Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Obituary: The Revd Owen Chadwick

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Obituary: The Revd Owen Chadwick

The Revd Owen Chadwick
Photo Credit: The Guardian
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[Guardian] The religious historian Owen Chadwick, who has died aged 99, was one of the most remarkable men of letters of the 20th century. He held two Cambridge University chairs over a period of 25 years, was its vice-chancellor during the student unrest of the late 1960s, chaired a commission that transformed the structures of the Church of England and declined major bishoprics.

His range of publication was exceptional: he was a master of the large canvas – The Secularisation of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (1976) or The Popes and European Revolution (1981); of the full-scale biography, such as those of Hensley Henson (1983), the stormy petrel of church politics, and of Michael Ramsey (1990); and of the cameo, as in Victorian Miniature (1960), his study of the fraught relationship between a 19th-century squire and parson, drawing on the papers of each, or as in Mackenzie’s Grave (1959), his wonderful story of the bishop sent to lead a mission up the Zambesi and whose disappearance brought out the best and the worst in Victorian Christianity and public life.

The full article can be found here

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Anglican Communion News Service,  ACNS Today’s top stories, July 24, 2015

First MA degrees for Egyptian Anglican seminary

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Graduates from the Alexandria School of Theology
Photo Credit: Diocese of Egypt
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[ACNS] A theological college established by the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa has reached a double milestone: its tenth anniversary has coincided with its first award of Master of Arts (MA) level degrees.

The Alexandria School of Theology was established by Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis to equip men and women to serve the diocese. Before it began its ministry, the diocese had to send its ordinands to other denominations’ seminaries or to Anglican seminaries overseas, “both of which are costly and do not include a Middle Eastern Anglican expression,” the college says.

Alexandria has a long tradition of Christian education: the Apostle Mark is said to have opened the world’s first Christian school in the city – the Catechetical School – to teach the Christian faith to inquirers, believers and new converts.

In 2002, Bishop Anis convened a consultation in Oxford, England, of bishops from around the Anglican Communion to discuss his proposal for a new theological college. Participants included the then-Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, together with the Most Revd Iraj Mottahedeh (Iran), the Most Revd Alexander Malik (Pakistan), the Most Revd Dr Yong Ping Chung (Singapore), the Rt Revd Robert Duncan (USA), the Rt Revd Josian Fearon (Nigeria) and the retired assistant Bishop of Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Cragg.

A series of consultations, task force, action plans and commissions later, the diocesan synod gave its final approval and the Alexandria School of Theology opened in 2005, led by the Revd Emad Mikhail Azmy, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in America who was living and ministering in Alexandria at the time. As well as its base in Alexandria, the college’s St Athanasius Campus has a branch in Cairo; and the college now has two overseas campuses: The Saint Cyprian Campus in Tunis, Tunisia; and the Saint Frumentius Campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“We wish to emulate the best of what the early Catechetical School represented,” the college says on its website. “Although almost two millennia have passed and times have changed, our Lord’s great commission to disciple the nations remains unchanged. It is our prayer that the college will be an instrument in the hand of God to spread the Gospel in the Anglican Communion and beyond.”

Last weekend four students graduated with a Masters of Arts in Theology. The degree ceremony also saw 27 students receive a Bachelor’s degree in theology and another who received a diploma.

In an address to the students, the Dean of the college, the Revd Atif Mehany, urged the students to overcome the challenges following the Arab Spring and fulfil their responsibilities to serve both church and society.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, July 22, 2015

Japanese Anglicans urge rejection of security bills

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Anglican Communion News Service


The lower hour of the Diet, the Japanese parliament, passed new security legislation that critics, including the Anglican Church in Japan, say is contrary to the country’s pacifist constitution. Photo: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons


The Anglican Church in Japan, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) has spoken out against proposed new laws that would legitimise “collective self-defence”, saying that the move is contrary to the country’s pacifist constitution.

The new security bills were passed by the House of Representatives – the lower house of the Diet, the Japanese parliament – earlier this month and will shortly be considered by the upper chamber, the House of Councillors.

But senior officials in the NSKK, including the chair of its Justice and Peace Commission, the Bishop of Chubu, the Rt Revd Ichiro Peter Shibusawa; the bishop in charge of human rights issues, the Bishop of Kyushu, the Rt Revd Luke Ken-ichi Muto; the chair of its Youth Committee, the Revd Satoshi Kobayashi; the Provincial Secretary, the Revd Shin-ichi Yahagi; and the national Mission Secretary, Makoto Tanigawa; have put their names to a joint letter challenging the proposals.

