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Unity prayers to recall the Reformation and celebrate reconciliation

Posted on: January 14th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: January 13, 2017

Martin Luther’s act of nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg gave birth to the Reformation. In this 500th anniversary year, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will reflect on the Reformation and ongoing reconciliation.
Photo Credit: Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 1553)

[WCC] The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated worldwide from 18-25 January, will be hosted this year by the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland / ACK). As 2017 marks the commemoration of the Reformation, the week of prayer will reflect on the legacy of the Reformation and the current spirit of reconciliation in Christ.

“For Christians in Germany and all over the world, the theme Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) can be considered both a calling and an opportunity for reconciliation”, the Revd Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, World Council of Churches (WCC) director of Faith and Order, said, “a chance to break historical walls that separate churches and congregations from each other, during times that require healing and recovering hope”.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated worldwide, traditionally from 18-25 January in the northern hemisphere – between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul – or at Pentecost (a symbolic date for unity) in the global south. During the week, Christians come together, in special ecumenical celebrations and services, recalling Jesus’s prayer that “they may all be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21) and experience in praxis unity in diversity.

This year one of the many ecumenical prayer services taking place worldwide for the Week of Prayer will be held in Wittenberg, Germany – a town with a history and heritage identified with Martin Luther and the Reformation. It was there that Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses denouncing church corruption to the side door of the Castle Church, which still stands not only as a place of worship but as a memorial of Reformation.

Emphasis on the international ecumenical character of the Reformation legacy – on the occasion of the 500th anniversary year – is at the core of ACK’s witness to the world through this year’s Week of Prayer. The material prepared has two focuses: reflection upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation and recognition of the pain of the subsequent deep divisions that afflicted the unity of the church.

Each year, a different national working group takes the initiative of proposing a theme and organising the week, coordinated by the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which have jointly prepared and published the resources since 1968.

Mateus noted: “the need for a reconciliation that will break down barriers, build bridges and make peace has been the common request between the different German churches preparing the prayers this year, along with the recognition that amidst a deeply shifting and suffering world the healing immersion of prayer for unity can comfort the suffering in Christ, defeat terror and fear, and bring hope for the future.”

Resources:

  • Click here for more information on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from the World Council of Churches
  • Click here for Week of Prayer 2017 Worship and Background Material
  • Click here for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Facebook

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the  ACNS ommunion News Service on Friday 13 January 2017

Feedback on changes to the Canadian Church Calendar: We hear you

Posted on: January 12th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Feedback on changes to the Canadian Church Calendar: We hear you

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The 2017 Canadian Church Calendar was a collaborative project of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and offered a glimpse into the ministry of both churches across Canada and around the world.

While shifting the focus of the 2017 calendar, we also made several design and content changes which garnered considerable feedback.

Thank you for being frank and generous in sharing with us what does and does not work for you. That feedback has helped us realize and celebrate how important the Canadian Church Calendar is to many people across our church. For example, the calendar is an important tool for Altar Guilds across the country as they do the unseen work that prepares the space in which we worship and celebrate. It’s also a way for our church to see itself from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Calendars are often gifts passed to friends and family around the world, showing who we are as a church and People of God.

We are committed to ensuring that future editions of the Canadian Church Calendar meet these and the many other needs that you have identified. We want to let you know that we have heard you and how we will respond as we plan calendars. We also want to renew our commitment to this project and to meeting its aims in 2018. And we are asking you to help us do the work of showing and celebrating the local ministries of our church that honour God and serve God’s mission.

Design changes: liturgical colours and calendar grid layout

We heard from a number of people about unhelpful changes in the practical presentation of the calendar. In particular, we will restore the liturgical colours to dates in the calendar grids, so as to serve those who serve the church in preparing its sanctuaries for worship.

We also heard that the absence of previous month and next month graphics is frustrating for planning. They will be back in the 2018 calendar.

