Archive for the ‘General’ Category

ACIP on self-determination: ‘Have we not talked long enough?’

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

Rev. Chris Harper, Freda Lepine, Rev. Ginny Doctor, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples co-chairs Rev. Norm Casey and Archdeacon Sidney Black, Primate Fred Hiltz, Rev. Laurette Glasgow and National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald discuss greater self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans. Photo: André Forget


Indigenous Anglican leaders stated at a recent meeting of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) that they hope their most recent call for greater self-determination to be the last one needed.

“My hope is that this document will be the ultimate document that will help us to arrive where we need to be and where we want to be,” said Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh. “We hope that there will be no need for another statement to address our concerns, our needs.”

The statement, titled “Where Are We Today: Twenty Years after the Covenant, an Indigenous Call to Church Leadership,” was presented to Council of General Synod (CoGS) in November and has already led to some discussion among the council and at the House of Bishops. Feedback from those discussions has led to a new draft, which ACIP presented to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, during ACIP’s annual meeting on March 20 at the Six Nations territory in Oshweken, Ont.

Hiltz joined the meeting for a day, as did the Rev. Laurette Glasgow, the Canadian church’s special advisor for government relations.

“We know that some things we said got people’s backs up,” said Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. Changes have been made in the language and tenor of the text, he said. “We wanted to say things in a winning way so that people would not be put off by the language. We didn’t always understand what would put people off—we have a better idea now, having given it to a number of people.”

The call affirms the commitment laid out in previous statements such as the Mississauga Declaration of 2011, the Pinawa Declaration of 2005 and the Covenant of 1994 to walk alongside the Anglican Church of Canada, but to have self-determination within it. While ACIP recognized the progress that has been made—the creation of the office of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, for example—many of the members spoke passionately to the primate of the barriers to self-determination that remain.

One of the key barriers, many ACIP members suggested, was the bishops. Freda Lepine, of the diocese of Brandon, noted that bishops were not consistently accommodating of indigenous needs or co-operative with indigenous leadership across the Canadian church. “Some are co-operative, others aren’t,” she said. “I think that is an ongoing thing—I don’t know whether it’s the fact that racism still exists, or that they still don’t understand what we’re trying to do. We need to evaluate that, and where we stand relative to that.”

The Rev. Chris Harper, of the diocese of Algoma, spoke of this as well. “I want to name and recognize not the elephant, but the bear in the room,” he said, “and that is, from our own experience, for each and every one of us in our own diocese, it’s always our bishops. I know our statement will be well-received by CoGS…because I understand CoGS and I know their voice—they are wonderfully receptive people—but I know where the rubber hits the road also, and that’s with the bishops.”

Harper also noted that the slowness of the process has made his relationship to his indigenous constituents sometimes difficult. “We have been sitting at the council fire for long enough,” he said. “The frustration and the discouragement of the wider community of peoples that we are given voice for as we sit here…sometimes we have to go back and say, ‘just a little while longer,’ and the people themselves sometimes express back to us their frustration: ‘have we not talked long enough?’ ”

Hiltz was receptive to the council’s comments. “My heart is with you,” he said. “I can feel and I can identify with some of the frustration that I hear coming out in terms of, how many more appeals do we have to make? I will do my part to try and make sure that there is sufficient time and space on agendas for the House of Bishops and CoGS to have serious engagement with this document.”

Hiltz did, however, have a few questions of his own, mostly regarding how to concretely move forward. “Who picks up this piece, who takes the lead, how do we go about the work, who should be at the table? Those are the next important steps for me,” he said, suggesting that ACIP or some of ACIP’s leadership should meet with representatives from CoGS and the House of Bishops before their meetings in spring. The House of Bishops is scheduled to meet April 13 to 17 and CoGS, May 1 to 3.

ACIP co-chair Archdeacon Sidney Black said in a follow-up interview that he felt the meetings went well and expressed optimism that things would move forward.

