Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Politics and Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich at Union Seminary in New York

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

 

 

 

‘Politics and Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich at Union Seminary in New York’: theologians as postwar pastors

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: How two theologians helped the West process the events of World War II and the Cold War.

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Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, News & Ideas, June 24, 2014

Bishop Collings dies at 75

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Marites N. Sison

 


Bishop Tom Collings felt a particular calling to native ministry. “Native people teach  you how to be a priest. They expect priestcraft from you,” he once said in an interview. Photo: General Synod Archives

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(Ret.) Bishop Thomas William Ralph Collings, who was known for having devoted much of his ministry with Canada’s native people, died after a long battle with cancer on July 8 in Winnipeg. He was 75.

Collings was consecrated the seventh bishop of the Anglican diocese of Keewatin in 1991, at the age of 52. He was bishop of the diocese, located in Kenora, Ont., for five years, until he resigned in 1996.  He and his wife, the Rev. Julie Collings, later embarked on a joint ministry in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, as parish priests at All Saints Anglican. He also served as part-time regional co-ordinator of the southeast region of the Anglican diocese of Qu’Appelle.

“Tom was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, serving both the church and the community with deep faithfulness and incredible energy,” said a statement issued by the diocese of Keewatin. “He was profoundly committed to working for peace and justice for all, especially First Nations people. To the very end of his life, he continued to take a great interest in Keewatin’s commitment to new expressions of the Gospel in which the vision of an indigenous self-determining church within in the Anglican Church of Canada could become reality.” Collings “particularly rejoiced” in the election of Bishop Lydia Mamakwa as area bishop of Northern Ontario and last month, as the first bishop of Mishamikoweesh, said the statement.

Before he was elected bishop, Collings had been dean of theology, co-ordinator of native studies and director of the lay education program at St. John’s College, University of Manitoba, since 1983.

In 1987, he was also a non-stipendiary priest-in-charge of St. Helen’s Anglican Ayamihewkamik Church in Winnipeg. From 1982 to 1985, Collings was rector of Peguis/Hodgson, a six-point parish, and also had a ministry with native people. He was assistant priest at St. John’s Cathedral, Winnipeg, from 1980 to 1982.

Collings felt a particular calling to native ministry. “Native people teach you to be a priest. They expect priestcraft from you,” he once said in an interview.

When he became bishop, Collings pledged to develop “the ministry of the Whole People of God.” In a message he wrote for The Keewatin, the diocesan newspaper, Collings displayed a profound sense of humility. His work, he wrote, “will be continued after me, for all of us play only a small part in the designs of the Creator; it is never a path without problems and questions, and I give thanks that the Bible tells the story of God who works in and through our mistakes.”

One of his priorities, he wrote, was ensuring the participation of women in all parts of the church. “We need the gifts of women in leadership,” he said, quoting Archdeacon William Winter, a highly respected aboriginal elder and Anglican priest in Kingfisher Lake, Ont., who said, “In our generation, we are beginning to see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel ‘that the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.’ ” (Winter, who died in 2011, is the uncle of Bishop Mamakwa.)

In a brief message posted on Facebook, one of Collings’s children, the Rev. Megan  Collings-Moore, spoke poignantly about her father. As a bishop, she said, “there will be  much said about him as a pastor and teacher and defender of the faith.” But at the moment of his passing, she said, “I am primarily remembering the silliest father who  ever lived, who told me he and the other dads did their ballet lessons on Thursday  evenings when the daughters weren’t there.” He had taken her for sunrise hikes “and  taught me the ontological argument (and the arguments against it) at his knee when I  was three years old.” 

Collings-Moore, who is the chaplain at Renison College, in the University of Waterloo,  said it was her father who officiated at her marriage and ordained her a deacon and  later, a priest. He loved “jazz, and good food and wine, and my mother (not necessarily  in that order!).” He was the dad “whose Welsh accent became thicker as he became  weaker.” 

When he retired, Collings became interested in inter-faith dialogue and served on the executive of Manitoba Multifaith Council (MMC), according to an obituary prepared by his family. Concerned about the plight of prisoners, he sat on the Provincial Corrections Committee, chaired MMC’s Corrections Committee and for 11 years, volunteered weekly in the spiritual care department of Headingly Jail “and continued to work on projects when he could no longer go out,” said the obituary.

