Archive for the ‘General’ Category

First ever meeting of Mexico’s ordained women

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Posted on: July 17, 2017

Ordained women from all five dioceses in the Anglican Church of Mexico, with special guests Bishop Griselda Delgado of Cuba,and Revd Glenda McQueen (TEC)
Photo Credit: The Revd Glenda McQueen

Three quarters of the current women priests and deacons in the Anglican Church of Mexico have held a gathering to celebrate the ministry of ordained women in the Province. It brought together 18 out of the Province’s 25 ordained women for their first such meeting.  It took place in the city of Cuernavaca in the state of Morelos and consisted of prayer, education sessions, fellowship and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Special guests included the Rt. Revd Griselda Delgado, Bishop of Cuba and first female diocesan bishop in Latin America and the Revd Glenda McQueen, Episcopal Church Staff Officer for Latin American and the Caribbean.

A spokeswoman, Revd Sally Hernandez said: “The presence of our guests gave us the opportunity to hear about the experiences of ordained women in other parts of the Anglican Communion.  We thank God for this opportunity and for all the moments that we were able to share our personal experiences of life and ministry. It was truly an event full of joy, hope, learning and spiritual growth. The programme was truly good, thanks to our shared theological reflection, personal and ministry experiences, and  of our own spiritual journeys.”

Revd Sally added: “We thank the Primate of the Anglican Church of Mexico, The Most Revd Francisco Moreno and all our Bishops, for their continuing support to ordained women in our Province.  We also thank all donors who made this experience possible, and also those who kept us in their prayers and expressed their good wishes to us on the occasion of this first gathering of ordained women of the Anglican Church of Mexico.”


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 17th July, 2017

USPG appeals for funds to stop child slavery in India

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) on July 14, 2017

Seventeen-year-old Daya was courted by a young man who then persuaded her to elope. But Daya’s dreams of a happy future ended when she realized she had been tricked into bonded labour, forced to work long hours at a biscuit factory, and was then abused in the evenings.

Thousands of children and young people in India, especially girls, are being trafficked every year. Typically, they are tricked into fake marriages or bonded labour, or else they are simply drugged and abducted.

Happily, Daya’s plight came to the attention of the Church of North India’s Anti-Human Trafficking Programme, supported by United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG), and she is now back home and safe with her family in North Dinajpur…

By the time you have finished reading this article, it is likely that another child in India will have been trafficked…[Human trafficking] is a crisis that goes largely under the radar because the victims mostly belong to India’s marginalized scheduled castes (such as the Dalits). These people have been called refugees in their own land due to their lack of rights, including access to education and job opportunities. In this context, it is little wonder that young people are vulnerable to the schemes of traffickers, who use them for slave labour and sexual exploitation.

The Church of North India, with support from USPG, is determined to help. The Anti-Human Trafficking Programme is raising awareness in schools and villages, and providing livelihood training so there is less need for people to travel in search of employment. The church sees the programme as a vital expression of its commitment to be the hands and feet of Christ in the communities it serves.


 Anglican Journal News, July 14, 2017

Reflections of the Anglican Pilgrimage Conference for seminarians and clergy

Posted on: July 13th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Reflections of the Anglican Pilgrimage Conference for seminarians and clergy

Posted By Seipati Mohutsiwa

12 July 2017

It is often difficult for one to imagine a world outside one’s own experiences. One tends to depend on pre-conceived ideas to inform the imagination. What then do we imagine the Anglican Communion to be? Seminarians and those in their early years of ordained ministry came together in Canterbury from across the Anglican Communion to partake in a conference where various experiences were shared.

In the early days of our two weeks together, we realised that perhaps the Church is far reaching than we could have thought. This could be easily picked up as we introduced ourselves and the countries from which we come from. Although the physical distance that divides us is great, we shared so much that brought us together. Daily, we became mindful of God, the Church and one another as we prayed together and for each other at the daily offices, shared the Holy Communion, and learnt to worship in each other’s languages. We shared the excitement of exploring Christian history, the Canterbury cathedral and taking a short trip to London to meet Archbishop Justin and Anglican Communion Office Team.

Things got interesting as the facilitators of the conference kept us engaged in dialogue with one another. Some stories were hard to hear as some of us discovered the pain that many ministers bear just to be Christian witnesses in the Anglican Communion. Issues like reconciliation and forgiveness, cultural norms such as the caste system, poverty, the place of women and children in society and the church, Christian persecution and political dissuasion.