“I’m not surprised that there’s the reaction coming out of the House of Bishops and of CoGS when something new comes on the agenda,” said Black, “and I think folks need the opportunity to ruminate on what the call is, and what it is that indigenous folks are asking for. It would be unusual if there was concurrence right away.”

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Anglican Journal News, March 25, 2015

Faith groups invite Pope to visit Vancouver’s poor

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Ben Graves

 

Pope Francis greets a child during a public audience in St. Peter’s Square. His concern for the poor has “caught the imagination of Christians and other people of faith,” says Anglican priest, Dean Peter Elliot, of the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster. Photo: Martin Podzorny


A multi-faith group in Vancouver, B.C., has issued a formal invitation to Pope Francis to tour the city’s Downtown Eastside and two First Nations reserves.

The grassroots initiative, spearheaded by Vancouver residents Tom Beasley and Judy Graves, was created in hopes of sparking a change in the intransigent poverty that has marred Vancouver for decades. It involves representatives from the Jewish, Muslim, First Nations, Anglican, Catholic, United and Alliance Church communities.

Beasley, a lawyer and member of the United Church of Canada, first presented the idea to Graves over coffee. Graves, who has worked with Vancouver’s homeless since 1974 and lent her name to the invitation as the Anglican signatory, was immediately taken with its clarity of vision.

Graves’ excitement has very much to do with the particular nature of Pope Francis’ ministry. The willingness he has shown to work with the poor, with the most vulnerable elements of society, has strengthened her belief that he is “speaking into the hearts of everyone.”

It is the Pope’s unique access to the most powerful elements of society, however, that Graves said could make the most difference in the Downtown Eastside. “The Pope … [can] speak to the hearts of the powerful, the people who actually have the ability to end homelessness in Canada,” she said.

Vancouver’s various faith communities welcomed the initiative. “We didn’t need to persuade anyone,” said Graves, which signifies for her that Pope Francis’ spiritual leadership goes well beyond the confines of the Roman Catholic Church.

Dean Peter Elliott, rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver and dean of the diocese of New Westminster, oversaw the official signing of the letter at St. James Anglican Church in the Downtown Eastside. Elliott said there was widespread support for the invitation because of the Pope himself. “He has, by his actions, reached out to some of the more vulnerable people in society, and has demonstrated that he’s not bound by some of the formal strictures of tradition of his office,” Elliot said.

Faith groups also saw the initiative as an opportunity for “common action” around an important issue.

Elliott considers interreligious and ecumenical relationships to be of utmost personal importance, but laments that oftentimes their endeavours are confined to seminars and lecture rooms. By contrast, he said, a visit to the Downtown Eastside from the Pope would represent a concrete opportunity for members of various Christian denominations to “walk side by side with sisters and brothers from Muslim and Jewish traditions, as well as others.”

In its letter, the group noted that while Vancouver may be one of the world’s most beautiful cities with abundant wealth, its urban core—the Downtown Eastside—has a sizeable number of people who are homeless and have mental disabilities. “Many are indigenous peoples from remote reserves, often from communities of great despair,” said the letter. “Our governments, churches and social agencies have not struggled hard enough to find solutions.”

Elliott said the visit being envisioned is not the typical “state-to-state visit” or “rock star tour” that has characterized most papal visits, but one that will be “a ministry for the people, of teaching and being in solidarity with the poor.”

Aside from visits to the Downtown Eastside and urban and indigenous reserves, the group would like the Pope to celebrate mass from a barge in English Bay, where he would be transported by an indigenous canoe and accompanied by other canoes. The event is meant to symbolize  “a moment on the journey of reconciliation between indigenous peoples and Christians,” whose relationship has been fractured by the legacy of colonialism.

The invitation, which was sent Feb. 19, has not yet received a response. Graves is not discouraged, however, saying that a lag in response time is to be expected with an administration as vast as the Vatican, and that the group remains hopeful as they wait.

