Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

Persecution of Christians on the increase

Posted on: January 28th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

North Korea is the most dangerous country to be a Christian with severe consequences for the family of anybody found with a Bible. Despite this, the Church is growing with many believers meeting in secret to worship God.
Photo Credit: Open Doors

By Gavin Drake

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The charity Open Doors, which has been supporting the persecuted church since it was founded by Brother Andrews 50 years ago, has published its annual World Watch list of the top 50 most dangerous countries to be a Christian. It is, once again, topped by North Korea. Their research shows that persecution against Christians has increased so dramatically that persecution has risen even in those countries that have dropped out of its top 50.

Open Doors rates the level of persecution as “extreme” in nine countries. For the 14th year in a row, North Korea is top of the list. It is followed by Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

In a further 16 countries, including Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Ethiopia, Myanmar and the Palestinian Territories, persecution of Christians is rated as “very high”; while 25 countries have a “high” rating, including the Central African Republic, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Mexico.

“Measuring the scale and severity of persecution is a complex task,” Open Doors say. “It is not always clear if and to what extent pressure felt by Christians, or even violence against them, is directly related to them being Christian.

“Sometimes, just living in a chaotic world creates substantial amounts of suffering for Christians and others alike. Open Doors understands persecution as ‘any hostility experienced as a result of one’s identification with Christ. This can include hostile attitudes, words and actions towards Christians.’”

Open Doors has been monitoring the persecution of Christians since the 1970s and over the years has refined the World Watch List methodology to provide “ever more credibility, transparency, objectivity and scientific quality,” the charity says.

The 2016 figures cover a reporting period from 1 November 2014 to 31 October 2015 using methods and results that have been audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

Open Doors say that “persecution of Christians is more than just physical violence. It is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that involves many aspects such as various forms of cultural marginalisation, government discrimination, hindrances on conversion, interferences on participation in public affairs and restrictions on church life.”

The charity observes what it calls the “two main expressions of persecution” – squeeze and smash. It refers to “the suffocating pressure Christians experience in all areas of life” as “squeeze” and “plan violence” as “smash”.

“Smash can be tracked through incidents of violence or aggression, such as rapes, kidnappings, forcible evictions, killings and church burnings,” Open Doors say. “Violence is not the only aspect of persecution, but it is perhaps its sharpest edge and often more readily visible to the outside world.

“The highest levels of violence directed against Christians” in the 2016 World Watch List “were in Nigeria, Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Pakistan and Syria.

“Squeeze needs to be tracked by discerning how the exercise of the Christian faith gets squeezed, in five distinct areas – private life, family life, community life, national life and church life. The countries that show where this squeeze was most intensive were: Somalia, North Korea, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Maldives, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria.

“While it would seem that smash is the most prevalent and invasive expression of persecution, it is often the squeeze that is most prevalent and invasive.”


Anglican Communion News Service, Your daily update from ACNS, January 27, 2016

The Anglican Theological Review announces the publication of its Winter 2016 issue, “Creating Common Good: Theological Perspectives on Economic Inequality and Human Flourishing.”

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




The Anglican Theological Review announces the publication of its Winter 2016 issue, “Creating Common Good: Theological Perspectives on Economic Inequality and Human Flourishing.”
In today’s increasingly polarized economic and political climate, the effects of inequality on the fabric of society and the lives of individuals are the topic of lively national and international debate. How can we all rediscover the value of working for the common good? What role might the church play in bringing theological wisdom to bear on the pressing economic and social questions of our time?
This special issue, guest edited by Sathianathan Clarke, Ian T. Douglas, and Kathryn Tanner, includes addresses from the 2016 Trinity Institute “Creating Common Good” by Archbishop Justin Welby, Barbara Ehrenreich, Juliet B. Schor, and Bishop Julio E. Murray. It also features articles on questions of economic injustice, debt, race, human dignity, and collaborative mission by Willis Jenkins, Amaryah Jones-Armstrong, Scott Bader-Saye, Luke Bretherton, Beverly Eileen Mitchell, and Bishop Ian T. Douglas. Guest editor Kathryn Tanner provides the review article for this issue, surveying a number of recent publications dealing with the causes and effects of economic inequality and recommending books for further reading.
This timely issue is perfect for Lenten forums and small groups. A discussion guide for parishes and study groups has been developed by Bishop Eugene Sutton and Professor Scott MacDougall, and is available for free download at the ATR website, Both ebook and print editions of the Winter 2016 issue are now available, and group leaders may contact Jackie Winter at [email protected] for information on bulk rates.
Forward Movement, 21.01. 2016

Hunger On The Hill Event in Ottawa — Apply Now!