Perhaps sharing our experiences was one of the key purposes of this conference. We learnt to listen to one another, therefore we acquired ideas that gave us a bigger picture of what we had imagined the Anglican Church to be. In Mark’s gospel, we are reminded to love one another, as we do self. This conference gave us the opportunity to recognise each other and where we are, and love each other as together we are a part of the Anglican Communion.

Seipati Mohutsiwa is currently a Seminarian doing my final year of study at the College of Transfiguration in South Africa.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Thursday 13th July, 2017

Survey participants request more resources for joint Anglican/ Old Catholic worship

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: July 11, 2017

Brochure launch: ‘Anglicans and Old Catholics together in Europe’

Anglicans and Old Catholics meeting in Germany have been examining the results of a survey conducted across five European countries. Members of the Anglican–Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) received the results of a survey entitled ‘Belonging together in Europe’ commissioned by the Council in 2015.  The Council said it  was encouraged by the 106 responses from five countries.

The survey reflected a high level of awareness of the relationship of full communion between Anglicans and Old Catholics, with respondents requesting more resources for joint worship services.  The survey illustrated the varied ways in which the churches are engaging with each other, especially in areas where congregations from both churches are present in the same place.  The results also indicated a desire for a more strategic approach to mutual engagement in service, witness and mission. The Council agreed to send out the results of the survey to all respondents and participating churches and invite their comments for consideration at next year’s meeting.

Bonn _AOCICC_riverside

In the light of the many requests of survey respondents for more information about each other’s churches, the Council said it was “providential” that it had planned the launch of the brochure ‘Anglicans and Old Catholics together in Europe’ in the context of this year’s meeting. The launch took place at the Hotel Königshof in Bonn overlooking the Rhine. It was in this historic location that the text of the Bonn Agreement between the Anglicans and Old Catholics was signed on 2 July 1931. The brochure seeks to provide an introduction, in a fresh and attractive way, to the Anglican and Old Catholic Churches in Europe.

Suffragan in the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, Bishop David Hamid, has reflected on the Bonn meeting in his blog:

At the request of the recent meeting of Anglican and Old Catholic Bishops on mainland Europe, the Council also reflected on the issues of child abuse and safeguarding. The Council recognised “the centrality and importance of safeguarding in both communions” whilst noting the differences in the structure and procedures of each national church policy: “The interchangeability of ministers is a significant area where the churches are obliged to exchange information and to take the utmost care in ensuring consistency in their policies and procedures.”

The Council issued a Communique in English and German.


Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the ACNS on Tuesday 11th July, 2017

Cathrine Fungai Ngangira reflects on her year at St Anselm’s

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Cathrine Fungai Ngangira reflects on her year at St Anselm's

Posted By Cathrine Fungai Ngangira

11 July 2017

When I left home to be a residential member of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace, saying goodbye was hard not because I was going far away from home, but, I didn’t know how to explain what I was getting myself into. Committing to prayer, study and service to poor communities was not a problem especially coming from a Christian family, but, being a monk (though part time) with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience was not a cool thing to do.

When I signed up to join the community, I had preconceived ideas of what spending a year in God’s time might look like: spending hours fasting and praying, reading and studying the bible. Looking back now, we’ve done all that and have got even more than what I signed up for.

I began the year with a desire to know God’s will for my life.  I expected it to be easy going, but it turned out to be exciting, tough and transforming.

The first step was to trust God fully, which he taught me to do through sharing about myself expecting no reply or comment in return and listening to the stories of others and not commenting (maybe at a later date if necessary). This vulnerability with each other built trust that created friendships. It was a point of realising how God sometimes deals with us: listen as we speak, and comment where necessary and how we ought to listen – seeking not to reply but to understand.

Reconciliation became the order of the day renewed each morning with a choice to love and expressed through honest conversations, confessions, writing, accompanied with tears, hugs and smiles after experiencing forgiveness and mercy. The pain of reconciling with the past is nothing compared to the peace and joy of the healing made.

This year’s experience is better compared to the refining process that gold goes through under fire, the impurities are removed and best quality gold remains. We’ve been under fire, we’ve been refined and made ready for God’s purpose, with great value to God’s kingdom and his creation.