Collings had an ecumenical outlook, having been raised in his father’s Baptist Sunday school and in his mother’s Anglican church, said the obituary. “Until his children were old enough to walk three miles to the nearest Scottish Episcopal Church, Tom served as an elder in the Church of Scotland. Recently, he (had) been happy to worship with family at First Lutheran Church.” He also initiated many ecumenical discussion/education discussion groups. 

Born and educated in England, Collings was ordained a deacon in 1979 and became a priest a year later. In the 1960s, he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in math from St. Peter’s College, Oxford; a bachelor of arts in theology from Wycliffe College, Oxford; a master of sacred theology when he was a Harkness Fellow at the Union Theological Seminary in New York; and a master of arts at Oxford University.

 

In his profile as candidate for bishop in 1991, Collings listed jazz, recorder playing, novels, camping, jogging, yoga and table tennis as general interests. He displayed a wry sense of humour, adding, “If there were mountains in Manitoba, I would walk them.”

Collings would walk each day until his illness was advanced, said the obituary. “He cherished his family. (His) Christian faith was central. He was egalitarian, non-materialistic, honest, trusting, faithful, disciplined in prayer and action, and always, always enthusiastic.” 

Collings is survived by his wife of 49 years, the Rev. Julie Collings; by their three daughters, Megan Collings-Moore (John Moore), Bronwen Bugden (Shawn Bugden) and Tamsin Collings (Andrew Swan); by their two sons, John Collings (Joan Collings) and David Collings; by 19 grandchildren and a brother, Roynon Collings.  

The funeral service will take place at  St. John’s College Chapel, University of Manitoba, on July 12, at 11 a.m.  The burial will be at St. Mary’s-St. Alban’s Cemetery in Kaleida, Man., later in the afternoon. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information. 

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Anglican Journal News, July 9, 2014

 

‘Reconciliation is about change’

Posted on: July 5th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

 

By Marites N. Sison

 

The Ojibwa drum group Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak (Good Hearted Women Singers) took part in the ELCIC Eastern Synod event aimed at building “right relationships” between indigenous and non-indigenous people of Canada. Photo: Marites N. Sison

 


 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) member Marie Wilson has commended the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) for taking an active role in forging reconciliation between Canada’s indigenous and non-indigenous people even though it is not one of the churches implicated in the Indian residential schools system.

By standing up and claiming reconciliation as a vital issue, the ELCIC has offered “an honorable response” to the TRC’s mandate that reconciliation must be the work of the signatories to the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) and the people of Canada, said Wilson. A key component of the IRSSA, the TRC’s key mandate is to gather the statements of former residential school students and others affected by its legacy and to educate Canadians about it. From the mid-19th to the 20th century, churches – including the Anglican Church of Canada – operated 130 schools for more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children as part of the federal government’s forced assimilation policy.

Wilson gave a keynote address at a gathering of more than 250 delegates from the ELCIC’s Eastern Synod held June 26 to 29 at the International Plaza Hotel, in Toronto. The meeting was part of an effort to build “right relationships” with indigenous people in Canada.

While the TRC’s work will officially end in June 2015, “the work of reconciliation is just beginning,” said Wilson. “It is not for me to define for you what reconciliation means, (but) we have been saying in a general way that it is about restoring respectful relations…It is about creating conditions where peace is possible in one’s heart, in one’s home, in one’s family, in one’s community and in one’s country.” She quoted an aboriginal elder from Alberta who talked about the need for “an ethical space where indigenous and non-indigenous views can come together so that we can find the parallels of truth, love and honour.”

From her own perspective, Wilson said reconciliation is about change and transformation. “The status quo is not going to get us anywhere. If nothing changes, nothing will change.”

Wilson said there was a correlation between residential schools history and the over-representation of indigenous people in the country’s child welfare system, emergency room wards, prisons and correctional system, and in graveyards.

“We not only have important, but urgent work to do as a society,” she said, adding, “How long will we allow it to be acceptable for us as a country that we have one of our founding nations living in abject poverty?”

