Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Primate’s commission sees long road ahead

Posted on: November 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Leigh Anne Williams

 

The Rev. Andrew Wesley offered CoGS members some insights into aboriginal spirituality. He and Archbishop Terence Finlay (right) gave a briefing about the work of the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Healing.  Photo: Leigh Anne Williams


Mississauga, Ont.
On Nov. 15, Archbishop Terence Finlay and the Rev. Andrew Wesley updated the Council of General Synod (CoGS) on the work of the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Healing.

The commission, created on the recommendation of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), is looking for ways to put General Synod’s 2010 repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery into meaningful action, to move forward with the work of reconciliation and to address ongoing injustices faced by indigenous communities in Canada.

The 17-member commission held its second meeting at St. Peter’s Church on the Six Nations Reserve in southwestern Ontario from Nov. 6 to 8, welcoming Janaki Bandara from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to the commission.

Finlay and Wesley reported that the commission began to develop a theological reflection on the Doctrine of Discovery, its continuing impact and ways that it might be dismantled. Secondly, members discussed “what reconciliation looks like in parishes and communities, particularly around the understanding of healing and wholeness and the Circle of Life,” which Wesley explained is a part of the teachings of the medicine wheel. Thirdly, they explored how the quality of life in indigenous communities could be improved by understanding the nature of treaties and the Indian Act, an act that he said “crippled the aboriginal people” after it was passed in 1951 and became law.

The commission discussed the importance of grassroots contributions. Responding to questions and comments from CoGS members, Finlay said he is “continually amazed” by how much the Doctrine of Discovery is a part of the non-indigenous way of life. “If you can identify ways in which you see that, please write them down and let us have them because those are signposts for us,” he told them.

Finlay said that the group recognizes that they will be able to offer only an interim report to General Synod 2016 because of “the immense breadth” of the three subjects they are studying.

At the end of the presentation, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he rejoiced that ACIP gave the church this direction, since the term of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will end in June 2015.   “I think that we can say, not in a boastful kind of way…but in a good way, that our church has a plan in terms of its commitment beyond supporting the mandate of the TRC.”

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Anglican Journal News, November 21, 2014

ACIP calls for change in church structure

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

 

The Ven. Sidney Black, the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald, and Judith Moses from the Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinating Committee at Council of General Synod. Photo: André Forget.


Mississauga, Ont.

On Nov. 17, representatives of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) presented a statement to the Council of General Synod (CoGS) calling for the church to allow space for structures of governance that are more in line with indigenous ways of thinking about leadership and power, and to support the movement of indigenous Anglicans toward self-determination.

The statement suggests beginning a process of consultation to develop a plan for indigenous ministry in the whole church, not just in particular regions like Mishamikoweesh, and to develop “an effective, just, and sustainable” plan to share resources, stating that “it is now time for Indigenous People to be given the primary leadership over the planning, use, and accounting of their own resources.”

The statement, titled “Where We Are Today: Twenty Years after the Covenant, an Indigenous Call to Church Leadership,” expresses gratitude for the “great progress towards Indigenous self-determination in the past few years” while noting the extent to which indigenous people are “still hindered by the effects and structures of colonialism.” The statement outlines some of the principles undergirding indigenous self-determination and the steps that should be taken toward implementing them.

It was presented jointly by ACIP co-chair Archdeacon Sidney Black, Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, indigenous ministries co-ordinator, the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.

In the 20 years since indigenous Anglicans extended “a hand of partnership” to the non-indigenous members of the church through the Covenant of 1994, some progress has been made, said the statement. The creation of ACIP, the creation of the position of National Indigenous Bishop and most recently the creation of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh have all been steps toward building, as the Covenant says, “a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada.”

But while steps have been taken, the journey is incomplete, said ACIP. The statement identified leadership structure as one of the key issues that need to be addressed. “Our natural cultural structures spread authority out among the people and generations, on a level ground,” the statement said. “This is in contrast to Western models—familiar to us in our relationships with both the government and the church—which are vertical and top-down.” It goes on to point out that such structures have been deeply problematic for indigenous people throughout history and to the present day. “[These structures] are disruptive, in many ways, to our natural way of doing things. The structure of the Church often is in conflict with the way our societies are structured.”

Another concern expressed was the way in which funds allocated for indigenous ministries have been used. The Anglican Church of Canada, the statement said, “must make a careful evaluation of the ways that money has been spent in the name of Indigenous ministry, historically and in the present,” going on to point out that a great deal of money has been raised “in the name of serving Indigenous Peoples,” and consequently indigenous Anglicans “desire to see these resources used in the very best, just, and appropriate way.”

