Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Ontario diocese boosts ministry in Mohawk territory

Posted on: February 25th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

The Rev. Canon Rod BrantFrancis and the Rev. Lisa BrantFrancis are now serving as the incumbent and priest associate, respectively, for the Parish of Tyendinaga, marking a return to full-time ministry in the parish for the Diocese of Ontario. Submitted photo by Mark Hauser

Ontario diocese boosts ministry in Mohawk territory

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Deepening its ties with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, the Anglican Diocese of Ontario has allocated funds from its Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation (ACCRC) return to support local First Nations art and culture as well as ministry in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

Drawing upon its approximately $115,000 return to promote ministry among the Mohawk population was a natural move for the Diocese of Ontario. This decision stems from the diocese’s commitment to healing and reconciliation and its proximity to and connection with the Tyendinaga territory.

The Anglican Parish of Tyendinaga includes All Saints’ Church and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawk.

“We have a long… heritage [and relationship] with the [Mohawk] people here, so for us, that’s a natural focus,” diocesan executive officer Alex Pierson said.

Supporting arts and culture

Reflecting the importance of the thriving cultural and art practices in Tyendinaga—and spurred by an individual affiliated with the church who works with the territory’s annual art festival—local First Nations art and artists were an important and obvious area to support financially.

“The [diocese recognizes] that by bringing [financial support] forward, we are supporting the community that was harmed [by the Indian residential school system], and we’re also bringing that to the fore for our people to understand.”

Jonathan Maracle, a Mohawk musician from Tyendinaga, performs at the most recent Ontario diocesan synod. Submitted photo by Mark Hauser

 

The diocese recently became one of the principal sponsors of the annual arts festival held on the territory, which brings together Indigenous artists in a variety of media, ranging from sketches and paintings to woodcarvings.

Helping to promote the musical element of the festival, the diocese sponsored a music competition in which participants wrote songs in either of two categories—a traditional hymn or anthem, and a children’s song or campfire song—and received a fair number of entries. At the next diocesan synod, Anglicans heard the two winning entries, which included a performance by well-known composer Jonathan Maracle.

Healing and reconciliation was a major focus at the synod, which also included participation in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, an activity that uses blankets to teach how colonialism has effected Canada’s Indigenous people and their relationship with the land.

“The song that was written [by Maracle] talked about residential school … There were a lot of tears as that was performed,” Pierson said. “It helped bring that [history] to light and to understanding.”

Return to full-time ministry

Along with the arts, the diocese also used funds from its ACCRC return to bring back full-time ministry in the Tyendinaga territory.

Following the departure of its previous incumbent in October 2015, the Parish of Tyendinaga found itself in a position where it could no longer afford full-time ministry.

“We felt that there was still a strong opportunity to grow the ministry there, and also to grow the congregation,” Pierson said. “At that point, we had again what we believed to be the Spirit moving.”

Enter the Rev. Canon Rod BrantFrancis and the Rev. Lisa BrantFrancis. The married couple had both been ordained at All Saints’ Church, while Lisa had grown up on the Tyendinaga territory. After they applied for the vacant position, the diocese hired Rod as the new incumbent and Lisa as priest associate for the parish.

“We’re actually building specific [outcomes] for our ministry or our objectives that we want to achieve in supplementing the ministry on the Tyendinaga territory,” Pierson said.

“Because of the way Rod and Lisa work, it basically brings you two priests working to grow the ministry there and to minister the people, and to the people that aren’t Anglicans or aren’t regularly attending.”

Tyendinaga has a very active parish community and includes a number of notable worship and learning events each year, from Evensong to the attendance of the bishop at the annual Mohawk landing, which celebrates the original arrival of the Mohawk from the United States during the American Revolution.

Moving forward

Additional funds still remain in the diocese’s ACCRC return, with a myriad of possible uses all dedicated to healing and reconciliation locally. One possible focus revolves around how it might better support Indigenous people from northern communities who come through Kingston to obtain medical services.

As it plans to move into a new synod office, the diocese will be commissioning an artist from the Bay of Quinte Mohawks to produce a piece of art that will serve as a centrepiece display in the new office focusing on truth and reconciliation.