Wilson acknowledged that educating Canada about the residential schools legacy has been a “daunting” task.  “I’m grateful that you’re here in the spirit of learning and pondering what to do…(with this) huge job of inspiring reconciliation…”

She expressed hope that the work that the TRC has begun “will mark and transform our country so that we will begin to know each other for the first time because most of us, honestly, have grown up not knowing each other…So many of us grew up not knowing about residential schools.”

Meanwhile, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, who also spoke at the gathering, urged churches to go beyond apologies and confront institutional evils that allowed the residential school system to happen.

“As institutions, we’ve acted like other institutions, maybe a little bit better. At times we’ve been courageous in our apologies, at times we’ve been sacrificial in some of the responses we’ve made,” said MacDonald. “But beyond saying that we’re not going to do it again, I don’t think we’ve really gone into the heart of our participation in these kinds of evils.”

While churches understand individual reconciliation, it doesn’t understand corporate reconciliation, added MacDonald. “We understand individual repentance and forgiveness, we don’t seem to be good at corporate repentance and forgiveness.”

Churches need to discover “who we are in Christ, and that means we have to know what it is as a people to repent and to seek healing,” said MacDonald.

Dr. Allen Jorgenson, assistant dean and associate professor at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, for his part, said reconciliation did not begin with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to indigenous people in 2008 even as he acknowledged that it was necessary and important. “Reconciliation is a plant that God placed in a garden at the beginning of time. God planted and God continues to plant reconciliation where there is brokenness,” said Jorgenson, who spoke at the event. “It grows in a soil of First Nations truth telling. It grows in the soil of church repentance. And it grows in the light of prayer.”

Jorgenson also offered some advice to foster reconciliation, including practicing vulnerability. “Recognize the truth that you are already vulnerable, dependent on God and dependent on the land,” he said.  European settlers at the first year of contact wouldn’t have wouldn’t have survived winter “without the hospitality of Turtle Island’s First Nations,” he said. But they soon forgot their dependence on God, on land and the people of the land, he added. “Too soon they eschewed vulnerability and took on a posture of mastery.”

He emphasized the need for honesty, saying, “You need others, you need this land, you need the people of this land. We’re all in this together. “

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Anglican Journal News, July 3, 2014

 

 

 

Something remarkable just happened

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By The Rev. Jesse Dymond

acconvo14 groupSomething remarkable just happened. Last week, nearly 40 of the Anglican Church of Canada’s youngest priests gathered together in Montreal for professional development, networking, and ministry strengthening.

In truth, the gathering didn’t “just happen,” but rather grew organically, from one Montreal priest’s vision, to a small Facebook group that grew to over 150 members, to the establishment of  a cross-country planning team, and all with the generous support of General Synod’s Faith, Worship, and Ministry Department.

I’ve spent the past week reflecting on the conference’s success, and especially on this cohort’s natural tendency to build relationships and share resources over long distances using the tools native to their generation. And I’ll be reflecting with you on that in the near future. But today, I want to draw your attention to some of the other voices in this community: six priests who took part in a unique conference, and found themselves transformed.

  1. First, a blog by Rhonda Waters, who first proposed the need for such a gathering. Back in early May, Rhoda outlined the plans and purpose for Conversation 2014 in Colleagues and conversations.

Immediately following the conference, and over the course of the next week, the Internet buzzed with energy around the connections made, and opportunities presented. And while much of that activity took place between participants and in private forums, others chose to unpack the three days, and to share their reflections publicly:

  1. First came Rachel Kessler’s Thought’s from the train.
  2. Dawn Leger discussed the open, unconference format in All this hopey-changey stuff: how did conversation 2014 work?
  3. Scott McLeod looked to the future in Long term vision.
  4. Dana Dickson reflected on relationship building in A unique conference experience.
  5. Finally, Martha Tartarnic shared a personal reflection on her one of the small group topics in  The 10th Comandmenta reflection on the “why Anglican” question at Conversation 2014

I do hope that you’ll take the time to read through these blogs, and to engage their authors with your questions and comments. These priests have been encouraged in strengthened in their respective ministries, and are hoping to share that new life with you!

