Archive for the ‘General’ Category

WCC launches global ecumenical network for advocacy for just peace

Posted on: December 10th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC representative to the UN, at the WCC consultation in Sigtuna
Photo Credit: WCC/Magnus Aronson

[WCC] To build just and sustainable peace, engaging churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has launched an Ecumenical Peace Advocacy Network (EPAN) at its conference held from 1-5 December in Sigtuna, Sweden. The work of the EPAN aims to turn into concrete actions the theme “pilgrimage of justice and peace” described in a call issued by the WCC Busan Assembly in 2013.

The WCC consultation and workshop on Peace-building and Advocacy for Just Peace was hosted by the Church of Sweden, the Uniting Church in Sweden, and the Christian Council of Sweden. More than 80 ecumenical advocacy experts, church leaders, as well as civil society and United Nations partners from 37 different countries, took part in the event.

“This consultation intended to create programme synergies and develop collaboration methods, sharing best practices and lessons learned in peace-building, conflict prevention and advocacy for peace,” said Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC representative to the UN in New York.

The workshop focused on a framework for advocacy for peace, as well as practical strategies and tools required to support coordinated international advocacy for a peaceful world. Such a strategy would be employed by ecumenical organizations, including the WCC and its member churches, the ACT Alliance members, national councils of churches and other partners from civil society.

Buena de Faria added: “The consultation and workshop have been seen by the WCC as part of the wider pilgrimage of justice and peace, and have served as a base for an intentional process to equip the ecumenical movement to play a more meaningful and effective role in advocacy for just peace”.

“As a follow-up to the consultation and workshop, two events will be organized in 2015 in Africa and the Middle East with the purpose of preparing advocacy strategies and plans to promote just peace, reconciliation and conflict prevention,” he added.

Bueno de Faria said: “The new Ecumenical Peace Advocacy Network is a great opportunity for churches to act collectively to address issues related to peace on a global level. Churches and ecumenical organization have the responsibility to mobilize themselves on specific peace issues and influence processes that brings about lasting and just peace”.

Bueno de Faria underlined that the events brought together passionate and committed peace-builders who have shared experiences and discerned together the best way to promote peace, also considering important aspects such as gender-based violence, youth and women’s engagement in peace-building and interfaith cooperation for peace”.

“We need each other, if we want to see global changes. We need networking on prioritized global peace issues and effective advocacy work to promote peace among the peoples,” said Geronimo Desumala III, advocacy officer at the WCC UN office in New York.

Bueno de Faria concluded, “The engagement of the ecumenical movement in peace-building and advocacy for peace is sine-qua-non to promote and ensure peace with justice. The WCC’s understanding of the pilgrimage of justice and peace is the framework which will inform our actions for advocacy for just peace.”

Christians are called to be peacemakers and to build just peace (WCC news release of 2 December 2014)


Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), December 10, 2014

Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) Communique (10 December 2014)

Posted on: December 10th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order met at the Ecumenical Centre, Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland, 3 to 10 December 2014.

For the first time an Anglican Communion Commission met in the ecumenical context of the historic city of Geneva. IASCUFO met with staff leadership of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, and students and staff of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute, where the meetings were held.

On Sunday the members worshipped in three parishes: Holy Trinity Church (Diocese in Europe); Emmanuel Church (Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe); and St Germain (Swiss Old Catholic Diocese of the Union of Utrecht). They are all in full communion with each other. As always the Commission celebrated daily Eucharist, and prayed the offices. Bible study engaged the First Letter of John.

The Commission benefited from hearing stories from the provinces of the Communion represented, and time spent with the students and Director of the Bossey Institute. IASCUFO is grateful to all who showed hospitality to the Commission.

The ecumenical context shaped this meeting: we enjoyed hearing first-hand from the Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka and her colleagues in the LWF Department of Theology & Public Witness about their work. This included plans for the commemoration of 2017 (marking the 500th anniversary of the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses).

At the WCC members of IASCUFO heard about inter-religious dialogue, about mission and evangelism, and about the unity statement from the 2013 Busan, Korea Assembly of the WCC.