“It’s not a one-time shot,” Pierson said of the diocese’s careful management of its return, adding, “Our intention is that that will go on for some number of years.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, February 23, 2017

Hiltz: Theological education must build ‘Christ-like character’

Posted on: February 25th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on February, 21 2017

Candidates for the priesthood must be nurtured “in such a way that their ministries are enriched by their holiness of life, their own devotion to Christ,” says Primate Fred Hiltz. Photo: André Forget


Niagara Falls, Ont.As Anglican educators, bishops and clergy debate how theological education should be adapted to meet the needs of the 21st-century church, they should not lose sight of the fact that the final goal is to produce ministers with a “Christ-like character,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

During a February 14 plenary talk at Equipping the Saints: A National Gathering on Local Initiatives in Theological Education for Priestly Ministry, Hiltz said the church must train candidates who have sufficient spiritual maturity to discharge the “sacred trust” of priestly ministry.

“Alongside…all the courses we put in place for training men and women to be priests in our church in very diverse missional and cultural contexts, there must be every effort across the board to nurture and form them in such a way that their ministries are enriched by their holiness of life, their own devotion to Christ,” he said.

The formation of such a character requires a “partnership between the churches and the schools,” Hiltz told the gathering, which brought together 70 priests, bishops, professors, and diocesan and theological college support staff to discuss the future of theological education and priestly formation in the Canadian church.

Among the tools Hiltz commended to the gathering were The Anglican Communion Approach to Theological Education, a report presented by Theological Education for the Anglican Communion at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2012, and the Competencies for the Ordination to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada, a series of guidelines produced by the Primate’s Commission on Theological Education and Formation for Presbyteral Education in 2013.

He praised both documents for stressing the relationship between theological education and the health of the church, but noted that “no document from the synod or Communion will ever be adopted holus bolus.” To have value, they will need to be adapted for use in a particular context.

Hiltz also stressed that these competencies are insufficient if a candidate or priest is not passionate about his or her faith.

“We need the skills, we need the competence,” he said. “But…people can detect pretty quickly whether…someone is exercising their pastoral skills, or someone…is doing that out of a heart that beats with the love of Christ.”

Of special importance for Hiltz was that priests be passionate in their celebration of the Eucharist, and that they be “spiritually prepared and ready for this awesome moment [in the Eucharist] when the body of Christ is re-membered, brought back together.”

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, February 23, 2017

Jerusalem archbishop rededicates Israeli church closed for nearly 80 years

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)  on February 24, 2017

St. Saviour’s church, in Acre, northern Israel, will be a beacon of hope and faith, says Episcopal diocese of Jerusalem Archbishop Suheil Dawani in his sermon. Photo: Diocese of Jerusalem


A service of rededication has taken place at St Saviour’s Church, in Acre in northern Israel, which was closed in the late 1940s. This rededication follows the re-opening and re-dedication of St Paul’s Church in West Jerusalem in 2011, which was closed around the same time. There are also plans to begin the renovation of a third church closed in the late 1940s –  St. Peter’s in Jaffa-Tel Aviv.

The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, in his sermon, expressed “happiness, gladness and gratitude” and said the revival of the church and its activities will be a beacon of hope and faith. “This evening we, the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem, with our sister churches, and the people in Acre, although we are from different backgrounds and affiliations, unite together to celebrate this important and historic event of rededication of this spiritual place after so many years of waiting. God has empowered us to revive God’s house of prayer, and to re-open it as a space of welcome to all people without exception.”

The ancient city of Acre expanded at the beginning of the 20th century to a population of around 9,000; it had six mosques and five churches. The Anglican ministry was started in Acre by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) when a school for boys was opened in 1874 and a school for girls was opened in 1887. The two schools later merged. In 1886, the first church committee meeting was held to elect a pastorate committee; the church’s ministry included education, healthcare, and rehabilitation, especially among the needy. English lessons were held and there was regular Bible Study.

As for the medical ministry, a small clinic was developed to a small hospital in the old city. Ten years later the hospital was closed and then the school as well. At the beginning of the 1940s the pastorate committee bought a piece of land in order to start a new church building with the help of parishioners. The foundation stone was laid in August 1946 and the church building was ready for use by January 1947. However, after the war of 1948 the majority of the parishioners at Saint Saviour’s left the city and the church was soon closed.


The service of rededication at St. Saviour’s Church, which first opened in 1947. Photo: Diocese of Jerusalem


 

Dawani expressed hope for its future after the rededication. “Our Christian theology invites us –  even though we are diverse in worship, liturgy and theological thinking – to be one body in Christ Jesus. We are to reach out to those other religions, Muslims and Jews. We do not claim that we have no differences: on the contrary, it is natural to have this kind of diversity,” he said. “ We share in worshiping the one living God and our conviviality for the sake of true humanity which leads us to goodness, security, justice, peace, and prosperity for all.”