About The Rev. Jesse Dymond

I’m a priest from the Diocese of Huron, serving as Online Community Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada. I have a lifelong interest in computer technology, and continue to pursue interdisciplinary studies in science and theology. I love composing and performing music, cooking, photography, sailing, and riding vintage motorcycles.

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Weekly update from The Community, June 27, 2014

Date set for Anglican-Roman Catholic cricket match

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

Archbishop Justin Welby meets the Vatican First XI during his recent visit to Rome, 15 June 2014.

From Lambeth Palace

Anglican and Roman Catholic First XIs will face each other in Canterbury on 19 September in a historic match to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking.

Details of a historic cricket match between Anglicans and Roman Catholics to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking have been announced today.

The Twenty20 match, which will be played at Kent County Cricket Club in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral on 19 September at 4pm, will raise funds for the Global Freedom Network, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic anti-trafficking initiative launched in March.

Entrance will be free but there will be a bucket collection during the match, which will be followed by a gala dinner to raise further funds.

The match will mark the culmination of the St Peter’s Cricket Club ‘Tour of Light’ initiative, and follows a challenge laid down by the club’s honourary president Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi to Archbishop Justin Welby.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “I was delighted to meet members of the St Peter’s Cricket Club during a recent visit to Rome, and am greatly looking forward to welcoming them to Canterbury in September for what will be an historic occasion. I would like to express particular thanks to Kent County Cricket Club for so generously offering the use of their ground, and to those who are working hard to ensure the St Peter’s team enjoy a memorable tour. I also pray that the match will draw attention to the very serious problem of modern slavery and human trafficking, which our two churches are working closely together to combat through the work of the Global Freedom Network.”

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said: “’If you want to arrive first, run alone. If you want to go far, walk together.’ For this sporting initiative I recall this Kenyan proverb, as it states so simply our need for teamwork, and with clear reference to the charitable aspect chosen, namely the issue of human trafficking, a plague which hurts most those who are left alone and abandoned. In our culture of massive movement of peoples, sport challenges us to examine not just how hospitable we are, as individual athletes, but also how similar we are, for as Jean Giraudoux affirms, “sport is the real esperanto of the peoples”. Look at the great success of the World Cup in Brazil! We do well to recall this in our pastoral work!”

Read more about the match – including details of the squads – on the Pontifical Council for Culture website.

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Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), June 23, 2014

Bishops reflect on Coventry dialogue

Posted on: June 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leigh Anne Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spent a day with the bishops from Africa and North America gathered in Coventry.    Photo: Michael Ingham


Coventry, England, was an inspiring setting for the 24 bishops from Africa and North America, who met there from May 22 to 25 for the fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue to talk about reconciliation within the Anglican Communion and in the world.The ancient Coventry Cathedral was destroyed in November 1940 during the Second World War. And yet in a BBC radio broadcast from the ruins on Christmas Day that year, provost Dick Howard told listeners that when the war was over they should all work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-like world.” That history impressed Bishop Michael Oulton of the diocese of Ontario. “The cathedral was still a smouldering ruin when [church leaders] were saying that, so I think that’s powerful,” he said

A new cathedral was built alongside the ruins and connected to it, and it is home to the Community of the Cross of Nails, which is devoted to working for peace, justice and reconciliation around the world. “To be part of the Sunday worship in the “new” Coventry Cathedral on the 52nd anniversary of its consecration, was deeply moving and symbolic,” Bishop Garth Counsell told the Anglican Journal after his return to his diocese of Cape Town, South Africa, where the bishops met in 2013.

Bishop Jane Alexander from the diocese of Edmonton said the examples of reconciliation work done in both post-apartheid South Africa and Coventry were “really encouraging for us in many ways.”

The bishops’ dialogues grew out of an informal gathering that Archbishop Colin Johnson of the dioceses of Toronto and Moosonee organized during the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The hope was to increase understanding between parts of the global Anglican Communion that were divided over issues such as human sexuality and moves in the North American churches to bless same-sex unions and consecrate bishops in same-sex relationships.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, who served on Johnson’s diocesan staff at the time and who was recently named Africa relations officer for both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, organized the first gathering of 11 bishops in London and has been instrumental in bringing a growing number of bishops together each year since. Efforts have been made to better understand mission in local contexts and to build relationships.

