Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Canada should welcome more refugees in the time of Trump, say church groups & NGOs

Posted on: February 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on February, 15 2017

Protesters denounce the Trump administration’s refugee and immigration policies in front of the U.S. Consulate in Toronto February 4. Photo: arindambanerjee/Shutterstock

Refugee advocates speaking on behalf of several Christian and civil society groups say Canada should expand its refugee resettlement efforts following the Trump administration’s January 27 executive order attempting to suspend refugee acceptance to the United States for 120 days.

Specifically, there have been calls for the government to increase the number of refugees it accepts in 2017 and strike down the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between Canada and the U.S., which allows Canadian border guards to refuse entrance to asylum seekers crossing into the country overland from the U.S.

Gloria Nafziger, an Anglican who serves as refugee co-ordinator for Amnesty International Canada, said that while the STCA has always been problematic, recent events in the U.S. have made lifting it a priority.

“It is Amnesty’s view that…the United States no longer conforms to the [UN] Refugee Convention [of 1951], and as such is not a partner—or cannot be considered a partner for the purposes of the agreement,” she says. She noted that the agreement was made under the assumption that both countries would adhere to and abide by the convention.

Trump’s executive order is currently on hold after several federal courts issued temporary restraining orders blocking its enforcement. But U.S. officials are considering revising the order to circumvent the legal challenges to it, according to a Bloomberg News report.

The order prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. “indefinitely” and suspends the country’s refugee system for 120 days. It also bars entry to the U.S. for 90 days of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Nafziger says there is a “wonderful role” for churches to express concerns about the safety of refugees and immigrants in the U.S., and to participate in legal action challenging the STCA.

“I think voices from a faith community are very, very important, in terms of speaking out against the anti-Muslim rhetoric and the hate rhetoric that is directed toward immigrants and refugees,” she says, adding that churches might choose to support legal claims on behalf of refugee claimants.

The STCA, which took effect in 2004, requires asylum seekers to apply for refugee status “in the first safe country they arrive in,” unless they meet certain exemptions, including being an unaccompanied minor and having family members in Canada.

The agreement prevents asylum seekers from claiming refugee status at the border, but they are still able to do so if they can make a claim inland, after having already crossed into the country.

While the executive order suspending refugee acceptance is being contested in U.S. courts, recent months have seen a sharp increase in the number of refugees crossing the border illegally to apply for refugee status in Canada.

According to a Canadian Border Services Agency spokesperson quoted by the CBC, 410 asylum seekers crossed the border at Emerson, Manitoba between April and December 2016. Dozens more have arrived in 2017, according to reports by The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and CBC.

The route between North Dakota and Manitoba exposes asylum seekers to harsh winds and sub-zero conditions, sometimes for hours. According to another CBC story, Ghanian refugees Sidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal lost their fingers to frostbite while attempting to make the crossing in December.

On January 31, over 200 law professors from across Canada signed an open letter to the government calling for the immediate suspension of the STCA.

However, while Trudeau responded to the executive order by tweeting that Canada would welcome “those fleeing persecution, terror & war,” there has been no increase in the target numbers for refugee resettlement. Nor has the government indicated it will consider withdrawing from the STCA.

“If [Trudeau] thinks that refugees are welcome here, the act that would actually show that we are serious about that is removing or dissolving [the STCA],” says Jenn McIntyre, director of Toronto-based refugee settlement agency Romero House.

McIntyre notes that the Canadian government took some measures to help refugees following the passage of the executive order, such as offering temporary residence permits to refugees stranded in Canada. However, she adds that such actions do little to help asylum seekers hoping to take refuge in the country on a more permanent basis.

The Rev. Jeffrey Metcalfe, an Anglican priest pursuing doctorate-level research into the church’s response to refugees at the University of Toronto, calls the STCA a “morally abhorrent policy.”

The STCA allows Canada to turn away refugee claimants at the border, even if they would normally meet Canada’s standards for refugee status, he says.

While recent decisions by the U.S. government have exposed the STCA to heightened criticism, the agreement has long been a target of church and civil society groups advocating on behalf of refugees.

In 2006, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Refugees, and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) were involved in a legal challenge to the agreement on the basis that it was unlawful insofar as it breached the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as international human rights laws.

The challenge was upheld by the Federal Court, but overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2008. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

However, when the Journal contacted Peter Noteboom, CCC deputy general secretary and association secretary for justice and peace, said this time around there wasn’t “full consensus” among members for the council to ask that the agreement to be struck down completely.

Noteboom said this had less to do with disagreement about the agreement itself than with “tactics” around how the CCC should engage the issue.

He noted that a letter to the government is being drafted, which calls for a review and assessment of the STCA, the raising of the cap on refugee resettlement numbers for 2017, and for the shortage of housing available to refugee claimants to be addressed.

These were also issues raised by two Anglican dioceses in recent statements.

The diocese of British Columbia issued a statement on February 7 calling on the Federal government to increase its 2017 targets for refugee resettlement by 7,000 given the “unprecedented need” for Canada to play a greater role in the wake of Trump’s executive order.

The diocese of Toronto released a short video in January calling on Anglicans to open their homes to refugee claimants arriving in Toronto.

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, February 17, 2017

Theological education at the crossroads

Posted on: February 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on February, 16 2017

Archdeacon Bill Harrison, director for mission and ministry in the diocese of Huron, says Anglicans need to acknowledge that priests “serve the church, but they are not the church.”
Photo: André Forget

Niagara Falls, Ont.