What the world wants, Dawani said, “especially here in the Middle East which suffers so much through war, violence and extremism – is for a real peace that restores true humanity. The spectrum of the tragedy and the bitterness of suffering causes people to fear what the future will hold for them.”

He said what is needed is a new education “that teaches people to respect life and to perceive the human person to be of a sacred value because we are all created in the image and likeness of God.” This new education “will provide healing to the wounds of our bleeding humanity and restore relationships of broken societies,” he added. “Reviving the ministry of this church and its activities is to engage, share, and join together in God’s mission in the world. We are to be bridge builders for love and mutual understanding. We are to strengthen the bonds of unity. We are to live together among the different monotheistic religions to the glory of God and service of humanity.”

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Anglican Journal News, February 24, 2017

Canada should welcome more refugees in the time of Trump, say church groups & NGOs

Posted on: February 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on February, 15 2017

Protesters denounce the Trump administration’s refugee and immigration policies in front of the U.S. Consulate in Toronto February 4. Photo: arindambanerjee/Shutterstock


Refugee advocates speaking on behalf of several Christian and civil society groups say Canada should expand its refugee resettlement efforts following the Trump administration’s January 27 executive order attempting to suspend refugee acceptance to the United States for 120 days.

Specifically, there have been calls for the government to increase the number of refugees it accepts in 2017 and strike down the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between Canada and the U.S., which allows Canadian border guards to refuse entrance to asylum seekers crossing into the country overland from the U.S.

Gloria Nafziger, an Anglican who serves as refugee co-ordinator for Amnesty International Canada, said that while the STCA has always been problematic, recent events in the U.S. have made lifting it a priority.

“It is Amnesty’s view that…the United States no longer conforms to the [UN] Refugee Convention [of 1951], and as such is not a partner—or cannot be considered a partner for the purposes of the agreement,” she says. She noted that the agreement was made under the assumption that both countries would adhere to and abide by the convention.

Trump’s executive order is currently on hold after several federal courts issued temporary restraining orders blocking its enforcement. But U.S. officials are considering revising the order to circumvent the legal challenges to it, according to a Bloomberg News report.

The order prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. “indefinitely” and suspends the country’s refugee system for 120 days. It also bars entry to the U.S. for 90 days of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Nafziger says there is a “wonderful role” for churches to express concerns about the safety of refugees and immigrants in the U.S., and to participate in legal action challenging the STCA.

“I think voices from a faith community are very, very important, in terms of speaking out against the anti-Muslim rhetoric and the hate rhetoric that is directed toward immigrants and refugees,” she says, adding that churches might choose to support legal claims on behalf of refugee claimants.

The STCA, which took effect in 2004, requires asylum seekers to apply for refugee status “in the first safe country they arrive in,” unless they meet certain exemptions, including being an unaccompanied minor and having family members in Canada.

The agreement prevents asylum seekers from claiming refugee status at the border, but they are still able to do so if they can make a claim inland, after having already crossed into the country.

While the executive order suspending refugee acceptance is being contested in U.S. courts, recent months have seen a sharp increase in the number of refugees crossing the border illegally to apply for refugee status in Canada.

According to a Canadian Border Services Agency spokesperson quoted by the CBC, 410 asylum seekers crossed the border at Emerson, Manitoba between April and December 2016. Dozens more have arrived in 2017, according to reports by The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and CBC.

The route between North Dakota and Manitoba exposes asylum seekers to harsh winds and sub-zero conditions, sometimes for hours. According to another CBC story, Ghanian refugees Sidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal lost their fingers to frostbite while attempting to make the crossing in December.

On January 31, over 200 law professors from across Canada signed an open letter to the government calling for the immediate suspension of the STCA.

However, while Trudeau responded to the executive order by tweeting that Canada would welcome “those fleeing persecution, terror & war,” there has been no increase in the target numbers for refugee resettlement. Nor has the government indicated it will consider withdrawing from the STCA.

“If [Trudeau] thinks that refugees are welcome here, the act that would actually show that we are serious about that is removing or dissolving [the STCA],” says Jenn McIntyre, director of Toronto-based refugee settlement agency Romero House.

McIntyre notes that the Canadian government took some measures to help refugees following the passage of the executive order, such as offering temporary residence permits to refugees stranded in Canada. However, she adds that such actions do little to help asylum seekers hoping to take refuge in the country on a more permanent basis.