Timelines and ordering

As we entered into a new way of doing things to produce the 2016 calendar, our deadlines became compressed. For the 2018 Canadian Church Calendar, we commit to having the calendar available to order through our distributor early in the spring of 2017, and ready to be shipped in August 2017 at the latest. This means that the teams who gather orders, distribute calendars, and sell them in our parishes, will have them in-hand with time to spare.

Content changes: churches, scripture and tradition

We heard mixed feedback on the decision to move away from pictures of church buildings to pictures that focus on ministry and mission. We still believe that the decision to focus on ministry is a good one, although we now believe that the execution of this focus needs to change.

Our churches are our gathering places. We were remiss to exclude them completely. The cycle of our lives happen at the steps of the altar – in our baptisms, our worship, and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; through our confirmations, our marriages, and our funerals. Our churches are the containers for ministry where we plan, gather, and worship, where we encounter God, where we respond to Jesus’ call to spiritual works of mercy (Matthew 25:36).

So we are asking that you share images of your church for the 2018 Canadian Church Calendar. But don’t just share the building, share what happens there to support the desire of God’s heart to heal and renew the earth and its creatures, and to restore the loveliness of the life of the world that is God’s gift.

We want to see you! What does worship look like in your church? How and where do you gather? We want to see your ministry both inside and outside of church buildings. (You can send us a photo of just your church too, and we’ll include as many of those as we can in the calendar grid page.)

Show us your community outreach and lunch programs. Show us young people and children engaged in your church (with parents’ permission of course) as they grow to be followers of Jesus. Show us how you partner with different groups in your communities. Show us how you welcome the stranger. Show us who you are.

All that we ask is the following:

Deadline for submission is Friday March 10, 2017.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, January 12, 2017

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017 (Resources)

Posted on: January 9th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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WPCU 2016 logo

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2017:

Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us

(cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-20)

Download the 2017 WPCU starter kit

Please consider a donation of $20 to help us cover the cost of production for these resources, and to support the ongoing work of the CCC and our vision for Christian unity. Support ecumenism in Canada by donating today.

Thank you for your interest in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an annual ecumenical celebration traditionally held from January 18 to 25. By coming together during this week, we join with the people around the world to pray for Christian unity – in worship, reflection, study, and fellowship.

This year, we rejoice in the opportunity to pray with the Christians of Germany. They have chosen as their theme “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us,” inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14-20. They invite Christians around the world to celebrate God’s reconciling grace, call us to recognize the pain of the deep divisions which afflict the Church, and urge us to become ambassadors of Christ’s message of reconciliation.

You can use the resources on this website not only during the Week of Prayer itself, but throughout the year. Let them help you express the degree of communion already given to the churches, and to pray together that we may be more fully united in the one Christ.

Ordering 2017 Canadian resources

This year, we’ve made a change in the way we offer Canadian Week of Prayer for Christian Unity materials. We want to share the reasons for this change with you, let you know how you can access Canadian resources for this ecumenical celebration, and ask for your comments and feedback.

For many years, we have offered Canadian Week of Prayer for Christian Unity materials as a set of printed resources that could be ordered by local communities and individuals. We have also shared an online version of these materials on our website.

Over the past few years, we have observed a shift in the use of Canadian Week of Prayer for Christian Unity resources. Most communities and individuals now prefer to download materials from our website, rather than order a printed kit. A small proportion still order printed resources. It seems this shift represents a permanent change.

This change entails some practical consequences for us. In the past, we have partially offset the costs of layout and printing through asking you for a small contribution for each printed Canadian Week of Prayer kit. Although these contributions did not cover our full production costs, they enabled us to offer printed kits for the use of Canadian communities. Unfortunately, the steady decline in orders for printed resources has made this practice economically unfeasible for us. Still, we remain committed to offering you user-friendly, accessible, and flexible Canadian resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

As always, all 2017 Canadian materials are available on this website for download. Please consider a donation of $20 to help us cover the cost of production for these resources, and to support the ongoing work of the CCC and our vision for Christian unity. Support ecumenism in Canada by donating today.

You can also order certain print materials using this form or by contacting Maria Simakova.

Please share your comments and feedback about 2017 Canadian resources with us by filling out our Comments and Feedback form!