As the number of Anglicans in Canada decreases and churches close, the parish model—in which every church has a priest and every priest is full-time—is rapidly becoming a relic of the past. How can the Anglican Church of Canada train priests to serve in this new, more uncertain reality?

This was the question posed to a group of 70 priests, educators, bishops, diocesan and theological college support staff at the beginning of the conference on theological education and the training of priests held Feb. 14.

In a wide-ranging address, Archdeacon Bill Harrison, director for mission and ministry in the diocese of Huron, said that meeting the challenge of this question requires the church to see the role of the priest as one that has evolved throughout Christian history.

Anglicans need to acknowledge that “priests serve the church, but they are not the church,” he said.

Harrison’s presentation was the first of the four-day gathering called Equipping the Saints: A National Gathering on Local Initiatives in Theological Education for Priestly Ministry.

Organized by the Rev. Eileen Scully, director of the national church’s faith, worship and ministry department, the conference was designed to provide a forum for discussing alternatives to the MDiv as a way of training priests, and to talk about the place of priests trained through alternative programs in the Canadian church.

Harrison began his talk by noting that over the past 500 hundred years, priests have been expected to take on an ever-growing list of duties. Not only are they asked to be sacramental ministers and preachers, they are also trained to be teachers, scholars, leaders, counsellors and social justice advocates.

Through the MDiv, seminaries have attempted to equip candidates for the priesthood with the skills they need to discharge all of these responsibilities. The result, Harrison said, is a church that tends to place too much responsibility for too many things on the shoulders of its priests.

“I wonder whether the effort to cover all of those bases through priestly preparation may have been a mistake,” he said. “I wonder whether we have, unintentionally, contributed to the sense that the church is primarily a priestly organization rather than a community of all the baptized.”

At the same time, the Canadian church also has a long history as a missionary church, in which it has often been impossible to expect every priest to hold an MDiv and attend seminary for three years.

“We have a substantial history of ordaining people without the MDiv degree or equivalent,” he said. This history is a reminder that Canadian Anglicans have long had to be flexible and attentive to their local contexts when it comes to training and recognizing ministers, he said.

Harrison closed his talk by posing four questions he believes the church must grapple with as it considers the future of training for ministry.

First, is it possible to imagine priests who are not trained to fulfill all the above-mentioned roles, and if so, under what circumstances might this be acceptable? Second, has the pressure created by needing to fill all these roles distracted from the imperative to evangelize and create disciples? Third, should the training of priests be considered in relation to the training of deacons and lay people? Finally, what impact should the growth of less traditional forms of ministry have on the formation of priests?

While he did not provide answers to these questions, Harrison said he hoped they would guide the discussion at the conference.

Debates over theological education and the formation of priests in the Anglican Church of Canada are nothing new, however. As Harrison and Scully both noted, they have been going on for the past 20 years.

In 1998, the Anglican church held a series of consultations on discernment for ministry with the intention of creating “national standards” for theological education and priestly formation. This led to a theological education commission that looked at how candidates are prepared for ministry.

In 2007, General Synod passed a motion calling for a national gathering to formulate a strategic plan for the future of ordained ministry in Canada, which led to the January 2010 conference at Manoir d’Youville in Chateauguay, Que. This in turn spurred the creation of the Primate’s Commission on Theological Education and Formation for Presbyteral Education at the General Synod later that same year.

Over the course of the following triennium, the commission created a series of guidelines for those in the early stages of candidacy to the priesthood, for priests themselves, for bishops and archdeacons who need to evaluate the ministry of their priests, and for theological education programmes.

Their work was presented to General Synod 2013 as the “Competencies for the Ordination to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada.”

The competencies explicitly signalled a shift away from the notion of “standards” for theological education, toward a more fluid, adaptable model.

In an interview, Scully said she believes there is no longer much will to see a nationally applicable set of standards enforced, and does not expect this conference to produce a new set of competencies.

Instead, she wants to connect people working in different parts of the church to foster greater co-operation and sharing of information.

“I would be very happy to see some very concrete partnerships develop amongst dioceses [and] between dioceses and schools,” she said. Several dioceses have already created local ministry training programs, which other dioceses may want to adapt or learn from, she noted.

“We can’t…create a one-size-fits-all program,” she said, adding that the most important role General Synod staff members like herself can play is in facilitating lateral relationships between groups and individuals working to address the problems they are facing in their own local 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, February 17, 2017 

Welby calls on churches to be part of ‘reimagining’ a new Britain

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

By ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service) on February, 14 2017

The rise of far-right politics offers a challenge that can be overcome with the right practices, values and spirit, says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. File photo: Keith Blundy/Aegies Associates/Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has addressed the rise of far-right politics, the election of U.S. President Trump and Britain’s decision to vote to leave the European Union, in his presidential address at the start of the Church of England’s General Synod.

Welby said it was a time when the future offered a wider range of opportunity, or of threat, than we have been used to culturally, politically and economically: “There are a thousand ways to explain the Brexit vote, or the election of President Trump, or the strength in the polls in Holland of Geert Wilders or in France of Madame Le Pen and many other leaders in a nationalist, populist, or even fascist tradition of politics. Almost certainly there is no simple explanation, almost certainly the impact of globalisation economically, or marginalisation politically and of post-modernity culturally have some role to some extent.”

