t had the privilege of being guests in that place and to shape how you live in your own home.

As our delegates prepare for this trip, they are being invited to carry with them Jesus’ promise that Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled: the poor have received good news; the prisoners and oppressed have been sent free; it is now the year of the Lord’s favour. Trusting this promise, they have been charged with three sacred tasks: first, of being the kind of guests that make their hosts feel understood and respected; second, of bearing witness to God’s work in that place; third, of bearing word back to encourage and enliven our commitment to God’s work in our own homes and throughout the world.

But these tasks are not only for those travelling across continents and cultures. Each one of us is to be a gracious guest whenever we have the opportunity—whether in our neighbour’s house or in another country. Each one of us has the capacity to train our eyes to see the signs of God at work in the world around us. Each one of us, as a follower of Jesus, is called to develop the ability to proclaim that good news when we see it.

About the Author

Rhonda Waters

Rhonda Waters

The Rev. Rhonda Waters is incumbent of the Church of the Ascension, diocese of Ottawa. 
Anglican Journal News, October 25, 2016

When preaching becomes a challenge

Posted on: October 23rd, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Mark MacDonald on October, 18 2016

Image: LineArtPilot/Shutterstock

(This article first appeared in the October issue of the Anglican Journal.)

I preached at the ordination of a dear friend recently. Feeling a bit too nervous to be comfortable, it made me wonder beyond the event at hand. After all these years, why is preaching not only hard, but seems to get harder? If it is something practised for so many years, shouldn’t it get easier over time? Do others feel this way?

My discomfort could be from a number of sources. The importance of the setting— as in my friend’s ordination—is often part of it, but, these days, I tend to feel nervous regardless of setting. Another concern is the expectations of those who hear: will I disappoint? Will they hear something that they will find helpful? Will my friends who ask me to preach be satisfied?

More and more, I am aware of the responsibility we have when we preach; how much today’s church and society need the application of God’s Word during these intensely challenging times. In light of this, I feel a tremendous weight of obligation and an equally challenging lack of capability. Without doubt, the grace of God in the Holy Spirit is, as Jesus insisted, our only hope when we proclaim the Good News. But today, my growing ache is the knowledge that I have often relied on my own strength, with a consequence of un- certain impact, quite often. Similarly, in the midst of undeserved help, there was impact that was gracefully and disproportionately good, despite my feeble efforts.

We need to pray for preachers, and preachers need to pray. This is a time when strong preaching is so needed, and a time when much of what we say seems to be falling short of the mark. Yes, this will probably always be true, but let us pray that in this day and time, God will grace us with the dedication and study needed to be the recipients and catalysts of an operation of grace in the mouths and hearts of the preachers and the ears and hearts of the listeners.


About the Author

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald

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


Anglican Journal News, October 20, 2016

What autumn leaves teach us

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Wayne Holst on October, 14 2016

Photo: 2009fotofriends/Shutterstock

Nature is a wonderful teacher and it offers many valuable spiritual lessons.

Here are a few personal insights that came to me after time spent traveling in Alberta and Ontario during the past few weeks.

The British speak of the changing seasonal appearance of leaves and shrubs as “autumn foliage” while we North Americans might refer to it as the “fall colours.”  For the majority of Canadians, this magnificent natural transformation provides a most intriguing experience that is rich in meaning.

In my earlier years I believed that frost was the cause of leaf coloration. Later, I discovered a different, scientific explanation.

For most of the growing season, green dominates and masks out the colours of other pigments nonetheless present in the leaf. Sunlight is very important for green leaf vitality, but in the fall, the sunlit process of photosynthesis declines. As daylight hours shorten and temperatures cool, the chlorophyll that keeps the leaves green for most of the growing season is gradually stopped and the hidden pigments of yellow, orange and red will gloriously appear. This colour change is especially true in hardwood species like hickory, ash, maple, yellow poplar, aspen and birch.

Modern science clarifies a natural process once vaguely explained by what we might now call myth. Today we are inclined to view scientific fact as true and myth as falsehood.  For me, however, a myth about frost can also be true and very helpful. Myth emerged from a pre-scientific age but it continues to describe natural phenomena in a subtle, poetic way. How important it is to hold both science and myth –  two expressions of truth –  in vital creative suspension!

