Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Cree Language Healing Project restores cultural identity

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

The Rev. Samuel Halkett, Cree language instructor for the Cree Language Healing Project based out of St. Alban’s Cathedral in Prince Albert, Sask., stands beside a list of various Cree words and their English translations. Submitted photo

Cree Language Healing Project restores cultural identity

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook311

Raised by his grandparents in northern Saskatchewan, the Rev. Samuel Halkett never attended a residential school.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” said Halkett, who grew up speaking Cree and worked as a Cree language instructor before becoming an Anglican priest. “That’s the only language I knew,” he added. “And it’s the culture I lived through with my grandparents.”

Tragically, the ability to speak one’s own language was a right denied to many survivors of the Indian residential school system, a number of which were run by the Anglican Church of Canada until 1969.

The Anglican Healing Fund recently granted $10,530 to support the Cree Language Healing Project in which Halkett serves as the main language instructor. Based out of the Cathedral Church of St. Alban’s the Martyr in Prince Albert, Sask., the project—initiated by former rector Ken Davis and now in its third year—provides weekly Cree language instruction and is available to all members of the community.

Participants come from a diverse range of backgrounds, both non-Indigenous and Indigenous—including Cree, Dene, and Métis. But the project is mainly geared to are those who lost their language while attending the residential schools and the generations who have since been impacted—a group that includes many young parents.

Reflecting the intergenerational trauma of the residential school system, many parents were unable to pass on knowledge of traditional language and culture to their own children.

“It hurts the children that are denied … their language, and they’re denied the ways of our elders in the past,” Halkett said. “And I think it’s important to know where we come from in order for us to know where we’re heading.”

The Cree Language Healing Project teaches the y dialect of the Plains Cree, the most prevalent Cree dialect in the Prince Albert area. Numerous Cree dialects exist, with Halkett himself originally speaking the th dialect of the northern Woods Cree.

Each weekly meeting starts with an evening meal before language instruction proper.

For Halkett, language and culture cannot be separated, and he considers hands-on cultural activities the “most powerful” way that he teaches Cree. Music is an important teaching tool, with the instructor regularly breaking out a guitar and leading participants in Cree-language songs.

Other cultural forms such as puppet shows find particular appeal for young children in the class.

“The exciting part [for] children is when they come out there and they see these puppets talking Cree,” Halkett said with a chuckle.

The Cree Language Healing Project saw an estimated 87 people take Cree language instruction in its first year, Halkett said. Current average weekly attendance is approximately 20 students.

Chris Lyons, treasurer at St. Alban’s, said informal feedback from parish members suggested that the language project “has done what it was intended to do” by encouraging language and having “people feel connected and welcome in the Anglican Church”.

The Anglican Healing Fund grant application from St. Alban’s provided a stated completion date of March 31, 2017, but the cathedral is optimistic that the project will remain an ongoing endeavour.

“We’re hoping to continue with it,” Lyons said. “Much of the funding for the program itself has come as a result of the grant from the Anglican Church [through] the [Healing and] Reconciliation Fund … We’ve had some preliminary discussions about self-financing the program, because we do see it certainly as significant outreach for our parish into the larger community, plus providing a service [and] bringing people into our parish.”

The pride that flows from being able to speak in one’s own language may be the most significant and long-lasting benefit, as native Cree speaker Halkett can attest.

“For me to carry something like that with me in all my days of my life, I feel so proud of that,” Halkett said.

“When there’s that identity that comes in, there’s pride that comes with it, with the language. And that’s what I’m really focusing on [now], especially young families.”


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, March 27, 2017.

Water: global conference at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews


Posted on: March 27, 2017

The Rev. Brandon Mauai, a deacon in the Diocese of North Dakota and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
Photo Credit: ENS

[Episcopal News Service] The demand for water is expected to increase 55 percent by 2030 and at the same time global water resources may only meet 60 percent of the world’s needs. “Africa, India, the Middle East and Australia already are in crisis,” said Maude Barlow, a former United Nations senior advisor on water, and an author, political activist and policy critic. Some say “the solution to the water crisis is to commodify water,” she added, during a March 23 session on “Waters: Commons or Commodity” during Water Justice,  a global conference taking place at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City and webcast worldwide March 22-24.

The Rev. Brandon Mauai, a deacon in the Diocese of North Dakota and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, talked about the Episcopal Church’s support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation as it and its allies fought against the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The conference aimed to offer actionable guidance for individuals, congregations and the larger faith community surrounding the need for water justice initiatives in areas of access, droughts, pollution, rising tides and flooding. Water Justice is the 46th annual conference organized by the Trinity Institute, past conferences have addressed racial justice and economic inequality.

If the Great Lakes, the largest surface freshwater system on Earth, “were pumped as mercilessly as ground water, they would be dry in 80 years,” Barlow warned. Russia’s Aral Sea, once the fourth-largest freshwater lake in the world, is now 10 percent its former size.  Half the waters in China, a water-rich country, have disappeared. Sao Paulo, the second largest city in the world, is drought-stricken because rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest has decreased vapor clouds that used to carry water to central and south Brazil.

All of this, Barlow said, is happening as corporations, governments and the World Bank, contemplate a global waters market, where water futures can be sold like oil and gas.

“Is it [water] a human right, a public trust or a private asset?” asked Barlow.

“We have to fiercely protect it everywhere as a commons,” she said. “Water shouldn’t be put into the market. That doesn’t mean the private sector doesn’t have a role. But the central question is who owns water itself, and who has access to it and who does not, and in places around the world now this is a life or death situation.”