He said these developments would be studied for years to come but at present, “we are in the middle of it all and we see neither the destination nor the road.”

However, Welby also said it was a moment of potential opportunity and challenge – a challenge that, as a nation, could be overcome with the right practices, values, culture and spirit. He told Synod members that for the Church, it was an extraordinary opportunity to be part of reimagining a new Britain, its practices, values, aspirations and global role: “We can be part of the answer, we have a voice and a contribution and a capacity and a reach, and above all, a Lord who is faithful when we fail and faithful when we flourish,” he said.

Both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, came out in favour of the UK remaining in the European Union in the EU referendum last year. Welby said that in the necessary reimagination of the country, the church could not dictate but had to participate. “Participation means being a listening, suffering and reconciling presence, not a hectoring, self-interested one. The language of public life at present is deeply, savagely divided and may become worse.”

He said the heritage of the Church of England is to be used confidently, but not arrogantly: “We have at present the extraordinary privilege of sitting in parliament, the remarkable gift and responsibility of educating chaplains in every sphere of life, and a role in public life of the nation,” he said. We have a heritage of presence across England, burdensome although it may sometimes be, and the vocation of being the default point of help and support in times of trouble, or celebration in times of joy.”

Welby concluded by setting out the challenge for the church:  “In this time of a choice between national hope and opportunity or threat and fear we may play the part to which we are called in reimagining our country and seizing the best future that lies before us.”


Anglican Journal News, February 14, 2017

Canadian Bible Society announces Canada’s first Inuit Bible Translation Conference

Posted on: February 9th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Links, Reviews

January 23, 2017 — Toronto, ON

Canada’s national Truth and Reconciliation movement has allowed fresh winds to blow through the dark history of colonization, broken treaties, and residential schools that have so devastated Canada’s indigenous populations. These resilient peoples – First Nations, Metis, and Inuit – are facing formidable obstacles in terms of preserving and revitalizing their precious cultures and languages. For the indigenous Church, Bible translation and Bible-based literacy are strategic and empowering avenues of expression and engagement.

Celebrating a decades’ long partnership with the indigenous peoples of Canada, the Canadian Bible Society is hosting the first-ever Inuit Bible Translation Conference in Toronto from Jan. 30th to Feb 3rd 2017. These meetings will bring together, for the first time, Inuit Bible translation teams from Alaska (Inupiaq), Western Nunavut (Inuinnaqtun), Eastern Nunavut (Inuktitut), Nunatsiavut (Inuttut), and Greenland (Kalaallit), along with church leaders and ministry partners committed to serving the indigenous peoples of the Arctic with Bible translation and Bible engagement tools.

The process of Bible Translation in the 21st century involves not just expertise in the original languages of the Bible – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic – but also skill in specialized Bible translation software, disciplined project management, and in involving diverse partners who bring different resources to the table. One key ministry partner, Faith Comes by Hearing, will bring a special emphasis on the importance of the spoken word in primarily oral cultures, and share about the amazing advances in technology for recording the Scriptures.

Dr. Myles Leitch, Director of Scripture Translation for the Canadian Bible Society says: “This event is a first in the history of Bible Translation in Canada. We wanted to bring Inuit translation teams together to leverage commonalities in culture and language, to allow the more experienced translators to mentor the newer ones, and to celebrate the resilience and accomplishments of each group. It is also an opportunity to refresh the training of the translation teams in terms of revised software, new approaches to translation, and biblical exegesis.”

Representing a long-standing translation partner, the Anglican Church, Rt. Rev. David Parsons, Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic, is slated to deliver the keynote address on the first day of the gathering: “The Importance of Vernacular Scriptures in the Life of the Church”. Other church leaders and ministry partners will bring spiritual reflection and encouragement to the gathering as well. ” It promises to be an exhilarating time together, celebrating the richness of Inuit culture and the diversity of languages among the Inuit people,” says Leitch.

The Canadian Bible Society works exclusively at the invitation of indigenous communities and churches to engage in Scripture translation projects. Our goal is always local ownership for these projects. The Canadian Bible Society is committed to supporting the goals of indigenous communities, to respecting languages and cultures, and to assisting and promoting translation of the Bible into the languages people speak and understand.

Translation of Bible texts follows a rigorous process of drafting, team checking, community checking and consultant checking. We draw upon and apply a large body of best-practice knowledge, developed over many decades, to every translation project, large or small.

The Canadian Bible Society has had a role in translating and/or publishing the Scriptures for many languages. The following list underlines the diversity of projects we have been involved in (not a complete list):

  • Plains Cree (Saskatchewan)
  • Inuktitut (Nunavut, Eastern Arctic)
  • Ojibwe (Ontario, Manitoba)
  • Inuttut (Nunatsiavut, Labrador)
  • Coastal Cree (Quebec)
  • Inupiaq (Alaska)
  • Inuinnaqtun (Nunavut, Central Canadian Arctic)

Rev. Dr. Jonathan Dent, National Director of the Canadian Bible Society, is likewise enthusiastic about this Inuit Translation Conference, notes, “I am thrilled that we can support the Inuit Christian community and bond over the life-giving Scriptures. I am grateful for the support and care of the Anglican Church and other partners in this venture. We are privileged in seeing lives positively impacted and hope imparted in wonderful ways. Thanks to all parties for making this Bible Translation conference a wonderful way to care for one another and trust God together.”