Yellow is the dominant fall colour of Alberta, while multi-coloration is often  seen in Ontario and the eastern parts of Canada. Everywhere, the shades are beautiful, and vary depending on growing conditions and tree types.  This reminds me of the splendour to be found in human diversity. Heritage and context have made all of us appealing and we come to appreciate that more as we grow together, multiculturally, as a community of Canadian people.

Light plays strongly into natural transformation as aesthetic beauty. Art history helps us understand how painters have long portrayed the rich contrasts of light and shade with intriguing results. The Creator seems to have intended this from the beginning and shaped it into ways that make nature’s process so appealing.

We live in a vast country where both similarity and diversity comingle. All of us have the opportunity to better appreciate nature’s beauty close to home and some of us take opportunities to enjoy it in other parts of this enchanting land. The more we seek meaning in particular places, the more likely we are to find it elsewhere.

Comparisons between natural and human beauty are limitless. Reflect on this, contributing your own insights. Canadian autumn leaves have much to teach us spiritually if we are attuned to them. I discovered that again in my travels this fall.

About the Author

Wayne Holst

 Wayne A. Holst was a Lutheran pastor (ELCIC) for 25 years. He taught religion and culture at the University of Calgary for a quarter century and co-ordinates adult spiritual development at St. David’s United Church, Calgary.


Anglican Journal News, October 17, 2016

When will I ever learn?

Posted on: October 11th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Nissa Basbaum on October, 11 2016

Image: Rina_Ro/Shutterstock

When I was a student in search of a summer job, I was driven by a fellow student one spring from Ontario to Alberta, where I found employment in Calgary. That same student told me that if I found myself in Canmore, I should dine at a restaurant called Zig’s Junction. “It’s a dive on the outside, but you won’t regret going in,” he said.

The day did come when my camping buddy and I, on our way back from Banff, landed in Canmore around suppertime. Although it was pitch-black, Zig’s Junction wasn’t hard to find; in 1976, Calgary was not the large metropolis it now is, nor was Canmore a bedroom community to Calgary. There was pretty much one main street, and on that one street was Zig’s Junction.

“No chance I’m going in there,” my friend muttered, and I confess having a similar reaction to what frankly looked like a hole in the wall where no one in their right mind would even dare to drink a cup of coffee, let alone eat a full meal. Nonetheless, brave soul that I was, I responded, “We’ve got to at least go inside. I was warned to ignore how it looked from the street.”

Perhaps my camping partner was starved, perhaps she trusted me more than she should have—whatever it was, she agreed to walk through the door, and when she did she was as stunned as I was.

Inside were a number of tables laid with red-chequered cloths, each with a small vase of flowers. The room had the appearance of someone’s kitchen; it was cozy and homey. We were greeted warmly and asked if we were there for supper. I looked at my friend and it was clear that both of us had done a complete 180. Yes, we were definitely there for supper, and when we had finished eating, we were anything but disappointed. The food was delicious, classic comfort, right the way through to the apple pie and ice cream for dessert. The service was wonderful, and the ambience was warm and friendly. The person who chauffeured me to Alberta had been right.

Zig’s Junction was a superb place to have a meal, and it’s no surprise I have never forgotten the experience of being there. I make a point of remembering this each time I find myself judging yet another book by its cover.


About the Author

Nissa Basbaum

Nissa Basbaum

The Very Rev. Nissa Basbaum is dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels,  diocese of Kootenay.
Anglican Journal News, October 11, 2016

Doubt and grace

Posted on: October 8th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Frequently Asked Questions

Doubt and grace

MarthaSQIt had been a long time since I had felt such doubt. I was in free fall—over a cliff, down, down, down, with no idea where the bottom might be or how hard I might hit. The question which had led me to trip over the edge was a classic one: if there is a God, then why is everything going so wrong?