The WCC Deputy General Secretary, Yorgo Lemopoulos, spoke to the members of IASCUFO in light of the WCC Busan Assembly: Missionary Perspective in the 21st century. ‘We can understand ourselves as fortresses, and heritage concerns feed this, but the alternative is to see the Church as a missionary body going to the world. Hence the question, how can I better work with others?’

At Bossey the Commission heard from the Methodist co-chair of the Anglican-Methodist dialogue in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Revd Tony Franklin-Ross, currently a post-graduate student at the Bossey Institute. The Commission reviewed requests from the Church of Ceylon and the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia for advice on the deepening of ecumenical relations in their regions. The Commission prepared and adopted a report on the interchangeability of ordained ministries.

The Commission celebrated the Agreed Statement on Christology from the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission.

The working group devoted to Communion life considered how Anglicans read Scripture, commit to a life of prayer, and engage in mission. Reflecting on our Instruments of Communion we recognized the importance for our life together as a Communion of engagement with Scripture, the Eucharist, and prayer. The theme of communion and mission underlines the rhythm of being called into relationship and sent out to serve the world. The WCC document, The Church: Towards a Common Vision, reminded us of the insight that communion is the gift by which the Church lives as well as the gift God calls the Church to offer to a divided and wounded humanity.

The working group on theological anthropology has chosen to begin their theological inquiry with the question Where is humanity hurting? The report on theological anthropology is one of the resources being prepared for ACC-16 which will meet in the Province of Central Africa.

This was the last meeting for the Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan as Director for Unity, Faith and Order. The Commission is enormously grateful for Alyson’s superb and dedicated leadership, support and guidance of the Commission from its inception.

The next meeting will take place 2–9 December 2015 in a place to be determined.

Present at the Bossey meeting

The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, and Chair of the Commission
The Revd Professor Paul Avis, Church of England
The Revd Sonal Christian, Church of North India
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, World Council of Churches
The Rt Revd Dr Howard Gregory, The Church in the Province of the West Indies
The Revd Professor Katherine Grieb, The Episcopal Church (USA)
The Rt Revd Kumara Illangasinghe, Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
The Rt Revd William Mchombo, Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Revd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Church in Wales
The Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Revd Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen, Scottish Episcopal Church/Church of England
The Rt Revd Prof Stephen Pickard, Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Dr Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang, The Anglican Church of Korea
The Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith and Order
The Revd Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office.

Not present at the meeting:

The Rt Revd Dr Georges Titre Ande
The Rt Revd Prof. Dapo Asaju
The Revd Canon Clement Janda
The Revd Dr Edison Kalengyo
The Revd Canon Dr Simon Oliver
Prof. Andrew Pierce
The Revd Canon Dr Michael Nai Chiu Poon
The Most Revd Hector Zavala


Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), December 10, 2014

First Nations need more than a ‘band-aid solution’

Posted on: November 28th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget


Shawn Atleo, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, visits one of the homes in Pikangikum that received a new water system. Photo: Bob White.



A project funded by Anglicans to provide water facilities for 10 houses in Pikangikum First Nation, a fly-in reserve located 500 km northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont., has succeeded in turning on the taps, but the work of advocacy is just beginning.

Grassroots Anglican group Pimatisiwin Nipi (Oji-Cree for “Living Water”) has been working in conjunction with other concerned partners such as the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Pikangikum First Nation Working Group (PFNWG), Frontier Foundations and the Pikangikum First Nation itself to provide water to the community of roughly 450 households, 430 of which lack indoor plumbing.

The households that received new facilities had been ascertained by the band council as being in serious need. Most people in the community have to get their water from central outdoor distribution points served by a water treatment facility.

While many First Nations communities living on reserve struggle with similar problems, Pikangikum has become metonymic for the dismal standard of living many indigenous Canadians experience. The community of over 2,400 people, the majority of them under age 25, has been plagued by an extraordinarily high suicide rate: between 2001 to 2009, there were 58 suicides and 481 attempted suicides, according to an Ontario coroner’s report in 2011. In 2000, the British sociologist Colin Samson, an expert in First Nations communities in Canada, declared Pikangikum to have the highest suicide rate in the world.