Currently in our 111th year, the mandate of the Canadian Bible Society is today as it always has been: to promote and encourage, without doctrinal note or comment, the translation, publication, distribution, and use of the Bible, and to co-operate with the United Bible Societies in its worldwide work. The Canadian Bible Society (CBS) is a uniquely inter-denominational organization that transcends denominations to partner with individuals, churches, and para-church organizations who similarly believe that God’s Word changes hearts and lives.

The Canadian Bible Society, together with 150 national Bible Societies worldwide, has translated the Bible into more than 100 languages. Last year, more than 418 million Scripture publications were distributed. For more information on the translation projects of the Canadian Bible Society, please contact:

Dr. Myles Leitch, Ph.D. Linguistics, Director of Scripture Translations
T: (416) 689-3411 | Toll-free: 1-800-465-2425 Ext. 3411


Canadian Bible Society e-newsletter, January 27, 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury sets out vision for 2017 Primates Meeting

Posted on: February 9th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Posted on: February 1, 2017

Primates meeting, 2016

[ACNS] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to every primate in the Anglican Communion to set out his hopes for the next Primates’ Meeting, which will take place in Canterbury in October.  He also gave details of last week’s report by the Church of England’s House of Bishops on human sexuality. In the letter, Archbishop Justin sets out his vision for the meeting in Canterbury as an opportunity for relaxed fellowship and mutual consultation. He invites the primates to submit items for the agenda and says he’s aware of the pressures under which many of them live.

“I certainly feel the need to be with you, to share our experience and in prayer and fellowship, to support one another and seek how best we can serve the call to preach the gospel, serve the poor and proclaim the Kingdom of God,” he says.

The Archbishop goes on to unpack the declaration on human sexuality which was published last week before a debate at the Church of England’s General Synod later this month.

He describes as a “key outcome” the recommendation that the Church of England’s teaching on marriage should remain unchanged, meaning there can be no same-sex weddings in the Church of England. But he adds that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples needs clarification and notes the Bishops’ acknowledgment that the Church needs to repent of the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke.

Last week’s report has also been welcomed by the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who said: “The issue of same-sex marriage is highly emotive within the church. I understand the depth of passion on each side of the debate and I understand that any decision will leave some feeling disappointed and wounded by the outcome.

“I support the Bishops’ declaration that doctrine on marriage should not change – that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between a man and woman. The Anglican Communion position is set out in Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That is our lodestar.

“But it is right that we acknowledge that some of our brothers and sisters do have same-sex attraction and I support the move for a ‘fresh tone’ in the way the issues are debated. Anglicans are called to love all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation. We are committed to welcoming and loving people with same-sex attraction. More than that, we need to fight against homophobia and anything that criminalises LGBTQ people.”

Preparations for the Primates Meeting are well underway. Archbishop Justin’s invitation has been sent to the primates of the other 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion. It will be the first time the group has formally assembled since the gathering and meeting in January 2016, although many were in Rome last October at the invitation of the Anglican Centre there as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The 2016 Primates’ gathering drew worldwide attention. It concluded with a communiqué which set out consequences for the US-based Episcopal Church (TEC) following its decision to change its canon on marriage. As a result, members of TEC have stepped down from IASCUFO – the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order – and also from the IRAD ecumenical dialogue. Members of TEC participated in ACC-16 in Lusaka, but none took part in formal votes on issues of doctrine and polity – another stipulation of the Primates’ communiqué. In fact, all matters of doctrine and polity were agreed by consensus so no formal vote was necessary.

The January 2016 meeting also called for the setting up of a Task Group to explore differences and seek ways to restore relationship and rebuild trust. The Task Group, which draws members from across the Anglican Communion, subsequently met in September last year and is due to meet again during 2017.

This article was updated on 2 February to make clear that no formal votes were held on issues of doctrine and polity at ACC-16. None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus.  


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Wednesday 1 February 2017

New Bishops visit Anglican Communion Office

Posted on: February 6th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Posted on: February 2, 2017

New Bishops and Staff of the ACO
Photo Credit: ACNS

Nearly 30 new Anglican Bishops from around the world are spending today in London, visiting Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office, as part of a course at Canterbury Cathedral, to teach them the ropes of being a Bishop.  It’s an annual event revolving around a programme of talks and presentations as well as a chance to build networks across cultural and geographical divides. The members of this year’s group hail from Australia, Canada, India, Congo, Gambia, Guyana, Japan, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Solomon Islands, Tanzania and the USA.

Bishop Mary Irwin Gibson from Canada is one of those taking part: “It’s been really good to meet Bishops from around the Communion. It’s allowing me to stand back and look at things in more depth. What I’m hearing is that our Communion must grow and we need to find a way to belong together; we don’t have to agree on everything apart from the principles of our faith in Jesus Christ. I do feel more part the Communion after having been to Bishops’ school!”

Welcoming the new Bishops to the headquarters of the Anglican Communion, the Director for Mission, the Revd Canon John Kafwanka, said it was important they realised this was “their space in London.” The visitors were then introduced to the various fields of work that go on in St Andrew’s House, meeting staff overseeing the Anglican Alliance /  Mission /  Unity, Faith and Order and Women in Church & Society.