“When the consultation was started it wasn’t with the idea ‘let’s all keep talking until we all agree’ on a particular topic, whatever that topic would be,” explained Alexander. “It was more about ‘let’s understand one another and let’s really have an appreciation for one another as faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.’ And I think that is certainly there now and that is huge.”

Counsell has participated in all five dialogues, which he told the Journal has strengthened his “long-held view that, as a Communion, there is far more that unites us than that which threatens to divide us.  I have come to realize that appreciating the other’s context for ministry is critical if we are to understand our different positions on issues.”

He added that the experience has “also underscored the immense value, and indeed the necessity, for keeping the communication channels open through honest and continuing conversation so that we are able to listen, hear, understand, trust and respect one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, even when we do not agree

The Coventry consultation was the first in which Bishop Joel Waweru of the diocese of Nairobi in Kenya has participated. Reached by email once he returned home, he told the Journal that the experience “has helped me accept and accommodate people who have different opinions [and] approach issues with an open heart and mind with the love of God in Christ Jesus. [I] am reminded of Christ, who met with the prostitute and the tax collector, and he accommodated them.”

All the bishops spoke of their deep appreciation of the day Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spent with the group. “We got to see first-hand the depth of his commitment to reconciliation within the Communion,” said Oulton. He recounted that one of the bishops asked Welby what he would like them to do for him. He asked that they pray for him, and more specifically for “wisdom, patience and courage—wisdom to know what to do, patience to know when to do it, and the courage to act.”

“I think it was powerful for all of us,” Oulton said, “but it also struck us that we are praying for him out of relationship with him and with one another and with those who would find it difficult to be in that room.”

Oulton was part of the writing team that crafted the six-page statement issued by the bishops “Testimony of our Journey to Reconciliation,” [link to PDF] which spoke of the Anglican Communion as a family of churches. There was a commitment, he said, to continue to walk together, build partnerships and relationships, and engage in the difficult issues they face in those relationships. Human sexuality is just one of those issues, Oulton said. “For me, as part of the dialogue, the issue was not as much front and centre in our dialogue, as it was building the foundation from which we can have these conversations, and that may be, in my personal view, what has been lacking up to this point.” He added that it seems that Archbishop Welby is working hard to lay that foundation.

“This has to be much more than an internal conversation,” said Oulton, explaining that it is essential “to talk about reconciliation within the life of our church and the life of our Communion…[and] how do we give that sense of reconciliation as a gift to the world because we have a world right now that is just ripped and torn in so many places.”

The bishops heard presentations on reconciliation from Canadian and Kenyan perspectives. Bishop Anthony Pogo talked about the church and conflicts in Sudan. Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon  spoke about Nigeria, including the situation in the north, where the extremist Boko Haram is prevalent, but he also talked of his passion for Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Many people will rush to one side or the other of issues and conflicts, said Bishop Oulton and asked, “Who are the people who are going to try to stand in the middle ground? It’s a difficult place to be,” he acknowledged. But in his earlier comments he said the middle may be where Anglicans are called to be and where reconciliation happens. “I think that’s the gift the church brings to the world,” he said.

—With files from the Episcopal News Service

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Anglican Journal News, June 21, 2014

Young clergy meet in Montreal

Posted on: June 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Harvey Shepherd

 

Joey Royal, 33,  jumped at the chance to travel from his parish in Yellowknife to network with some of his young peers from across the country.   Photo: Harvey Shepherd

 


 

In what is sometimes thought of as a dying church, Amanda Longmoore of Plaster Rock, N.B., was not exactly surprised but at least impressed to find that her conversations with about 35 other young Anglican clergy from across Canada has left her with quite a different impression.

 

“In fact, there is lots of life and lots of hope as well,” she said in a conversation outside sessions of a three-day conference for clergy under 40. The conference was organized by the Anglican Church of Canada in the synod offices of the diocese of Montreal, host of the conference, June 17–19.

Ordained about 11 years ago at age 25, Longmoore has been serving Anglicans and now United Church people as well in the forest industry and agricultural community at the north end of the Appalachian Mountain range for five and a half years. About a year ago, she oversaw the creation of an Anglican-United shared ministry grouping of five churches, of which she is the pastor.