The statement also expressed concern about how the Council of the North (CoN), which is composed of nine financially assisted dioceses in the North, and similar institutions were serving indigenous peoples. The statement described such institutions as “divided in their vision by their various diocesan concerns” and “[led,] for the most part, by non-Indigenous leaders and Western governance models.” Because of this, “those structures that have been developed to express Indigenous points of view…are almost all subject to the patterns and oversight of a very different and often problematic pattern of leadership,” it added.

The bishop of the diocese of Saskatchewan and chair of the CoN, Michael Hawkins, was not present at CoGS. When the Journal contacted him, he had not yet had a chance to read the statement.

Throughout the statement, ACIP put great emphasis on “placing the Gospel in the centre of the Sacred Circle” and of walking in fellowship alongside non-Indigenous Anglicans through this process.

Following the presentation, the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, asked MacDonald to clarify the nature of the statement as a document in process, at which point MacDonald stressed that it was a “working document” open to input from many partners, including the Sacred Circle, the House of Bishops, CoGS and the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice.

Bishop Larry Robertson, of the diocese of Yukon, was the first to share his thoughts during the question period, saying that the document offered him both “great joy” at the step forward it represents, and also a feeling that it will not be easy to let go of a ministry he has committed his life to. “I have no idea what’s going to happen,” he said, “but I see this as the future.”

The Rev. Lynne McNaughton, clergy delegate from the diocese of New Westminster, followed Robertson by asking if more time could be allocated to a discussion of the statement in the afternoon, suggesting that members might need some time to process what they had heard and read.

When the session reconvened later, there were many questions, most of them reflecting both a significant amount of goodwill and a certain anxiety about the specifics of what moving forward would look like.

Jane Alexander, bishop of the diocese of Edmonton, expressed concern about the indigenous ministry in which she is involved in her own diocese and the appropriateness of diocesan leadership there in light of the statement’s comments about non-indigenous leadership structures. She suggested that at the next CoGS or the next General Synod a restructuring circle be put together, involving people from ACIP and General Synod, to look at how entities like the CoN could be refashioned to meet present needs and realities.

Deputy Prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner, of the diocese of Western Newfoundland, noted that one of the problems for many non-indigenous Anglicans is simply a dearth of knowledge about how indigenous leadership structures work, and a need for non-indigenous Anglicans to learn more about indigenous ways of thinking.

For others, such as Bishop John Chapman of the diocese of Ottawa, a major question was how issues of doctrine would be dealt with, given that, as it stands, there is a hierarchical structure that oversees such matters. He also suggested that one of the biggest challenges non-indigenous Anglicans will face throughout this process will simply be “getting out of the way.”

MacDonald responded to these questions and concerns by telling CoGS that indigenous Anglicans are speaking from a position of vulnerability, and are aware that what they are saying may make people uncomfortable, but that “when we say we are brothers and sisters, we mean it—it isn’t just rhetoric.”

He also noted that when indigenous Anglicans speak of working horizontally and toward the circle, they want to work horizontally with everyone. “We’re already acting more like a circle than we were—in diocese after diocese, they’re relating to us as a circle. We don’t wish to vertically take over that process.”

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Anglican Journal News, November 18, 2014

Commission considers impact of proposed canon change

Posted on: November 17th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Leigh Anne Williams

 

Commission clerk Bruce Myers and member Bishop Linda Nicholls at the Council of General Synod meeting in Mississauga on Nov. 15.   Photo: Leigh Anne Williams


 

Mississauga, Ont.

The Commission on the Marriage Canon’s final report will incorporate not only the submissions received from Anglicans across Canada, but will also reflect consultations about how changing the church’s law to allow for same-sex marriage might affect relationships within and outside of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“It’s clear that as we engage our conversation around this potential canon, it has implications for our relationships with others — our relationships across the Anglican Communion and our relationships with our ecumenical partners,”

Bishop Linda Nicholls, a member of the commission, told the fall meeting of Council of General Synod (CoGS) Nov. 15.  “And so we have sought deliberately consultation with those different groups.”

Of these consultations, “probably the one that would be most challenging is the Anglican – Roman Catholic conversation,” said Nicholls, who is co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada. She did not elaborate, but noted that the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada and the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada both met recently and began discussion about what it would mean if the Anglican church changed its canon to allow for same-sex marriage.  In a statement following their meetings Nov. 8 to 12, members of the Anglian-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada said they intend to continue the discussions on marriage and related ecclesiological questions and produce a statement for the Anglican Church of Canada’s consideration.