Posted on: January 22nd, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

hunger on the hill
Are you passionate about ending hunger? Excited about the work of Canadian Foodgrains Bank? We’re inviting supporters to come to Ottawa April 10th – 12th to learn about hunger and advocacy, and to engage directly with Members of Parliament. Subsidized rates are available. Learn more and apply.

Click here to apply.



Canadian Foodgrains Bank e-newsletter, January 22, 2016

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: national essay competition entitled “Imagine a Canada”

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

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is running a national essay competition entitled “Imagine a Canada” 

“Imagine a Canada” is a national art and essay competition that asks young people to share their thoughts on what the future of Canada will look like through the lens of reconciliation. The competition is open to grades 1-12 as well as to undergraduate students at post-secondary schools. Contestants may submit works of art, poetry, film, video, or traditional essays in this competition.

The deadline for submission is January 10, 2016.  The top contributors will will be invited to attend a special honouring ceremony at Rideau Hall March 1st 2016

Information on this competition is found at the following link:


E-newslwtter, December 22, 2015

Gifts for Mission: Decrease infant mortality by installing solar panels on a health clinic

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

Solar panels provide electricity to a health clinic in rural Tanzania.

Solar panels provide electricity to a health clinic in rural Tanzania.

Gifts for Mission: Decrease infant mortality by installing solar panels on a health clinic

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Electricity is one of the cornerstones of development—a key part of the infrastructure that enables poverty reduction and the provision of vital services such as health care.

In many rural areas of Tanzania, conventional sources of electricity delivered through the national grid are prohibitively expensive and will not be available for years or decades to come. Competing responsibilities often prevent the central government from addressing community needs.

As a result, most rural villages have weak health systems, characterized by inadequate governmental capacity to provide electricity in facilities or to recruit and train qualified staff. Meanwhile, the inadequate supplies in medical dispensaries and clinics adversely affect the quality of health services and care, for pregnant women in particular.

In response, faith-based organizations have stepped in to fill the void. The Anglican diocese of Masasi is actively involved in rural health and community-based development programs. Concerned with the lack of reliable access to electricity in health facilities, it has partnered with the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) to develop a novel response: solar power.

By making a donation through the 2015 Gifts for Mission gift guide, Canadian Anglicans can help provide solar electricity to health facilities in rural Tanzania. A $1,000 gift provides the funding to install solar panels on a health clinic, covering the cost of installing the panels and batteries to provide electricity in all the rooms, refrigerating drugs and vaccines and improving maternal and newborn health.

“The solar power installation generally establishes the best practice in quality health service delivery, as it helps the doctors/clinical officers and midwifery nurses to effectively and efficiently assist pregnant women to deliver in a safe and conducive environment, especially at night,” diocesan development officer Geoffrey Patrick Monjesa said.

Since the beginning of the partnership between the diocese of Masasi and the PWRDF almost four years ago, solar panels have been installed in 15 rural clinics, providing a cost-effective source of electricity sufficient to serve the needs of the community.

Monjesa said that the availability of electric power has increased the working morale of health staff, facilitated the availability of vaccines that help alleviate preventable diseases (particularly among children under five years old), and created a conducive working environment that has encouraged skilled health care providers to work in rural health facilities.

The life-saving benefits to people in rural Tanzania—especially mothers, newborns and young children—are evident in the numbers.

Since the diocese of Masasi and PWRDF began installing the solar panels in 2013, the rates of children who die at birth have decreased from 112 per thousand to 71. Conversely, the number of children being vaccinated has increased from a baseline of 40 per cent to 90 per cent today, due to the capacity of dispensaries to store the drugs.

“In the past, the supply was not reliable because it had to come from a place the same day, and sometimes the mother would not be there, etc.,” PWRDF development partnership program director Zaida Bastos said.

“But now, because it’s there, when they bring the children [in] for the monitoring, the children can be vaccinated.”

The ability to offer 24-hour health services and deliver babies at night has similarly reduced the mortality for pregnant women and newborns. In the past, pregnant women were often compelled to deliver their babies at home at the risk of suffering fatal hemorrhages.

“Now they can go to the centre and because there is electricity, the midwife can provide the appropriate services,” Bastos said.