My mother-in-law had died in the early hours of that same day. She was sixty-seven, and we had come to believe that, terrible diagnosis aside, we had much more time with her. Prayer was working, the tumours had been shrinking. Then, suddenly, she was gone. My husband had spent the previous night by her side and had spent that day making those most painful phone calls and house calls to tell her loved ones the news, including having to tell his grandmother that her only living child had died. He made funeral arrangements. He picked out flowers for her casket and clothes for her burial. He did all of this alone, because I was on the other side of the country with the kids: a nineteen-hour drive away. We were so blindsided by this loss that we had gone ahead with vacation plans, with Dan planning to join me once his mother was stabilized. Instead, we were now days apart at the time when we most needed to be close.

But the kick over the edge came after I had fallen into a heavy, sad sleep that night. Dan had decided that he was going to fly out to join us in Prince Edward Island. He had spent the day doing all that needed to be done, and then he was going to come to his family, to the wide expanse of ocean and red sand coast, to the clear sea air, to the four of us holding onto one another, and we were going to drive back to Ontario together. I was to pick him up at the Charlottetown airport the following morning. Instead, just after I drifted off, I got his frantic phone call telling me that he was stuck behind two enormous burning accidents on the highway and that there was no way he was going to make his flight. He had given himself three-and-a-half hours to make a one hour trip to the airport, and there was no way he would make it.

I made phone calls to the airline to try and book something else. I called Dan back several times hoping, praying, believing that something must shift on that highway. He was going to get through. He had to make it. And as the time narrowed in on his plane’s departure, and the airline apologetically informed me that all flights for the weekend to the Island were booked, and Dan was still stuck, a jarring stream of texts and emails and facebook posts was flooding my phone telling me that my friends, family and church had heard of Helen’s death and were praying for us. How could so much prayer be directed our way and yet Dan couldn’t get this one small thing that he needed so much? We weren’t trying to move a mountain, we weren’t asking for his mother back, we just needed one car-sized window in the traffic to open.

In my family, we have a saying that we referred to often when it felt like life is falling apart: “things have a habit of working out.” It has served as a nudge back toward sanity when we have become consumed with worry. A lot of the things that we fear don’t ever come to pass, and when we look back on difficult circumstances, hindsight reveals a greater wisdom, a bigger picture at work. But of course, this saying is only a nudge, it isn’t the full truth. Life does sometimes fall apart. The chaos and disappointment of that dark night felt all-consuming at the time for us. And then there are the flattened towns of Italy and Myanmar from this week’s earthquakes. There are the bodies of two-year-old refugees washed up on foreign shores. There are global and personal tragedies taking place everywhere, so much graver than the loss we were facing that night, reminding us that life comes with no money-back warranty and things do not always “work out.”

Yet something did happen that night, something smaller and less dramatic than the highway opening like I was praying it would. It caught my breath in the back of my throat despite that smallness. I was falling, and then someone other than me pulled the parachute open. I was suddenly cushioned, caught. Those prayers that were flooding in didn’t prevent Dan from missing his flight, but they did provide a sudden peace, a deep and unarticulated sense—I would even go as far as to say, knowledge—of being in God’s hands, even though I had just questioned God’s very existence. “My flesh and my heart may fail,” the psalmist wisely said, “but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73). Or as my Spiritual Director Kevin commented, “we might not believe, we might not see, and amazingly, God is there anyway.”

Eric Liddell, the famous Olympian whose life and faith was depicted in the movie Chariots of Fire, wrote “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.” God hasn’t left us helpless either. God sets it up so that we live our faith in community, we seek God together. It matters that we pray for one another because sometimes we are too blinded, too disappointed, too broken-hearted to find strength ourselves. Sometimes we just can’t see and feel and trust God alone. And as the days have unfolded since that night, I have been aware, too, of that other important tool God gives us in asking us to pattern our faith lives around the communal act of worship, coming together to pray. “Eucharist” is the Anglican word we use for worship that centers around the meal and sacrifice of bread and wine, the promise that in sharing that bread and wine together, Jesus is revealed to be with us. But the word Eucharist simply means thanksgiving. Our worship is shaped by the practice of gratitude. Our worship builds our gratitude muscles. That night I was caught and cushioned by the gift of communal prayer, and in the days that followed, my Eucharistic training allowed me to step back from disappointment, breathe when the wind was knocked out of me, and see the blessings that abounded.