The United Nations says water is a human right, and Barlow was instrumental in moving the intergovernmental organization to make that determination. On July 28, 2010, the U.N. General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that access to both are “essential to the realization of all human rights.” The resolution passed with 122 nations in favor, zero against and 41 abstentions, including the United States and Canada. (Both the U.S. and Canada have since adopted the resolution.)

Still, saying water is a human right doesn’t mean it’s protected or that everyone has access to it. As examples, Barlow mentioned Detroit and Baltimore, two cities that have turned off residents’ taps.

In Detroit, a financially strapped, hollowed-out inner city, residents’ water rates tripled and many poor people couldn’t afford to pay their water bills; in Baltimore, city officials maintained it was necessary to have a system in which everyone paid pays “their fair share.”

As Christiana Zenner Peppard, a professor at Fordham University a theologian and freshwater expert, pointed out in her response to Barlow’s talk, a human being can survive less than 7 days without water.

“Water is not replaceable by any other thing; it is the baseline for human, ecological and the planetary system,” she said. “You cannot talk about water and justice as two separate things.”

In terms of religious values and water ethics, “it’s foundational to life and understood as finite,” and at least from the Christian point of view, access to water is caring for “the least of these.”

The Roman Catholic Church, she said, has been an advocate for water as a human right since the early aughts; in his encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis said that water shouldn’t be commodified.

Archbishop Winston Halapua, one of three primates of the Anglican Church in Polynesia and Aotearoa New Zealand, responsible for New Zealand-based Samoan, Tongan, Indo-Fijian, and Fijian congregations, talked about his childhood and growing up in Tonga, where his life was in sync with the tide cycle.

Sea-level rise continues to claim whole islands in the Pacific, where the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is establishing a “clear resilience strategy” to strengthen its response to future natural disasters in the Pacific islands.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 27 March, 2017.

PWRDF assists with water supply for First Nations community in Canada

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Posted on: March 27, 2017

Photo Credit: AnglicanJournal

[Andre Forget] Ten more homes in the First Nations community of Pikangikum in Northern Ontario will have clean drinking water by the end of 2017 as a result of a joint effort by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, and grassroots Anglican group Pimatsiwin Nipi.

The collaboration marks the second phase of a project PWRDF, the Anglican Church of Canada’s relief and development arm, and Pimatsiwin-Nipi (Oji-Cree for “Living Water”), a grassroots Anglican group, have been working to implement since 2011.

The first phase of the project involved the installation in 2014 of water tanks in 10 homes identified by the band council as being in serious need. At that time, 415 or 92% of homes in the community had no access to water or wastewater services, said PWRDF.

The tanks, which are serviced three times a week by a water truck, provide clean water and wastewater storage to households that previously had to draw their water manually from community cisterns.

The second phase of the project will provide larger water tanks housed on concrete pads  built onto the next 10 houses.

“The need for clean and accessible water is really critical. Having clean water inside the house and not having to use an outhouse should be a given in Canada,” Will Postma, executive director of PWRDF, said in an email. “The water program is also important for relationship building, for reconciliation, for very practical action.”

In December 2016, Postma travelled to Pikangikum with Steve Krahn, vice president of regional development at Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, and PWRDF youth council members Asha Kerr-Wilson and Allie Colp, to meet with Chief Dean Owen and the Band Council and discuss the designs for the project. ​Owen also gave the group a tour of the existing facilities.

According to Krahn, Habitat was approached about the possibility of coming on as project manager in 2015. Krahn said there was initial uncertainty about whether this project would fit within Habitat’s mandate (most of their work involves the construction of new homes), but they were won over by the urgency of the need. “We’re really excited to be involved in it,” he said. “We see housing issues all the time, but to know that this extent of a housing issue exists in our backyard makes it hard to turn a blind eye to it.” Pikangikum Chief Dean Owen was unavailable for comment at press time. So far, five truckloads of building materials have been brought into the community via ice roads. Krahn said construction is set to begin early April.

Most residents of Pikangikum First Nation have no running water inside their homes and have to use an outhouse.

Phase two is slated for completion sometime before the end of 2017. Krahn noted, however, that the challenges of bringing the equipment and tradespeople up to Pikangikum made it hard to predict when the work would be completed. The project also includes training for five members of the Pikangikum community, paid for by Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board. PWRDF and Pimatsiwin-Nipi have together raised 550,000 dollars for the Pikangikum project since 2013. A significant portion of this money came from the Advent Conspiracy, an international organization that facilitates charity giving during the Christmas season for clean water access around the world.

Heather Westbrook, one of the founding members of Pimatsiwin-Nipi and a member of Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora, Ontario,  said the group grew out of a diocesan program called Ambassadors for Reconciliation.  When the program came to an end, several participants began to wonder how they could continue doing reconciliation work. They decided on a project around access to water and water rights in Indigenous communities, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald suggested launching it in Pikangikum. At that time, Pikangikum was drawing headlines for an epidemic of youth suicides.

“Really the focus on water came first, and then we left it to Bishop Mark to help us place where on the map that was going to happen,” Westbrook said. Westbrook’s own passion for water rights in Indigenous communities goes back more than 30 years, to a time when she was living with her schoolteacher husband on Berens River First Nation in Northern Manitoba.

During her three years there, she watched the community get access to clean water through the initiative of the chief at the time, who had water drums installed in the houses and brought a fire truck up to the reserve to refill them. “I saw the change in people’s lives—I was there to witness it, which I never forgot,” she said, noting that it removed a significant time burden from the members of the community, especially the women.