Cathrine Fungai Ngangira


Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the ACNS on Tuesday 11th July, 2017

Hunger in Horn of Africa spurs churches to issue call to action

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget on July 06, 2017

Will Postma, executive director of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and Anna-Maria Sandström, the Church of Sweden’s liaison officer for the Horn of Africa, listen to a presentation on the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa at a special meeting of the All Africa Conferences of Churches
. Photo: All Africa Conference of Churches

A special meeting of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) held June 28-29 in Nairobi, Kenya, has issued a call to action asking churches, governments and relief organizations to respond to the crisis of hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Specifically, the call to action asks for help in addressing the underlying issues driving the crisis by focusing on conflict resolution, climate change, and promoting good governance.

“It is our prophetic witness to overcome hunger, to sustain peace, justice and the care for creation, in the Horn of Africa and in all places,” the call says. “We pray that God grants us the faith, hope and love to follow through with this Call to Action!”

Countries in and near the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and parts of Kenya have been dealing with a severe lack of food for months, and are considered by the United Nations to be at risk of sliding into famine due to drought conditions that have been exacerbated by civil unrest.

More than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria are at risk of starvation, according to numbers released by the United Nations earlier this year. A majority of these are children, according to Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

The special meeting of the AACC, an ecumenical organization dedicated to nurturing Christianity in Africa and responding to humanitarian challenges, was called by the World Council of Churches and the ACT Alliance earlier this year, at a time when matters in South Sudan had deteriorated to the point where parts of the country were experiencing famine conditions.

Among those present at the meeting was Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s (PWRDF) executive director Will Postma.

In a July 5 interview, Postma told the Journal that as of June 30 the PWRDF had raised $280,000 through its famine appeal, money which is earmarked both for immediate humanitarian work and longer term projects focused on peace building.

The fund has been active in famine relief in South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya over the past year, but Postma said new initiatives are being considered as well, including involvement in relief efforts in Yemen, where a drought and a civil war have left nine million without secure access to food, according to the UN.

The fund is also considering a partnership with the Quakers and the South Sudan Council of Churches to work on a peace-building initiative in South Sudan, where hunger is exacerbated by an ongoing conflict between government forces and rebels.

“Church leaders in South Sudan said, of the institutions that are left, the church is still the most credible of the institutions,” said Postma. “We do have something to say as the church.”

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

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


Anglican Journal News, July 07, 2017

“We should make human rights the key component of all migration and refugee policies”

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: July 7, 2017

Photo Credit: CEC

“We should make human rights the key component of all migration and refugee policies”

[CEC] This was the central message of the fourth annual Conference of European Churches Summer School on Human Rights, which took place in Italy this week. The gathering brought together 45 human rights experts, scholars, and church representatives from across Europe for a week of intensive learning and dialogue. It was co-organised with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe and supported by the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy and the Diaconal Centre La Noce.

Those gathered in Palermo were welcomed by local pastor Revd Peter Ciaccio, a former member of the CEC working group on human rights. Participants learned from academics and human rights practitioners about international human rights law and instruments in the area of migration, asylum, and refugee law. This content was also illuminated through daily theological and biblical input from different Christian traditions.

Göran Gunner, moderator of the CEC Thematic Reference Group on Human Rights, remarked, “It is important for CEC Member Churches to discuss both the theological and legal aspects of migrant and refugee rights to make a real impact on decisions at the national and European levels.”

Keynote lectures addressed issues relating to refugee rights, the rights of all migrants, as well as those of stateless and trafficked persons. Other contributions also emphasized the securitisation of migration and resulting fears, as well as the specifics of the Italian situation.

Witness given by migrants proved particularly inspiring for Summer School participants. Their testimony, combined with best practice examples, helped develop ideas about making human rights a reality in national contexts. This sparked conversation about what more churches could do to help migrants and refugees live a life in dignified conditions.

Great concern was expressed about the tendency of European governments to restrict access to rights (including barriers to asylum procedures and cooperation on border controls with countries having a poor human rights record) and make disproportionate use of detention. Participants also noted with great sorrow that many have died on their way to Europe and that more should be done to prevent humanitarian disasters. They voiced support for safe passages to Europe, exemplified in projects like Mediterranean Hope of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy and partners.