In recent years, same-sex blessings that have occurred in some Anglican/Episcopal churches in North America have hindered Anglican-Roman Catholic and other ecumenical dialogues at the international level. For example, from 2003 to 2005, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission suspended its activities as the Anglican Communion struggled with deep divisions over the issue of sexuality. In Canada, however, where Anglicans and Roman Catholics have been in conversations since 1971, both churches remained in dialogue amidst the same-sex blessings controversy.

Nicholls, who updated CoGS on the progress of the commission’s work, also said a particularly critical question facing the commission is how a change to the marriage canon would affect the conversations with indigenous peoples within the Anglican Church of Canada.  “This is a painful conversation and a difficult one for our indigenous peoples with our church for a variety of reasons, and we want to listen carefully to the concerns that our indigenous peoples have in relation to this,” said Nicholls. She noted that the structures of General Synod are very different from the way an indigenous community might begin to discuss an issue like this.

Commissioners met with National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald and Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh on Nov. 14, just as the meeting of CoGS was beginning and shared a written statement that included a perspective from Bishop Adam Halkett of the diocese of Saskatchewan. Nicholls said the commission was “still absorbing” contents of that statement and “deciding how best we can approach this.”

With regards to other churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) already allows ministers to perform same-sex blessings or marriages, and Lutheran members of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission have shared their experience, which has been “both painful in some areas and welcomed in others,” Nicholls said. Members of the Anglican United Church Dialogue have also shared their experience when the United Church of Canada made a similar decision, she added.

The commission has consulted with Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan in her role as the director of Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion. Barnett-Cowan is expected to take the question of how such a change would been seen to the International Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order when it meets in December and to send some comments back to the commission, said Nicholls.

She noted that the motion from General Synod 2013 asked CoGS to draft a resolution and delineate a biblical and theological rationale for amending the canon.

Meanwhile, commission chair Canon (lay) Robert Falby said that the commission is also looking at rationales for refusing to amend the canon. “They are included in the submissions that were made to us and they will be reflected in the report.”

“We also recognize that at some level, this is a no-win proposition,” added Nicholls. “Whatever we put forward, there will be those who are unhappy, in pain, struggling.”

The commissioners hope to produce a report that raises questions about the implications of changing the canon that General Synod needs to consider, said Nicholls. “They might be implications for our communion relationships, our ecumenical relationships, they might be implications for our theology… We want people to be able to see the whole picture.”

Nicholls also said that the commission’s final report to COGS would need to be in a form that can be used as a resource for the General Synod delegates in preparation for their meeting in 2016. “We want to produce a resource that is concise and readable for everyone… with full appendices and footnotes for those want more in-depth [information.]”

Falby said that although it was beyond their mandate, the commissioners are concerned about the process for dealing with the marriage canon issue at General Synod.  “We need to have appropriate consultation with indigenous people. We need to have this discussion in a manner where people can be heard, something of the nature of what we did in 2010 on the issue of blessing of same-gender unions,” he said.

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Anglican Journal News, November 15, 2014

Anglican-Catholic dialogues discuss marriage, physician-assisted suicide

Posted on: November 16th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Representatives of Canada’s Anglican and Catholic churches recently met for five days of diverse discussions characterized by candour and charity. The joint and separate meetings of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada and the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada took place November 8-12, 2015 at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

The discussions included the Anglican Church of Canada’s current discernment about expanding its canonical definition of marriage to include same-gender couples. In a spirit of broad consultation, the Anglican Church has invited the input of its ecumenical partners on this question, and the members of both dialogues engaged in a frank and friendly theological exchange. The Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue will continue these discussions on marriage, as well as related ecclesiological questions, and produce a statement for the Anglican Church of Canada’s consideration.
The members of the dialogues also welcomed as a guest Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, the head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. The Ordinariate was created by the Roman Catholic Church in 2009 as a means by which Anglicans or former Anglicans who wished to come into full communion with the Bishop of Rome could do so corporately, while still maintaining certain aspects of Anglican patrimony.
Monsignor Steenson outlined the Ordinariate’s development in North America and engaged in a candid and respectful dialogue about how different paths for Anglicans and Roman Catholics to fuller, visible unity may coexist.
In a related discussion, the members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada reviewed their pastoral guidelines on clergy moving from one communion to the other. They also explored what the two churches might be able to say in common about physician-assisted suicide, an issue that has resurfaced on the national agenda.
Next steps were also determined for a common witness project called Did You Ever Wonder… This series of video and textual reflections offers responses from our shared Anglican and Catholic traditions on some of “life’s big questions”.
The gathering included a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, which initiated the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in the ecumenical movement and identified the restoration of the full visible unity of the church as one of its principle concerns. A liturgy celebrating the Decree’s anniversary was held at Saint James’ Cathedral in Toronto on November 9. It was attended by the members of both dialogue groups, by His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, the Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, and by the Most Rev. Colin Johnson, the Anglican Archbishop of Toronto. The liturgy was followed by a presentation which included addresses by the Rev. Dr. Alan Hayes, Dr. Michael Attridge, and Dr. Harry McSorley.
The official theological dialogue between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Roman Catholic Church in this country (under the aegis of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops) began in 1971. Four years later, a second bilateral dialogue was established between Canadian Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops. Both dialogues are dedicated to helping Canadian Anglicans and Roman Catholics become more aware of the existing high level of theological agreement our two churches already share, and helping them find ways to tangibly express that unity in mission together.