The letter is addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe, as well as the chairs of the Diet’s two houses, Mr Tadamori Oshima and Mr Masaaki Yamazaki.

In it, the church leaders “call for the withdrawal and repeal of the Security Bills, which allow the exercise of the right of collective self-defence, on the grounds that they violate the Constitution of Japan.” They say that “the ‘proactive pacifism’ advocated by the Abe administration means ‘creating peace through the ability to wage war.’”

They continue: “After forcing through the vote on security legislation at the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Abe stated that the legislation was absolutely necessary in order to protect the lives of Japanese nationals and to prevent wars in today’s difficult security environment. On the assumption that Japan is threatened by enemies, which are not even there, it is stressed that we need to be prepared in order to have no regrets.

“But we want peace, not war. Peace can only be achieved through peaceful diplomacy.

“The Constitution of Japan was born out of remorse for a destructive war. It is founded on the ultimate sacrifices of the war victims.

“Article nine stipulates that ‘the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes’, that ‘land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained’, and that ‘the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized’.

“It is internationally recognized as a ‘peace constitution’, by which Japan has gained trust as a peaceful state, and which enables Japan to pursue peaceful diplomacy.

“To allow the exercise of the right of collective self-defence and to send the Self-Defence Force to battle grounds anywhere in the world is clearly against Article nine of the Constitution of Japan, as so many constitutional scholars have pointed out.”

The leaders end their letter with a word from Scripture: “We are a people who live by the biblical word, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God’ (Matthew 5:9). We believe that war can never create peace. So we implore you to immediately withdraw and repeal the Security Bills.”

A large protest took place outside the Diet when the bills were debated by the House of Representatives.

  • Click here for a comment on the proposed new law from the Revd Professor Dr Renta Nishihara, Vice Chancellor of Rikkyo University in Tokyo.

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Anglican Journal News, July 22, 2015

ELCIC approves lay communion presiders and preachers

Posted on: July 22nd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

The new lay ministers will work under the close supervision of a mentoring pastor and will be non-stipendiary.  They cannot preside at weddings, funerals or baptisms. Photo: Magdalena Kucova


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has voted to authorize temporary lay ministers, under very restricted circumstances, to “proclaim the Word and preside at Holy Communion” in underserved areas.The ELCIC National Convention, held in Edmonton July 9–12, gave 95% approval to a motion that allows lay persons with “an aptitude for preaching and presiding” to be appointed, after synod-based consultation and due theological formation, in very specific ministry contexts for one-year renewable terms.

ELCIC national bishop Susan Johnson allayed concerns about whether this new departure would have implications for the full-communion relationship between the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada, in effect since 2001.

“A lot of checks and balances have been written into the policy, and I want to assure our sister church that we will live into this responsibly and continue in communication,” said Johnson, who  was elected for a third term at the July convention.

The new lay ministers will work under the close supervision of a mentoring pastor and will be non-stipendiary. They cannot preside at weddings, funerals or baptisms and may not wear clerical garb or vestments, although they are permitted to don albs when preaching or presiding at communion. The lay ministers will not be addressed as pastor or any other clerical title reserved for ordained clergy. Nor can they offer pastoral care but must refer individuals in need of counselling to the ordained pastors who mentor the lay ministers themselves.

Specific congregations will be eligible to engage lay ministers only after exhausting standard options such as multi-point parishes, itinerant ministers and clergy-sharing with an ecumenical partner, Anglican, Presbyterian or United church.

Johnson described the new policy as a via media, a compromise to fill the need for sacramental ministry in small congregations that lack regular access to it. “Some in the ELIC might have been opposed to as not being the norm but understanding the real need, they supported it,” she said. Some convention delegates were even favour of expanding the lay ministry policy but were voted down, she added.

Highlighting the dearth of clergy in remote areas, Johnson noted that although Saskatchewan has 120 ELCIC congregations, only 35 of them employ clergy at the 25% FTE (full time equivalent)  required for registration in the church’s pension fund. “That gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with,” she said.

The ELCIC’s Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee (FOD) began examining the lay ministry issue in 2012, with an Anglican representative taking part in all discussions. In 2014 FOD published its Study Guide on Word and Sacrament Ministry, a resource for exploring the current demographic realities and ways the Lutheran understanding of word, sacrament and ministry might shape future options for providing ministry.

Having passed at National Convention, the new policy will be reviewed and amended as necessary by the ELCIC’s National Church Council, its counterpart to Council of General Synod, the Anglican church’s governing body between General Synods.