Ben Graves is an intern for the Anglican Journal.
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Anglican Journal News, March 25, 2015

Around the world with Hope Bear

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Hope Bear, the much-loved mascot of the Anglican Foundation of Canada’s (AFC) Kids Helping Kids Fund, has been going places. Hope Bear has lounged on a beach chair in South Beach, Miami, looked out over the walls of the ancient capital of M’dina in Malta and taken in an old-fashioned fish and chips dinner in St. John’s, Nfld. And that is merely a small selection of the exotic locales in which Hope Bear has been photographed.

The photos are part of the Foundation’s newly launched campaign, dubbed Where in the World Is Hope Bear? The campaign page on the AFC’s website encourages people to bring Hope Bear wherever they travel, and to take a few pictures along the way.

The Hope Bear initiative began in 2011, shortly after the Rev. Canon Judy Rois took over as executive director of the AFC. In search of new ideas for charitable giving, Rois had conversations via Skype with children across the country. “I believe that kids are inherently philanthropic and quite generous,” she said, “without all the barnacles one gets into adulthood where you get kind of cynical about giving.” Rois asked the children what sort of charitable causes they would choose to give their money to, and they responded, as she put it, with “a blast of ideas.” Eventually, the list was narrowed down to four specific causes: before-school breakfast programs, after-school homework coaching, choir and summer camp programs, and children’s hospice care.

Hope Bear was introduced soon after as the fund’s mascot, and has gone on to become quite popular. Thousands of bears have been ordered, said Rois, adding that the sheer volume of orders has been a surprise. The proceeds from the sales go directly to the Kids Helping Kids Fund, and are used in support of the four branches of giving identified in Rois’s cross-country conversations.

When asked why Hope Bear has met with such an enthusiastic reception, Rois said she believes the reason is its ability to appeal to all ages and all walks of life. Issues within the church can often weigh heavily upon people’s minds, she said, and the bears present an opportunity to do something lighthearted, fun and in support of a good cause. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rois has also seen firsthand the difference the bears can make in the much more serious situation of a child undergoing palliative care. “They become so attached to them,” said Rois, “and what we say is, no matter what happens to any of us, there’s hope in something—you can always hope in something.”

Ben Graves is an intern for the Anglican Journal.

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Anglican Journal News, March 23, 2015

General Synod Planning Committee sets the stage

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

 

GS Planning Committee

(L-R) General Synod Planning Committee members and staff assemble at Church House in Toronto on March 10. Front row: Lisa Barry, Cathy Waiten, Pamela Boisvert, Bev Murphy, Becky Boucher, Heidi Wilker. Back row: Chris Harper, Peter Wall, Harry Huskins, Cynthia Haines Turner, Martha Tatarnic, Laura Walton, Elizabeth Hardy, Michael Thompson.

 

By Matt Gardner

The triennial meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada requires tremendous planning and organization—a herculean task in which the General Synod Planning Committee (GSPC) carries a great deal of the responsibility.

On Tuesday, March 10, GSPC members gathered at Church House to discuss details of the next General Synod, set to take place from July 7–13, 2016 at the Sheraton Parkway North in Richmond Hill, Ont., in the Diocese of Toronto.

The Rev. Peter Wall, who serves as GSPC chair, underscored the scope of the discussion, with the handling of agenda items occupying much of members’ attention.

“In every General Synod, there are some significant items that take big chunks of time, and then there’s a whole lot of other stuff that takes smaller amounts of time,” Wall said. “It’s like dealing with a jigsaw puzzle.”

Two of the biggest agenda items at General Synod 2016 will be the Commission on the Marriage Canon, which has been carrying out consultations since the last General Synod—a resolution will be presented at the forthcoming meeting—and the way forward for the church in its partnership with indigenous peoples.

Other items may include updates from the Liturgy Task Force and reports on the work done with Lutherans, following a joint Anglican-Lutheran resolution at the 2013 Joint Assembly in Ottawa, to tackle the issues of homelessness and responsible resource extraction. The Bishops of Jerusalem and Cuba will also be present as guests, shining light onto issues in Israel, Palestine and Cuba.

With so much business to attend to, it falls to the GSPC to iron out details related to scheduling, locations and meals, fitting individual items into the larger agenda.