 

The members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada are:

Anglican

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls (co-chair)

The Rev. Dr. Eileen Conway

The Rev. Dr. Kevin Flynn

Dr. Joseph Mangina

The Rev. Canon Dr. David Neelands

The Ven. Bruce Myers (staff)

 

Roman Catholic

The Most Rev. Donald Bolen (co-chair)

Dr. Catherine Clifford

Mr. Julien Hammond

The Rev. Dr. Raymond Lafontaine

The Rev. Alexander Laschuk

Mrs. Annette Hrywna (staff)

 

Ecumenical observer

The Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada)

 

The members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada are:

Anglican

The Rt. Rev. Barry Clarke (co-chair)

The Rt. Rev. Peter Coffin

The Rt. Rev. David Irving

The Rt. Rev. Michael Oulton

The Most Rev. John Privett

The Ven. Bruce Myers (staff)

 

Roman Catholic

The Most Rev. Gary Gordon (co-chair)

The Most Rev. Brian Dunn

Mgr François Lapierre, P.M.É.

The Most Rev. John S. Pazak, C.Ss.R.

The Most Rev. Albert Thévenot, M.Afr.

Mr. Kyle Ferguson (staff)

 

For more information, contact:

Mr. Kyle Ferguson

Advisor for Ecclesial and Interfaith Relations

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

k.ferguson@cccb.ca

 

Archdeacon Bruce Myers

Coordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations

Anglican Church of Canada

bmyers@national.anglican.ca

 

Les dialogues entre anglicans et catholiques discutent du mariage et de l’aide médicale à mourir

Des représentants des Églises anglicane et catholique du Canada se sont rencontrés récemment pendant cinq jours pour des discussions marquées au coin de la franchise et de la charité. Les réunions conjointes et séparées du Dialogue anglican-catholique romain du Canada et du Dialogue des évêques anglicans et catholiques romains du Canada ont eu lieu du 8 au 12 novembre 2015 au Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre de Mississauga, en Ontario.
Les discussions ont porté notamment sur le discernement que fait actuellement l’Église anglicane du Canada sur l’extension de sa définition canonique du mariage pour y inclure les couples de même genre. Soucieuse de procéder à une large consultation, l’Église anglicane a sollicité l’avis de ses partenaires œcuméniques sur cette question, et les membres des deux dialogues se sont engagés dans un échange théologique franc et amical. Le dialogue anglican-catholique romain poursuivra ces discussions sur le mariage, ainsi que sur des questions ecclésiologiques connexes, et produira un texte qui sera soumis à l’approbation de l’Église anglicane du Canada.
Les membres des dialogues ont aussi accueilli comme invité Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, qui est à la tête de l’Ordinariat personnel de la Chaire de Saint-Pierre. L’Ordinariat a été créé par l’Église catholique romaine en 2009 afin de permettre à des anglicans ou à d’anciens anglicans qui souhaitent entrer en pleine communion avec l’évêque de Rome de le faire collectivement tout en préservant certains aspects de l’héritage anglican.
Mgr Steenson a fait état de la croissance de l’Ordinariat en Amérique du Nord et a engagé un dialogue ouvert et respectueux sur la coexistence de différentes voies conduisant les anglicans et les catholiques romains vers une unité visible plus complète.
Dans une discussion connexe, les membres du Dialogue des évêques anglicans et catholiques romains du Canada ont examiné leurs directives pastorales respectives au sujet des prêtres qui passent d’une confession à l’autre. Ils ont aussi exploré ce que les deux Églises pourraient dire ensemble au sujet de l’aide médicale à mourir, un problème qui a ressurgi dans l’actualité au Canada.
Les prochaines étapes d’un projet de témoignage commun intitulé « Vous êtes-vous déjà demandé… » ont également été précisées. Cette série de vidéos et de textes de réflexion présente des réponses des deux traditions anglicane et catholique aux « grands problèmes de la vie ».
La réunion a souligné le 50e anniversaire de la publication du Décret sur l’œcuménisme du Concile Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio, qui a initié l’engagement de l’Église catholique romaine dans le mouvement œcuménique et identifié la restauration de l’unité visible complète comme l’une de ses priorités. Une célébration liturgique soulignant l’anniversaire du Décret a eu lieu le 9 novembre en la cathédrale Saint James de Toronto. Les membres des deux dialogues, Son Éminence M. le cardinal Thomas Collins, archevêque catholique de Toronto, et Mgr Colin Johnson, archevêque anglican de Toronto, étaient présents. La célébration liturgique a été suivie d’une séance publique avec des présentations de M. Alan Hayes, M. Michael Attridge et M. Harry McSorley.
Le dialogue théologique officiel entre l’Église anglicane du Canada et l’Église catholique romaine du Canada (sous l’égide de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada) a débuté au pays en 1971. Quatre ans plus tard, un second dialogue bilatéral a été institué entre les évêques anglicans et les évêques catholiques romains du Canada. Les deux dialogues permettent aux anglicans et aux catholiques canadiens de mieux comprendre le degré élevé d’entente théologique qui existe déjà entre les deux Églises, et aident les fidèles des deux Églises à trouver des façons de traduire cette unité doctrinale de manière tangible dans l’exercice conjoint de la mission.