In the meantime, two members of the Anglican Church of Canada are preparing a statement on what the new policy will mean for Anglicans. At its meeting this past May, the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission asked Archdeacon Bruce Myers, the Anglican church’s co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, to prepare a brief providing background and reflections on the proposal and, if adopted, what it would mean for the ELCIC’s sister church.

Also collaborating on the brief is the Rev. Canon Paul Jennings, priest-in-charge  of the parish of Wilmot in the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and former director of pastoral studies at Montreal Diocesan Theological College. He served as the FOD’s Anglican representative from 2012 to 2015. “The brief will likely be ready for distribution in September,” said Myers.

Currently, the Anglican church makes allowance for the distribution of communion by deacons and lay persons. “As with many things, practices vary from diocese to diocese,” Myers said. “Some make extensive use of lay people and deacons for distributing the reserved sacrament in congregations because a priest is not regularly available to preside at a celebration of the eucharist. Others use this option sparingly.”

He referred to the Anglican church’s document Public Distribution of Holy Communion by Deacons and Lay People, which back in1987 already acknowledged the growing gap between Anglicans’ need for regular receipt of holy communion and the availability of ordained priests to conduct full eucharistic celebrations. “Though it was issued in1987, the on-the-ground realities to which it responds have changed little,” Myers said.

Public Distribution concedes that “Our practice of ministry and our theology of church and sacrament will not fit together.” And it points out that the reception of holy communion outside the eucharist has a long tradition going back to the early days of the church when Christians would take home reserved eucharistic bread in order to receive communion during the week or to bring holy communion to the sick and imprisoned.

The document also addresses to the need for long- and short-tem solutions, including, in the latter,  the public distribution of holy communion by deacons and laypersons when no priest is available to preside at the eucharist. It emphasizes, however, that such distribution of reserved communion is not a substitute for the complex communal meal and many-faceted celebration that is the eucharist.

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Anglican Journal News, July 22, 2015

Anglicans input at global development conference that names faith partnerships as the ‘new normal’

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Archbishop of the Province of Burundi Bernard Ntahoturi presents a case study during the session “Sexual & Gender-Based Violence”.
Photo Credit: WCC/Peter Prove
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Based on contributions by Susan Kim and Anglican Alliance

Representatives from the Anglican Communion were among the presenters at a recent landmark Global Conference on Religion and Sustainable Development held in Washington, DC that recognised the important contribution of faith partnerships.

The conference on 7-9 July aimed to connect senior policymakers to research on how to work effectively in partnership with faith communities and faith-based organisations towards ending extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development.

Presenters underlined the central role faith-based actors play in provision of health care, working to end sexual and gender-based violence, addressing Ebola and HIV, and responding to humanitarian crises.

In his opening remarks, World Bank President Dr Jim Kim cited the Catholic social teaching for “a preferential option for the poor”.  He said that every religion shares this fundamental commitment to the poorest and most vulnerable and that this provided a common platform with the international development community’s aim to end extreme poverty.

“We are the first generation in history that can say we can end extreme poverty in our lifetime,” Dr Kim said. “We can’t get there without all of you,” he added, addressing the faith communities. “We need prophetic voices to inspire us and evidence to lead the way.”

The Revd Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, spoke at the opening panel and in a session on ending gender-based violence.

“It was a privilege to attend this conference and experience the range of speakers from faith-based, academic, UN and bilateral backgrounds,” Carnegie said.

“We not only gained insights on the significant and distinctive contribution of faith-based actors in relief and development, but also examined the most effective mechanisms for building partnerships.”

“This long standing development debate about the value of faith partnerships appears to have made a gear change. Such partnerships have become, as one UN participant said, the ‘new normal’,” she said.

Carnegie was citing Dr Azza Karam, senior advisor on culture for the United Nations Population Fund, who stated that the meeting at the World Bank had given legitimacy to this “new normal” of engagement with faith actors.

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of the Anglican Church of Burundi presented a case study in a conference session entitled “Sexual & Gender-Based Violence”. He shared a compelling portrayal of the role of the Church in working to end sexual violence. He talked of the importance of listening to the voices of survivors, creating the local church as a safe space to connect survivors with other services, transforming understandings of masculinities and ending the culture of impunity.

In Burundi, the Anglican Church, together with other faith-based organisations, has made a remarkable difference in the lives of people affected by this violence, Archbishop Bernard said. “We are called to have a concerted effort in areas of prevention, breaking the silence by denunciation, support for the victims, speaking out for the weak, the lonely, and the oppressed, without forgetting the power of prayer.”