She appreciated the chance that the “Conversations 2014” conference provided to learn about what’s happening in other parts of Canada, and hoped to take home some ideas and resources to help in her work in Plaster Rock.

She was struck by her colleagues’ passion for the church, across the country.

“For me, Christian community is important. We can encounter God alone at all kinds of times and places, but building community is something people crave, and that’s important.”

Organizers of the conference used what they described as an “unconferencing” approach, with little set program and lots of relatively unstructured time for peer-to-peer learning, largely in small-group and one-on-one conversations.

Joey Royal, 33, who has ministered to a congregation of Inuit, Dene and a wide variety of people of other origins for about two years at Holy Trinity Church in Yellowknife, said, “When you’re up north, your world is really the parish.”

He does get quite a bit of spiritual support from clergy of other denominations in Yellowknife, but he often does not have much contact with other Anglican clergy, and he appreciated the opportunity Conversations 2014 offered for this.

“There’s a real sense of togetherness, that we are all engaged in the same work. It’s good to know what your peers are thinking and doing. And besides, up north when you have a chance to go south, you jump at it.”

Matthew Arguin, from London, Ont., a member of the planning committee for the conference, said it aimed to help build a network of contacts, friendship and relationships.

“The face of the church is changing,” he said, and a new generation is facing new realities and new challenges. “A priest has to ask himself or herself, ‘How do I, as a leader, empower others to be disciples?’ ”

Updates from Conversations 2014 were posted to the Anglican Church of Canada Facebook page.

 

 

Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Montreal

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Anglican Journal News, June 21, 2014

 

 

Responsible Resource Extraction: A Conversation for the Whole Church

Posted on: June 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

A conference on treaty rights and resource development brings South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the heart of Alberta’s oil sands region this weekend.

The gathering, “As Long as the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in our Time,” features Archbishop Tutu as a keynote speaker and takes place on May 31 and June 1 in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  The archbishop is known for his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and his support for divestment of fossil fuels in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Anglican Church of Canada recognizes that one in every 54 jobs in Canada is in mining and more than 20,000 people are employed directly in the oil sands. The international reach of Canada’s mining industry is also strong – as of 2010 over one thousand Canadian mining companies comprising 60 per cent of mining and exploration companies operating globally, held assets in more than one hundred countries.

Our church is also aware that extraction and transport of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) affect the health of land, water and air, and the wellbeing of persons and communities often in ways that only become evident over time.

These operations also often cross the traditional territories of Indigenous people without their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), a right enshrined in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is a signatory.

The global reality is that the impact of resource extraction and climate stress fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable. Through our commitment to the Marks of Mission – “To seek to transform the unjust structures of society…” and “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation…” – Anglicans are drawn into this conversation worldwide.

Anglicans in Canada represent many and diverse experiences and perspectives with respect to resource extraction.  Together, we are finding creative ways to engage questions brought up by resource extraction. These expressions include:

  • Justice Camp 2014: Land, in August the Diocese of Athabasca will receive immersion session participants who will visit oil sands sites, First Nations communities and residents of the city of Fort McMurray in this program coordinated by the Diocese of Edmonton.
  • A study of the divestment of fossil fuels by churches
  • Participation in ecumenical and interfaith conversations about climate change.

In a 2013 Joint Declaration, the Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada spoke of “responsible resource extraction.” Our two churches affirmed that “responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.” The Joint Declaration calls the whole church:

  • to learn about issues of resource extraction and the effects on environment, health, Indigenous peoples, communities, and economies and to raise awareness within our communities and with policy shapers and decision makers
  • to act in support of our partners in defining their own development goals, including supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and overseas in exercising their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent; and to act to embed enforceable legal obligations based on FPIC in Canadian policies and practices with respect to resource extraction
  • to advocate for responsible and ethical investment and actions by individuals, faith communities, corporations, and governments both in Canada and around the world
  • to pray for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely  and responsibly.

Our church commends the UN effort to reach a global treaty in 2015 to secure a global agreement on a net zero emissions goal. Seventy-nine percent of Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2011 were from carbon dioxide, mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels.