By making a donation through Gifts for Mission to install solar panels, donors can provide access to health services to thousands of people in villages where it would not otherwise have been available.

“If you are part of that story,” Bastos said, “it’s a wonderful story to be part of.”

Help support rural clinics in Tanzania through Gifts for Mission.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 22, 2015

Gifts for Mission: Support the Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Bishop Peter Coffin (centre) is the Anglican Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Bishop Peter Coffin (centre) is the Anglican Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Gifts for Mission: Support the Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces

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The chaplains of the Anglican Military Ordinariate play a vital role in supporting members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Posted to military bases and deploying with soldiers, sailors and air crew around the world, their work as pastors in a multifaith environment provides care and guidance to military members and their families on a daily basis. But who cares for the caregivers?

Pastoral care for chaplains is the primary responsibility of Bishop Peter Coffin, who serves as Anglican Bishop Ordinary. Providing a link to the chaplains’ “home faith community” in the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Coffin helps maintain the well-being of chaplains and their families while connecting them with the wider church.

“It is … important for the church to know of this ministry that they share and to rejoice in it,” Bishop Coffin said, noting the biblical call to “encourage one another” in 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

“I am a story teller,” he added. “I tell stories both of the chaplains and those to whom and with whom they serve to the civilian faith community. This often provides a greater appreciation of the CAF’s mandate and role in and for Canadian society and further afield.”

Support for the Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces is a featured item in the 2015 Gifts for Mission gift guide. With a donation of $50, you can help support Bishop Coffin’s ministry on behalf of all Canadian Anglicans.

ESQUIMAULT08 033Funds from Gifts for Mission help maintain the Bishop Ordinary as a dedicated part-time position, covering salary, travel costs, and technical resources to help the bishop communicate with chaplains. They also allow the bishop to engage in the gathering of chaplains as well as duties and administrative support that are not covered by military funds, such as civilian church visits.

Benefits to chaplains from the bishop’s support are palpable, noted Padre Jennifer Gosse (Lt-Cmdr.), deputy commandant and chief instructor at the Canadian Forces Chaplain School and Centre in Borden, Ont.

“Because you have the bishop supporting you as your pastor, you feel like the church itself is supporting you,” Gosse said.

“The bishop is a vital link to us, to our church heritage, [and] keeps us grounded in our faith so that we can serve in the interfaith environment of the chaplaincy.”

As Bishop Ordinary, Bishop Coffin also serves as the Anglican member of the Interfaith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy (ICCMC), which represents the chaplaincy to the Government of Canada. The ICCMC endorses candidates of all faiths for chaplaincy; provides pastoral oversight to the chaplains, their families and chapel communities; and supports the Chaplain General and staff members.

Though primarily serving as pastor for Anglican chaplains, when visiting a base, wing or formation Bishop Coffin is available for all military chaplains in his capacity as a member of the ICCMC—an opportunity he calls a “particular privilege and joy.”

Among the more than 70 regular and reserve force Anglican chaplains, support from church members through the Bishop Ordinary has not gone unnoticed.

“It is an incredible privilege to be a part of such a ministry and such a team,” Bishop Coffin said. “Our chaplains … are affirmed by such support, and I am particularly proud that of all of the faith communities in the CAF, the Anglican Church of Canada is known for its support. Our Primate is a wonderful example of such encouragement.”

Help support the Bishop Ordinary through Gifts for Mission.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 10, 2015

Keeping Anglicans Talking: New video series ponders big questions (Resources)

Posted on: December 9th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Archdeacon John Clarke presents 'My Last Day at Church,' the first instalment in a new Keeping Anglicans Talking (KAT) video series comprised of 15 presentations filmed in Halifax and Vancouver.

Archdeacon John Clarke presents ‘My Last Day at Church,’ the first instalment in a new Keeping Anglicans Talking (KAT) video series comprised of 15 presentations filmed in Halifax and Vancouver.

Keeping Anglicans Talking: New video series ponders big questions

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A new Keeping Anglicans Talking (KAT) video series is starting to roll out online. Bringing together a range of diverse voices from the Anglican Church of Canada, the latest round of KAT Talks presents two topics: “Choosing Christ” and “What Could We Be?”.

Filmed in Vancouver and Halifax by Anglican Video and made possible through grants from the Anglican Foundation of Canada and the Ministry Investment Fund, the new KAT Talks feature 15 different speakers, including both lay and ordained Anglicans. The speakers provide incisive commentary and reflections on discipleship, ministry and what the church can offer society today

“We’ve got a broad range of age and backgrounds … There are some really terrific talks out of it,” Anglican Video Senior Producer Lisa Barry said.