“It’s more an organizational task at the moment,” Wall said. “We’ll get to the content of [the agenda items] as we get further on.”

Plenty of other topics came up for discussion at the March 10 meeting, including budgetary matters, communications, timing of worship, and arrangements for travel and receptions.

The GSPC usually plans for 400 attendees, encompassing just under 300 General Synod members as well as staff, guests and companions.

In a notable change, General Synod 2016 will be the first to use a new formula for electing delegates based on the number of church attendees rather than licensed clergy.

Wall estimated that as a result, the meeting will be smaller by 20 to 25 people, but that the minimum number of members from smaller dioceses will increase.

“It’s going to be perhaps a fairer distribution across the country, but a slightly smaller delegation from some of…the more populated dioceses,” he said.

The GSPC will continue meeting regularly in the lead-up to General Synod, with their next meeting set for Nov. 6.

The diverse committee includes both clergy and laypeople, representing communities from Ontario to Newfoundland.

“It’s a very good committee,” Wall said. “We’re talking well with each other, working well together. It’s inspiring to work with this group.”

Current members of the GSPC are:

  • The Very Rev. Peter Wall, chair; dean of Niagara and rector of Christ’s Church Cathedral in Hamilton, Ont.
  • The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, general secretary, General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
  • Ms. Pamela Boisvert, Toronto diocese representative; assistant secretary of Synod, Diocese of Toronto
  • Mrs. Cynthia Haines Turner, Council of General Synod; deputy prolocutor of General Synod
  • The Rev. Chris Harper, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, Rector of St. Michael and All Angels in Thunder Bay, Ont.
  • The Ven. Harry Huskins, prolocutor of General Synod; executive officer, Anglican ecclesiastical province of Ontario
  • The Rev. Martha Tatarnic, chair, worship committee; rector of St. George’s Anglican Church in St. Catharines, Ont.
  • Mr. Jamie Tomlinson, previous planning committee member; acting director general, communications, Public Safety Canada
  • Ms. Laura Walton, chair, local arrangements committee; diocesan children’s coordinator for the Diocese of Toronto

The additional host diocese contact is:

  • The Ven. Elizabeth Hardy, archdeacon of York, chief administrative officer and secretary of Synod, Diocese of Toronto

Staff include:

  • Ms. Lisa Barry, senior producer, Anglican Video
  • Ms. Becky Boucher, production manager, Anglican Video
  • Mrs. Bev Murphy, senior manager, communications
  • Ms. Cathy Waiten, manager, office of the General Secretary and coordinator of General Synod
  • Mrs. Heidi Wilker, Blessed Events planner

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, March 17, 2015

Welby: Reconciliation not about “syncretism”

Posted on: March 16th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addresses members of various faith groups at the annual inter-faith reception at Lambeth Palace. Photo: Chris Cox/Lambeth Palace


When Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke on reconciliation at the annual reception for faith groups at Lambeth Palace on March 10, he did not shy away from hard truths.

“We Anglicans, and we Christians, know a great deal about killing each other for purportedly religious reasons,” he said to a gathering of faith leaders from Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jain and Christian traditions, as well as British political representatives. “We have no great mount of righteousness on which to stand, from which to judge the rest of the world.”

One of the reasons faith leaders must come together was “to create a space that is relational…in which we know each other well enough to say the difficult things to each other,” said Welby, in remarks published on his website.

Even as he emphasized that the very fact that so many leaders could gather together peacefully was evidence that progress was possible, Welby acknowledged that the differences between faiths are real and substantial, and that reconciliation is not a matter of erasing difference, but of living with it.

“The challenge for us here, as UK religious leaders, is not to find some kind of strange syncretism in which we say there are no differences,” he said, “but to find ways of demonstrating reconciliation—diversity held, but diversity as blessing, not danger.”

Speaking of his experience travelling throughout the Anglican Communion over the past two years, Welby lamented not only the violence that rages unabated in various parts of the world such as South Sudan, but also the less-publicized scars that conflict has left on places like Myanmar, where bishops must sometimes negotiate heavily-mined roads to visit their parishes.