One of the most remote dioceses in the Communion is Temou, in the Solomon Islands. Its new Bishop, Rt Revd Leonard Dawea, said the course was giving a great sense of the reality of the Communion and of hearing about each other’s difficulties: “Most of the time we pray for other parts of the Communion but this is allowing us a personal encounter. My diocese is made up of islands and climate change is a real challenge. I come from a small island, one end of which is under water. There is even a burial ground that has completely gone. I travel constantly by boat in rough seas so I have to pray hard before I go out on missions! ”

Bishop Elison Quity, also of the Solomon Islands, has just been consecrated so is finding the gathering invaluable: “Now I understand my role!”

By contrast, Bishop Julius Wanyoike of Kenya was consecrated four years ago but nonetheless has gained much from attending the course: “It’s about networking and interaction and listening to what other Bishops are doing in the context of mission.”

Five of the contingent were from India – both CSI and CNI.

Bp Michael Herenz, from NE India, said the course had been a beautiful opportunity to meet fellow bishops from around the world.

“It has been such an enriching experience for me. I have been learning about other cultures and traditions, but we realise that, though we are different, we are one, because we are one in Christ.

“It is as if we are meeting old friends, for the first time.”

“it’s been a time of joy and happiness,” added Bp Surendra Kumar Nanda, from Cuttack.

Bp Prasana Kumar Samuel, from Karnataka Central, said the course had provided practical opportunities to face challenges.

“We have learned about unity and diversity and about how to be one,” he said.  “I am really thankful for that.”

Bp Gabriel Deng from Kongor in South Sudan, said the bishops had been warmly welcomed at Canterbury and at the ACO.

“We have made good friends with each other. We feel we are together as the family of God.”

The Director of Education at Canterbury Cathedral, Canon Christopher Irvine, is one of the co-ordinators of the course: “I think they will gain a sense of belonging together in one Communion; we want them to have a sense that Canterbury Cathedral is their space” he said.  In addition: “we want to help foster a sense of community and we do this by our daily rhythm of prayer and shared meals during which many conversations can take place. When they leave they will have made friends with Bishops from around the world.”


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Thursday 2 February 2017

Country music draws worshippers to St. Augustine, Danville

Posted on: January 28th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on January, 27 2017

Danville youth perform a Christmas pageant during the December 4 gospel hour at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church. Photo: Linda Hoy

On an average Sunday, attendance at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in the small town of Danville, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, will barely crack double digits.

But when, four times a year, the regular service is replaced by a gospel hour, it’s a different story. The most recent one, held at the beginning of December, brought around 100 people to church.

“The gospel hour, I do my very best to make it personal, and to make it that God isn’t something you read about in the Bible—he’s at work today,” says Mastine, a lay reader for the deanery of St. Francis, who usually leads services in Danville.

Marilyn Mastine believes the gospel hour provides a more “comfortable” form of worship for many members of her community.​ Photo: André Forget

Mastine believes that major cultural changes that have occurred in Canadian society over the past two generations have left many feeling that traditional Anglican services are overly formal and hierarchical.

“We translate the Bible into different languages to make it comfortable for people,” she says, “so we should do the same with other aspects of the service.”

While Anglicans at the nearby university town of Lennoxville have an Evensong service that draws people looking to connect with a particular tradition of Anglican worship, Mastine’s community worships in a different idiom.

“Here, we grew up with country music. We didn’t grow up with an organ,” she says. “We do things that are easier to sing…my goal is to make church comfortable for people.”

Mastine has compiled a booklet of songs her community is familiar with, many of which would likely be recognized with a smile by rural Anglicans across the country, such as “Wings of the Dove” and “A Closer Walk With You.”

But the gospel hour is not simply an opportunity to sing. Mastine also delivers a message—though it, too, is designed to meet people where they are.

“It’s a testimonial,” she says. “It’s about God at work in people’s lives; he’s still alive and working and attainable.”


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, January 27, 2017

Women’s Marches: ‘Episcopal Church is Here’ and ‘Cares About This’

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

By Pat McCaughan, Episcopal News Service on January, 25 2017

Minnesota Episcopalians made their presence known at one of approximately 600 “Sister Marches” Jan. 21 outside the state capitol in St. Paul. Photo: LeeAnne Watkins

Carrying signs reading “The Episcopal Church is Here” and “The Episcopal Church Cares About This,” the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins and other Minnesota Episcopalians joined thousands of marchers in St. Paul on Jan. 21, sparking “a miserable day of puddles and ice” into the beginnings of a movement. A day later, Watkins was already heeding the Women’s March movement’s call to continue post-march local action. With the help of a professional facilitator and theater troupe, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul hosted a Jan. 22 intergenerational forum. It included roleplaying aimed at “elders teaching young people about what it means to respect women,” said Watkins, 50, rector for 18 years.

As elsewhere, the numbers of marchers exploded expectations. In St. Paul, for example, Watkins said that while organizers had planned for about 20,000, police estimated the crowd at about 100,000.

“It was joyful and peaceful and fun,” she said. “There were hugs as people recognized one another. There were workplace groups and a lot of young people, people in wheelchairs.

“I went because it was about marching for women … the rights of women and girls, about reproductive freedom, about immigrants in our state, about dignity for all people. It wasn’t an anti-march. It was a pro-march for all the values I hold that are informed by my faith.”

She added that: “Everywhere we went, people came up to us and said I’m so glad the Episcopal Church is here. Tell me about the Episcopal Church. To be an Episcopal presence there was really important for us.”