We recognize that these are long-term challenges that will require collaboration among all the stakeholders.  This work is urgent and requires our patience at the same time.  Through it all we pray for wisdom and the courage of our convictions.

To read the full text of the Joint Declaration, please click here. To learn more about resource extraction in Canada and abroad, please visit Anglican ecumenical partner KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. To learn more about ecumenical responses to climate change, please visit The Canadian Council of Churches

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, May 29, 2014

 

Tutu slams oil sands

Posted on: June 19th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leigh Anne Williams

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu told those who attended a conference in Fort McMurray, Alta., that the crisis of climate change means that humans must end their dependence on fossil fuels.  Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/Cmdr. J.A. Surette, U.S. Navy)


 

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, captured headlines this past weekend with harsh and controversial criticism of the Alberta oil sands made while attending a May 31 to June 1 conference in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Media attention has focused most on his comment that “The fact that this filth is being created now, when the link between carbon emissions and global warming is so obvious, reflects negligence and greed.” It was part of Tutu’s keynote address at a two-day conference, organized by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the law firm Olthuis Kleer Townsend, titled “As Long as the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in our Time.”

Tutu’s criticisms and call for action seemed to go further in some ways than the position discussed by Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN, who acknowledged that many people’s livelihoods depend on economic development related to the oil sands. “We don’t want to stop development. We don’t want to shut it down,” he told the crowd of about 200 people attending the conference.

“We would like the government of Alberta and Canada to impose the regulations that guide industry for what we call sustainable development and responsible development to occur in this region,” Adam said. “And somewhere down the line, they’ve forgotten that, and because of that, our way of life on the lakeshores of Lake Athabasca continuing all the way down the MacKenzie is threatened because we continue to survive and live off the land.” Some of the people attending the conference spoke of fears for their health and the lives of their children and grandchildren because of pollution, particularly of the water, from the oil sands.

Much of Tutu’s criticism was from a global perspective and was focused on the need to reduce carbon emissions to halt the effects of climate change. “I have witnessed the vulnerability of some of the communities most affected by climate change,” he said. “The urgency of our responsibility to take action has never been clearer.  Every day, hundreds of millions of lives and livelihoods are affected by global warming…,” he said. “That is why I have been outspoken in support of citizen-led strategies that will force governments and corporations to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels and towards safer and cleaner energies that can protect people and our planet. This is why I have stood in solidarity with communities across Canada and the United States that are opposing the proposed oil sands pipelines.”

The archbishop added that the countries and companies primarily responsible for emitting carbon and accelerating climate change will have to be pushed to “do the right thing. Just as Canadians reached out to help South Africans rid themselves of the scourge of apartheid, we can work together again to protect our planet from the worst of dangerous climate change,” he said.

When a participant in the conference asked Tutu how to encourage leaders of fossil fuel companies to have the courage to transition to clean energy such as solar or wind, he answered that grassroots efforts from many would  be required. “You are going to have to go onto the streets. You are going to have to have demonstrations—you know, the things that indicate that many are taking it seriously. Write letters to the press. Do all the things that we did against apartheid.”

When a participant asked about his council for the movement to divest funds away from the fossil fuel industry, he asked her, “Do you have a helmet?…Prepare yourself for a really rough ride,” he advised, saying that such efforts would meet powerful opposition. But he added, “Just go on persuading more and more people to join you—religious communities, different denominations. Do as they did in the Free South Africa movement, because we wouldn’t have made it without your help.” Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa.

Tutu has made strong critiques of the oil sands and pipeline projects in the past. Just prior to his visit to Fort McMurray, the Anglican Church of Canada outlined its position on the issue in a statement on its website, acknowledging both the importance of the industry to many people’s livelihoods as well as concerns for the environment and indigenous rights. The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada issued a statement on “responsible resource extraction” with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada at their Joint Assembly in 2013, which affirmed that “responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.”

In his address, Tutu noted that “oil sands development not only devastates our shared climate, it is also stripping away the rights of First Nations and affected communities to protect their children, land and water from being poisoned.”