Things don’t always work out. This is truer than the family saying I grew up with. Things don’t always work out. But there is grace. There have been all kinds of happenings this past month since my mother-in-law’s death that haven’t gone according to plan, that have seemed needlessly difficult in an already difficult time. There have also been numerous points of grace—gifts from outside of ourselves that have lifted us, given us strength or peace, a much needed smile. There have been prayers that haven’t been answered that I can admit were perhaps better that they weren’t, there have been prayers answered in ways that I wasn’t expecting. I have had to lean far more than is comfortable (or that I would have chosen) on the faith and provision of others. And I have had to rely on those gratitude muscles that are built week in and week out through the ups and downs of our lives as we keep coming back to the rhythm of church life.

We haven’t been sheltered from doubt and loss. But we have been shepherded through. I am tired and fragile and sad. I am also grateful and glad and profoundly blessed. God is not helpless among the ruins. Thanks be to God.

About Martha Tatarnic

The Reverend Martha Tatarnic serves as the rector of St. George’s Anglican Church in St. Catharines. Previously, she has served in congregations in Orillia and Oakville. Her focus in congregational leadership has been in empowering justice initiatives and outreach in the small church, starting a new service, the possibilities and potentials of Anglican-Lutheran partnership, and forming disciples through the power of music. As a young mother navigating family life through the continually changing waters of modern-day life, she is passionate about connecting the dots between faith – worship – Scripture, and exploring the concerns, joys, questions, stresses, worries, celebrations, of Right Here, Right Now.

The Community, An update from The Community, August 26, 2016

‘The hunger for justice’

Posted on: October 8th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Marites N. Sison on October, 07 2016

Is it enough to simply remember and pray for the homeless and poor this Thanksgiving? Photo: Shutterstock

(This editorial first appeared in the October issue of the Anglican Journal.)

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, some of us may decide to compose our own prayers. Or, perhaps, stick to familiar ones such as these:

Dear Lord, thank you for this food. Bless the hands that prepared it. Bless it to our use and us to your service. And make us ever mindful of the needs of others”; “For food in a world where many are in hunger; For faith in a world where many walk in fear; For friends in a world where many walk alone; We give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.”

These prayers urge us, in the midst of plenty, to think about those less fortunate than we are. But is it enough to simply remember and pray for the homeless and poor?

Each night across Canada, about 35,000 people are homeless, a growing number of them families with children, says a recent report by the advocacy group Raising the Roof. In fact, one in seven Canadians using a temporary shelter is a child.

The report also notes that 841,191 Canadians visited food banks in 2014, an increase of 25% from 2008.

“Homelessness is a disaster in this country, one that has been recognized by the United Nations,” the report states. Noting how growing inequality fuels poverty and homelessness, it warns, “If we fail to act soon, this problem is only going to get worse.” The gravity of homelessness in Canada was starkly illustrated a year ago when a group of homeless Victorians set up camp on the city’s courthouse lawn, across the street from Christ Church Anglican Cathedral. The tent city was demolished this summer, but it succeeded in putting a spotlight on poverty and lack of affordable housing.

Some are dioceses that have made ending poverty and homelessness the lynchpin of their work around social justice. Diocese of Edmonton Bishop Jane Alexander, for example, sits as co-chair of the End Poverty Edmonton Task Force, along with Mayor Don Iveson. The task force has identified specific, community-led strategies to “end poverty in a generation.” As Alexander told members of Council of General Synod in 2013, issuing a statement or signing a petition is a good start, but these are not enough.

In September, the Journal reported on efforts made by the diocese of Ottawa to make better use of church real estate by converting some of them into multi-purpose facilities, generating profits that finance social services.“ There is an increased expectation now on the part of the church to do more… and there’s an obligation…on our part to respond to that expectation,” said Bishop John Chapman. He cited increasing demand for ministries that provide housing for disadvantaged women and shelters and day programs for people living on the street.

Aside from funding various social programs, the diocese of Toronto is active in social justice and advocacy work. Recognizing that advocacy requires strength in numbers, it partners with faith and justice groups in speaking out on child poverty, affordable housing and homelessness.