The project began back in 2011 when then-deputy chief coroner Dr. Bert Lauwers, who had been sent to Pikangikum to investigate the suicides of 16 young people between 2006 to 2008, called for the creation of a group of volunteers to work in solidarity with the Pikangikum First Nation to develop long-term solutions to the community’s problems.

Bob White—a Catholic member of the Toronto Area Interfaith Council and Toronto Urban Native Ministry and management consultant for sustainable development consulting firm BRI International—became involved, and in consultation with Pikangikum created PFNWG.

The group decided the best way to contend with the despair and frustration felt by many of the young people would to be address some of the underlying infrastructure issues that have made life in the community difficult, and the band council noted that water was one of the key needs.

At the same time, the group that would become Pimatisiwin Nipi was forming in southern Ontario around the question of water as a spiritual issue. They approached National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, who was also involved with PFNWG, to ask how they could help indigenous communities struggling to secure adequate water facilities, and he put them in touch with Bob White and PFNWG. At this point, PWRDF was also brought on to manage the project.

With the support of many individual Anglicans and parishes across the country, Pimatisiwin Nipi were able to raise around $100,000 toward the project through the Advent Conspiracy, a grassroots ecumenical initiative that encourages Christians to spend less money on presents at Christmas and more time with family and then donate the money saved to projects that help those in need.

When the Journal contacted Bob White, he explained that the original plan was to have the federal government match the money raised. However, despite the fact that providing water resources to First Nations reserves is a federal responsibility, and the fact that PWRDF and PFNWG were implementing a system that would allow them to provide water for a fraction of the price that government quotes had suggested, the government backed out. “They said that they didn’t have enough money at the time,” White recalls.

Fortunately, the Frontier Foundation, a charitable development company based in Toronto, stepped in to fill the gap. Together, all the partners were able to provide clean water and waste water facilities to 10 households, at a cost of roughly $20,000 a house.

The federal government said it would cost around $80 million (roughly $200,000 per unit) to install a comprehensive system that would pipe water from the treatment plant to every home in the community, said White. PFNWG and PWRDF were able to undercut this per-unit cost by using a system in which homes are given individual water tanks that are serviced weekly by a water truck.

Attempts were made by the Journal to contact both the band council of Pikangikum First Nation and the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, but neither was able to respond with a comment by press time.

But while water is now being provided successfully to 10 homes, hundreds are still going without, and MacDonald was quick to point out that this is not something that Anglicans and other members of civil society should have to do in the first place. “We are very concerned about getting our government to honour its commitments and responsibilities in terms of providing clean water to Canadian communities—especially indigenous communities,” he said. “We are providing emergency help to a community that has requested it. Our urgency in asking the government is even more important.”

Carolyn Vanderlip, director of PWRDF’s Canadian Anglican Partnership Program, underscored the project’s limitations. “It’s not just water, it’s housing, it’s schools. It’s just a lack of concern [on behalf of the government] for what’s happening in these communities…outfitting 10 homes with water does not solve the problem…”

For that reason, Pimatisiwin Nipi is getting involved in advocacy as well, lobbying for the government to live up to its responsibilities rather than simply trying to raise funds for “a band-aid solution.”

The Rev. Martha Tatarnic, who serves at St. George’s Anglican Church in the diocese of Niagara and has been involved with the initiative from the beginning, said that the advocacy aspect of the work will be especially important in the context of next year’s federal election. “We’ve written letters to our MPs, and we’re hoping to get in touch with them following the election to let them know that this is a priority for us.”

For their part, Pimitasiwin Nipi will continue to raise funds for water relief in Pikangikum.


Anglican Journal News, November 28, 2014

‘The public square has been emptied out’

Posted on: November 27th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget   Catholic scholar and activist Mary Jo Leddy speaks on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Council of Churches. Photo: André Forget.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) on November 19,  prominent Catholic scholar and activist Mary Jo Leddy spoke about the challenges the 21st century church faces in a world where the importance of common space and the public good has diminished.

The event, “Faith in the Public Square,” was, quite appropriately, held at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in downtown Toronto, a building which literally stands within a city block of the University of Toronto, Queen’s Park, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the upscale neighbourhood of Yorkville, one of Canada’s wealthiest stretches of street.