Share your 2017 Week of Prayer celebration with us

We delight in hearing how your community celebrates the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. If you want to share your service with us, and to have us promote it via CCC social media, please fill out this form.

The Canadian Writing Team

Each year, an international joint committee of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity prepares ecumenical resources for the Week of Prayer, including a theme and a focus Scripture text. National and regional councils of churches adapt these materials for use in their local context

For over 40 years, the Canadian Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Witness has assembled an ecumenical writing team to prepare Canadian Week of Prayer resources, including French translations and original materials. This Writing Team, made up of members from constituent churches of the CCC, meets in February and April to produce resources for the following year. Read this year’s letter from the Canadian Writing Team.

We are delighted to do this work in cooperation with our ecumenical partners, the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.

For more information,  please email Maria Simakova,  Coordinator for the Commission on Faith and Witness.

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Canadian Council of Churches’ website, January 09, 2017

The Community of St Anselm: Meeting Christ in community – Peter’s story

Posted on: December 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By St Anselm Online

 

Before joining the Community of St Anselm, Peter worked for an investment bank in New York City. Here he looks back at his experience as a resident member last year.

In the five months since my time as one of the first members of the Community of St Anselm has ended, I’ve often been asked what the experience was like. Almost every conversation starts with the same question: “What exactly did you do last year?”

I usually start by describing the Community as a group of young Christians living as residents and non-residents in a shared life of prayer, study and service.

Sometimes I talk about our opportunity to talk about the secularization of modern society with the Preacher to the Papal Household. Other times I describe what it was like to visit a Franciscan Community in Dorchester, and how there I was humbled to realize how little I knew about hospitality.

And I often end up talking about the incredible experience of participating in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius over thirty days in silence with the Community of Chemin Neuf.

At some point I admit that no matter how much I talk about the amazing teachers, the places we visited, or the retreats we made during the year, this only touches the surface of what it was like to be a part of the Community of St Anselm.

I’ll sometimes answer this simply question by saying: “In community, we met with one other.”

There was an understanding among Community members that we would always work to welcome one other. This understanding led to encounters and relationships that grew in both depth and transparency throughout the year. With an aim of simply meeting, we built relationships not on our differences but on our commitments to faith and understanding.

We met with each other in different ways throughout the year. Some of our meetings were more structured and formal, such as during Morning Prayer or daily Eucharist.

At other times meeting with each other was a surprise; it was almost impossible to walk anywhere around Lambeth (the south-London borough where Lambeth Palace is) without seeing someone we knew or met through the Community.

And our most frequent meetings – meals – gave us a chance to speak and listen with each other while eating – or more often, when washing the dishes.

Part of the reason why we were able to meet with each other was because in joining the Community, we committed to a Rule of Life that led us closer to Christ. And so I found that when I was meeting with others, I was really led to meet with Christ.

At the end of these conversations about the Community I’ll sometimes hear, “That sounds incredible. I couldn’t do it.” Sometimes people will say that living a shared life sounds hard, or that they couldn’t take a year off from work, or that the disciplines we practiced during the year sound constricting.

I often agree – it was hard. But this drama of living in community is exactly what we’re called to confront. After all, the Community of St Anselm didn’t just teach me about relying on God. It gave me a life-changing experience to meet with Him, repeatedly, over the course of the year.

 

Applications are now open to join the Community of St Anselm in September 2017 – find out more and apply here:    Visit our applications page!
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The Community of St. Anselm, St. Anselm Online, December 15, 2016

Gifts for Mission: Shelter and healing for victims of domestic violence

Posted on: December 26th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Sisters from two religious orders of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Community of the Sisters of the Church and the Community of the Melanesian Sisters, run the Christian Care Centre in the Solomon Islands. The latest addition to the centre is a new dormitory to shelter teenage girls escaping domestic violence. General Synod file photo

Gifts for Mission: Shelter and healing for victims of domestic violence

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Owned and operated by two religious orders of women in the Solomon Islands—the Anglican Community of the Sisters of the Church and the Community of the Melanesian Sisters—the Christian Care Centre may be one of the most impactful ministries of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

Approximately two-thirds of women in the Solomon Islands report experiencing some form of domestic violence, according to the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. Many of these women are teenage girls, a significant number of whom are pregnant.