“As the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, we will in cooperation with CEC continue to network the ongoing and future work of churches in Europe on theological and legal aspects. Human rights will guide our daily advocacy work with European institutions,” said Talvikki Ahonen of the CCME Executive Committee.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Friday 7th July, 2017

Onondaga language program building ‘critical mass’ of new speakers

Posted on: July 6th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Students, instructors, and first-language speakers gather in Ohsweken last February for the Onondaga Language Adult Immersion Program, coordinated by the Six Nations Language Commission and supported by the Anglican Healing Fund. Submitted photo

Onondaga language program building ‘critical mass’ of new speakers

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An estimated 26,000 people are members of the Six Nations of the Grand River, with approximately 14,000 living on reserve. The Onondaga are one of six Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) nations that make up the Ontario community, the largest First Nations reserve in Canada. However, the demographic prominence of the Onondaga in Six Nations is not reflected in the number of native speakers of the Onondaga language.

Karen Sandy, coordinator of the Six Nations Language Commission (SNLC), estimated that there are fewer than 10 people who speak Onondaga as their first language. “That really is a major challenge for us,” she said.

The Anglican Healing Fund recently donated $10,755 to support the SNLC’s Onondaga Language Adult Immersion Program. In addition to furniture, the grant includes funds for audio-visual equipment, computers, and software that serve vital functions such as recording songs or stories from elders.

Now in its tenth year of operation, the SNLC seeks to revitalize all Haudenosaunee languages in the territory and currently offers instruction programs for the Cayuga, Mohawk, and Onondaga languages. Though there are six different languages spoken in Six Nations, the SNLC can only afford revitalization efforts for the aforementioned three.

Compared to Cayuga and Mohawk, the Onondaga language is at somewhat of a disadvantage. In addition to having far fewer native speakers, unlike the other two languages Onondaga is not offered in the public school system.

Furthermore, the small number of native Onondaga speakers has not always translated into effective teaching.

“Just because a person is a fluent speaker, they’re not always a teacher, so that’s the challenge we had there,” Sandy said. “What we focused on in the last few years was building up second-language speakers to become teachers.”

In recent years, the SNLC has taken on new instructors for its language programs. Students are primarily young adults, who are often part-time or supply teachers themselves outside the language courses. Classes run for seven hours each day from Monday to Friday, taking place in the heart of downtown Oshweken.

Sandy described the goal of the Onondaga Language Adult Immersion Program as the creation of a “critical mass” of speakers who will then use the language in their daily lives, leading to more people in the community speaking Onondaga.

“Basically, it’s our identity—I mean, that’s the key there,” Sandy said. “If we don’t have a language, we might as well just be a municipality … There’s not only just the language, but there’s so much more that has evolved with it, like the transfer of Indigenous knowledge … We have to be able to carry the language on, tell our children who they are.”

“Our vision is that in the future, all our Haudenosaunee languages will be living languages, and chosen as the ordinary mean of communication for everyday use,” she added.

There are currently several students participating in the Onondaga immersion program. One challenge for many of the students is being able to take time off work for language study while still covering their living expenses. “It’s almost like they have to take a vow of poverty just to preserve our languages,” Sandy said.

As a result, any additional funding is welcome. While the grant from the Anglican Healing Fund has gone primarily to technology to help facilitate language instruction, a potential future goal for the SNLC is a small stipend that might help cover the expenses of language students.

“We really appreciate the support that the Anglican Church is able to provide,” Sandy said. “As our aging population of first-language speakers is declining, we’ve got to really put a lot of effort into creating this critical mass of second-language speakers.”

Support language revitalization efforts, such as the Onondaga Language Adult Immersion Program, through the Anglican Healing Fund.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, July 06, 2017

Giving with Grace: $275,000 raised for Healing Fund so far this year

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Tali Folkins on June, 30 2017

Esther Wesley, co-ordinator of the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation, presents an update on donations to the fund through the church’s “Giving with Grace” campaign to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Sunday, June 25.
Photo: Tali Folkins

Mississauga, Ont.

More than a quarter of a million dollars has been raised so far this year for the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation through the Giving with Grace campaign, Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Sunday, June 25.

Healing Fund co-ordinator Esther Wesley told CoGS that, as of June 22, Giving with Grace, the Anglican Church of Canada’s annual fundraising campaign, had raised $26,000 in money directly designated for the fund, which supports Indigenous healing projects.