There are many other examples of good work that dioceses, parishes and individual Anglicans do across Canada. It would be ideal for Canadian Anglicans to share their experiences, and even work together, to achieve greater results. There are success stories, for sure, but there are also challenges with no straightforward solutions.

At their first joint assembly in 2013, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada passed a declaration committing their churches to “advocate for renewed federal funding” and for an “integrated national collaborative strategy and greater accountability on the part of provinces and municipalities” in addressing homelessness and substandard housing.

When they meet anew in 2019, the two churches ought to assess whether they have lived up to these commitments.

In closing, the Anglican Journal wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving. We invite you to join us saying in this prayer often attributed to Latin America: “O God, to those who have hunger, give bread, and to us who have bread, give the hunger for justice.”

About the Author

Marites N. Sison

Marites N. Sison

Marites N. Sison is editor of the Anglican Journal.


Anglican Journal, October 07, 2016

Off to Rome

Posted on: September 29th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Fred Hiltz on September, 29 2016

(This article first appeared in the October issue of the Anglican Journal.) 

My desire of many years to visit Rome is finally being realized. This month, I will attend the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Renowned for its hospitality and educational programs, the centre has long been a venue for the writing and promotion of Anglican-Roman Catholic statements that have been foundational to our common quest for unity in mission. This anniversary features a colloquium on progress made through five decades of international dialogue, including the challenges and the opportunities of our own time.

It is said that this centre is “one of those singular corners of the religious world that reminds us that the connection between theology and good works relies on friendship.”

Through the years, there have been powerful gestures reflecting such friendship. It was 50 years ago that Pope Paul-VI gave his episcopal ring to Archbishop Michael Ramsay on March 24, 1966. Ramsay wore it till the day he died. Popes and archbishops in office at the same time have made pilgrimages to Rome and Canterbury respectively, visited shrines to the holy men and women of ages past, lit candles and knelt down together in prayer that the world be illumined by that peace of Christ.

Our churches have watched with awe and gratitude the friendship between John Paul II and Robert Runcie, George Carey and Rowan Williams; Benedict XVI and

Rowan Williams, and now Francis and Justin Welby.

The Anglican Centre in Rome, which opened in 1966, is the Anglican Communion’s “permanent presence in Rome.

For the Primates’ Meeting in January this year, Pope Francis loaned the much- treasured head of the crozier of Pope Gregory, who had sent Augustine to England in the year 597 AD. Its very presence was a sign of our common heritage and hope in Christ.Such gestures are the stuff of friendship, not only between popes and primates, but also between bishops and priests and deacons and all the faithful who share a common baptism and are committed to working for the full visible unity of the church.

I look forward to this visit to Rome with all the anticipation of a pilgrim, eager to be in such a holy place, eager to meet new friends in the faith, and eager, I must confess, to meet the Holy Father. I so admire the simplicity and authenticity with which he endeavours to lead the church in the way of Christ. It is exemplary for us all.

About the Author

Fred Hiltz

Fred Hiltz

Archbishop Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. 


Anglican Journal News, September 29, 2016

The mystery of the child

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Wayne Holst on September, 12 2016

Illustration: Sveta Gaintseva/Shutterstock

This past summer offered a special occasion for my partner Marlene and me.We welcomed the arrival, between us, of our eighth grandchild. Her name is Julia Grace. For us, the coming of a grandchild is nothing new, and we love all seven of her predecessors. But for me, Julia’s arrival was a special occasion. I think I was finally ready to appreciate what this newborn can teach me, as I was previously unprepared.

Gradually, and into my eighth decade, I believe that I am transitioning from understanding babies and children as objects of my adult will to persons of respect in their own right. What do I mean by this? Let me unpack that and try to translate something mysterious into words.

When we find ourselves in the parent role for the first time, we are normally shaken by the magnitude of the responsibility. A fragile and malleable human life is in our hands! When previously we were the responsive or reactive children in relation to parents, we are now the parents! That is a major life discovery. In response, many parents become intense rather than laidback.