The Christian Care Centre, once a small house in a remote area near the sea that offered security and protection for women fleeing domestic violence, has now grown to a large two-storey building complex. The centre includes a school, a playground, and a home for the sisters. Its latest addition is a dormitory specifically designed for teenage girls seeking sanctuary.

By purchasing a gift from the 2016 Gifts for Mission gift guide, Canadian Anglicans can help support the new dormitory and provide shelter and healing for victims of domestic violence. A gift of $85 will offset the costs of furnishings, from beds, chairs, and tables to curtains and coat hangers.

The impetus for the new dormitory arose from recognition of the unique needs of teen girls at the Christian Care Centre.

“It was thought that the population of girls who are teens that need sanctuary have different lives,” said Andrea Mann, director of Global Relations for the Anglican Church of Canada.

“They’re different people than the women who are in their ’30s and ’40s or older, [including] older women who are victims of elder abuse…That’s why they went ahead with trying to raise funds to build this dormitory and furnish it, and provide a place for teenagers.”

Besides offering sanctuary from physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive relationships, the Christian Care Centre provides women and children with medical and pastoral care, counselling, and hospitality.

The sisters also provide awareness training on gender justice and gender-based violence to clergy going through theological education, as well as to parishes and church groups.

The Anglican Church of Canada has a strong relationship with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, with both churches striving to help each other accomplish their respective mission priorities. Since the Christian Care Centre was identified as a new and important initiative, the Canadian Anglican church has offered assistance to the centre in its sanctuary work and its education for gender justice and raising awareness about domestic violence, in large part through annual contributions from Gifts for Mission.

Mann described such support as reflecting the third Mark of Mission: To respond to human need by loving service.

“Certainly through this gift, a person is providing shelter, providing clothing, providing emotional and pastoral counselling support to a child who has been violated, whose home ought to be a safe place, but isn’t,” she said.

“It’s another way of living into our discipleship as Christians—to follow the Marks of Mission, and certainly the third Mark of Mission would describe what the centre does [and] what the dormitory does.”

Provide shelter and healing for victims of domestic violence through Gifts for Mission.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 22, 2016

Gifts for Mission: Give a goat and bring hope to a family in need

Posted on: December 20th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Gifts for Mission: Give a goat and bring hope to a family in need

 

Truly a “gift that keeps on giving,” dairy goats provide myriad benefits for poor and needy families in Tanzania.

The typical nanny goat provides between two to four litres of milk per day, offering a higher nutritional value than cow’s milk that is particularly important for pregnant women, lactating mothers, children, people living with AIDS, and senior citizens who require more calcium in their diets. The goats’ propensity to produce kids, often twins, on an annual basis can provide other families in the community with goats of their own, while surplus milk can be sold on the market to supplement meagre incomes.

By purchasing a gift through the 2016 Gifts for Mission gift guide, Anglicans can give a goat and bring hope to a family in need. A gift of $80 provides one dairy goat to a family living with AIDS, while a gift of $160 covers the cost of two goats, which can breed and produce offspring, offering both protein and income to a family living with AIDS.

For more than 15 years, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has supported the Diocese of Masasi of the Anglican Church of Tanzania by gifting one or two nanny goats to families of subsistence farmers and other vulnerable groups. Raising funds to match money invested by Global Affairs Canada, PWRDF also helps the diocese monitor and report its results to Canadian Anglicans and the Government of Canada.

The Diocese of Masasi works with local leaders to identify families and individuals in need, purchasing purebred dairy goats and distributing them to families in the Masasi, Nachingwea, and Tunduru districts. The program also operates outside Tanzania in Burundi, Mozambique, and Rwanda.