Conflicts arise from “complex issues,” said Welby, but he did not hesitate to admit that religion is sometimes responsible for them. “Evil-minded people use religion because it’s simple,” he said. “If you say, ‘You belong to X faith and you’re good, and they belong to Y faith and they’re therefore bad…’ everyone can get their mind around that pretty simply.”

Welby expressed his gratitude that the United Kingdom has not seen the kind of constant internecine violence that other parts of the world have been confronted with, but he was quick to add that “there have been attacks on people from faith groups in the UK too. There’s been animosity, fear and division.” Of particular concern for Welby were the attacks on mosques and synagogues. He denounced such violence as “totally, utterly abhorrent and unacceptable.”

But he also spoke of the positive work that is being done to build healthy difference in the United Kingdom, and he singled out members of the gathering whose work was of particular note.

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Anglican Journal News, March 13, 2015

Anglicans must ‘face the lion’

Posted on: March 16th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget

 

Anglican “eco-bishops” from around the world discuss the impact of climate change in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Contributed


On the international stage, conversations about Canada and climate change tend to focus exclusively on the tar sands of Alberta,  but this was not the case at the recent Anglican “Eco-Bishops conference” held Feb. 23 to 27, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, shifted the focus slightly to shed light on the devastating impact that climate change is already having on indigenous Canadians living in the Arctic.

“I think they had anticipated that a Canadian voice would be focused on Alberta and oil development,” he said in an interview. “Although I said things about that, I wanted them to understand the unique situation of indigenous peoples in Canada, and that unique impact of climate change.”

MacDonald said that the bishops were very attentive to this message, to the extent that “by the end of the meeting, people were referring to indigenous peoples in the North as being part of the Global South,” due to the shared experience of rising oceans and volatile weather.

MacDonald was joined by Bishop Jane Alexander, of the diocese of Edmonton, and 15 other Anglican bishops at the conference hosted by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, which is dedicated to fighting climate change.

The delegates represented dioceses from around the world, including Fiji, the Philippines and Namibia, which are suffering some of the most dramatic effects of climate change, and from the Western nations who are seen to be driving it.

“The meetings went very well,” said MacDonald. “I think that they brought together a really great group of people, and for the first time in an international meeting like that, they really paid attention to the global South, to indigenous voices and to people on the so-called margins.”

Alexander also found it to be a very productive conference, and while she was quick to note that everyone was aware of the dilemma that flying to Cape Town posed in terms of carbon use, she said the trip was, in the end, worth it.

“We were mindful of the impact of the air travel, but hearing the stories from around the Communion, I think in those face-to-face meetings, I found that we shared a common ground in an incredibly complex issue,” she said. “There’s something about being together. You realize that because the Anglican Communion is a global entity, there is something, surely, that we can say as a global Anglican church about climate change.”

She admitted to being particularly struck by the difficulties illustrated in a story told by the bishop of Fiji, Apimeleki Qiliho, whose diocese includes a number of small islands that, it is predicted, will be submerged within a generation. “There have been offers of resettlement for people because these places will not exist,” she explained, “and [the bishop] has to respond to people who say to him, ‘Well, God told Noah that he’d never flood the land again.’ And so they won’t leave; it’s their home.”

But there were challenges inherent in such a diverse meeting as well. While extensive preparation had been done beforehand, much work still needed to be done to bring everyone onto the same page, according to Ncumisa Ukeweva Magadla, one of the conference organizers.

“I felt like they were coming from two different worlds, the indigenous churches and the Western churches,” she said. “I really did think that some of the bishops—especially the ones coming from the Western side—did not understand the issues that were going on in those indigenous countries like Fiji, like the Philippines, where they face water literally at their doorstep.”

But Magadla noted that sharing their stories brought the bishops together and strengthened their resolve to deal with the problem. “Let’s face the lion,” she said. “Let’s do something that’s going to be change…because really, the people that own these big companies are part of our congregation.”