 

Les membres du Dialogue anglican-catholique romain du Canada sont :

Anglican

Mgr Linda Nicholls (coprésidente)

Rév. Eileen Conway

Rév. Kevin Flynn

M. Joseph Mangina

Rév. chanoine David Neelands

Vén. Bruce Myers (membre du personnel)

 

Catholique romain

Mgr Donald Bolen (coprésident)

Mme Catherine Clifford

M. Julien Hammond

Père Raymond Lafontaine

Père Alexander Laschuk

Mme Annette Hrywna (membre du personnel)

 

Observateur œcuménique

Rév. Dr Matthew Anderson (Église évangélique luthérienne au Canada)

 

Les membres du Dialogue des évêques anglicans et catholiques romains du Canada sont :

Anglican

Mgr Barry Clarke (coprésident)

Mgr Peter Coffin

Mgr David Irving

Mgr Michael Oulton

Mgr John Privett

Vén. Bruce Myers (membre du personnel)

 

Catholique romain

Mgr Gary Gordon (coprésident)

Mgr Brian Dunn

Mgr François Lapierre, P.M.É.

Mgr John S. Pazak, C.Ss.R.

Mgr Albert Thévenot, M.Afr.

M. Kyle Ferguson (membre du personnel)

 

Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec :

M. Kyle Ferguson

Conseiller pour les relations ecclésiales et interreligieuses

Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada

k.ferguson@cccb.ca

 

Archidiacre Bruce Myers

Coordonnateur pour les relations œcuméniques et interreligieuses

Église anglicane du Canada

bmyers@national.anglican.ca

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, November 14, 2014

African Primates meet bishops of The Episcopal Church in search of transformation through friendship

Posted on: November 13th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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A meeting of five African Primates with bishops of The Episcopal Church took place at the General Theological Seminary in New York, from the 8th to the 10th of October, 2014. It was convened by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jeffert-Schori. The meeting, described as groundbreaking, is the first in over a decade where a group of African Primates have met with leaders of The Episcopal Church to discuss matters of mutual interest in doing God’s mission.

Severe disagreements have tormented the Anglican Communion since 1998, paralysing the Communion’s formal channels of engagement and bringing the global family perilously close to a breaking point. Tensions reached a peak in the events leading up to the Lambeth Conference of 2008. In June of that year a new movement called the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) emerged in the Communion, threatening to derail the 14th Lambeth Conference. The movement quickly became a place of refuge for schismatic groups in The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada. It would subsequently claim to be a global alternative to the Anglican Communion itself.

Since then, tensions have been gradually receding. We have seen a growing number of bishops and Primates around the globe reaching out to one another, seeking to restore good working relationships among themselves. Most of this has been happening through small groups of leaders meeting outside the formal structures of the Communion.

One such process is the Canadian initiative known as the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. The Consultations are a series of conversations involving mainly African and Canadian bishops but now also including bishops from the Church of England and The Episcopal Church. The group has met every year since 2010 and has become an ad hoc voice of reconciliation in the Communion.

At their most recent meeting in Coventry UK, participants called for more informal gatherings of this kind. “They recognized a new opportunity focused on rebuilding trust among leaders.” says Canon Kawuki Mukasa, Global Relations Officer for Africa in the Anglican Church of Canada. “The formal structures of the Communion are for the moment frozen because of the on-going disputes. The most promising way forward,” he says, “is through informal networks where leaders have the opportunity to discuss issues and build relationships unencumbered by the confining protocols of formal structures.”