The videos build on a previous round of KAT Talks produced in 2014, which asked Anglicans to consider topics such as the theology of giving. The format was inspired by the popular TED conferences (“a TED talk with a spiritual twist,” in Barry’s words).

Bolstered by that initial success, the new KAT Talks deal with broad spiritual topics that serve as a resource for Anglicans, spiritual seekers, or individuals looking for a deeper understanding of the Anglican church.

By drawing on their own spiritual journeys, the speakers offer a remarkably honest assessment of the current challenges faced by the church and institutional religion in general, but also an inspiring message that calls for a return to basics by acting as representatives of Christ in the world—supporting the vulnerable, defending creation, and walking with Indigenous peoples.

My Last Day at Church, a KAT Talk by Archdeacon John Clarke, is a case in point. First attending church in his late teens, the young Clarke did not feel he fit in at his congregation. On what he had planned as his last day at church, he heard about the work of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund in the Solomon Islands.

“It gave me joy to think that my church did this,” Clarke recalls. “The Anglican Church of Canada made a difference in people’s lives … I was filled with pride for my church, because my church was making a difference, my parish, and I knew that I could make a difference.”

Discussing some of the negative perceptions many people carry of the church, he urges Anglicans to “be a reflection of Jesus Christ in the world” by making a difference in the lives of others.

The Social Usefulness of Institutional Religion is the theme of a presentation by Dean Peter Elliott, which directly confronts the question of what the church as an institution can offer society in an era of declining participation in organized religion.

Answering the question in a format well-suited to the Internet age, Dean Elliott offers up a list of five things the church can provide—a safe, inclusive community; arts and music; peace through justice; non-violence and compassion; and the celebration of life passages—and challenges others to make their own lists.

A common theme through the presentations is the connection between ministry and current social and ecological struggles. In Christ-Sightings of a Recovering Racist, archivist Melanie Delva tells the candid narrative of how her views on Indigenous people changed while collecting records for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Reflecting on her experience at the closing ceremonies of the TRC in Ottawa, Delva warns the church not to fall into self-congratulation at its work towards reconciliation thus far. “I have come to believe strongly,” she says, “that we as a church cannot claim we have pursued reconciliation with Indigenous people while separating ourselves from current issues of Indigenous justice and self-determination.”

Linking solidarity with Indigenous people to the challenge of global climate change, the Rev. Laurel Dykstra uses the concept of watershed discipleship to unify the two issues, describing issues such as resource extraction that adversely affects Indigenous communities as modern forms of colonization.

Some of the KAT Talks focus on aspects of church life, such as the presentation by Tasha Carrothers on the Gather, Transform and Send model of parish development. The Rev. Lisa Vaughn, meanwhile, describes a different model of outreach to non-Christians as she recounts her experiences with small group ministry.

Personal experiences of Christ, prayer and what it means to “be” church round out the latest KAT Talks. Whether the Rev. Kristin MacKenzie remembering a student trip to a monastery in which she learned anew the power of using words as a Christian to seek Christ, or the Rev. Nicole Uzans extolling a broader meaning of church as “patterning our lives together into something holy,” the new videos offer plenty of food for thought.

Additional KAT Talks are planned in the future, Barry noted.

“We’re hoping to be able to build and do yet another series,” she said. “I would love to do a series of Indigenous speakers.”

Visit the KAT home page to watch and share all the latest videos.

KAT Talks filmed in Halifax include:

  • “Closer to Home” with the Rev. Nicole Uzans
  • “Stop Saying Can’t” with the Rev. Brieanna Andrews
  • “More Passes, Less Dribbling” with the Rt. Rev. David Edwards
  • “My Last Day at Church” with the Ven. John Clarke
  • “The Way, The Truth And The Life” with the Rev. Kristin MacKenzie
  • “And God Said It Was Good” with the Rev. Marian Lucas Jefferies
  • “What’s Your First Aid Kit” with the Rev. Michael Caines
  • “And They Pay Me For This?” with the Rev. Lisa Vaughn

KAT Talks filmed in Vancouver include:

  • “Why Church?” with Andrew Stephens-Rennie
  • “With God’s Help?” with the Rev. Alex Wilson
  • “Light of the Traumatized: Our Gift of Housing the Trauma of God” with Kate Newman
  • “Watershed Discipleship” with the Rev. Laurel Dykstra
  • “Christ-Sightings of a Recovering Racist” with Melanie Delva
  • “The Social Usefulness of Institutional Religion” with the Very. Rev. Peter Elliott
  • “Gather, Transform and Send” with Tasha Carrothers


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 08, 2015

Gifts for Mission: Support ministry in the Canadian North

Posted on: December 7th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

A youth group meeting takes place at a church in Toloyoak, Nunavut, located in the Anglican diocese of the Arctic.