Abagail Nelson, senior vice president of programmes at Episcopal Relief & Development, gave a presentation on the malaria initiative, Nets for Life. This included statistics on the remarkable and sustained impact of local church and community mobilisation on malaria prevention and treatment

Nelson said, “We were really honoured to be part of this historic event, and also to be able to showcase the extraordinary work of all our partners in addressing the challenges of extreme poverty and marginalisation.”

The conference also saw the launch of the Lancet medical journal series on faith and health, with contributions from academics and practitioners focusing on the contributions and challenges of the faith sector on health promotion and service delivery.

The Global Conference on Religion and Sustainable Development was convened and co-hosted by the World Bank Group, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, U.S. Agency for International Development, UK Department For International Development, GHR Foundation, World Vision and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, a coalition of faith-based organisations and academic institutions.

The conference attracted a unique combination of policy makers, multilateral and bilateral agencies, religious leaders, development professionals from faith-based organisations and academics.

The conference process focused on reviewing the evidence base and developing specific recommendations for action to strengthen effective partnerships between religious and faith-based groups and the public sector. It sought to obtain leadership commitments to follow-on activities and to establish specific next steps.

Susan Kim is a writer for the World Council of Churches.


Read More

Proceedings of the Conference on Religion and Sustainable Development

Lancet Series on Faith-based Health Care

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, July 20, 2015

Christians, through the looking glass

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

By Julienne Isaacs

The Collar: Reading Christian Ministry in Fiction, Television, and Film

By Sue Sorensen
306 pages
Wipf & Stock, 2014
ISBN: 978-1625642486

 

In the opening pages of The Collar, Sorensen writes, “…the ministry is a profession of vital importance, but it is also delightfully strange, even absurd. We need to look at it from a variety of angles and look at it honestly” (8). The Collar explores a wide swath of fictional narratives about men and women in church leadership. Sorensen’s goal, it seems, is to search out the truest readings of ordained life and reflect on how they cast light on the real tasks facing church leaders today. For this reason, The Collar will appeal especially to clergy, although lovers of fiction will find plenty to admire in Sorensen’s whirlwind tour through literature, television and film.

Sorensen, an associate professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University, has published a novel, A Large Harmonium, and is the editor of West of Eden: Essays on Canadian Prairie Literature. She has also published work on contemporary British literature and detective fiction, as well as her own poetry.

These interests heavily inform The Collar. Chapters are thematic, covering topics such as “The Collared Detective,” “Passion, for Better or for Worse” and “Frustration: the Collar on Screen,” each of which compares and contrasts a variety of texts that portray the clergy with strong emphasis in these particular areas. Chapters are interspersed with short “interludes” in which Sorensen does close readings of significant works, such as George Herbert’s “The Collar,” Iris Murdoch’s The Bell and Clint Eastwood’s film Pale Rider.

The Collar’s tone can only be described as warm, comfortably straddling the scholarly and conversational. Sorensen offers analyses of an astonishing number and variety of works by writers, filmmakers and actors, from George Eliot and George Herbert to Rowan Atkinson and Richard Burton. There is also a gem of a chapter entitled “The Canadian Collar,” in which Sorensen examines portrayals of clergy life in Margaret Laurence, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, Warren Cariou and others—a study that fills a gap in Canadian literary analysis.

Sorensen’s scope is probably too broad: occasionally the buffet of texts under examination forces parenthetical readings when close readings are called for, suggesting that a narrowed focus might have served The Collar better. But this breadth is also its strength; for a scholarly text, The Collar has an unusual and irresistible momentum.

Particularly strong is Sorensen’s splendid commentary on George Eliot’s “humanist religion,” her restrained critique of Jan Karon’s Mitford series and her romp through the subgenre of priest-detectives.

The Collar’s call to realistic expectations for clergy and “de-mystification” of Christian ministry is also much needed in the church. But Sorensen also quotes T.S. Eliot in describing the average Christian as “living and partly living.” Occasionally, she writes, great literature points to priestly ministry as “demonstrating the possibility of going beyond this halfway stage, becoming fully alive in relationship with God.” It’s a high calling, but one Sorensen approaches with generosity, humour and good grace.