Though it is not yet clear whether there will be a third phase to the project, Postma said José Zarate, Canadian Indigenous Communities co-ordinator for the PWRDF, will continue to discuss the situation with Habitat and the Pikangikum chief and band council.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 27 March, 2017.

‘A tribute to a dear friend in Christ’

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

‘A tribute to a dear friend in Christ’

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook17

It is with great sadness that our Church mourns the death of one of its most widely and highly respected leaders, Terence Edward Finlay. In the course of his ordained ministry which spanned almost fifty-six years, he was known as Father, Archdeacon, Bishop, Archbishop, The Primate’s Envoy for Residential Schools, Co-Chair of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, Liaison Bishop to the Mission to Seafarers Canada, and Chaplain to the National House of Bishops. No matter the order of ministry to which he was called, the office he held, or the title he bore, the most distinguishing mark of his ministry was friendship, that friendship into which Jesus called his disciples in The Upper Room on the Eve of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, that friendship into which he calls his followers in every age.

Terry was one of those bishops in whom as Rowan Williams would say, you could see “The Gathering Christ”…“someone around whom it is possible so see what the Church is”, the Body of Christ, each and every one of us, members one of another. Terry enjoyed gathering the Church for worship and fellowship, for dialogue and discernment of the Spirit’s work in our midst. Across differences in theological perspective he gathered people and enabled them to speak and listen to each other with respect. Throughout his entire ministry he upheld the wonders of diversity in unity. He worked hard to help us live by St. Paul’s counsel that we be “forbearing in love”, and “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. Indeed he embodied that long cherished principle among Anglicans of holding one another in “bonds of affection” in Christ.

None of us will ever forget his broad smile and his hearty laugh. None of us will forget those moments when his eyes danced with delight over someone’s happiness or great accomplishment. Nor will we forget those moments when his eyes welled up with tears over the great pain or grief someone was bearing. None of us will ever forget seeing his head lifted up in song – he loved to sing! Nor will we forget seeing his head bowed in shame and contrition for the suffering inflicted upon hundreds and hundreds of children through the Indian Residential Schools. None of us will forget how he gently raised his hands in presiding at the Eucharist and how he extended his hands in celebrating the peace into which Christ calls us. Terry had a handshake and an embrace in which we all experienced something of the fullness of Christ’s love for us all.

None of us will ever forget how much he enjoyed a good story nor how much he enjoyed telling one of his own – and he had plenty!

I know I am but one among so many who can say Terry was one of my dearest friends. I admired him. I learned much from him. I was encouraged by him. I was challenged by him. I appreciated his wisdom borne of many years in ministry. I was grateful for his counsel. And I always had the sense that when he said “I hold you in my prayers daily” he really did. There was about him a genuineness, a modesty, and a holiness that enriched my life and so many others too.

While we all mourn him we know what great trust he had in the promises of Christ. What great confidence he had in the Communion of Saints, what great joy he had in the very thought of being a guest in heaven.

As we remember, our dear friend in Christ, we pray for Alice Jean (“AJ”), and for their daughters Sara Jane and Rebecca and their grandchildren whom he loved dearly.

In remembering the manner of Terry’s living and dying, a prayer written many years ago by Theodore Parker Ferris comes to mind.

“Teach me, O Lord, not to hold on to life too tightly. Teach me to hold it lightly; not carelessly, but lightly, easily. Teach me to take it as a gift, to enjoy and cherish while I have it, and to let it go gracefully and thankfully when the time comes. The gift is great, but the Giver is greater still. Thou, O God, art the Giver and in thee is the Life that never dies. Amen.”


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, March 21, 2017

There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook943

Dear Senator Beyak:

Not only in the Red Chamber on Parliament Hill, but across the country, many people – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – were dismayed by your remarks. You said “I was disappointed in the TRC’s Report and that it didn’t focus on the good,” associated with Residential Schools. Had you, Senator, made these remarks within a discussion of the TRC’s Report, your comments might have been less shocking.

Senator Beyak, you are quite right in saying that for a small minority of survivors, their personal experiences of Residential School were “good”.  But in much greater numbers, the personal experiences of children who were housed in those schools were “bad” – very bad in fact. One only needs to have attended a local, regional or national event hosted by Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission to know this. The Commissioners listened to the personal stories of thousands of students – of survivors – all of which bore witness to the horrific experience they had.

There are hundreds of students who went to Residential Schools administered by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). They have told their stories at our church’s National Native Convocation and at Sacred Circle Gatherings. We have been rendered speechless by what we heard. We have hung our heads in shame and raised them with remorse over the pain our church inflicted upon those children.

There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

There was nothing good about forbidding children to speak their own language, to sing and dance in a powwow, to practice their own spirituality. It was a denial of their dignity and human rights.

There was nothing good about experimenting with children’s diet to monitor the impact on their dental hygiene or their digestive systems. There was nothing good about pressing children into forced labour. It was state-sanctioned cruelty.

There was nothing good about denying a child a celebration of his or her birthday, about separating siblings one from another, not allowing them to be home for Christmas, or to enjoy summer holiday.

There was nothing good about child abuse – and it was rampant in Residential Schools – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. Such abuses were nothing less than crimes against humanity.

There was nothing good about children going missing and no report being filed. There was nothing good about burying children in unmarked graves far from their ancestral homes. It heaped cruelty upon cruelty for the child taken and the parent left behind.