Gifts for Mission: Support ministry in the Canadian North

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Anglican dioceses in Northern Canada face unique challenges when compared to their southern counterparts. The vast distances between parishes, isolation of many remote communities, and the distance from urban centres, among other factors affects ministry.

The Council of the North is a meeting of northern dioceses chaired by Bishop Michael Hawkins, who describes the council as a “covenant of mutual accountability and support.” Dioceses across the country support the council by funding a grant from General Synod made on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. Council of the North funding is the largest single budget item for General Synod, representing 25 per cent of its overall budget. Dioceses in the council carry out their ministry to spread the gospel appropriate to the region and diocese.

Special projects are primarily funded through donations to Gifts for Mission and Anglican Appeal. This funding is key to adapting ministry to the needs of different communities.

“Many dioceses, their bishops and clergy and people, would have dreams of ‘If we had just a little bit of money, we’d be able to do something,’” Bishop Hawkins said, noting that some northern dioceses run on very tight budgets and have recently had to cut clergy and staff positions.

“These [donations through Gifts for Mission and Anglican Appeal] allow them to do those kind of little dream projects to energize people,” he added. With a $100 gift through the 2015 Gifts for Mission gift guide, you can help support ministry to people in the Canadian North.

Funds from Gifts for Mission and Anglican Appeal helped elders gather for the launch of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh in 2014, the culmination of what had been called "the dream of the elders."

Funds from Gifts for Mission and Anglican Appeal helped elders gather for the launch of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh (called “the dream of the elders”) in 2014.

In the past three years, projects have included a healing gathering in the diocese of Moosonee, local education projects, and paying for elders’ travel to attend the launch of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh.

Training and education have also been major themes of late. While the diocese of Caledonia has offered lay and clergy training, the diocese of the Arctic has hosted a clergy conference with lay leaders on spiritual and mental health. The diocese of Athabasca used funds to support a youth ministry initiative, and the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior held a ministry conference.

“Some of it is because there needs to be more local training, I think, in all the dioceses … Our ability to send people away for three years for a traditional M. Div. is very limited,” Hawkins said.

The need for lay training is another pressing issue, with the council seeking to provide training and support for the more than 100 non-stipendiary clergy across northern dioceses.

If donations through Gifts for Mission are vital in supporting ongoing projects, equally important is the boost in morale.

“I would say that the gifts are a sign of our solidarity and of our commitment to one another,” Bishop Hawkins said. “There is the good that these gifts do on the ground, but there also is the great encouragement, and that sense on the council, that the church is with us.

“With many of our people who are working in some of the most difficult environments and most pastorally demanding, socially and economically challenged communities and parts of our country, to know that their fellow Anglicans are with them with their prayers and gifts is a great encouragement.”

Help support ministry in the Canadian North through Gifts for Mission.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 03, 2015

Advent a growing tradition

Posted on: November 29th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins

In an era when, many say, the increasing commercialization of Christmas threatens its spiritual significance, at least one holiday seems to be taking on new meaning for some Christians.

Advent, which begins this Sunday, November 27, appears to be winning new enthusiasts among American evangelicals. The trend has been noticed in the news media at least since a USA Today article in 2008, which noted an increase in Advent readings and prayers by evangelical authors, as well as a spike in sales of Advent-related merchandise. According to a Christian-themed gifts merchandiser cited in the article, Advent’s new popularity stems from reaction against the high level of activity that has come to be part of the Christmas season; Advent is a way to “keep people focused on the spiritual promise of the Saviour coming” in what for many has become one of the most busy and stressful times of the year. More recently, Time Magazine profiled an American evangelical pastor and author of a book on Advent, arguing about the importance of the holiday as a way of “building into our framework of Christmas the confidence that God is going to come through for us.”