Zainabu Kilaza and her daughter Mwajuma with one of their goats in Stesheni village of Nachingwea district. Submitted photo

An important part of the project is ensuring that one billy goat is available in a village and rotated among five or more nanny goats. When the nanny goats give birth to kids, beneficiaries are required to pass the first-born to another family selected by the diocese and local leaders. The original family is able to keep all subsequent kids produced by their own nanny goat. Beneficiaries must sign “pass on” agreements and follow stated regulations, while a livestock officer and other diocesan project staff members visit beneficiaries regularly as part of normal monitoring duties.

The positive impact of a single dairy goat on families can be profound, providing a source of fresh, nutritious milk on a daily basis, as well as manure for gardens. For those suffering from AIDS, goat’s milk helps boost the body’s immune system, which in turn increases the effectiveness of anti-retroviral medication. Moreover, the sale of surplus milk can help provide families with an additional source of income, particularly for those with two or more goats.

The case of Zainabu Kilaza, a mother in the village of Stesheni in Nachingwea district, is instructive. Kilaza receives eight litres of milk per day from two dairy goats. She and her two children consume two litres per day and sell the remaining six litres, using the income to buy additional food as well as clothes and school supplies.

Income from the sale of two goats in 2015 allowed Kilaza to pay secondary school fees for her two children. In an interview with Joachim Sapuli, one of two livestock officers from the Diocese of Masasi, Kilaza said that without the dairy goat program, she would never have been able to earn the Tshs 1,200,000 (approximately $728) necessary to send her children to school.

“I am grateful to God that I am alive, I feel happy and healthy, and if I would not be the beneficiary of this dairy goat program, I would have died,” she said.

“Many have died, but I am glad I have been alive to see this change.”

With the budget line for the dairy goat project recently halved in the “All Mothers and Children Count” project—under which the Government of Canada matches every dollar PWRDF raises by 6:1—to free up funds for desperately needed water wells in Tunduru district, the gifts of Canadian Anglicans supporting the goat program are more vital than ever.

Give a goat and bring hope to a family in need through Gifts for Mission.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 20, 2016

Crowd-funding campaign to save historic Anglican school in Madagascar

Posted on: December 14th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Gavin Drake/ACNS on December 13, 2016

A collage of photos released to support the fundraising campaign for St. Lawrence’s College in Ambohimanoro, Madagascar. Photo: Diocese of Antananarivo


An Anglican college in Madagascar is facing closure unless a crowdfunding campaign can help it break a decade-long “vicious cycle” of decline caused by two fires in 2005.  St Lawrence’s College in Ambohimanoro, at 145 years old, is one of the oldest of the 30 schools within the area served by the diocese of Antananarivo and the only diocesan school in the region.

The college was hit by two fires in 2005, creating what it called a “vicious cycle” of decline: the fires had a negative impact on the school’s finances leading to an inability to offer attractive salaries to teachers. This resulted in reduced motivation and lower quality education, making the college a less attractive option to potential students. As a result, student enrolment declined, leading to further negative impacts on the college finances.

Officials say that the college is facing two outcomes: either closure, or – with a cash injection from the crowd-funding – recovery and college development.

The college was founded by Anglican missionaries in 1871 and has sought to remain true to its founding mission: to provide a better future to Malagasy children by providing an adequate education. Amongst its famous students are the theologian, the Rev.  Caleb Razafimino; and bio-chemist Professor Albert Ratsimamanga. Both of them are celebrated in Madagascar and have streets named after them. Ratsimamanga served as his country’s ambassador to France in the 1960s and early 70s.

“St Lawrence’s College has always been a pride and symbol of Anglicanism in Madagascar,” Bishop Samoela Jaona Ranarivelo told ACNS. “For many years, it has been ranked among the best denominational schools in the capital as well as in the whole country. But it has gradually declined since the two fires that struck it in 2005.”

Bishop Samoela said that the diocesan standing committee has now set new priorities for the college paving the way for a stable future, “but these require investment, personal commitment and good resource management.”

The new plan envisages a stable financial resource for the college. This will allow it to improve the performance of the college and increase student numbers. The plan anticipates that the school’s finances could be put on a secure footing after two or three school years.