MacDonald also felt very positive about the conversations the conference had generated, and was particularly energized by the spiritual richness he had seen there. “A lot of folks, both on the right or the left of environmental issues in the dominant Western society, have seen the environment as a kind of add-on to Christian faith,” he said. “What clearly came out of this, which was a pleasant surprise for me, was that a colonial reading of Christianity ignored the inherent environmentalism of the Christian scriptures.”

Among the leaders from the global South, MacDonald saw a rejection of the divide between environmentalism and spirituality. “There wasn’t even a little bit of light between those two; they were part and parcel of who they are,” he said. “They were, by North American standards, radical environmentalists—they were also very Christo-centric evangelical Christians.”

Alexander found this to be true as well. “I think the thing that came out from the meeting for all of us was that this is an environmental problem, yes, but it’s also a spiritual problem.”

The conference will present its work to the Communion in a statement, which is planned for release on Good Friday, April 3.

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Anglican Journal News, March 13, 2015

Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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BEWILDERMENTS
Reflections on the Book of Numbers

By Anivah Gottlieb Zornberg

 

Random House Canada, Toronto
Hardcover, 359 pages. $21.50 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-8052-4304-8.

 

 

Review By Wayne A. Holst

My Thoughts:

When was the last time, if ever, you read the
Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible? Even
more unlikely, have you ever considered this
book to be a aid to spiritual reflection?

Numbers is a hodgepodge of material that
concludes the story of Israel’s wanderings
in the wilderness before finally arriving in
the Promised Land. It is a book of Hebrew
case law, heavy on punishment for infidelity
to God and God’s absolute demands. There
is some poetry and magical practice in the
text, but generally speaking it does not rate
highly as far as interest goes – for Jew or
Christian, it would seem to me.

Could Numbers serve another purpose as
a basis for spiritual reflection and personal
growth as well as an attempt to help fill a
forty-year gap in Israel’s history between
the Exodus from Egypt and the arrival into
the Promised Land?

That is the challenge Jewish author
Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg takes upon herself
to add to a series of commentaries on the
Torah (she has already written studies on
Genesis and Exodus and other psychological/
spiritual works that have gained her quite a
lot of attention in Europe and North America.)

This book contains a creative blending of both
ancient and modern, Hebrew and Christian,
and modern spiritual themes that makes it
appealing to those who want to build their
awareness of shared inter-faith meaning in
our time. She firmly grounds her work in
Hebrew tradition.

Christian spiritual tradition describes much
about which the author alludes as “the dark
night of the soul” but in her able expression
it is not hard to link Hebrew, medieval and
modern Christian spiritual writings. We
discover that all of these contain key and
common themes because they deal with what
is essentially the human predicament.

Good writing. Spirituality. Inter-faith learning.
All three are to be found here and together,
the book is well-worth considering.

 

Purchase the book
from Amazon.ca:

http://tinyurl.com/q7p8ko8

 

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Colleagues List, Vol. X, No. 30,  March  8th, 2015

Reconciliation goes beyond residential schools, says forum

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Shakir Rahim, a graduate of the University of Toronto, asks the panellists to further explain a point about the reconciliation process. Photo: André Forget


The now-defunct Indian residential school system may be one of the most well-known examples of how imperialism has done deep damage to Canada’s First Nations, but it was only a symptom of a larger problem.

This was the message driven home at a public forum organized by the Hart House debates committee at the University of Toronto on Feb. 25.

“The evil of the system, and the part that is hardest for us now to grapple with, is the fact that the children taken were Indian children, and the reason they were taken was to strip them of their culture and language,” said Douglas Sanderson, a law professor at the University of Toronto, former government advisor, and member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

“Money payments and criminal trials do nothing to address the inter-generational implications of having parents and grandparents who were never taught to love and care for their brothers and sisters…who were instead taught to hate their cultures, languages, and by implication, their communities and families.”