Derived from the Latin word adventus, or “coming,” Advent has long been celebrated by non-evangelical Western Christians as a time of double expectation: for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas and for his anticipated Second Coming at the end of time. Historically, evangelical denominations have tended to reject the traditional liturgical calendar.

No one knows when Advent originated, although it seems it existed in some form or other at least as early as the fifth century A.D., when the historian Gregory of Tours mentioned in his History of the Franks a fast declared from the Feast of St. Martin (November 11) until Christmas. Today, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and seems to have taken on a less penitential, more festive character; it is now associated mostly with Advent candles, calendars, wreathes and songs as well as special liturgy, readings, teachings and prayers.

A list of Advent resources for Canadian Anglicans can be found on the Anglican Church of Canada website. These include links to the Anglican Communion’s Global Advent Calendar; “PWRDF Advent 2015,” a reflection on Advent and food security; a Bible study for the four weeks of Advent; KAIROS Canada’s “Advent 2015,” which combines Scripture texts and the theme of migrant justice issues; “Making Room in our Hearts,” a series of Advent reflections by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine; and “Advent Wonder,” an email series.

Another source for Anglican Advent materials is Anglicans Online, which features a lengthy list of links to calendars—some of them geared to users of smartphones and social media—reflections and sources of information about Advent candles, wreathes, music and O Antiphons.

Eastern Christians celebrate a time of expectation before Christmas known as the Nativity Fast, which stretches over the 40 days before Christmas and is thought of as a time of abstinence and penance.


Anglican Journal News, November 27, 2015

Gifts for Mission: Support the Sacred Circle

Posted on: November 26th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Young Indigenous Anglicans perform a song at the 2015 Sacred Circle. Photo by Matt Gardner

Young Indigenous Anglicans perform a song at the 2015 Sacred Circle. Photo by Matt Gardner

Gifts for Mission: Support the Sacred Circle

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The origins of what became known as the Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle go back to 1988, when Indigenous Anglicans from across Canada came together for the first time in what was then called Native Convocation.

At that time, former Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Donna Bomberry—who continues to serve today as a member of the Sacred Circle planning team—was new to national ministry. She recalled the possibilities provided for Indigenous people within the church by that first gathering.

“We found it as an opportunity to come together, tell our stories, and found that we were all telling a common story, about our experience of being church and the struggles and the joys coming from our respective communities,” Bomberry remembered. “We began to learn … together what it meant to be church, to be Anglicans, and to come from our respective places and learn about each other and grow in the Spirit.”

Since then, the Sacred Circle has only continued to grow in size and significance. Support for the Sacred Circle is one of the featured items in the 2015 Gifts for Mission gift guide. By making a gift of $50, you can help bring participants together for the next Sacred Circle and provide seed funding for a Sacred Circle gathering of young people.

Gifts go a long way, as the growth of Sacred Circle over the years along with inflation has meant a commensurate rise in costs for air travel, accommodation, food and meeting spaces. Where the earliest national gatherings cost approximately $250,000, the budget for more recent Sacred Circles now exceeds the $400,000 range.

The benefits of Sacred Circle to Indigenous Anglicans are many, as the national gathering has provided a consistent forum to advance the cause of justice and self-determination for Indigenous people.

Sacred Circle crossSacred Circle was the site of the 1993 apology by Archbishop Michael Peers, then Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, for the church’s role in the Indian residential school system. It also saw the creation of the 1994 Covenant calling for a new relationship with the church based on Indigenous self-determination. More recently, the 2015 Sacred Circle resulted in a call for the establishment of a fifth ecclesiastical province.

Reflecting the growth of the gathering beyond ordained men and women, the latest Sacred Circle also included a presentation by Indigenous Anglican youth addressing issues of concern for them.

The statements and participation of the youth left a major impact on Sacred Circle attendees as well as the young people themselves. Plans are now afoot for a new Indigenous Anglican youth gathering, such as a short mission trip, to build on that momentum.

Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Ginny Doctor noted one young participant who told her how much he had grown spiritually over the course of the week by being together with others, telling stories and learning songs, and that he wanted to help facilitate the young adult circle.

“That’s major to me,” Doctor said. “That means we really transformed at least one person. We really touched someone’s heart.”

Donations through Gifts for Mission will help fund a prospective Sacred Circle youth gathering, while further supporting Sacred Circle itself by augmenting the budget, enabling more elders or youth to be present and allowing guests to come and speak on the issues confronting Indigenous communities.

Help support the Sacred Circle through Gifts for Mission.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, November 24, 2015