The Rev. Jeffrey Metcalfe, an Anglican priest pursuing doctorate-level research into the church’s response to refugees at the University of Toronto, calls the STCA a “morally abhorrent policy.”

The STCA allows Canada to turn away refugee claimants at the border, even if they would normally meet Canada’s standards for refugee status, he says.

While recent decisions by the U.S. government have exposed the STCA to heightened criticism, the agreement has long been a target of church and civil society groups advocating on behalf of refugees.

In 2006, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Refugees, and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) were involved in a legal challenge to the agreement on the basis that it was unlawful insofar as it breached the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as international human rights laws.

The challenge was upheld by the Federal Court, but overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2008. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

However, when the Journal contacted Peter Noteboom, CCC deputy general secretary and association secretary for justice and peace, said this time around there wasn’t “full consensus” among members for the council to ask that the agreement to be struck down completely.

Noteboom said this had less to do with disagreement about the agreement itself than with “tactics” around how the CCC should engage the issue.

He noted that a letter to the government is being drafted, which calls for a review and assessment of the STCA, the raising of the cap on refugee resettlement numbers for 2017, and for the shortage of housing available to refugee claimants to be addressed.

These were also issues raised by two Anglican dioceses in recent statements.

The diocese of British Columbia issued a statement on February 7 calling on the Federal government to increase its 2017 targets for refugee resettlement by 7,000 given the “unprecedented need” for Canada to play a greater role in the wake of Trump’s executive order.

The diocese of Toronto released a short video in January calling on Anglicans to open their homes to refugee claimants arriving in Toronto.

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, February 17, 2017

Theological education at the crossroads

Posted on: February 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on February, 16 2017


Archdeacon Bill Harrison, director for mission and ministry in the diocese of Huron, says Anglicans need to acknowledge that priests “serve the church, but they are not the church.”
Photo: André Forget


Niagara Falls, Ont.

As the number of Anglicans in Canada decreases and churches close, the parish model—in which every church has a priest and every priest is full-time—is rapidly becoming a relic of the past. How can the Anglican Church of Canada train priests to serve in this new, more uncertain reality?

This was the question posed to a group of 70 priests, educators, bishops, diocesan and theological college support staff at the beginning of the conference on theological education and the training of priests held Feb. 14.

In a wide-ranging address, Archdeacon Bill Harrison, director for mission and ministry in the diocese of Huron, said that meeting the challenge of this question requires the church to see the role of the priest as one that has evolved throughout Christian history.

Anglicans need to acknowledge that “priests serve the church, but they are not the church,” he said.

Harrison’s presentation was the first of the four-day gathering called Equipping the Saints: A National Gathering on Local Initiatives in Theological Education for Priestly Ministry.

Organized by the Rev. Eileen Scully, director of the national church’s faith, worship and ministry department, the conference was designed to provide a forum for discussing alternatives to the MDiv as a way of training priests, and to talk about the place of priests trained through alternative programs in the Canadian church.

Harrison began his talk by noting that over the past 500 hundred years, priests have been expected to take on an ever-growing list of duties. Not only are they asked to be sacramental ministers and preachers, they are also trained to be teachers, scholars, leaders, counsellors and social justice advocates.

Through the MDiv, seminaries have attempted to equip candidates for the priesthood with the skills they need to discharge all of these responsibilities. The result, Harrison said, is a church that tends to place too much responsibility for too many things on the shoulders of its priests.

“I wonder whether the effort to cover all of those bases through priestly preparation may have been a mistake,” he said. “I wonder whether we have, unintentionally, contributed to the sense that the church is primarily a priestly organization rather than a community of all the baptized.”

At the same time, the Canadian church also has a long history as a missionary church, in which it has often been impossible to expect every priest to hold an MDiv and attend seminary for three years.

“We have a substantial history of ordaining people without the MDiv degree or equivalent,” he said. This history is a reminder that Canadian Anglicans have long had to be flexible and attentive to their local contexts when it comes to training and recognizing ministers, he said.

Harrison closed his talk by posing four questions he believes the church must grapple with as it considers the future of training for ministry.

First, is it possible to imagine priests who are not trained to fulfill all the above-mentioned roles, and if so, under what circumstances might this be acceptable? Second, has the pressure created by needing to fill all these roles distracted from the imperative to evangelize and create disciples? Third, should the training of priests be considered in relation to the training of deacons and lay people? Finally, what impact should the growth of less traditional forms of ministry have on the formation of priests?