There is nothing good about a lingering and sordid legacy of intergenerational trauma reflected in poor health, the struggle to enjoy healthy relationships, addictions, domestic violence, astonishingly high rates of incarceration and communal dysfunction.

There is nothing good about Indigenous people treated as “second class”, the blatant evidence of which persists in lower funding for health care, education, policing, and emergency health services. It is a travesty.

All these atrocities associated with the Indian Residential Schools have been documented through the work of TRC Commissioners Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson, and Wilton Littlechild. The several volumes of their report attest to this dark chapter in the history of Canada. We encourage you to review them. The ninety-four Calls to Action that complement their report are a “roadmap”, as they put it, for journeying toward healing and reconciliation. It will take years to address these Calls to Action fully, but in our commitment as a country to do so, we must be unwavering. We implore you to share in that commitment.

It is true that there were some glimpses of good, well-intentioned teachers, nurses and staff in those schools. We know a number of them personally and we know something of their own internal turmoil and agree that their stories have to be heard. It is true that some Residential School survivors can speak of a personal positive experience. We do not deny that their stories need to be heard too. But we are compelled to say that while there are those glimpses of good in the history of the Residential Schools, the overall view is grim. It is shadowed and dark; it is sad and shameful.

Senator Beyak, you hold up colonial historic accounts of church-run schools across Manitoba (the Pas, Grand Rapids), northern Ontario (Fort Frances, Fort Albany), and Athabasca. The accounts emphasize the good work of missionaries and the churches’ role in positively influencing the life of Indigenous peoples in these places. While there is no doubt that some good things happened, that is so clearly not the whole story that it demands a response.

What your story doesn’t tell us is of the cramped and unsanitary conditions in schools run by the Church Missionary Society of the Church of England, (the Anglican Church of Canada), in the Pas and Dauphin Manitoba; Lac La Ronge and Onion Lake, Saskatchewan; and Wabasca, Alberta. Conditions in these schools led to fires, to outbreaks of diphtheria, to gas leaks. Children died. We cannot speak about the Residential Schools without acknowledging these truths.  To do so would once more silence the witness of thousands of children – some of whom never returned home. It is Indigenous people who have the authority to tell the story. It is our duty to receive that story and allow it to change us.

Our church has offered apologies and will continue to do so. We have supported community-based programmes for healing, through the Anglican Healing Fund, and we will continue that work both as it seeks to foster healing in the lives of persons and families, and to support the recovery of language, culture and spiritual practices consistent with Indigenous identities and traditions. We recognize that this work of healing and reconciliation will take many, many years and we pledge our very best efforts in being steadfast in that work. We ask for a similar expression of commitment from you, and as a member of the Senate’s Aboriginal Peoples committee.

We say this as leaders in a church that ran a number of these Schools. We say this as leaders in a church that has members who are Indigenous and non-Indigenous, survivors and staff, settlers and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers made an apology to Residential School Survivors on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. Among his expressions of remorse for what had happened to so many innocent children he said “I am sorry that we tried to remake you in our image…We failed you. We failed ourselves. We failed God.”

We pray to God that our Church and our country remain firm in its resolve to support healing and reconciliation.

We pray that all the people of Canada – First Nations, Inuit and Métis – and all others who through waves of immigration have come to settle here may with goodwill forge a new future together.

We pray that future will be marked by a profound respect for the dignity with which the Creator has endowed all peoples, and by that harmony with which the Creator would have us live – in relations that are good and right and just for all.

Signed: Michael Thompson
The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Canada
The Right Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
The Anglican Church of Canada
Michael Thompson
General Secretary
The Anglican Church of Canada


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, March 20, 2017

Church and the city

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

By André Forget on March 17, 2017

(L-R) Kendra Wassink, Brian Tsang, Glen Rey, Avelina Pun, Andrew Au and Dorothy Wong take in the sights, sounds and smells of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood as part of the Practices of Ministry in the City conference. Photo: André Forget

It’s one of the coldest days in March, and a bitter west wind whistles between the old community housing blocks of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, but Andrew Au and Dorothy Wong are focussed on the streetscape, on the incongruity of the new developments, the rush of the streetcars, the way pedestrians carefully navigate the slush and road salt on the narrow sidewalk.

They’re braving the elements not because they’re trying to get anywhere, but as an exercise in opening their senses to the city around them.

Au and Wong live in Scarborough. They don’t visit this part of the city often, but were drawn in by a two-day conference on ministry in the city co-sponsored by Wycliffe College and hosted at the headquarters of Toronto’s storied Yonge Street Mission, a couple of blocks away on Gerrard Street East.

Au and Wong are members of Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. Au says their church is struggling to find ways to be engaged in its own neighbourhood, now that most of its members drive in from exurban communities like Richmond Hill, Ont.

How should the church reach out to the people who live around it, now that many of their members are not part of that community?

Au and Wong, followed by a small group from the conference, turn west off Sackville onto Dundas Street East. A weary-looking Orthodox church shares the corner with three new condo developments, and Au says the change visibly overtaking Regent Park reminds him of patterns of gentrification and inequality in Scarborough.

It isn’t the most typical exercise to be doing at a conference on urban ministry, but then most urban ministry conferences don’t feature discussions on the unconscious impact of background sensory information on human perceptions of place.

Led by Mark Gornik, director of the Harlem-based City Seminary of New York and author of To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City, the conference, held March 13-14, was designed to offer tools to those like Au and Wong, who are looking for new approaches to doing ministry in cities.