Funds donated without any specified designation totalled $249,000, Wesley said. Following an electronic vote by CoGS last December, such undesignated campaign proceeds this year are to go toward replenishing the Healing Fund. Thus, a total of $275,000 has been raised for the fund by Giving with Grace to date in 2017.

June 22 was a day after the conclusion of General Synod’s 22 Days campaign, an initiative urging support, through prayer, awareness-raising and donations, of the Healing Fund.

In 2015, Giving with Grace raised $515,000. In January, however, Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he hoped that with the Healing Fund now the campaign’s focus, Anglicans would be motivated to give $1 million, enough to allow the fund to continue its work for five more years.

Since the Healing Fund began in 1992, Wesley said, it has funded 705 projects totalling just over $8 million.

“I have to say, Anglicans are doing very well in this work—amazing work,” she said.

Much of the money in the fund in recent years originated from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, according to which a lump sum of $4 million was deposited into the fund. But this money is now almost entirely depleted, Wesley said.

A key focus of the fund remains keeping Indigenous languages alive as many of them reach a critical point in their existence.

“Many of them are on the verge of dying, because of the elderly people dying—they’re the ones that hold the language,” Wesley said.

Depending on how they are classified, there are between 60 and 65 Indigenous languages in Canada, she said—and many of these are further broken down into distinct dialects. This vast number of languages, she added, points in turn to the diversity of Indigenous culture and Indigenous concerns.

“When people come up to me and say, ‘Okay, what do Indigenous people want?’ or ‘What are the Indigenous issues?’ Well, there isn’t one issue, there isn’t one thing,” she said.

Reconciliation was the theme of a number of sessions at last weekend’s meeting of CoGS. On Saturday, June 24, Melanie Delva, named the church’s reconciliation animator last April, gave a presentation introducing her role. Much of it, she said, would consist in “forming, equipping and resourcing a national team to encourage and sustain local engagement in the work of reconciliation.” Quoting Chris Hiller, the church’s former Indigenous justice co-ordinator, Delva described the reversal of a system of oppression as “an ethical practice in which we listen repeatedly and with humility in a desire not to master but to be undone by the other.” She then asked members of CoGS in table groups to reflect on what needed to be “undone” in this context in themselves and their communities.

Melanie Delva, reconciliation animator for the Anglican Church of Canada, describes her new role to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Saturday, June 24. Photo: Marites N. Sison

One table representative said that since reconciliation needed relationships, what most needed to be undone was the tendency of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to live in “separate worlds.”

“There are people coming from Indigenous communities into non-Indigenous communities all the time. Perhaps we could be intentional about inviting them to come and to speak in our churches…to share what life is like, to share what’s on their mind, their heart, to answer questions or just say what they have to say,” the representative said.

Another table representative, who identified herself as a survivor of an Indian residential school, said one thing she thought should be undone was the tendency of Indigenous children in her community to learn the history of their people as told by non-Indigenous people, not by Indigenous people themselves.

She added that she herself had to undergo a kind of reconciliation with her own non-Indigenous husband because of unpleasant associations she had acquired of non-Indigenous people from her school days.

“I had to reconcile because I looked at him the way I looked at the principals and the teachers that taught me,” she said. “Every day I reconcile with God, I reconcile with the people I hurt, I recognize with myself if I hurt myself or if I think less of me than God may think of me…And I feel reconciliation is to be proud of who we are, and not of what someone else tells us we are.”

CoGS members also observed a milestone—the 10th anniversary of the installation of Mark MacDonald as National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. MacDonald was installed as bishop at General Synod on June 22, 2007, after being appointed in January of that year.

“As we all know, that was a very historic moment in the life of our church—it was a very holy moment in the journey that we’ve all been on, particularly since 1994 and the covenant,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. (In 1994, Canadian Indigenous Anglican leaders made a covenant to work toward a self-determining Indigenous church.)

In addition to this role, Hiltz said, MacDonald also serves as area bishop of northern Manitoba—and is also known as “the rock ’n’ roll bishop.” MacDonald “loves a guitar, he loves a gospel jam, and he loves to lead us in singing,” Hiltz said.

Hiltz praised MacDonald as a scholar and as a well-travelled “apostle” for the church, before he and Sidney Black, Indigenous bishop for Treaty 7 territory in the diocese of Calgary, presented him with a certificate and a gift—an iPad tablet.