The meeting of African Primates with bishops of The Episcopal Church in New York was in part a direct response to this appeal. They acknowledged the abundance of gifts in the churches they represent and confessed their profound need for one another in fulfilling God’s will in their respective mission fields. They framed their conversation in the context of human dignity, the sustainability of ministry and the care for the earth, and discussed a wide range of subjects that provide opportunities for fruitful collaboration and sharing of one another’s gifts. “We have made a conscious decision to walk together,” they said, “in order to go the distance.” In their message to the wider church, the group expresses their fervent and urgent hope for a second Anglican Congress (this time on the African continent) to provide a new vision for global Anglicanism in the same way that the first Congress influenced the last few decades.

The full text of text of the group’s communiqué may be found here.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, November 3, 2014

Indigenous well-being integral to planet’s

Posted on: November 13th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Leigh Anne Williams

 

Participants at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which took place at UN headquarters in New York at the end of September, celebrated the unanimous adoption of a document recommitting nations to the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.             Photo: UN Photo/Yubi Hoffmann


Reflecting on his experience at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald said that in spite of the reservations expressed by the Canadian government about the document that renewed the international commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, there was much to be celebrated and heartened by.

Coinciding with the UN Summit on Climate Change held in New York in late September, the conference brought together more than 1,000 delegates from indigenous groups and governments from around the world, including some heads of state, UN officials and human rights organizations.

UN member states adopted an outcome document in which they renewed their commitment to the objectives of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights  of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration includes a commitment to consult and co-operate with indigenous peoples in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

MacDonald attended the meeting in his capacity as North American regional president for the World Council of Churches (WCC). “This tries to put the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into motion, to make them a reality and to translate them from beautiful sounding rhetoric into specific, strategic policy initiatives,” he told the Anglican Journal. “It was very good, but even at that point, it wasn’t quite as exciting as hearing a number of world leaders describe the well-being of indigenous peoples as integral to the well-being of the planet.”

Although the outcome document passed by unanimous consent, the Canadian government issued a statement saying that the commitment to obtaining free, prior and informed consent from indigenous people “could be interpreted as providing a veto to Aboriginal groups” that could not be reconciled with Canadian law.

“Essentially, Canada spit in the soup of the world community,” said MacDonald, who described the statement as rude and embarrassing. Although other countries’ records on the issue may be as bad or worse, he said, “Canada seems to have the one government with the audacity to criticize what is clearly the will of the nations.”

But the negative response from Canada shouldn’t be the primary narrative, MacDonald said. One of the most exciting aspects of the meeting, he added, was leaders’ recognition “that the wisdom and approach of indigenous peoples, and their front line presence in much of the threatened parts of the world, make them essential to any livable future for the planet.” __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, November 12, 2014

Conference highlights ‘rich heritage’ of church archives

Posted on: November 13th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget

 

Bishop Terry Brown talks to the Canadian Church Historical Society about the famous “Red Dean of Canterbury.” Photo: André Forget


 

On Oct. 31, the Canadian Church Historical Society (CCHS) met for its first conference in 12 years. The conference, organized to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the diocese of Toronto, was held at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College—a fitting location given that college’s prominent place in the history of the diocese. It brought together scholars and archivists interested in many areas of Canadian church history to build connections and awareness about the rich resources held in the diocesan and national church archives.

The conference kicked off with a panel on social justice. Michael Shapcott, director of housing and innovation at the Wellesley Institute and a founding partner of Canada’s Multi-Faith Alliance to End Homelessness, spoke about legendary Anglican worker-priest, activist and parliamentarian Dan Heap, who died earlier in 2014. He was followed by the former bishop of Malaita, Terry Brown, who presented a research paper on a visit to Toronto by the prominent 20th-century Marxist Anglican, Hewlett Johnson, the famous “Red Dean of Canterbury.” The last panellist to speak was Susan McCulloch, who spoke about the origins and development of FaithWorks, the Anglican aid and social support appeal.

The CCHS may not be a household name among Canadians, but it has a long history. Created by General Synod in 1927, the organization’s mandate was to foster academic work on the history of the church in Canada. It included scholars and clergy from across the country, and since 1950 has published findings in its official journal, the Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society.

When asked about the mission of the CCHS Journal, its new editor, the Rev. Daniel Graves, said he hoped it would become “the journal that people go to to publish Canadian church history.” He also noted that part of the publication’s role is to “connect the work of researchers and historians with the work of the Canadian Anglican archivists—basically linking people and resources together.”

The conference was organized by Graves in concert with national church archivist Nancy Hurn, diocese of Toronto archivist Mary-Anne Nicholls, doctoral history student Jonathan Lofft and Trinity College’s dean of divinity, David Neelands. It featured a total of seven panel discussions featuring 20 academics, and also hosted the CCHS’s annual general meeting, at which Brown was chosen as the new president and Lofft as the new secretary.