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Anglican Journal News, July 17, 2015

Archdeacon Ian Stuchbery, 1934–2015: ethicist and activist

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Archdeacon Ian Stuchbery served in the dioceses of Montreal and Rupert’s Land. Photo: General Synod Archives


Archdeacon Ian Stuchbery, formerly of the archdeaconry of St. Mary’s in the diocese of Montreal, died peacefully on June 2 at his home in Greenwich, N.S. A memorial Eucharist was held for him on June 13 at St. John’s Anglican Church in Wolfville, N.S.Born into an English Anglo-Catholic family in Leytonstone, northeast London, 1934, he did his national service in the Royal Air Force from 1952 to 1955, during which time he felt called to the ministry. Before ordination, he took a master of arts degree at the University of Cambridge’s Selwyn College and later a bachelor of divinity at Montreal Diocesan Theological College, McGill University.

Made a deacon at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal, in 1960, he was ordained a priest in the diocese of Chelmsford, U.K., where he ministered in several parishes. Returning to Canada, Stuchbery served in the diocese of Montreal at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Philip’s and St. Barnabas (St. Lambert), as well as in the diocese of Rupert’s Land at St. Matthew’s, Winnipeg.

During the 1970s, Stuchbery was a board member of the Centre for Bioethics at McGill University and became an early advocate for the recognition of same-sex unions. He was acutely aware of the evangelical urgency of the gospel in the post-Christian secular setting, and his work in inner-city Montreal communities led him to co-found Tel-Aide, one of Canada’s first telephone crisis lines. He was also a member of numerous General Synod task forces and of committees for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund.

After retirement from the diocese of Montreal in 1999, Stuchbery acted as interim priest-in-charge at St. Cuthbert’s, Delta, in the diocese of New Westminster and continued to serve in interim and supply capacities in Prince Edward Island parishes.

Stuchbery was the author of several publications, including Growing in Christ; This Is Our Faith: A Guide to Life and Belief for Anglicans; We Are the Branches: Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund—The First 25 Years; and Experiencing God in a Secular World.

“I admired his ability to translate the often challenging details of Anglican tradition and practice into prose that was clear, accessible and a pleasure to read,” said Robert Maclennan, former manager of ABC Publishing, who worked with the archdeacon on This is Our Faith. “Ian possessed the gift of grasping complex and diverse concepts, organizing them into coherent structures and articulating them in congenial language. His warmth, sincerity and intelligence shone through.”

A gifted spiritual director, Stuchbery was also an associate of the Sisters of St. John the Divine.

He is survived by his three children, Alison Lannan, Nick Stuchbery and the Rev. Canon Mike Stuchbery, as well as his 10 grandchildren.

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Anglican Journal News, July 17, 2015

‘Ministry of presence’ alive in the Yukon, says primate

Posted on: July 14th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

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Diocese of Yukon Bishop Larry Robertson and Archbishop Fred Hiltz drove 3,000 km visiting five parishes, mostly in remote rural communities of northern B.C. and the Yukon. Photo: Diocese of Yukon


Archbishop Fred Hiltz recently returned from an eight-day visit to the diocese of Yukon where, he said, alternative approaches to ministry have allowed cash-strapped local parishes to not only meet the needs of their communities, but to actually thrive. [Click here for more photos of the visit.]

Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and diocese of Yukon bishop, Larry Robertson, drove 3,000 km from June 27 to July 5, visiting five parishes, mostly in remote rural communities.

The visit was, “as they say in the Yukon, ‘larger than life,’ ” said Hiltz, whose visit covered a wide swath of territory, including Atlin, in northern British Columbia; Haines Junction, a wilderness town within the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations; and Mayo, a village along the Silver Trail and the Stewart River, about 400 km north of Whitehorse.

“It allowed him to see not just the cathedral [in Whitehorse] but the smaller parishes, the different kinds of ministries we have, how we are surviving with only three stipendiary clergy,” said Robertson in an interview.

In Atlin, which Hiltz described as “a beautiful little community near Alaska,” he and Robertson joined the parish of St. Martin in celebrating its 115th anniversary on June 28. Two non-stipendiary deacons, who happen to be mother and daughter, lead the parish: the Rev. Vera Kirkwood, age 90, and the Rev. Dorothy Odian, who also works as an ambulance driver.


With some members of the congregation of St. Martin’s in Atlin, northwest B.C.  Photo: Diocese of Yukon


From Atlin they visited the parish of St. Philip in Teslin, a lakeside community on the Alaska Highway and home to the Tlingit First Nation. The Rev. Sarah Usher—one of only three stipendiary clergy in the diocese—looks after the parish, part-time, while also serving as executive archdeacon and diocesan administrative officer.

The next stop was the parish of St. Christopher in Haines Junction, where Hiltz said he saw firsthand how the diocese has established “a very successful ministry of presence” in the community.