The March 14 afternoon session focussed particularly on how paying greater attention to physical senses through which humans perceive the world yields insights that can be invaluable to those hoping to minister to the people around them.

“Ministry in the city begins with what we experience as whole persons,” Gornik explains to the group of over 40 Christians representing a wide range of denominations from across Toronto.

“Before it is anything else—a job, a role, a strategy, or a project…ministry in the city is a prayerful way of being present to our neighbours, our families, our co-workers, our community and to God. It is being present to where we are.”

Gornik notes that in order to be able to reach out effectively to the people around them, ministers need to have a deep knowledge of the context in which they are serving—one that is often made up of years of accumulated knowledge received through the senses.


Mark Gornik, director of the City Seminary of New York, says intentional use of the senses can help ministers understand their communities more deeply. Photo: André Forget

Being mindful of the world around them, of the smells and textures of the city and the ways those smells and textures reflect and shape the lives of the people, is one way those involved in urban ministry can approach this work more intentionally.

Gornik stresses the importance of conscious practices, like walking through a neighbourhood while praying for it, as a way of using the sense to approach urban ministry.

In a 2014 essay for Faith and Leadership, Gornik notes that doing so can help Christians see “church life intertwined with the creative and economic life of the city,” which in turn allows them to see areas where the church can act for the betterment of the city and its people.

“Being able to do ministry is really to wonder, and have a sense of wonder and imagination,” he says.

Which is why he ended the session by sending the group out into snow and slush of Regent Park, to wander the streets to practice noticing and praying for the city.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal following the session, Angie Hocking, outreach program co-ordinator at the Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) in downtown Toronto, says she found the session useful.

Angie Hocking, outreach program co-ordinator at Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer. Photo: André Forget

Hocking, who has been following Gornik’s work for some time, says it underlined the importance of paying attention to the physical context in which ministry is done.

Despite being at Redeemer for five years, she says she is still having little “revelations” about the place and the people who live there, brought on by the knowledge she has accumulated over the years.

“You never really have a full grasp on things—you have to always continue to tap into your senses…and remember that things are changing around us, and that we are to…try to evolve and move with that,” she says.

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, March 17, 2017

Priestly training a ‘critical need’ in Indigenous communities

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

By André Forget on March 17, 2017

The northern Indigenous communities served by the Rev. Elizabeth Beardy and her husband, the Rev. Larry Beardy, face challenges uncommon in other parts of the country, such as remoteness and residential school trauma. Photo: Contributed

Training new ordained ministers is a “critical need” in many Indigenous communities—but not one traditional seminary education can easily fill, says Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh.

“Seminarians are not coming to live among our people, and…they are not trained to serve in a remote, isolated little reserve,” Mamakwa explained. “We need to look at alternative delivery of ministry.”

Mamakwa’s comments came at a February gathering hosted by the national church in Niagara Falls, Ont., to discuss the future of the theological education in Canada.

Though Mamakwa was unable to attend due to a crisis in one of her communities, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald read a statement she had prepared outlining Mishamikoweesh’s leadership training needs, and presenting possible solutions.

The key challenge, Mamakwa said, is the need to balance support and resources from institutions and schools outside Mishamikoweesh with ensuring education is still run by and for Indigenous people.

Since 2003, education for ministry in Mishamikoweesh has taken place through the Dr. William Winter School for Ministry based out of Mamakwa’s home community of Kingfisher Lake, in northern Ontario.

Named for its founder, the late archdeacon and elder William Winter, the school was set up to provide training to Indigenous people in what was then the diocese of Keewatin; over 70 people have participated in its Diploma in Indigenous Anglican Theology program since its inception.

Students attend the school for intensive two-week sessions twice a year, and work with ministers in their home communities for the rest of the year.

However, the school currently does not have a set curriculum or offer a diploma-granting program. Teaching is done with the help of elders, and supplemented by seminary-trained educators and instructors teaching at seminaries in other parts of Canada.

Until recently, the school was in a partnership with the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, in Saskatoon, which helped provide the school with a curriculum, teachers and, upon graduation, a diploma.

This partnership came to an end in 2011, when Emmanuel and St. Chad faced the possibility of closure. Though the college remains open, its relationship with Dr. William Winter School for Ministry has not been renewed.

Mamakwa said the school is in the process of deciding whether or not it should try to affiliate itself with a seminary. In the meantime, Wycliffe College in Toronto has agreed to provide teaching support.

One of the reasons why Dr. William Winter School for Ministry has not simply adapted another school’s curriculum is due to a strong conviction that it  should be, in Mamakwa’s words, “controlled and run by Native people to teach Native people.”

Indigenous ministers, she said, face unique challenges, and need to be able to function in an environment where people suffer from addictions, trauma and family dysfunction that are part of the toxic legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system.

Moreover, in many Indigenous communities, she said, elders play an important leadership role, and must be part of any training program for Indigenous priests and deacons.

Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, pictured at General Synod 2016, is advocating for training for priestly ministry to be led by and for Indigenous people. Photo: Art Babych

In a March 8 interview with the Anglican Journal, Mamakwa expanded on her earlier statements.

One of the major problems facing the school, she said, is recruitment—specifically, how to recruit students interested in becoming priests.

“Right now, we just make [attendance] open for anyone who wants to come,” said Mamakwa. “There is a high interest in people wanting to come and study, but not necessarily seek ordination.”

Until recently, leaders from the school would visit communities and identify potential students and encourage them to pursue studies with view to ordination. The high cost of flying in and out of northern communities, however, has meant this is no longer financially feasible.