The Rev. Sarah Quinney leads church members, including the Rev. Anne Smith (left) and Myles Clarke (right), in a prayer for peace before the start of the Women’s March on Sacramento, California. Photo: Paula Schaap



From New York to Sacramento to Washington, D.C., Episcopalians joined in spirit-filled marches. Organizers said some 600 “Sister Marches” drew scores of participants across the globe. An estimated more than one million women, men and children, some wearing knitted pink caps with cat ears — the unofficial symbol of the march — took to streets in the nation’s capital and elsewhere, chanting, singing, bearing messages of hope and peace.

Editor’s note: A photo gallery from marches across the United States is here.

Trinity Wall Street in New York sent to the nation’s capital two busloads of “all ages, kids, teenagers, adults … it was amazing, so many more people than anybody expected. It was just tremendous and the spirit was kind and fired-up and really wanting to connect with other people,” said Ruth Frey, Trinity’s senior program officer for social justice and reconciliation.

Frey said joining the march was important both professionally and personally for her. “I talked to enough people to know, it’s been a very bleak season,” she told ENS. “But this was a time of hope and light in that bleak season, and there were people of all sorts there, who care about a variety of different issues. But all feel somehow that the administration that has just come in is not open to protecting or advancing everybody’s rights.”

Personally, she said, the march leads directly to the Baptismal Covenant promise “to work for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being. That language has been far from the rhetoric that our new president has been using.”

The massive size of the crowd prevented her from getting anywhere near the stage to hear featured speakers, ranging from noted feminist Gloria Steinem to filmmaker Michael Moore, actresses America Ferrera and Ashley Judd, entertainers Madonna and Alicia Keys and Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth (Illinois), Kamala Harris (California) and U. S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California’s 43rd Congressional District.

But Frey said that didn’t matter. What mattered was the moment, the movement, the Spirit’s presence, the messages chanted by the crowd, including: “This is what democracy looks like” and “We are the popular vote” and “We need a leader, not a creepy Tweeter.”

The Very Rev. Michael T. Sniffen, dean of the Diocese of Long Island’s Cathedral of the Incarnation, speaking via telephone as he marched along Pennsylvania Avenue, approaching the White House: “There is a passionate sense of being here to demonstrate the democratic values that we pray will endure in this nation.”

Sniffen, whose cathedral group traveled with Trinity Wall Street to Washington, said he met marchers from other faith traditions.

“It is wonderful to meet people who are all working for justice for all people and respect for the dignity of every human being,” he said. “It’s a wonderful day for the church, to see this many people gathered today, reminding us that all the freedoms we enjoy that God has given us are only ours when we fight for them.

“By God’s grace, we will have the passion and courage and energy to try and continue that struggle.”

Female Episcopal Church priests hold a banner during the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21. The Rev. Lura M. Kaval, second from right, designed the logo. Some of the other priests shown include the Rev. K. Jeanne Person, second from left; the Rev. Deborah Dresser, third from left; and the Rev. Alison Quin, far right. Photo: Facebook timeline of K. Jeanne Person

Silver Spring, Maryland, resident Spencer Cantrell, 28, attends St. Thomas Parish Episcopal Church, Dupont Circle, in Washington, D.C., and works with survivors of domestic violence. She called the march “a powerful moment” and said it was important to be there “to make our voices heard.”

“There’s already word coming out that Trump might take away some funding for violence against women or the arts, and he’s already changing health care,” she said.

“I work with survivors of violence and it’s important to let them know they’re supported and to continue to reach out to our representatives and let them know how we feel.” Also important, she said, is to stay connected with the work of the Episcopal Public Policy Network and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations.

Michelle Cox, a member of Trinity Church, New Orleans, said she’s accustomed to Mardi Gras crowds, but felt amazed at the positive energy, the outpouring of support and kindness to strangers of the massive numbers of people who poured into the nation’s capital.

She was also awed by hearing Gloria Steinem and even Madonna, whose salty language prompted apologies from news outlets broadcasting the march.

“It was just pretty fantastic,” said Cox, a stay-at-home mom of two daughters, aged 9 and 12. “I don’t even know the last time I’ve had a day when you don’t encounter some form of negativity. There was none; it was remarkable.”

Cox called Madonna’s language “unfortunate,” but added, “I think of that as her standard shock value. She had to find some way to be shocking and language was what she chose. Still, it was wonderful to have her there.”

Lianne Thompson, senior warden of St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church in Nehalem, Oregon, holds the Episcopal Church flag as she prepares to march in Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Ann Fontaine via Facebook

One speaker in particular, Sophie Cruz, a young immigrant rights activist, brought her to tears. “She talked about coming together and the openness of the world and love, and it was just an absolute message of love. Truly, from the mouths of babes.”

Cox said she joined the march because “I don’t recall an election where I had felt such a disconnect with what I thought was going to happen and what did happen and it really affected me, and my good friends.

“We felt that women in particular were disenfranchised with the way the election occurred. Women were being disparaged greatly and it was surprising to me that my country elected someone I found so out of step with the way I think we should respect all people. I was looking for a way to deal with that.”

She looks forward to following organizers’ “Ten Things to Do in the First Hundred Days” after the march, like sending out press cards to congressional leaders.

But she added that: “It’s time to have conversations with people and not to be afraid to talk about politics in your everyday life. We need to make sure that we listen to a lot of people and talk to a lot of people and that’s going to be where we get started.”