Sanderson was part of a four-person panel titled “The Legacy of the Residential Schools System,” moderated by legal scholar and Trinity College provost Mayo Moran. Other panelists included Delia Opekokew, a Cree lawyer from Canoe Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan and one-time candidate for leadership of the Assembly of First Nations, and Bob Rae, former NDP premier of Ontario and former interim Liberal leader.

The panellists looked both at the origins of the residential school system in blatantly racist European colonial policies, and also at the ways in which the damage done by the residential schools goes far beyond the individuals who attended them.

For Rae, understanding the toxic attitudes of European superiority is necessary to understanding where the system came from in the first place. “If you believe that the cultures in which young people are living are inferior cultures,” he said, “then you delude yourself into thinking that you are doing them all a favour by taking them out of that inferior culture.”

The ongoing denial of the colonial project in Canada, Rae noted, is manifested by Stephen Harper’s claim in 2009 that “Canada has no history of colonialism.”

“Canada’s history is the history of colonialism,” Rae said. “That’s who we are, that’s where we come from as a country.”

For Rae, actually moving toward reconciliation will mean a radical shift in indigenous-settler relations, not least of all when dealing with issues like governance. “How do we create a postcolonial agenda for Canada,” he asked rhetorically, “recognizing that we are a product of the colonial experience?”

That sense of European superiority is ingrained in the education system, and actually moving past the residential schools requires a rethinking of the system itself, Sanderson said. “First Nations must be able to make a system that reflects their own values,” he said, “and positively affirms their cultures and values and traditions. Otherwise, we do nothing more than ask indigenous communities to create their own little residential school systems.”

Opekokew, who is herself a residential school survivor, focused on talking about how the effects of residential schools have created rifts between indigenous peoples and communities. “People who have suffered abuse at the school learned that behaviour,” she explained “and have unfortunately continued that behaviour in their adult lives.” For her, one of the most important areas where reconciliation needs to happen is within indigenous individuals and communities.

One of the events organizers, undergraduate student Sarah Harrison, said she and her fellow-organizers were inspired to organize the event after hearing Mayo Moran speak on the residential schools resolution process.

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Anglican Journal, February 27, 2015

Anglican Alliance director strengthens partnerships at ‘lunch and learn’

Posted on: February 24th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Rev. Rachel Carnegie, co-director of the Anglican Alliance, speaks to Church House staff members.

The Rev. Rachel Carnegie, co-director of the Anglican Alliance, speaks to Church House staff members.

 

Matt Gardner

The co-director of the Anglican Alliance stopped by Church House on Friday, Feb. 20 for a visit that highlighted ongoing work of the Alliance as well as how the Anglican Church of Canada might continue to build and strengthen effective partnerships.

The Rev. Rachel Carnegie, named as joint executive director in 2013, spoke with Church House staff members as part of a “lunch and learn” event discussing the Alliance, which was established in 2011 to bring members of the Anglican Communion together in the global struggle against poverty, inequality, conflict and injustice.

“Because the Anglican Alliance is working across the Communion and it’s not just focusing on the so-called developing countries, we’re actually now very intentionally trying to understand the life and ministry of the churches in all parts of the Communion,” Carnegie said.

Her visit to Toronto arose out of a desire to gain more insights into the work of the Anglican Church of Canada and to support its international mandate for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).

“Obviously PWRDF has been part of the Alliance story from the beginning, and was absolutely key to helping conceptualize what the Alliance should be and how it should function in the Communion,” Carnegie said.

The Anglican Alliance, she added, was interested “not just in the life of the agencies, but also in the life of the church…to understand more and connect more with the Anglican Church of Canada and the work that it’s doing on the ground on issues of social exclusion and poverty and justice.”

Offering a brief history of the Alliance, Carnegie noted how it grew out of recognition of the need for a more co-ordinated approach by churches, missions and development agencies.

She compared the Alliance to the indigenous Sacred Circle, saying it serves more as a gathering for conversation than a structured agency. Through a series of consultations, organizations across the Anglican Communion—including the PWRDF—identified three pillars of the Alliance: development, relief and advocacy.