The Rev. Lynn DeBrabandere, an ordained deacon, “is doing amazing work in reaching out in very good ways to the Indigenous community, where there’s a lot of people struggling with addiction,” said Hiltz. “She has a vision for a hostel for those who want to go and stay on the road to recovery.”

St. Christopher’s—an eight-sided log cabin designed and built by a local craftsman—also houses a thrift store and an art gallery in the basement; DeBrabandere lives in the rectory. “She’s been there three years and she loves it. They love and respect her there,” said Hiltz.

Originally from Ontario, DeBrabandere had responded to Robertson’s call for experienced lay people, catechists or retired priests to spend a year in the diocese as a volunteer to exercise a “ministry of presence.” (Charles and Valerie Maier, from the diocese of Ottawa, are set to begin a ministry of presence in Mayo this September.)


Thrift store run by St. Christopher’s Anglican Church in Haines Junction. Photo: Diocese of Yukon


A ministry of presence means that in the absence of a registered parish priest, “there is someone in the community who represents the ministry of Christ,” explained Hiltz.

A lot of the deacons are licensed to do baptisms and marriages, said Robertson, explaining the value of reserved sacrament in communities in the North. “In places where there’s no priest, that’s a very important part of ministry…We look at trained local people and they need to be leaders, chosen out of the community by the community,” he said. “I don’t license anybody unless the local vestry agrees to it.”

As a volunteer, DeBrabandere doesn’t receive a salary, but she is given a place to stay and the diocese looks after her travel expenses. The ministry is geared toward those who have a steady income and a vehicle; it has typically attracted retired lay people and clergy.

This new ministry has unleashed “new, phenomenal ideas,” in communities, said Robertson, noting how DeBrabandere’s efforts have made inroads in First Nations communities. “Lynn came and took the bull by the horns and started to develop things, including a youth camp with 40 kids this year.”

It has also meant huge savings for the diocese. It costs about $50,000 a year to keep a priest; a ministry of presence, about $15,000. “It’s still money, but it’s a heck lot less from a diocesan point of view,” Robertson said. The other benefit is that “it gives people who have skills and talent an opportunity to continue to share and to give to God’s work, and for people to receive it.”

The idea for a ministry of presence was borne out of “desperation,” said Robertson, laughing.

When he became bishop of the Yukon in 2010, the diocese was grappling with diminishing finances, dwindling congregations and the question of whether it would even survive.

“We used to have 18 parishes, but 10-15 years ago we realized that we were going to go quickly under if we kept them all open. We had 15 clergy and we just didn’t have the funds,” said Robertson.  Today, the diocese has 13 parishes, which are run by three stipendiary clergy, four volunteers under the ministry of presence, and non-stipendiary deacons and lay leaders.

Robertson said the diocese has had to face the reality that “very few of our churches can be self-supporting. We just don’t have the numbers and the communities.” And yet, he said, the need for ministry remains.

In the South, he said, “if you have big cities, they say, ‘if you can’t afford a priest, you go to the next parish. You can’t do that here. We just can’t drive to the next community, because it’s a three-hour drive.” Robertson said members of the diocesan council addressed the challenge by asking themselves: “How do we best meet the needs of people? How do we get them pastoral care, using the funds that we have and the limited people that we have?”

For years, the diocese responded to the challenge by tapping locally trained lay people, many of whom have since been ordained. “But there were still several parishes without ministers, with very little leadership,” said Robertson.

The diocese decided to “refocus” its view on what a minister is, said Robertson.  Instead of focusing on ordained stipendiary ministry, it decided to look for people who “want to continue to serve, who have been in lay ministry and now have time to do more.”

Those who came as volunteers have done so because they are motivated by “love for God, love for people and a desire to live in a different place,” said Robertson. They are also excited about working with First Nations communities, different types of churches and the opportunity to learn from others and share their gifts. And, he conceded, “It’s exciting to come to the Yukon, the place where there’s been so much history and legend, and become a part of that.”

His typical pitch, Robertson said with a laugh, is this: “We offer people a house, a rectory and some of the most awesome country that God ever made.”

Hiltz said the new, creative approaches to ministry have been “encouraging for the local people because they see the bishop showing some interest in the community; they see the diocese putting—albeit limited—funds into good living conditions [in the rectory]…They have the sense that the diocese cares about them.”

When asked whether the needs of the communities are now being met through these new ministries, Robertson said, “Not as much as I’d like [them] to, but they’re being met better.” He could use two more volunteers for places in need of a ministry of presence and one more stipendiary priest, he said.