Her group wore purple hats, she said, because purple is a blend of red and blue. “You can’t go forward if you are only red or blue. We have to come together and that was the true spirit of the day.”

Sarah Steffner, 44, lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee but flew to Washington, D.C., with some friends and met up with others at the march, mostly fellow alums from Sewanee, the University of the South.

She joined marchers because of “our president’s very clear attitude of disrespect, and the words he uses, rating women. She hopes it will be an eventual life lesson for her children, aged 8 and 11, about how to treat other people who are different than you or whose needs differ from yours. “It was important to me to show my children that there’s a line … and that these are not OK things for anyone to say, even if he is elected president of the United States.”

The march also was a place of connection, Steffner said. She recalled contacting her senator’s office to advocate for gun control “and the woman who answered the phone actually laughed at me.

“I felt personally so discouraged that my representatives at a state and federal level just don’t care,” she said. “But, what this (the march) showed me is that, I can’t let that feeling win.

“I have to keep voicing my beliefs and stay active and keep going to protests and showing up for things and saying I know I live in a state where 70 percent of the people don’t agree with me, but that does not make me invalid.”

Victoria Lynn Garvey, a lay leader in the Diocese of Chicago area and former member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, gets ready for the rally in downtown Chicago. Photo: Shawn Shreiner via Facebook








In Chicago, St. Paul and the Redeemer parishioner Antoinette Daniels said the expected march attendance of 50,000 swelled to 250,000 and instead of marching, participants rallied in place.

“I was marching for civility, respect and courtesy among humanity,” Daniels blogged. “I think we’ve ventured away from those values since last November.”

In Sacramento, California, marchers chanted: “Love, not hate, that’s what makes America great” and the Rev. Betsey Monnot, co-rector of All Saints Episcopal Church said the march was about “the power of community.”

“There are people here exercising their First Amendment rights to say they’re not happy with the direction things appear to be going, and I want the Episcopal Church to be part of that.”

Some marchers’ signs declared: “Love Trumps Hate,” and “Make America Kind Again.” The Rev. Anne Clarke held up a hand-lettered sign: “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8.”

Steffner, from Chattanooga, said attending the march has moved her, as organizers suggested, to translate her excitement to local opportunities. She plans to join the American Civil Liberties Union and to advocate for gun laws.

“One of the big things I’ve learned from this is what a rapid response is,” she said. “When you learn about a bill you don’t have six months to call and make a statement. I want to join those rapid responders and show up when I can and make my voice heard even when I feel like no one is listening.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. Paula Schapp, communications officer for the Diocese of Northern California, contributed to this report.


About the Author

Pat McCaughan, Episcopal News Service


Anglican Journal News, January 25, 2017

PM drops in on St. Margaret’s coffee club in Fredericton

Posted on: January 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Gisele McKnight on January 18, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chats with members of St. Margaret’s coffee club in Fredericton Jan.17, as part of his nationwide town hall tour. Photo: Gisele McKnight

(Republished with permission from the diocese of Fredericton eNews.)

A few dozen seniors waited nervously on Tuesday morning, Jan. 17, cards ready for a game of 45s. Frequent whispers of “Is he here yet?” could be heard among the coffee club crowd as stern-faced, plainclothes RCMP members stood at the door of St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Fredericton.

Then the word went out: “He’s here, he’s here!” and the 23rd prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, walked through the door.

“Hello, everyone,” he said in a booming, friendly voice, and for the next 20 minutes, every eye in the place was on Mr. Trudeau as he went to every table, answering questions about, for example, legislation on disabilities and seniors’ issues.

The highlight of the visit was a story told by St. Margaret’s layreader Jim Sparkes, who was an RCMP officer in the 1970s, posted to Stornoway, the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition in Ottawa.

Jim worked protecting the Trudeau family when they lived at Stornoway from June 1979 to March 1980 when Joe Clark led a short-lived minority government after beating Pierre Trudeau.  One day Jim caught Justin Trudeau climbing one of the trees on the Stornoway grounds, and Jim was compelled to say something when Justin started breaking off branches.

“You’d better stop that or I’ll have to tell your father,” recounted Jim.

“My father won’t care. These are Joe Clark’s trees!” said the eight-year-old Justin.

The prime minister hung his head and laughed at hearing the story, saying, “I have no memory of that!”

Mr. Trudeau took the opportunity to thank the RCMP, not only for their care of him, his brothers and parents while his father was prime minister, but now as they ensure the safety and protection of his own children and wife, especially while he’s away.

“I know they have great role models around them,” he said.

The prime minister was travelling with a group of aides and RCMP officers, Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey and about a dozen journalists who are covering the prime minister’s national town-hall tour.

It was a mere 72 hours before the event that the Rev. Rick Robinson got a call from Mr. DeCourcey.

“He asked if I’d be interested in extending an invitation to the prime minister to come to our coffee club,” said Rick. “After about five seconds I said yes!”

By Saturday evening, a security detail was at the church to check out the location.

“Then Sunday afternoon about 15 RCMP officers in plain clothes went through the church to scout it out,” he said.

That was followed by more security personnel on Monday morning, including an explosives-sniffing dog and officers with mirrors peering under pews and into rooms to ensure the safety of the prime minister.

But for three days, Rick was more concerned with keeping a very big secret than with the rather remote possibility of there being a bomb in his church.

“We had to keep it contained. It was all for the prime minister to come and talk to seniors,” said Rick.