We don’t want our kids to reflect our inadequacies. We start “living through the lives of our children” rather than seeking the best way to help them mature into their own true selfhood.

Time and circumstance change us. My partner and I have now arrived at a period in life when our role is that of enjoying and responding to the children rather than controlling them. We have great respect for all modern parents who take their teaching roles seriously, and think that many of them are better suited to the task than we ever were. We observe them practising a variety of parenting techniques, often thoughtfully determined and evolving with experience.

Some parents seem to believe that discipline is primary. Some, perhaps reacting to their own upbringing, consider discipline anathema. Most seem caught in the muddy middle and are frequently self-blaming for a lot of what transpires. I have the luxury of standing back and reflecting on it all. What am I learning?

Over the past decades, Canadian society, at the prompting of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations, has been challenging us to be much more attentive to children’s rights. Where might that begin?

“Children are not problems; they are mysteries”—is a lesson I am trying to learn.  “Each child is a mystery surrounded by a mystery rather than a problem faced by a complex of problems.”*

Children receive. They live in a gift relationship with others. We need to grow as adults and once more become receptive like children, as Jesus said (Mt. 18:2–5; Mk. 9:36–7.) We are all, parents and children, givers and receivers.

When I look into Julia’s lovely face, nestled in her mom’s or nana’s arms,

I consider myself the recipient of a great gift. I have so much to learn from Julia; but I hope I will always be there for her, too, if ever she needs me.

*A special thanks to Martin E. Marty, professor emeritus, University of Chicago, whose shared experience and book, The Mystery of the Child,  helped me write this column.


About the Author

Wayne Holst

 Wayne A. Holst was a Lutheran pastor (ELCIC) for 25 years. He taught religion and culture at the University of Calgary for a quarter century and co-ordinates adult spiritual development at St. David’s United Church, Calgary.


Anglican Journal News, September 12, 2016

Our high calling

Posted on: September 7th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Mark MacDonald on August, 29 2016

Fr. George Metcalf was one of the most dedicated and holy people I had ever met. When he told me that, as he got older, he began to worry about his salvation, I was shocked and confused. Chaplain to Gen. George Patton in the Second World War, Fr. Metcalf was famous for his piety and his compassion. If he was worried, what about the rest of us?

He explained that he had been dedicated in his work as a priest, but now was concerned more deeply for the sake of his soul. He had been so caught up in the work that he feared he had neglected the one thing most needful. He believed in forgiveness, to be sure. He believed in the promises of God in Christ. This was about integrity and about a deep coherence between words and actions, a movement toward a depth of conversion that is the promise of the grace of Jesus.

As I get older, what he said makes a lot more sense. In the ministry, there is a special danger that we can be caught up in the work and forget our souls. Jesus warns us, in his harsh treatment of the particularly pious, of the perils of piety not grounded in reality. Paul tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). Our Christian faith is about so much more than simply doing good things. It is also about more than forgiveness. God has saved us to walk in both grace and integrity. This is our high calling.

About the Author

Mark MacDonald

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


Anglican Journal News, August 30, 2016

Stand with Standing Rock—A Call for Prayer from the Office of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Posted on: August 25th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
The Dakota Access Pipeline is currently under construction near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The finished pipeline will cross under the Missouri River and carry up to 450,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Photo by Lars Plougmann [CC BY-SA 2.0 (] via Flickr

The Dakota Access Pipeline is currently under construction near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The finished pipeline will cross under the Missouri River and carry up to 450,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Photo by Lars Plougmann [CC BY-SA 2.0 (] via Flickr

Stand with Standing Rock—A Call for Prayer from the Office of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0

Water is sacred and one of the four primal elements that sustain life on Mother Earth. We have not respected water and consequently many lakes, streams, rivers and creeks are polluted. It is an element on the verge of scarcity. We must protect water.

There is a pipeline approved for construction in the United States and while many will say, it’s a U.S. problem, it is also a Canadian problem. The same has happened here and will continue to happen. Oil has become a more precious commodity than water. This pipeline, “Dakota Access,” being built by Energy Transfer Partners, will threaten water for the Standing Rock Sioux as it will cross (underground) the Missouri River. It will also upset burial grounds. Three agencies of the U.S. government are questioning the approval of the pipeline. While not crossing the reservation, it is close, approximately ten miles from the reservation.