While he did not provide answers to these questions, Harrison said he hoped they would guide the discussion at the conference.

Debates over theological education and the formation of priests in the Anglican Church of Canada are nothing new, however. As Harrison and Scully both noted, they have been going on for the past 20 years.

In 1998, the Anglican church held a series of consultations on discernment for ministry with the intention of creating “national standards” for theological education and priestly formation. This led to a theological education commission that looked at how candidates are prepared for ministry.

In 2007, General Synod passed a motion calling for a national gathering to formulate a strategic plan for the future of ordained ministry in Canada, which led to the January 2010 conference at Manoir d’Youville in Chateauguay, Que. This in turn spurred the creation of the Primate’s Commission on Theological Education and Formation for Presbyteral Education at the General Synod later that same year.

Over the course of the following triennium, the commission created a series of guidelines for those in the early stages of candidacy to the priesthood, for priests themselves, for bishops and archdeacons who need to evaluate the ministry of their priests, and for theological education programmes.

Their work was presented to General Synod 2013 as the “Competencies for the Ordination to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada.”

The competencies explicitly signalled a shift away from the notion of “standards” for theological education, toward a more fluid, adaptable model.

In an interview, Scully said she believes there is no longer much will to see a nationally applicable set of standards enforced, and does not expect this conference to produce a new set of competencies.

Instead, she wants to connect people working in different parts of the church to foster greater co-operation and sharing of information.

“I would be very happy to see some very concrete partnerships develop amongst dioceses [and] between dioceses and schools,” she said. Several dioceses have already created local ministry training programs, which other dioceses may want to adapt or learn from, she noted.

“We can’t…create a one-size-fits-all program,” she said, adding that the most important role General Synod staff members like herself can play is in facilitating lateral relationships between groups and individuals working to address the problems they are facing in their own local contexts.

 

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, February 17, 2017 

Testimonial: “Speaking The Word Freely” by John E.K. Nicolle

Posted on: February 16th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Testimonial

 

Testimonial: “Speaking The Word Freely”

By The Rev. John E. K. Nicolle

The Parish of Port Rexton

Central Newfoundland

 

 

“Speaking The Word Freely”

Presented by Jerry Larson at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center, Carefree, Arizona.

 

This three day course is Pastor Larson’s presentation on his method of taking a sermon text and making it a spoken sermon. He has developed this method over many years.

Jerry has fine tuned it in teaching this course at the Lutheran college and the retreat center. His method is to do the regular preparation in composing your sermon, then by running over it verbally and getting the main point. You would also firm up the examples and stories that will be used.

As part of the course the students use a sermon that you will preach in the future. You do this twice, with Jerry and the whole class.

This course would be a good program for both new preachers and those who want to refresh themselves.

I would recommend this course for any preacher.

 

Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center, Carefree, Arizona

This retreat center is a place north of Phoenix in the small town of Carefree. The center is a place to go away to renew oneself. The main building is a former hotel that the Lutheran Church has made into a spiritual oasis in the desert. With the three new buildings they can house 60 single or 120 double people. The dining room is light filled and serves healthy food.

They run retreats throughout the year, both open and private retreats and conferences. One thing right now is if you are at the retreat center on a private retreat then the kitchen is not open. There are several places within walking distance for meals. There may be plans in the future to open the kitchen more.

Contact at [email protected]

[email protected]________________________________________________________________

E-mail, February 15, 2016

Welby calls on churches to be part of ‘reimagining’ a new Britain

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service) on February, 14 2017

The rise of far-right politics offers a challenge that can be overcome with the right practices, values and spirit, says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. File photo: Keith Blundy/Aegies Associates/Lambeth Palace


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has addressed the rise of far-right politics, the election of U.S. President Trump and Britain’s decision to vote to leave the European Union, in his presidential address at the start of the Church of England’s General Synod.

Welby said it was a time when the future offered a wider range of opportunity, or of threat, than we have been used to culturally, politically and economically: “There are a thousand ways to explain the Brexit vote, or the election of President Trump, or the strength in the polls in Holland of Geert Wilders or in France of Madame Le Pen and many other leaders in a nationalist, populist, or even fascist tradition of politics. Almost certainly there is no simple explanation, almost certainly the impact of globalisation economically, or marginalisation politically and of post-modernity culturally have some role to some extent.”