But to get started it needs a cash injection of $30,000 USD (approximately £23,850 GBP) and has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise it. In the long-term it is looking to build rental accommodation in the school’s grounds to produce income.

Antananarivo is the largest of the Anglican dioceses in Madagascar and the Province of the Indian Ocean. It has 200,000 baptised members.

“As the only diocesan school within the diocese of Antananarivo, St Lawrence’s College embodies the Anglican identity and the commitment of the church to the mission of God, striving to respond to its social vocation,” Bishop Samoela said. The diocese’s plans for the school will create “a new and safe space for our generation today, in sharing the love of Christ and bringing a renewed hope for our nation,” he said. “St Lawrence’s College continues to pay particular attention to certain disadvantaged students, but who show high potential for success in their studies.”

St Lawrence’s College is a general education institution serving pupils from three years old, in pre-primary classes, through to teenage years with students studying for baccalaureates.

About the Author

Gavin Drake/ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service)

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Anglican Journal News, December 13, 2016

World Day of Prayer 2017 the Philippines (Resources)

Posted on: December 9th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Questions about World Day of Prayer?  Please contact us.

2017 Materials Order Form (PDF

2017 Artwork (JPEG, 248 KB)

2017 Artist`s Statement (MS Word, 294 KB)

The Philippines: Country Background (MS Word, 143 KB)

2017 Sheet Music and Copyright (PDF, 524 KB)

2017 Bible Studies (PDF, 80 KB)

2017 Event Poster (PDF, 182 KB) Note: This form includes an optional field for entering your event details.

2017 Media Release (PDF, 37 KB)

2017 Bulletin Insert (PDF, 109 KB)

2017 Recipes (PDF, 61 KB)

2017 Children’s Service (PDF, 187 KB)

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Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada, WICC e-connect, 24 November 2017

Gifts for Mission: Provide a safe house for a family

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Smoke detector. Photo illustration by Tumi-1983 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Smoke detector. Photo illustration by Tumi-1983 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Gifts for Mission: Provide a safe house for a family

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The heartbreaking loss of life resulting from house fires has left a particular impact on many Indigenous communities—a tragedy that Archdeacon Sidney Black knows only too well.

Growing up on a small farm in Siksika Nation in southern Alberta, Black—currently co-chair of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples—was in his mid-teens on the autumn night when, preparing to retire to bed, he looked out the window of the room he shared with his brother and saw an orange glow over the horizon, past a small hill adjacent to the family farm.

Struck by the unusual sight, the brothers left the house to investigate and realized upon reaching the top of the hill that their neighbour’s house was on fire. The blaze, which had been caused by a coal-burning wood stove, took place while the parents were away with their children left at home by themselves.

Sadly, all five children died in the flames.

“That’s still a profound memory for me … I still remember those young children that perished in a fire,” Black said. “I can still remember the cries of the parents and the relatives who were trying to get into a house that’s already a full-blown fire to rescue their kids.”

By purchasing a gift through the 2016 Gifts for Mission gift guide, Canadian Anglicans can help prevent future tragedies and provide a safe house for a family. Each $40 gift will equip a home with a battery-operated smoke detector that can offer a family safety and peace of mind through protection against the threat of fire.

Housing fire statistics from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation indicate that the First Nations per capita fire incidence rate is 2.4 times higher than the rate for the rest of Canada. Meanwhile, the fire injury rate is 2.5 times greater, the fire damage per unit rate 1.7 times, and the fire death rate a staggering 10.4 times higher than the Canada-wide figure.

Factors contributing to the disparity include the remote location of many rural communities; crowded conditions in households that lead to higher fire death rates; and prevalent use of wood stoves, which—as in non-Indigenous communities—are often poorly maintained or incorrectly installed. But perhaps the most preventable cause is a relatively low number of smoke detectors in many Indigenous communities.

Black has seen first-hand the lack of smoke detectors in some Indigenous households. Isolated and northern communities, where a lack of local building materials and high transportation costs has long made construction of adequate housing prohibitively expensive, are particularly at risk.