And yet, in the cultural context of Mishamikoweesh, spending time in communities and meeting potential candidates is a key part of discerning who should pursue training for the priesthood or diaconate.

Mamakwa explained that in many Indigenous communities, people do not put themselves forward as candidates for ordination; instead, their communities identify them as being potential spiritual leaders.

This was certainly true for the Rev. Elizabeth Beardy, who was encouraged to attend the school by Winter himself when he visited her home community of Split Lake shortly after the school’s inception.

“[Winter] used to come to our community…he would look around and pick out people and invite them to come to that school,” said Beardy, who studied at Dr. William Winter School for Ministry from 2004-2008.

Beardy was ordained to the diaconate in 2016. She said it had never occurred to her to pursue a seminary education, but that she found the training provided by the school to be of great use.

In particular, she draws on the training she received in counselling when dealing with members of her community dealing with spiritual or emotional issues.

“When they see me, [people] come to me and say ‘oh, I’m going through this, can you come and pray for me?’…And there are some that have problems with their family life, so I talk with them,” Beardy said in an interview. “There is a great need of pastoral care up north.”

Beardy said the shortage of ministers in her part of the country, northern Manitoba, is a problem, where many communities have an active church community but no priest.

Often a community will have to pay travel costs for a priest from a neighbouring area to come in and do a burial when a person dies, she said.

The obstacles to providing ministry training remain real, but Mamakwa is confident the school will find a way forward.

The issue of recruitment is one of several items on the agenda at an April planning meeting where Mamakwa, MacDonald, several other school stakeholders will discuss curriculum development and the establishment of program guidelines.

Meanwhile, Mamakwa encourages anyone interested in supporting the school to consider doing so either financially or offering to volunteer as a teacher.

“What I would like to see is if a parish or the national church…or even an individual could sponsor a student. That would be really helpful,” she said.


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, March 17, 2017

Faith groups stand together against politics of hate and fear

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Neale Adams on March, 13 2017

Diocese of New Westminster Bishop Melissa Skelton reads two poems about love and kindness during a multi-faith gathering at Or Shalom Synagogue.
Photo: Neale Adams

People of many faiths met twice early in March in Vancouver to show support for one another at two well-attended public meetings that celebrated diversity and took a stand against acts of hatred.

Both gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the new administration in the United States.

That American political problems have spilled into Canada was suggested by a bomb threat the previous week which resulted in the evacuation of Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre (no bomb was found), and by controversy surrounding a three-day campaign in Vancouver led by Franklin Graham, an American evangelist who once called Islam “a very evil, a very wicked religion” and supported a ban on Muslim immigration in the U.S.

Anglicans were involved in sponsoring both gatherings. The first took place on March 7 at Vancouver’s Or Shalom Synagogue. It was sponsored by the synagogue and the diocese of New Westminster and featured talks, chants, songs, meditation, and even dancing, from a wide variety of faith traditions.

It was followed two days later by a presentation  at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church involving a rabbi, an imam, and a bishop entitled “Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.” This event was organized by St. Andrew’s and Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver.

Rabbi Laura Kaplan, director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology and a panelist at the event at the United Church, said she was thankful that hate-inspired acts, like the bomb threat, were so far at the level of “harassment” and not more.

“It will be the strength of our community that keeps it at that level,” she said.

Kaplan said she had experienced discrimination and insult during her lifetime and career.

“In the grand scheme of Jewish history I experience these as mosquito bites,” she said. “On balance I am physically safe. I am welcomed almost everywhere by strong multicultural community where people understand it’s the strength of our networks that keep all of us safe. It’s the connections that matter.”

Imam Mohammed Shujaath Ali Nadwi of Masjid ul-Haqq Mosque in Vancouver also said he had been encouraged by the reactions of “fair-minded Canadians and Americans.

“Recent events have stirred more compassion and kindness in the hearts of non-Muslim friends. They came out in support of Muslims defending their rights,” he said.

Nadwi said one benefit of the controversy is that it has stirred curiosity about Islam and encouraged people to learn about the religion. People want to find out about his religion “from the right sources, not just the media. This curiosity has opened minds and hearts to learn the right things. This is something very positive.”

People from a wide variety of faith traditions during discussions held after the gathering at Or Shalom Synagogue.
Photo: Neale Adams

The Rev. Dan Chambers of St. Andrew’s-Wesley, in introducing the speakers at the church, suggested many people are concerned not only with recent events but about the state of the world in general.

“When we consider the critical issues of a global nature—climate change, the widening gap between the wealthy and the not very wealthy, the rise of the threat of nuclear weaponry—hope flickers in the distance,” said Chalmers. “It’s no wonder that for many, despair is right outside our door, and for some it has moved into the house. How do you speak of hope in such a way that it’s not Pollyanna, that’s grounded in reality and the generally possible?”

That challenge was taken up by Bishop Michael Ingham, retired bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, whose talk touched on the theology of hope. Ingham said that biblical hope is neither a passive optimism nor unrealistic wishful thinking.

Quoting British rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ingham distinguished between hope and optimism. “Optimism is the belief things will get better. Hope is the faith that together we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue. Hope is an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.”

Hope has an element of surrender, said Ingham. However, it is not surrender to fate or despair but an ultimate act of trust in God. He quoted a verse from the late Leonard Cohen—who, he pointed out, was Jewish: “Even though it all went wrong / I’ll stand before the Lord of song / With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.”