He knew he had to tell some of the coffee club members about their special visitor. This wasn’t something you could spring on them a few minutes before the arrival. Rick chose to use the telephone rather than email, so calls went out, with everyone sworn to secrecy.

“They complied 100 per cent,” said Rick. “They kept it mum.”

The big question Rick had to answer repeatedly was why — why was the prime minister coming to see them?

“I think he was looking for a social venue where seniors met, and our MP found out there was a coffee club here on the day he was visiting Fredericton,” said Rick.

“If he wanted to come to a nice, quiet place, he picked the wrong place!” said Marlene Drummond, a coffee club member. “We were just bubbling!”

“He was very positive, very polite, very genuine,” said Marlene’s daughter, Kim Drummond.

“I found it quite exciting,” said St. Margaret’s member Cathy Lutes. “He shook literally everyone’s hand. He wanted to meet everyone and he was very interested in what everyone was doing.

“He’s a downhome person. His parents did a lovely job raising him.”

As for Rick, as the entourage pulled out of the parking lot, there was some relief that the surprise visit had not been leaked and the visit had gone over well with both the prime minister and the coffee club.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” he said. “It went as planned.”

About the Author

Gisele McKnight

Gisele McKnight

Gisele McKnight is editor of the New Brunswick Anglican, the diocesan newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Fredericton. She is also communications officer for the diocese.


Anglican Journal News, January 19, 2017

Ninth Triennial of Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion

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

Posted on: January 16, 2017

Group Photograph
Photo Credit: CUAC

Eighty delegates representing twenty institutions and ten countries met at historic Madras Christian College over the past week to discuss the common challenges they face in promoting an Anglican vision of education in an increasingly secular world. It was the Ninth Triennial of Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC), a global network linking 140 institutions with historic ties to the Church of England and the Episcopal Church USA.

“It was the Indian context that made all the difference,” said the Revd Canon James G. Callaway, CUAC’s General Secretary. “Our themes were identity and diversity, and in a country like India those are not just abstract ideas, but challenges that students and staff at Christian colleges face each day.”

While the delegates included bishops, vice chancellors, theologians, deans, and chaplains, Madras Christian and four other Indian colleges provided fourteen “Student Ambassadors.” They not only helped the visitors find their way through busy Chennai — India’s fourth largest city — but spoke movingly of their own experiences as members of a religious minority in an overwhelmingly Hindu culture.

CUAC_Plenary _Hall

Plenary Hall at Madras Christian College

“One of the treasures of being at Madras Christian,” Callaway said, “is that it offered so many opportunities for the delegates to dive deeply into the riches of South Indian life. We did not know in advance what a powerful experience this would prove to be for our delegates from Africa, Europe, East Asia, and North America.”

The conference included keynote speakers, small  reflection groups, site visits, performances of Indian music and dance, and numerous opportunities for exchanges. “It had been twenty years since CUAC’s Triennial in Delhi,” said MCC Principal and Secretary Dr. Alexander Jesudasan, “so we were very proud to be partners in a CUAC conference in Chennai. Our staff started preparations three years ago, and the effort paid off for what turned out to be a historic event.”

Keynoters spoke on such topics as what makes an educational institution “Anglican” in the 21st century, what strategies could be adopted to sustain this identity, and how in a market driven economy, students can still learn there is such a thing as the common good.

Colleges are not “factories” that produce degrees, said the Revd Dr Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, but must be “places that produce citizens of character and virtue.” Another keynoter, Jamie Coats of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Mass., demonstrated how social media could be harnessed by Christian educators to provide a global prayer network and a powerful educational tool for students. Other keynoters included Professor Gavin D’Costa (Bristol University), Professor Cristel Devadawson (University of Delhi), and Brother Monodeep Daniel (St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi).

CUAC_plenary _group

Delegates gathered in Reflection Groups throughout the conference

Delegates also visited St Thomas Mount in Chennai, where Board Chair The Revd Dr Robert Derrenbacker gave a meditation on the portrayal of St Thomas in the Gospels, pointing out that Christianity had been rooted in India long before the arrival Western missionaries in the colonial era.  They also visited Women’s Christian College in downtown Chennai, a Baptist church in a low-income neighborhood, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Mamallapuram, a group of 7th-century Hindu monolithic temples on the Bay of Bengal.

Twelve chaplains from CUAC institutions stayed on for a two-day post-conference at Madras Christian to discuss issues of common concern.

Four new Voting Trustees were elected to the CUAC board: the Revd Dr Emmanuel Mbennah (president, St. John’s University, Tanzania), Dr Linda Lankewicz (professor, University of the South, Tennessee), Dr Wilfred Tiu (president, Trinity University of Asia), and Dr Paul Dhayabaram (principal, Bishop Heber College). The Revd Dr  Robert Derrenbacker (president, Thorneloe University, Sudbury, Ontario) was re-elected chair.

CUAC’s second Distinguished Fellow Award was bestowed upon the Revd Dr Spurgeon Maher, a longtime chaplain at Madras Christian and the South Asia Regional Programs Consultant for the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. “He’s a chaplain’s chaplain,” Callaway said, in reading the citation.

CUAC’s 2020 Triennial will be held July 1-8 at Whitelands College, University of Roehampton, London, UK.

CUAC is a network of the Anglican Communion: For more information on its world-wide activities, please contact Charles Calhoun, Program Officer, at


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Tuesday 17 January 2017