Tutu reminded the audience that people on all sides of the issue are all brothers and sisters in God’s family. Recognizing our inter-connectedness, along with being magnanimous and compassionate with one another, he said, are essential ingredients in bridge-building.As the name of the conference indicated, much of the focus was on a call to governments in Canada to respect historic treaties signed with aboriginal peoples.

Chief Adam pointed out a fundamental difference in the way the treaties have been understood and implemented. Treaty 8, signed on the shores of Lake Athabasca in 1899, he said, was an agreement to share the land, not surrender it, he said. When Chief Alexander Laviolette signed, he was promising to share the land “to the depth of the plough, meaning that only six inches of the land that we share with the newcomers was to grow food, to farm and to harvest. The resources were never discussed and [the land] was never surrendered to anyone,” Adam said.

“This isn’t about ACFN. This is about all treaty-making people across this country,” Adam added.

John Olthius of Olthuis Kleer Townsend, which was hosting the event with ACNF, said, “We are all treaty partners, and that includes corporate citizens. Now is the time. First Nations peoples have been honouring these treaties for 250 years, and in the case of Treaty 8, for over 100 years. It’s time that the rest of us honoured the treaties.”

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Anglican Journal News, June 2, 2014

Glimpses of Anglican unity

Posted on: June 17th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

 

By Suzanne Rumsey

“How do indigneous values come to shape the church?” author Jesse Zinks asks, after a visit to a Quichua community in Ecuador.  Photo: Courtesy Jesse Zink


 

This book review first appeared in the June issue of the Anglican Journal.

You won’t find much in the way of backpacking stories in Backpacking through the Anglican Communion: A Search for Unity. Nor will you encounter the “had my passport stolen in…” or “lost my insides after that meal in…” stories, which one usually finds in the accounts of world travellers. In fact, no backpack ever appears, making the title something of a misnomer. But what you will find in the book are the impressions, insights, learnings and questions of Jesse Zink, a young Anglican seminarian/priest from the United States as he meets and engages with other Anglicans, mainly in Africa, but also in China, Ecuador and North America.

For Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike who have become inured to the seemingly endless debates and strife—mostly recently focused on sexuality—between various members of the leadership of the Anglican Communion, Zink’s anecdotes offer the reader a series of refreshing glimpses into a church that is vital and growing in some places but faces tremendous social, political and developmental challenges in others.

In the South Sudanese diocese of Aweil, for example, Zink accompanies a young priest and the local bishop as they deliver relief supplies to the priest’s impoverished, war-ravaged community. “I never learned anything about disaster relief in seminary. Did you?” Jesse asks the priest, who shakes his head. “It might actually be something useful,” says Jesse. The priest smiles briefly and turns back to his work.

It is such stories, found throughout the book, that captured this reader’s imagination—for their descriptions of the pivitol role that the church and people of faith play in meeting basic human needs and addressing injustice, and for affirming the faith and commitment of individuals and communities at the local level. But this anecdote—and others like it that speak to the urgency of the situation facing the local church in so many places—raise for Zink and for this reader questions about the role of the almost entirely male (as Zink points out) leadership of the Anglican Communion, which at times appears to be fiddling while the Romes of today’s world (South Sudan, Syria and other crisis points) burn.

The book is not an exhaustive examination of the Anglican Communion throughout the world, and it suffers from a lack of women’s voices. Early on, Zink acknowledges that, as a man, in some places he was not able to have some of the conversations he would have liked to have had with women, who form the backbone of the church at the local level.

Zink is also unable to offer fresh insights or a way forward for the sexuality debate. Many of his conversations on the issue are with fellow seminarians—people (again, mostly men) who one would hope could offer thoughtful perspectives and new understandings. Instead, Zink repeatedly concludes the well-worn debates by affirming what could be described as little more than “We’re the same but different and that’s okay.”

In spite of these shortcomings, the book is an accessible account of one Anglican’s efforts to understand  “unity, not uniformity”—and to explore what faithful witness looks like in a number of parts of the Anglican Communion.

SUZANNE RUMSEY is the public engagement program co-ordinator for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. An Anglican layperson, she backpacked around the world 30 years ago, meeting other Christians and people of many other faiths.

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Anglican Journal News, June 17, 2014