Cohen, he said, “captures this sense of emptiness before God, of having nothing to bring except our hope and trust in God—and this transforms everything.”

The earlier gathering at the Or Shalom Synagogue, attended by about 100 people, focussed more on celebrating Vancouver’s religious diversity.

Fifteen faith leaders spoke, sang, chanted, or in the case of a Sufi devotee, twirled. Represented were Muslims (Sunni, Shia, and Sufi), two Hindu communities, Baha’i’s, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Quakers, Lutherans, and Anglicans, as well as the Jewish hosts.

“We are asked to be tolerant with each other,” said Firdosh Mehta of the Zoroastrian Society of B.C. “But tolerance is not enough. We need to elevate the understanding of each other for acceptance beyond tolerance—acceptance based on common values.”

Bishop Greg Mohr of the British Columbia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada based his remarks on a United Nations call for accepting refugees. “I invite you to think of stranger not as one newly arrived in a country. Often times the stranger is one living next door to me to whom I have failed to provide hospitality and welcome.

“We are all considered strangers somewhere and we should treat the strangers to our community as we would like to be treated. We must challenge intolerance,” said Mohr.

Bishop Melissa Skelton of the Diocese of New Westminster used her opportunity to speak by reading two poems, one by an Israeli and the other by a Palestinian. The late Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s poem read in part: “The place where we are right / is hard and trampled / like a yard. / But doubts and loves /dig up the world….”

She then read from the Palestinian poet,  Naomi Shihab Nye, which suggests true kindness and compassion come only after one deeply feels the sorrows of other people.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the man in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive. 

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 

As the evening at the synagogue closed, Rabbi Adam Stein of the Beth Israel Synagogue quoted  a verse from Isaiah (56:7) which is on the doors of his sanctuary : “My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.

He added: “I think truly tonight this house has been a house of prayer for all peoples… we have caused God, the divine, godliness to come out in all of us, inside of us.”


About the Author

Neale Adams

Neale Adams

Neale Adams is a freelance writer in Vancouver. He was former editor of Topic, the newspaper of the diocese of New Westminster.


Anglican Journal News, March 15, 2017

Discernment for priests needs to be ‘tweaked,’ says bishop

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on March 15, 2017

Bishop Bill Cliff discusses clergy training in the diocese of Brandon with the diocese of Toronto’s Mary Conliffe at a recent gathering on theological education for priestly ministry. 
Photo: André Forget

The Anglican Church of Canada should “re-tool” its methods for assessing candidates for the priesthood to make the process more sensitive to context, says Bishop Bill Cliff, of the diocese of Brandon.

During a recent national gathering to discuss the future of theological education for priestly ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, Cliff had publicly stated that he is not comfortable sending people who have not had a seminary education to participate in the church’s standard discernment process.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal following the conference, Cliff expanded on his comments, explaining that in his opinion, the process does not do enough take into account cultural differences within the church, especially between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans.

For most Anglicans hoping to become postulants to the priesthood in the Canadian church, the route to ordination involves discerning a call for ordination through a conference organized by the Advisory Committee for Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) of their ecclesiastical province.

Every year, candidates attend a weekend-long discernment gathering in which they are interviewed by a group of assessors about their readiness to serve as priests in the church.

But given the diversity of contexts candidates come from and hope to serve, Cliff does not think ACPO can always accurately perceive whether or not someone is ready for the priesthood.

For example, ACPO requires candidates to articulate why they believe they are called to the ministry, which is congruent with the general Western assumption that those seeking leadership in a community should put themselves forward, Cliff said.

In many Indigenous nations, however, it is the community that identify who the leaders should be. Cliff said this was driven home to him by comments National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald had made at the national gathering.

At the gathering, MacDonald said that in many Indigenous communities it would be seen as “presumptuous” for people to claim they were being called to the priesthood.

“Oftentimes people will say that the elders say that I have a calling [instead],” said MacDonald, adding that assessors need to be sensitive to this cultural difference.

This rings true of Cliff’s experience in the predominantly Indigenous northern part of his own diocese, and has made him reluctant to put forward locally-trained Indigenous candidates in the same way he would seminary-trained candidates.

“I wouldn’t recommend Indigenous candidates at an ordinary ACPO,” said Cliff. “I think the cultural issues are different, and the sense of discernment is different.”

Cliff said he believes the House of Bishops should take the lead in considering how ACPO could be made to better serve local churches.


An evolving process

Canon Sue House, who recently became ACPO secretary for the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon and serves at Christ Church Cathedral in the diocese of British Columbia, also thinks the discernment process could be updated.

House has been an assessor at nearly a dozen ACPO conferences since she first became involved in the process in 1990. In that time, she has seen significant changes in the way people come to the priesthood.

In particular, her province has seen a greater number of locally-trained (also sometimes called “locally-raised up”) people seek ordination over the past 15 years.

“When I started, we didn’t have locally raised-up clergy,” she said. “We still had a church that could expect that their candidates were going to go to seminary, and that is just not a possibility anymore.”

With locally-trained clergy becoming increasingly common in the province of B.C. and Yukon, House said assessors have needed to change the kinds of questions they ask.

Many locally-trained candidates have been volunteering in their parishes for a long time, she explained, and have both a practical sense of what leadership in the church involves and a deep knowledge of the needs of their own particular community.

This means they usually enter the process with a strong letter of reference from their community, but won’t necessarily be willing to move—which would ordinarily be a red flag, coming from a seminary-trained candidate.