“Now I have to get rid of my Flintstone computer!” MacDonald quipped.

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.


Anglican Journal News, June 30, 2017

CoGs ponders finances, structure of Indigenous church

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Tali Folkins on June, 29 2017

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald updates members of Council of General Synod (CoGS) on plans for a self-determining Indigenous Anglican organization Saturday, June 24. Photo: Marites N. Sison

A series of reports on the planned self-determining Canadian Indigenous Anglican church presented to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Saturday, June 24, met with a mixture of approval and concern.

While some CoGS members said they were happy to see concrete steps being taken toward a self-determining Indigenous Anglican body, others expressed curiosity about how it would relate with the Anglican Church of Canada and concern about how much it would cost.

Canon Ginny Doctor, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Indigenous ministries co-ordinator, had presented two reports to CoGS, including a 2018 budget   that asks for $1.2 million in funding for Indigenous ministry out of the national office, plus another $2.9 million to fund four regional offices it envisages. Among the budget’s largest items are $450,000 for Sacred Circle and $1.2 million in salaries for staff at the four regional offices.

“It looks like a lot of money, and I suppose it is, but we wanted to be realistic,” she said. “There isn’t a lot of fluff here—what you see is what you get.”

Indigenous ministry needs money to address a number of critical issues, she said, such as suicide prevention. There’s also a strong need for more Indigenous catechist training, which combines traditional Indigenous and Christian teachings, and for more youth ministry.

Some CoGS members, however, expressed concern about how the Indigenous church would be financed.

“The budget costs projected are somewhat high in terms of travel costs and funding, and…it’s significantly higher in proportion to other things that General Synod pays for, so who’s going to fund it, I think, is our big concern,” said one representative of a table group. (CoGS members had been asked to discuss in table groups their likes, concerns and hopes about the two presentations.)

However, there were also others who did not consider it to be an issue. “We weren’t fearful about financial sustainability—we believe that God’s work, done God’s way, will get God’s supplies,” its representative said.

Others said they still had questions about the exact nature of the relationship between the Indigenous church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

“Will Indigenous Anglicans want to remain in the Anglican Church of Canada or be completely outside?” asked one representative. “That’s a hard question that needs to be asked. What does self-determination lead to?”

Presenting an update on recent work done by a focus group charged with working out the shape of the Indigenous church, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark Macdonald had explained that the group envisions Indigenous Anglicans, or at least some Indigenous Anglicans, as being members of both the new Indigenous “confederacy” and the Anglican Church of Canada.

“What we’re working with now is the idea that some folks would have a kind of ‘dual citizenship,’ ” he said. “A church, for instance could have a type of dual citizenship in their own diocese, but also [exist] as a part of Sacred Circle. There might be some jurisdictions, such as [the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of] Mishamikoweesh, that would be completely aligned” with the new Indigenous organization. There are also likely to be many congregations with mixed Indigenous and non-Indigenous membership, with the Indigenous members belonging to both.

Something of a precedent for this type of arrangement already exists, he said, in the Anglican Military Ordinariate of Canada. The ordinariate, which is part of the Anglican Church of Canada, has its own bishop and chapels, but its members often belong to parishes within regular dioceses of the church.

Establishing the new organization, MacDonald said, would not require much change, since the key structures—the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop; Sacred Circle, the national gathering and decision-making body; and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), the executive body—already exist. One major requirement would be for General Synod to pass legislation to set up Sacred Circle as a self-determining entity empowered to develop its own rules and method of operating, he said.

This and other legal measures that Indigenous leaders might want to take to establish the confederacy, MacDonald said, are outlined in a memo  sent to him earlier this year by Canon (lay) David Jones, chancellor of General Synod.

Some CoGS members said they were greatly encouraged to see the idea of the Indigenous church about to become a reality—“that the aspirations and dreams were actually surviving, waking up and having coffee over breakfast and were going to become fixed realities,” as one table representative put it.

One challenge facing those planning the new church organization, Doctor said, was the need to hear more from Indigenous churchgoers themselves.

“We’re not sure who is coming with us at this point, so we really have to talk to folks at the grassroots level,” she said. “What do the people in the pews say?…We really don’t know. So somehow we have to figure out how we move this information out and into the hands and minds of people that it’s going to affect.”

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.


Anglican Journal News, June 29, 2017