Speaking of the role of conferences such as this in the life of the church, Lofft suggested that one of their greatest services is simply perspective. “However uncertain our present times are, I think 175 years ago things were uncertain, too… What we see today—whether it’s good or bad—isn’t the way it’s always been and isn’t the way it always has to be.”

Nicholls added that the conference draws attention to one of the church’s valuable resources by bringing exposure to the extensive records kept by the national church and by the dioceses. “People are understanding the history, understanding the story, understanding the present, where we came from. So it’s really vital that we work together on something like this.”

This was a point that Graves echoed whole-heartedly. “We have a rich heritage in our archives across the country—they’re excellently managed and excellently run, but the profile isn’t always that high for those archives, and the particular holdings of those archives.”

The CCHS hopes that the conference’s proceedings will be published in the next issue of the Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society, and that the conference will become an annual event. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Anglican Journal News, November 5, 2014

Ambassador discusses Office of Religious Freedom

Posted on: November 12th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget

 

“When we speak out for religious freedom, we are not engaging in theological debate; we are talking about human rights,” says Canada’s ambassador for the Office of Religious Freedom. Photo:  André Forget


 

Students, religious leaders, activists and scholars packed the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre Nov. 3 to hear Canada’s ambassador for the Office of Religious Freedom, Andrew Bennett, participate in a panel discussion with prominent Canadian political scientist Melissa Williams and legal scholar Anna Su about religious freedom in an international context.

Bennett, who was appointed the first ambassador for the Office of Religious Freedom after the position was created in February 2013, spoke about the purpose and responsibilities of his office and the work it has been involved in globally. He was careful to point out from the very beginning that although he is himself an Eastern Catholic, his position as ambassador is non-partisan. “When we speak out for religious freedom, we are not engaging in theological debate; we are talking about human rights.”

This may have been in part to assuage concerns that have been voiced since the creation of the position about the neutrality of its mission. Indeed, it was precisely this neutrality that Williams challenged in her statements about moral idealism vs. realism in politics. Even the most altruistic goals in foreign policy, she suggested, are always tied to interests at home, pointing out that, “Sometimes, we are selective about the human rights issues we choose to act on.”

Williams argued that in order for humanitarian branches of government such as the Office of Religious Freedom to function, they must exist at arm’s-length from the government in power. “Priority-setting should be based on the most urgent threats to religious freedom, rather than on considerations of national self-interest…or on the interests of the ruling party in getting re-elected.”

Su also questioned the neutrality of the office, but her arguments centred on more philosophical questions such as whether a Canadian definition of “religion” would favour established faiths such as Christianity, and the degree to which a Canadian understanding of pluralism could be applied everywhere. She suggested that “it seems quite abstract to imagine what the Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance would look like in places where the general background has nothing in common with the liberal democratic Canadian state,” and went on to ask if there was “an implicit assumption that Canadian values are also universal values.”

Bennett responded to Williams and Su by citing his track record of engaging with a diverse number of religious groups from around the world, and his independence as an ambassador to engage “frankly” with his interlocutors in places like China and Saudi Arabia, which have close trade and diplomatic relationships with Canada, but have human rights records that are, to say the least, troubling. Addressing concerns that the office might ignore the concerns and rights of non-religious groups like atheists or humanists, Bennett also stated that, “religious freedom must encompass the freedom to have no religion.”

However, while Bennett pointed out that when it comes to programming, his office—which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development—receives and considers proposals from the broader population and has a great deal of autonomy in choosing which projects to fund. Later, in an interview with the Anglican Journal, he said that the final say on which proposals would be given funding belonged to the departmental minister, a position currently held by John Baird.

So far, however, the office has been very broad in its advocacy, speaking out on behalf of Shia Muslims, Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, Baha’i’s in Iran and Christians in Ukraine and China, among many others.

The event was sponsored by the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, the University of Toronto Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative, the Canadian Interfaith Conversation and the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre. It began with music by the Ismaili Youth Vocalists, followed by comments from Multi-Faith Centre director Richard Chambers and Toronto Area Interfaith Council chair Zul Kassamali. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anglican Journal News, November 7, 2014

Anglican, Catholic colleges build ecumenical bridges

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

By André Forget

 

Ambassador Andrew Bennett addresses Wycliffe College and St. Augustine Seminary students at Wycliffe College. Photo: André Forget.


 

Earlier this week, seminarians at St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Scarborough, Ont., were invited to join the Wycliffe College community in Toronto for an evening of ecumenical fellowship and a lecture from Andrew Bennett, Canada’s ambassador to the Office of Religious Freedom.