“Some of the places I’ve been at visiting, especially the older houses—to my knowledge, I don’t see smoke detectors in the homes,” Black said, though he believed many newer houses under construction were more likely to comply with prevalent safety codes.

By helping purchase smoke detectors, Black believes that Anglicans can make a big difference in helping protect families from fire.

“I think that’s a generous kind of a thing for the church to be doing—because in the end, it saves lives.”

Provide a safe house for a family through Gifts for Mission.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, December 01, 2016

Iona Report outlines new vision for diaconal ministry

Posted on: November 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Deacons walk together at the 2014 meeting of the Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada. Submitted photo

Deacons walk together at the 2014 meeting of the Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada. Submitted photo

Iona Report outlines new vision for diaconal ministry

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What is the diaconate and where is it going?

More than 25 years have passed since significant reflection on the nature of diaconal ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada took place at the national level. In the ensuing decades, a wide discrepancy in the practice and understanding of the diaconate across the country had developed.

The formation of the Task Force on the Diaconate by the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee in 2014 emerged from growing urgency to develop standards or uniformity among dioceses to address this discrepancy. Yet paradoxically, as noted by task force member the Rev. Deacon Maylanne Maybee, “the essence of the diaconate is to be responsive to changes and differences of context, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

Enter The Iona Report. Produced by the task force after close study of existing resources, the document is available free online and is named after the Iona Drive boardroom at the University of British Columbia where members held their major drafting meeting. The report presents a vision of the diaconate in the Anglican Church of Canada that Maybee said “aims to identify areas of skill, knowledge, and attitude that can be adapted to local circumstances” while providing “a thread of consistency in how deacons are selected, used, and understood across Canada.”

iona-reportA key part of the report is its preface, which defines the role of a deacon by centring it in terms of the ministry all Christians undertake through baptism. The Greek word diakonia, meaning service, applies to the universal responsibility of the baptized to serve God in the world, while ordination identifies specific leadership roles for individuals in the church.

In their own role as leaders, deacons encourage the rest of the baptized into ministries of services, healing, and justice by reflecting these ministries in his or her actions. The Rev. Deacon Kyn Barker, a task force member who serves as coordinator of deacons for the Diocese of Toronto, described deacons as “encouraging everybody else to live out their diaconal ministry … A deacon serves as an example, as a prompt for everybody else.”

The Very Rev. M. Ansley Tucker, rector and dean at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, B.C. who also served on the task force, described the role of deacons theologically as one of servanthood and proclamation of the gospel.

“They’re bringing the Good News—as all Christians should—but bringing the Good News outside of the doors of the church into the world … The deacon has to be someone who has the gifts to actually make some change, to get people together, to advocate, to collaborate, and so on.”

The competency model presented in the Iona Report offers a framework for deacons and aspiring deacons to demonstrate the appropriate skills, understanding, and character they will require in the context of ministry.

Each competency has three levels—at selection, at ordination, and through lifelong learning—to qualify deacons at different stages in their careers.

“We talk a lot about lifelong learning,” Tucker said. “But this actually gives content to what that might look like.”

Barker highlighted the validity and flexibility of the competencies by pointing to their usefulness in two very different models of deacon selection. In Toronto, which practices a parish-first model, deacons are raised up out of the congregation and tend to stay in that location. But in Victoria, where the process is more centralized, deacons are raised in the community at large and could be assigned to any parish where the bishop determines they may be of use.

“The fact that [the competencies] work in two extremely different models of process leading to ordination is, I think, significant,” Barker said.

Maybee said that the Iona Report is a “working document” designed to encourage further conversation. She encouraged dioceses to set up study groups to assess the report against the actual experience of deacons and guidelines already in use, pointing to the “Lively Questions” section as a possible framework for conversation.

“The Church’s discussion about the diaconate is not closed, and digging deeper into the issues will bring us into a new place of understanding regarding baptism and all the orders.”

View and download The Iona Report.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, November 29, 2016