During the visit, Hiltz also had a chance to visit Moosehide, which emerged when Dawson City became the centre of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896 to the 1900s. Fearing that Aboriginal people were being pushed from their lands as throngs of fortune seekers came looking for gold, Hän First Nations Chief Isaac struck an arrangement with the first bishop of the Yukon, William Bompas, to secure land where his people could relocate.

The settlement, located five km downriver from Dawson City, included a little church called St. Barnabas.  The building, built in 1901, is no longer safe to use, and the diocese is contracting an engineer to assess whether it can be saved.



At St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Moosehide, which was built in 1901. Photo: Diocese of Yukon


No one lives in the village year-round anymore, but in the summer, the local chief and some elders come and stay in the cabins.

Both Hiltz and Robertson said that the visit also provided them with a great opportunity to get to know each other on a personal level.

“It was very good in terms of getting to know Larry more deeply. It was, quite frankly, a gift to me in terms of our relationship as bishops in the church,” said Hiltz. “Larry’s got a huge heart for the well-being of the church in every place. He’s down to earth. He’s humble. He’s funny. He really cares about the church as the servant of Christ in the community.”

Robertson said the primate “had a ball” when he shared the driving duties with him. “I got the impression that he sort of missed [being able to drive] in Toronto.” Driving hundreds of kilometers every day gave them an opportunity to just talk. “It allowed us to get to know each other…You see him in a non-professional way, as a fellow bishop, as a friend in an everyday sort of way,” he said. “I really appreciated just being able to share and being open to each other.”

He found out that Hiltz loves dogs, “and dogs love him.” Both discovered a shared love for small-town ministry. “We were able to talk about issues that people in big cities don’t know about, and he can understand the issues we have,” said Robertson.

Summer was the perfect time for the primate to visit the 154-year-old diocese, added Robertson. There were moments when they simply enjoyed the scenery and marvelled at the sight of a couple of moose and two calves.


Archbishop Fred Hiltz poses in front of an impressive mountain peak in Atlin, B.C. Photo: Diocese of Yukon


“He [Hiltz] certainly seemed like he was able to just relax and not have to always be on his toes,” said Robertson. “We had him busy, but [there weren’t] people accusing him of this or that. They were just happy to see the primate. They were just glad that he was there. He saw parishes that just want to care for each other and love each other, and that includes him.”

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Anglican Journal News, July 14, 2015

Primate speaks at Lutheran national convention

Posted on: July 14th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

The Anglican Church of Canada has maintained a full communion partnership since 2001 with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). Anglican representatives including Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, were in attendance at the ELCIC’s national convention in Edmonton, Alta. from July 9-12. The following article was originally published on the ELCIC website on July 13.

ELCIC convention - Primate and Susan Johnson

The 15th National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) formally wrapped up on Sunday, July 12, leaving a wave of excitement as participants departed home to further the work of liberation by God’s grace.

For the final day of their convention in Edmonton, Alta., attendees joined parishioners at Trinity Lutheran Church for a closing worship service. Hundreds packed the church pews as their joyful voices rang out during the singing of hymns.

Reflecting the full communion partnership between the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, delivered the sermon, putting the accomplishments of the convention in a biblical context.

He congratulated the ELCIC’s National Bishop Susan Johnson on her re-election to a third term, noting to applause, “We have been blessed at this convention and for the last eight years by the ministry of our national bishop Susan, and we all rejoice in her re-election.”

Invoking the theme of the convention and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, “Liberated By God’s Grace,” Archbishop Hiltz offered images and impressions of what the ELCIC had been liberated from and what it had been liberated for.

“By God’s grace, yours is a church being continually liberated from a clinging to the past, and liberated for that future to which God is calling you at every level of your church, in the spirit of continuing reformation,” the Primate said.

“Yours is a church liberated from continually looking in upon itself. You have been turned inside out, liberated for looking out upon the world as a church In Mission For Others.”

Indigenous issues were a major focus, as Archbishop Hiltz praised the ELCIC for its repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery; its endorsement of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; its support for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and ongoing efforts at healing; and its call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

He also highlighted the church’s embrace of the Reformation Challenge to welcome 500 refugees to Canada, its focus on environmental stewardship—which includes a commitment to plant 500,000 trees around the world—and its acknowledgement that it cannot accomplish everything alone, building effective partnerships with other organizations and faith traditions.

“Do you see all the work you did in convention?” the Primate asked. “Your church is looking outward … You are seeing the needs and the hopes of the world, and by God’s grace, you are responding.”

Following the sermon, Bishop Johnson presented the newly elected members of the National Church Council before officially closing the convention.