For this reason, House said, assessors need to be sensitive to the fact that some candidates already know where they will be serving. But this isn’t always the case. “I think what happens is we just, in my experience, assess [all candidates] on the same level,” she said. “And it is not that one is better, or one is worse, it’s just they are different.”

Furthermore, House said she is not aware of any locally-trained clergy who have served as assessors in her province, and would like to see this changed. She thinks assessors who know from experience what the locally-trained process is like would have better questions to ask.

Though she has yet to organize her first ACPO conference as secretary, House said she plans on talking with the bishop responsible for ACPO in her province, Logan McMenamie, of the diocese of British Columbia, about how assessors could be better prepared for interviewing locally-trained candidates.


‘The conversation needs to continue’

Meanwhile, changes are already underway in the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land.

Archdeacon Catherine Harper, ACPO secretary for the Rupert’s Land from 2010-2015 and co-ordinator of the Qu’Appelle School for Mission and Ministry, said her province has started to address concerns over cultural sensitivity.

“We’ve had to broaden our understanding, and to look beyond Western, European understandings of culture and context,” Harper said. She noted that during her time as secretary, training of assessors included a discussion about the need to take different cultural expectations and understandings into account when interviewing candidates.

When asked whether further changes are needed, Harper said she thinks so, but added that this should be seen as being part of ongoing debates about the Canadian Anglican theology of the priesthood in the 21st century.

“With our changing understanding [of the priesthood]… I think some significant conversations need to happen which will affect ACPO—which should affect ACPO, in the way assessors are chosen and in the way assessors are prepared for the discernment that we do,” she said.

But despite the discussions taking place about ACPO, Cliff, House and Harper think it is still the best framework for helping future leaders of the church discern their call.

“I think ACPO is a tool that we can reform to do the job we need doing,” said Cliff. “I don’t think we should scrap it if it can be made to work in our various contexts.”


About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

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


Anglican Journal News, March 15, 2017

Lambeth Design Group puts down foundations for Lambeth 2020 planning

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

Posted on: March 10, 2017

The Lambeth Design Group has been meeting this week at the Anglican Communion Office in London, to plan for Lambeth 2020. The group, coming together for the first time, has been chaired by the Archbishop of Capetown, Thabo Makgoba, who described the initial sessions as “very encouraging.” An early decision was to fix the venue for Canterbury, starting in the last week of July, 2020.

Among those taking part was the Bishop of Nairobi, Joel Waweru Mwangi, the Bishop of Sabah, Melter Jiki Tais, the Bishop of Dallas, Dr George Sumner, the Moderator of the Church of North India and Bishop of Amritsar, Pradeep Samantaroy, the Revd Dr Robert Heaney of Virginia Theological Seminary, Mrs Josephine Mujawiyera from Rwanda and Ms Cathrine Ngangira, a member of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace.

ACNS LC Design Grp 1

Archbishop Thabo described the atmosphere as robust: “We didn’t gloss over the issues before us and we acknowledged we can only do it through the prayers of others and through an interrogation of the missional issues before us.” Archbishop Thabo said the theme that emerged for Lambeth 2020, God’s Church for God’s world, would encourage a celebration of difference: “I am humbled by the fact that in spite of the challenges there are people that are willing to celebrate the gift of the Anglican Communion and the fact that we were addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that is an affirmation of the process.”

ACNS LC Design Grp 3

Bishop Samantaroy described the theme of “God’s Church for God’s world as “inclusive and contemporary – because it gives room to include a lot of issues and is theologically very rich; I am hopeful the ambience of Lambeth 2020 will be a celebration of our diversity. ”Josephine Mujawiyera said the week showed that whilst “we are all different in the Church,  we can talk the same language. Everyone here has been concerned about Lambeth 2020 and tackling the issues that are affecting the Communion. There is  a feeling that the group is responsible for and working towards the success of Lambeth 2020. We have a desire that the outcome of 2020 should be a strengthening of the Communion, despite our differences.” The Revd Robert Heaney said there was  a good spirit in the room and that difficult issues weren’t avoided: “As followers of Jesus how can we not have hope –  even amid conflict and differences?”  Cathrine Ngangira,  in her early twenties, from Zimbabwe said it was really exciting to be part of the group : “When I received the invitation to be part of this I thought maybe it was a dream. Walking into morning prayer on the first day I shivered. Being the only young person I am positively looking forward to working in this team and to the conference. I feel this is going to be exciting.  But not easy. However this week, what we have managed to cover, I am encouraged by the coming together and the fellowship -we have become more like family. We come from all these different places and this week we have shaped the structure of how we are going to get to Lambeth 2020.”


ACNS LC Design Grp 4

Archbishop Thabo said the role of spouses at Lambeth 2020 was also being examined, with the possibility of them being brought more into the mainstream of proceedings rather than having a parallel programme – “to reflect that we do ministry together and that spouses help Bishops to fulfil their ministry.”

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon said:  “the team, coming from diverse cultural backgrounds,  blended very well. The half-day retreat with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the midday Eucharist helped to get us focused on Christ and His Church of which the Communion is a part. I praise the Lord for what we were able to achieve even at this first meeting. I am encouraged and hopeful of bigger and better things ahead.”

Archbishop Thabo: “God is smiling because there is a group of dedicated Episcopalians and Anglicans from all over the Anglican Communion, put together by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General, who are committed to birthing an innovative, creative Lambeth Conference, where we could listen to each other under God and in our own contexts and commit, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to participate in what God is up to in the world.”


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Friday 10 March, 2017