He said these developments would be studied for years to come but at present, “we are in the middle of it all and we see neither the destination nor the road.”

However, Welby also said it was a moment of potential opportunity and challenge – a challenge that, as a nation, could be overcome with the right practices, values, culture and spirit. He told Synod members that for the Church, it was an extraordinary opportunity to be part of reimagining a new Britain, its practices, values, aspirations and global role: “We can be part of the answer, we have a voice and a contribution and a capacity and a reach, and above all, a Lord who is faithful when we fail and faithful when we flourish,” he said.

Both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, came out in favour of the UK remaining in the European Union in the EU referendum last year. Welby said that in the necessary reimagination of the country, the church could not dictate but had to participate. “Participation means being a listening, suffering and reconciling presence, not a hectoring, self-interested one. The language of public life at present is deeply, savagely divided and may become worse.”

He said the heritage of the Church of England is to be used confidently, but not arrogantly: “We have at present the extraordinary privilege of sitting in parliament, the remarkable gift and responsibility of educating chaplains in every sphere of life, and a role in public life of the nation,” he said. We have a heritage of presence across England, burdensome although it may sometimes be, and the vocation of being the default point of help and support in times of trouble, or celebration in times of joy.”

Welby concluded by setting out the challenge for the church:  “In this time of a choice between national hope and opportunity or threat and fear we may play the part to which we are called in reimagining our country and seizing the best future that lies before us.”

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Anglican Journal News, February 14, 2017

‘God Unseen, Seen in Love’

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

By John Arkelian on February, 14 2017


Where the Good Way Lies
By Steve Bell
38.92 minutes
Signpost Music, 2016

http://signpostmusic.com
We were not previously familiar with the music of Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell; but we are ever so pleased to make his musical acquaintance now. Indeed, his new CD, Where the Good Way Lies, which is his 20th album, is like meeting an old friend. These 13 tracks are songs about hope and love—gentle, poetic and intelligent, they are full of ideas. And, as Bell says, “That’s the way it is with songs…they often seem to know more than those who wrote them.”

Consider “Love Song”: at first blush, this song (written by Bruce Cockburn) may be about the love between two human beings. But, to this listener, it spoke of our love for the divine: “In the place my wonder comes from / There I find you…When you be beside me / I am real… Though my eyes be closed forever / Still I would find you.” The devotional interpretation of those words presents God as our true kindred spirit, one with whom we have a close and tangible connection.

Positing such big ideas with such elegantly simple turns of phrase, these songs (two of which are instrumentals) somehow manage to speak to us about knowing and loving God without didacticism or overweening religiosity. Quite the contrary: these songs make the divine as natural (and as accessible) as life itself, even as they express deep ideas—like the co-existence of beauty and suffering, even when (as for the aging), “life is like a faded leaf.” Sometimes, the words of others (including Augustine, 19th- century poet Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rainer Maria Rilke and a contemporary Anglican minister) are the inspiration for the lyrics. One song was inspired by Psalm 62: with its words about refuge and hope, it was penned on the very day the first group of Syrian refugees arrived in Canada in 2016.

Here, then, are musical prayers—bright, fresh and insightful, without ever being preachy, saccharine or overbearing. Sometimes stirring, sometimes poignant, always quite lovely, these songs speak to the soul’s great longing, and to that which gives it sustenance: “The only thing left for us to do is love…And as we love the other, God abides in us / God unseen / Seen in love.”

John Arkelian is an award-winning author and journalist.

Copyright © 2017 by John Arkelian.

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Anglican Journal News, February 14, 2017

This United Church of Ours (Fourth Edition)

Posted on: February 12th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

THIS UNITED CHURCH OF OURS
(Fourth Edition) by Ralph Milton
Woodlake Publishing, Kelowna BC.

$15.95 CAD Paper
$9.95 CAD Kindle
264 pages. January, 2017
ISBN #978-1-77064-917-0

 

 

Publisher’s Promo:

Except for Bibles and Hymnbooks, no other
book has been read and appreciated by as
many United Church people. From what to
wear and where to sit in church to theology
and ethics, Ralph Milton covers it all with
his signature easygoing style.

Updated with new information, and expanded

to reflect a church that is reconciling the past
and celebrating the future, this fourth edition
is both informative and revealing.