The evening was structured in three parts, beginning with a service of evening prayer featuring a sermon by the Rev. John-Mark Missio, lecturer in pastoral theology at St. Augustine. The service was followed by a shared meal and Bennett’s lecture.

Such events have been taking place on an annual basis for some 10 years, according to the Rev. Dr. Peter Robinson, who teaches worship and ministry at Wycliffe College, and grew out of a friendship between their respective presidents. Robinson noted that such events are held in the spirit of ecumenism, with the hope that they will give Catholics and Anglicans an opportunity to get to know each other.

The choice of speaker underscored this dimension. The Office of Religious Freedom, which was established by the government of Canada in February 2013, was created to address the rise of religious persecution around the world, and in his address Bennett stressed that working from the principles that all religious and non-religious people hold in common—such as the dignity of human life and respect for the rule of law—is the way to work toward a more peaceful world.

James Fleming, a seminarian in his fifth year of formation at St. Augustine’s and originally from St. John’s, Nfld., found this point to be an especially salient one in connection to the ecumenical relationship between Roman Catholics and Anglicans. “The Catholic Church” he noted, “has really encouraged us to reach out with other Christians and unite on subjects that are of key importance to the human good.”

Citing his own experience working in hospital chaplaincies, Fleming said that this kind of inter-denominational co-operation is already the reality for many members of the clergy. “When I was outside the seminary working in pastoral ministry, I was working with different denominations all the time.”

Fleming also suggested that the joint Wycliffe-St. Augustine’s events are a “foretaste” of what he expects his future experiences as a minister to be like. “I think work among different denominations will become more and more significant,” he said, “so we’re trying to form those bonds, and wrestle with how that looks and what kind of shape it will take in the world.”

Students from Wycliffe seemed to generally agree. Dan McMullen, a second-year divinity student who participated in a similar event with St. Augustine’s students the year before, expressed his desire for more opportunities to engage ecumenically. “I wish this happened more,” he said, noting that Wycliffe students often do not even engage with fellow Anglicans across the street at Trinity College.

St. Augustine’s Seminary and Wycliffe College are both part of the Toronto School of Theology.

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Anglican Journal News, November 10, 2014

WCC statement to influence thinking in mission education

Posted on: October 29th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Mark Oxbrow

 

WCC News service

A World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa has discussed creative ways of using the WCC statement in mission education and curriculum. The WCC statement, titled “Together towards life: Mission and evangelism in changing landscapes”, seeks a renewed understanding and practice of mission and evangelism.

A number of examples from the work of churches and educational institutions on the use of the WCC mission statement were highlighted at the consultation.

Organized by the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), the consultation was held from 20 to 24 October. The event brought together some 30 participants, including representatives of the CWME, missiologists, church leaders and mission practitioners.

The consultation was hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Prof. Roderick Hewitt and Dr Chammah Kaunda, who have used the mission statement as a resource at church leadership training in Swaziland, shared their experiences. They said that with “powerful and transformative dynamism the statement offered a new approach to education”. This is because the “missional position of the church in the age of secularism is situated at the margins of the society. The transformation never genuinely happens at the centre but at the margins where people are seeking ‘fullness of life’,” added Hewitt.

“I am convinced that using the mission statement in the curriculum is crucial in influencing the thinking on mission,” said Prof. Kirsteen Kim. She said the “nature of mission studies needs to be couched in a pneumatological framework and informed by the world Christianity paradigm”.

“An urgent challenge facing the churches today is the formation of mission-minded leadership. The good news is that help is on the way,” said Prof. Kenneth Ross. “The Pietermaritzburg consultation has launched a process that aims to deliver a ground-breaking mission studies curriculum, based on the widely acclaimed mission statement,” Ross added.

Dr Atola Longkumer commented that “organizing a consultation in Pietermaritzburg is significant as the mission statement is used by the University of KwaZulu-Natal”. She said the “academic faculty and mission practitioners at the university have used diverse insights offered by the statement, widening perspectives and understanding of mission”.

“As the vision provided by the statement becomes part of the church’s mission, we will be in a whole lot of ‘trouble’ and joy,” said Rev. Dr Peter Cruchley-Jones. “As I think about bureaucracies, anxieties and vanities of the church, I pray most devoutly: come Holy Spirit! Transform us for life,” he said.

Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, the CWME secretary, said that the commission is now focusing on the contextualization of the mission statement by developing location-specific training modules and curriculum on missional formation. He said “these resources are to be used in congregations, theological schools and training centres for mission practitioners for the next three years, while we make our way towards the next World Mission Conference in 2018”.

Read the CWME statement on mission and evangelism

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Anglican Witness, October 29, 2014