For several weeks people from all over North America have been congregating at the Camp of the Sacred Stone near Cannonball, North Dakota. There are people from the other Sioux nations of the Dakotas and Montana, and Minnesota; Ojibwes from Minnesota; various nations from Oklahoma; Alaska, New York and Canada. They are gathered on Sacred land and are respectful of that sacredness.

“The place where pipeline will cross on the Cannonball is the place where the Mandan came into the world after the great flood, it is also a place where the Mandan had their Okipa, or Sundance. Later this is where Wisespirit and Tatanka Ohitika held sundances. There are numerous old Mandan, Cheyenne, and Arikara villages located in this area and burial sites. This is also where the sacred medicine rock [is located], which tells the future.”—LaDonna Bravebull Allard (Lakota, Dakota)

They have come to peacefully protest even though they have been accused of having weapons and pipe bombs. They did have a pipe that was being passed around but it was a sacred pipe that has been part of the Sioux ceremony and culture for years. News reports say that the water supply and toilet facilities to the camp have been shut off. And, there are threats of calling out the National Guard. Yet, not one shot has been fired. The Chief of the Standing Rock Sioux has been arrested along with others. The U.S. supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) but cannot enforce it, it is a moral issue. Even though much of what has been done for Dakota Access is in violation of the UNDRIP, there is only hope that the moral issue can be raised and heard.

The Anglican Church of Canada, through the work of our Primate, the Most. Rev. Fred Hiltz, takes the UNDRIP seriously and is committed to live into the Articles of the Declaration. Also, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report, the 94 Calls to Action, references the UNDRIP in many of the Actions. Action step 48 calls upon the church to “formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the UNDRIP as a framework for reconciliation. The Primate has also commissioned a “Council of Elders and Youth to monitor our church’s honouring in word and action our church’s commitment “to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. Another important principle of UNDRIP is “free, prior and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources” (Article 32). It is also important to point out that Article 16 speaks to Indigenous Nations that have been separated by political borders: “Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with own members as well as other peoples across the borders.” Many nations have been separated by imposed borders: Blackfoot/Blackfeet, Mohawk, Ojibwe, Sioux, Cree and others. We need to be good relatives and support our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock.

The Office of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop and the Anglican Church of Canada stand with Standing Rock. We are all related, not only by our blood but also by the blood of Christ. Standing Rock has long been an Episcopal community. Standing Rock Reservation was home of the eminent Deloria Family—Philip, an Episcopal clergyman, served many years on South Dakota side of Standing Rock Reservation—his son, the Venerable Vine V. Deloria, was born there; Philip’s grandson, the famed Vine Deloria Jr, gave his tribal identification as Standing Rock Sioux (though he was born on Pine Ridge Reservation).

We call the Church to pray for Standing Rock, for Good Minds to prevail and for peaceful settlement. We also call the Church to pray for water, that is taken for granted in many of our communities but good water is getting scarce in our communities. We call upon the Church to pray for our governments, both Indigenous and Settler, that they may work together to protect our fragile Mother Earth. Flowing waters are the arteries of our Creator, precious and life giving. Without water, there is no life here on Mother Earth. Pray that our Creator, God, will help us to live in balance and harmony with each other and with Earth, Fire, Air and Water.

“The dangers imposed by the greed of big oil on the people who live along the Missouri river is astounding. When this proposed pipeline breaks, as the vast majority of pipelines do, over half of the drinking water in South Dakota will be affected… It must be stopped. The people of the four bands of Cheyenne River stand with our sister nation in this fight as we are calling on all the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires to do so with our allies, both native and non native in opposing this pipeline.”—Joye Braun (Cheyenne River)

Bishop Mark signature

The Right Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
The Anglican Church of Canada

Signature - Fred

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
The Anglican Church of Canada

Note: Dr. Owanah Anderson, Choctaw Elder and long time mentor of Mark MacDonald and Ginny Doctor contributed to the preparation of this statement.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, August 25, 2016