 

Former Moderator’s Words:

Ralph Milton hasn’t been “done” (ordained) and
I’m glad he isn’t done with our church either.
While he doesn’t fit easily into any of our church’s
role titles, there’s no one who better understands
and loves the soul of our church, or can describe it
more clearly…

This new (fourth) edition of the beloved “This
United Church of Ours” is just what we need.
If ever there was a time for us… to remember
who we are, this is it. Humour and humility are
married in these pages…

You will read here about who we are as an
increasingly diverse community of faith within
a changing national landscape

The congregation in which I worship welcomes
new members frequently and we should give
every one of them a copy of this book. For
newcomers, it offers a better understanding of
our idiosyncrasies and core beliefs, from worship
to money to ethical concerns. For long-timers,
it reminds us about why we do what we do.

Ralph does all of this with honesty, creativity,
and personal revelation of his own love and
frustrations…

Reading this book… reminds me of who I am
connected to, through the love of Christ, in a
great evolving story of what we are a part…
“a community of broken but hopeful believers.”

– from the Foreword by Mardi Tindal

 

Author’s Bio:

Dr. Ralph Milton is one of Canada’s best-
known religious communicators, and a
recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of
Sacred Letters from St. Stephen’s College,
Edmonton. He also has an Honorary
Doctorate of Divinity from the Vancouver
School of Theology.

A former news broadcaster, open line host
and church administrator, Milton is the author
of 17 books including the bestselling titles 
Family Story Bible; Angels in Red Suspenders;
and Julian’s Cell, a novel based on the life of
Julian of Norwich.

On the Internet, Ralph Milton publishes the
popular e-zine Rumors, which uses liberal
doses of humour and story to communicate a
lively faith. Co-founder of Wood Lake Publishing,
Ralph Milton lives in Kelowna, British Columbia,
with his wife and friend of 50 years, Beverley,
a retired church minister. Together, they remain
the ever-proud grandparents of Zoe and Jake.

 

Review by Dr. Wayne Holst 

My Thoughts:

I have read the three previous editions of
this book as they have appeared over the last
thirty-six years. As the church has evolved,
so has Milton matured with it.

I have always believed that the United Church
of Canada is an interesting microcosm of
Canada itself.  Now as it comes close to
reaching the first century of its existence
it continues to reflect – for good and ill – 
something of what our nation is like.

Earlier editions have sold 60,000 copies,
which is quite an achievement for any
Canadian publication from secular or
religious presses. I would agree with
Mardi Tindal that it should be given to
every person who joins this church –
at least as an adult.

This fourth edition, just published,
reflects the United Church of Canada
as it is today – warts and all.

There is no question, but that Milton
continues to maintain a rather sharp
awareness of his subject because he
keeps attuned to many reflectors across
the land and the denomination.

While I may not always resonate to his
humour, I recognize that many people do.
While my approach to describing what I
see might assume a more academic style,
I do appreciate Milton’s populist approach.

My mother was brought up in the United
Church but she married into another
mainstream Canadian denomination when
she married dad. When I began attending,
and then joined St. David’s United Calgary
almost thirty years ago – I had to make
some adjustments. But my reasons for
continuing to remain an active, serving
member (as a layperson and not the
ordained pastor I had been) have kept
me here. The people who form my great
community of faith are a big factor in all
this. But, I am also grateful that I did not
have to become a Christian I was not in
order to remain here.

I hope to continue offering something
back to my community for all it has done
for me.

I encourage you to read this book. You
do not have to be a new or considering
member of the United Church of Canada.
Read it to get a sense of a unique body
of Christians, unlike any other faith
community in the world. It is one
that remains inclusive, ecumenical and
justice-and-peace-seeking, like few other
denominations in this land or anywhere.

Probably the most important reason
for reading Milton’s fourth edition is that
it is proof that God can work through frail
and sinful humans, and still form something
beautiful from it all.

 

Buy the book from Woodlake Publishing:
http://tinyurl.com/jyy5nnf

Buy the Kindle Edition from Amazon.ca:
http://tinyurl.com/zxseg92

 

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List 2,  Vol. XII. No. 19,  February  12 , 2017

Canadian Bible Society announces Canada’s first Inuit Bible Translation Conference

Posted on: February 9th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Links, Reviews

January 23, 2017 — Toronto, ON

Canada’s national Truth and Reconciliation movement has allowed fresh winds to blow through the dark history of colonization, broken treaties, and residential schools that have so devastated Canada’s indigenous populations. These resilient peoples – First Nations, Metis, and Inuit – are facing formidable obstacles in terms of preserving and revitalizing their precious cultures and languages. For the indigenous Church, Bible translation and Bible-based literacy are strategic and empowering avenues of expression and engagement.