Carnegie provided examples of the Alliance’s work in each area, such as bringing together Anglicans from Australia and the Pacific Islands to press government leaders to address climate change during a G8 summit.

Identifying global themes for its efforts stemming from regional priorities, Carnegie pointed to the empowerment of youth and women, such as through campaigns against gender-based violence; combatting human trafficking; helping refugees and striving for peace and reconciliation; and tackling issues related to climate change and food security—with the latter currently a major focus for the PWRDF.

Subsequent discussion focused on work in Canada that might be bolstered through the Alliance, such as addressing concerns of indigenous peoples related to tar sands development.

Reflecting upon her visit, Carnegie noted, “I’m struck yet again by…the richness in the life of the church here, the integrity that’s being sought in the life of the church here as you look at historical issues and especially around the indigenous peoples.

“I think there’s a real sort of humility in the way people are trying to understand and engage with that, which I find incredibly powerful and moving…To meet many more of the partners and the staff of PWRDF…I think that they’re really trying to re-configure traditional development partnerships into something that is much more interdependent and equal.”

Learn more about the Anglican Alliance.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, February 24, 2015

Diocesan eco-justice unit stirs debate on B.C. transit referendum

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Nigel Haggan__Ireland_2013
Nigel Haggan

 

As Metro Vancouver residents prepare to vote in an upcoming transit referendum, members of the Diocese of New Westminster Eco-Justice Unit are hoping to promote discussion on wider issues of social and ecological justice.

Starting on March 16 and running through May 29, Elections B.C. will administer a plebiscite through a mail-in ballot in which voters will be asked to approve a 0.5 per cent increase to the Provincial Sales Tax in order to fund new transit projects.

The Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA), a coalition of faith groups, union locals, academic departments and non-profits, has organized events in support of a Yes vote.

While the Eco-Justice Unit of the Diocese of New Westminster is a member organization of the MVA, the Rev. Margaret Marquardt, chair of the Eco-Justice Unit, said her group was mainly focused on promoting debate.

“Metro Vancouver Alliance is committed to a Yes [vote],” Marquardt said. “But let’s talk about it. Let’s think about it. Let’s engage people. Let’s think about what our role is as Anglicans in terms of reflecting ecologically, theologically and [on] the well-being [of] those who really struggle financially…being able to get where they need to go.”

One member of the Eco-Justice Unit, Nigel Haggan, has been vocal in his support of a Yes vote, and penned an op-ed for the February issue of the diocesan newspaper Topic in favour of the transit funding plan.

A marine biologist by trade, Haggan described eco-justice as the linking of social and ecological justice, and put the fight for accessible transit in the context of the church’s ministry as a whole.

“The mission of the church, as far as I understand, is to comfort the poor, the afflicted, the lame…the blind, the imprisoned, the socially disadvantaged,” Haggan said. “Bad transit falls most heavily on the most disadvantaged and least able to pay for it.”

Connecting the transit issue to the Marks of Mission, Marquardt said participation in the campaign is an example of deepening the Anglican understanding of being engaged with the world, caring for God’s work and nurturing the parish community.

Haggan added that environmental degradation caused by inadequate public transit ultimately affects rich and poor alike.

“You have reduced air quality and much higher instances of respiratory [illnesses] and other complaints…That is even-handed because there are rich and poor who live there. So even people who don’t take transit could suffer from the lack of transit or poor air quality.”

In the lead-up to the plebiscite, the Eco-Justice Unit, as part of the MVA, is helping organize events to raise awareness of the vote, such as a pair of recent public forums attended by mayors and city councillors.

Other contributions include creating flyers and posters, engaging with residents on the ramifications of a Yes vote and encouraging them to get their ballots in.

“We’re just [doing] our part, which I think is kind of a healthy way to see ourselves as a church, both giving leadership but also working collaboratively with others,” Marquardt said. “It seems to be really appreciated and respected within the wider community.”

On the question of whether the church should be involved in politics, Haggan responded, “I think the answer to that is a resounding yes.”

“Where there are issues of justice,” he said, “the church should be there.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, February 18, 2015