Outside, church members who had attended the convention offered their thoughts on the experience.

Cindy Schriner, a member of Hosanna Lutheran Church in Edmonton who served as treasurer of the local arrangements committee, sat in on many of the sessions as a non-delegate.

“I thought it was amazing, I really do,” Schriner said.

“When you get that many people together in one room, everybody has an opinion and everybody was respectful of the reason we were there … They brought up good points from what I could see, and they had fun doing it … There was a mixture of business, fun and worship, and it all melded together for an amazing experience.”

Youth delegate Katlin Kitching, a member of Westside Evangelical Lutheran Church in Barrie, Ont., was appearing at her first national convention after previously attending last year’s Eastern Synod Assembly.

“Even after last year, going back into the church and hearing them talking about things, I understood where it was coming from more,” she said. “I could understand what they were talking about because we’re involved in it.”

“It just makes you feel … that you’re more part of the church, going to the big decision-making stuff.”

Kitching, 17, described worship services, the sermon by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and getting to know people from all over Canada as highlights of the national convention.

The Rev. Bart Coleman, parish pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Beausejour, Man. and a member of the registration and credentials committee, noted the passion of delegates and their unity on many issues, as many resolutions were approved with more than 90 per cent in favour.

Highlighting one issue in particular, Rev. Coleman noted, “I’ll go away feeling very proud to be part of a community of people who take very seriously the reconciliation and building of right relationships between us and Indigenous people.”

“I think it was a very bold, very soul-searching look at the past,” he said. “But also a hopeful look to the future.”

Almost 400 delegates, special guests, visitors and volunteers came together in Edmonton for the ELCIC’s 15th National Convention, July 9-12. News, photos and video highlights from the gathering are available on the National Convention website: http://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2015-Edmonton/default.cfm

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, July 14, 2015

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

 

 

A FULL LIFE
Reflections at Ninety,
by Jimmy Carter

Simon & Schuster, Toronto
July 7th, 2015. $22.89  CAD.
257 pages. Hardcover.
ISBN #978-1-5011-1563-9.

 

 

Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

Over the years, I have reviewed and commented
much on the life and writings of Jimmy Carter.
(see for example, my review of Carter’s book –
“Beyond the White House” an earlier (2007)
account of his post-presidency, and of Frye
Gaillard’s biography “Prophet from Plains”
http://tinyurl.com/puxxozw

My most recent Carter book notice here was:
“A Call to Action – Women, Religion, Violence
and Power” April 6th, 2014
http://tinyurl.com/k2q55u4

We can never assume that Jimmy Carter has
written his “magnum opus” or “summing up”
book – even at age ninety or with a title like
the one currently under consideration.

I think I can understand why. Even though some
experiences of his life had a profound impact,
and he has written much about them over time,
he continues having the need to revisit them in
order to refine his learning and growth.

I have had a similar experience, early this summer,
as I perused 25-30 personal journals which were
written during the 1990’s. My “post-White House
years” – back to which I will probably keep returning
– were those when I struggled to rebuild my career
and family life after what for me were devastating
losses.

What were seminal developments I missed?
How has my life evolved in new ways since then?

I do not believe God had a “plan” for my life, but
by reading hundreds of journal entries I can
certainly see God at work in me as we “struggled”
“competed” and “cooperated.”

After reading many journals I have noted some
pivotal events, personalities and new discoveries
by writing a few refined and updated entries!

I suspect that as you grow older and more mature,
you too have your own ways of doing this.

Carter discovers there were important “gaps” in his
life that he neglected to pay attention to previously.
He discovers that greater distance and life perspective
allow him to see things differently, and hopefully more
accurately.

And, if my experience can at all be transferred to his,
my “revisiting” continues to be part of my healing.

He writes about his family background and his own
continuing relationship with Rosalyn in ways he has
not addressed previously.

He reflects on how long-forgotten or repressed
experiences have now emerged for him. These shed
light on fears and hopes he did not previously realize
had prodded him.

He describes his evolving senior years, and how he
has kept involved and active. No doubt this is one of
the reasons he continues to be productive long after
most have started to coast, or have simply died.

I am obviously a Carter fan. I have read many of his
books and promoted them by means of reviews
and notices because of my adulation for the man.

For those who may share at least some of my feelings,
this is probably his most refined and valuable work
of autobiography yet. It is well worth consideration.

But don’t assume this is his last word on the subject.

 

Buy the book from Amazon.ca:
http://tinyurl.com/o2snc8x

 

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, Vol. XI, No. 01,  July 12th, 2015