Celebrating a decades’ long partnership with the indigenous peoples of Canada, the Canadian Bible Society is hosting the first-ever Inuit Bible Translation Conference in Toronto from Jan. 30th to Feb 3rd 2017. These meetings will bring together, for the first time, Inuit Bible translation teams from Alaska (Inupiaq), Western Nunavut (Inuinnaqtun), Eastern Nunavut (Inuktitut), Nunatsiavut (Inuttut), and Greenland (Kalaallit), along with church leaders and ministry partners committed to serving the indigenous peoples of the Arctic with Bible translation and Bible engagement tools.

The process of Bible Translation in the 21st century involves not just expertise in the original languages of the Bible – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic – but also skill in specialized Bible translation software, disciplined project management, and in involving diverse partners who bring different resources to the table. One key ministry partner, Faith Comes by Hearing, will bring a special emphasis on the importance of the spoken word in primarily oral cultures, and share about the amazing advances in technology for recording the Scriptures.

Dr. Myles Leitch, Director of Scripture Translation for the Canadian Bible Society says: “This event is a first in the history of Bible Translation in Canada. We wanted to bring Inuit translation teams together to leverage commonalities in culture and language, to allow the more experienced translators to mentor the newer ones, and to celebrate the resilience and accomplishments of each group. It is also an opportunity to refresh the training of the translation teams in terms of revised software, new approaches to translation, and biblical exegesis.”

Representing a long-standing translation partner, the Anglican Church, Rt. Rev. David Parsons, Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic, is slated to deliver the keynote address on the first day of the gathering: “The Importance of Vernacular Scriptures in the Life of the Church”. Other church leaders and ministry partners will bring spiritual reflection and encouragement to the gathering as well. ” It promises to be an exhilarating time together, celebrating the richness of Inuit culture and the diversity of languages among the Inuit people,” says Leitch.

The Canadian Bible Society works exclusively at the invitation of indigenous communities and churches to engage in Scripture translation projects. Our goal is always local ownership for these projects. The Canadian Bible Society is committed to supporting the goals of indigenous communities, to respecting languages and cultures, and to assisting and promoting translation of the Bible into the languages people speak and understand.

Translation of Bible texts follows a rigorous process of drafting, team checking, community checking and consultant checking. We draw upon and apply a large body of best-practice knowledge, developed over many decades, to every translation project, large or small.

The Canadian Bible Society has had a role in translating and/or publishing the Scriptures for many languages. The following list underlines the diversity of projects we have been involved in (not a complete list):

  • Plains Cree (Saskatchewan)
  • Inuktitut (Nunavut, Eastern Arctic)
  • Ojibwe (Ontario, Manitoba)
  • Inuttut (Nunatsiavut, Labrador)
  • Coastal Cree (Quebec)
  • Inupiaq (Alaska)
  • Inuinnaqtun (Nunavut, Central Canadian Arctic)

Rev. Dr. Jonathan Dent, National Director of the Canadian Bible Society, is likewise enthusiastic about this Inuit Translation Conference, notes, “I am thrilled that we can support the Inuit Christian community and bond over the life-giving Scriptures. I am grateful for the support and care of the Anglican Church and other partners in this venture. We are privileged in seeing lives positively impacted and hope imparted in wonderful ways. Thanks to all parties for making this Bible Translation conference a wonderful way to care for one another and trust God together.”

Currently in our 111th year, the mandate of the Canadian Bible Society is today as it always has been: to promote and encourage, without doctrinal note or comment, the translation, publication, distribution, and use of the Bible, and to co-operate with the United Bible Societies in its worldwide work. The Canadian Bible Society (CBS) is a uniquely inter-denominational organization that transcends denominations to partner with individuals, churches, and para-church organizations who similarly believe that God’s Word changes hearts and lives.

The Canadian Bible Society, together with 150 national Bible Societies worldwide, has translated the Bible into more than 100 languages. Last year, more than 418 million Scripture publications were distributed. For more information on the translation projects of the Canadian Bible Society, please contact:

Dr. Myles Leitch, Ph.D. Linguistics, Director of Scripture Translations
T: (416) 689-3411 | Toll-free: 1-800-465-2425 Ext. 3411
E: [email protected]

[email protected][email protected]

Canadian Bible Society e-newsletter, January 27, 2017