While bad weather kept away many members of the CCC, which was meeting in Mississauga, Ont., many clergy, laypeople, and citizens from a variety of backgrounds came out to hear Leddy speak.

Leddy, who founded and wrote for the Catholic New Times in the 1970s and went on to found the Toronto-based refugee aid organization Romero House in 1992, began the lecture with an anecdote from her childhood in Saskatoon, where Protestants and Catholics lived together in a kind of vaguely hostile mutual ignorance. She praised the ways in which the ecumenical movement and the CCC have worked hard to overcome these barriers of ignorance and distrust in order to work for justice and peace.

She went on to add, however, that the CCC “is taken for granted by the vast majority of people in our country.” While the churches may speak in the public square, “the question now is who is listening.”

This is the problem to which Leddy returned throughout her lecture; while the CCC is a witness of Christian unity, and speaks on behalf of its members on many social issues, that doesn’t necessarily matter in a post-modern world where, as she put it, “you can say ‘this is what I believe’ and the answer can be ‘yeah, whatever.’”

Leddy argued that while it would be “all too easy to go on at some length about how the church itself is responsible for some of its loss of voice in the public square,” the church’s struggle for relevancy is tied to a decrease in public engagement in a country where “the public square has been emptied out.”

Speaking of political changes that have taken place over the past decades under the aegis of various political parties, Leddy argued that the public square is increasingly controlled and manipulated to serve the interests of those in power, which in turn has led to a growing cynicism about politics on the part of the general population. “The heart of the matter is that the churches, like many other people in this country, have actually lost faith in the public square itself.”

In this kind of a political climate, all voices of authority are viewed with suspicion, and so, Leddy noted, “the churches may be speaking, but the effect in the public square is not obvious.”

But Leddy also saw hope, particularly in her interactions with the volunteers and interns working at Romero House. Leddy suggested that there is still a hunger to make the world better, but that for the younger generations words alone are viewed with suspicion. The questions they are asking, she said, are about action. She said that she frequently hears “we know what the churches say, but we don’t take it seriously; because we look at how the people live, and when we say how they live we know they don’t mean what they say.”

For Leddy, the conclusion was quite clear: it is not enough for the CCC to simply deliver statements in support or condemnation of things. “I think in this post-modern culture, only our lives give weight to our words.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anglican Journal News, November 26, 2014

Conference targets ugly reality of human trafficking

Posted on: November 27th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Diana Swift


The Rev. Canon Alice Medcof, conference moderator, and Glendene Grant, an Anglican from Calgary, who spoke about the personal impact of human trafficking in her life.      Photo: Contributed


Each year, millions of children, women and men are trafficked into forced labour, domestic servitude and sex. It’s a multi-billion dollar global business, and estimates of the number of Canadians lost annually to this trade range as high as 16,000.

Human trafficking—for which Canada is a country of source, transit and destination—was front and centre at a conference held Nov. 14 at the Sorrento Retreat Centre in Sorrento, B.C.—a week after Canada’s new prostitution law, Bill C-36, received royal assent. Sponsored by the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) Canada in partnership with the Compass Rose Society of Canada, the event attracted about 50 people, lay and clergy.

The emotional core of the conference was the story of its first speaker, Glendene Grant of Calgary, whose “typical girl next door” daughter Jessie Foster was forced into prostitution in the U.S. at age 20. She had gone on vacation to New York and Atlantic City with a trusted male friend she’d known since she was 15. Unbeknownst to Jessie, the smooth-talking friend had become a sex trade recruiter, and she ended up in a house in Las Vegas, coerced into sexual captivity.

Grant has not seen her daughter since Christmas Day 2005 and has not spoken to her since April 2006. Thanks to her mother’s efforts, Jessie’s case received wide media attention in the U.S., but to no avail. “I think she may have been murdered or moved out to another country,” said Grant. She has since worked tirelessly to prevent others from meeting her daughter’s fate, founding the organization MATH, Mothers Against Human Trafficking.

“I was totally ignorant that such a thing could happen so easily and effortlessly,” said the Rev. Canon Dr. Alice Medcof, conference moderator and ecclesiastical province of Canada link for IAWN.

Joy Smith, a Winnipeg MP, noted that traffickers make up to $280,00 per victim. “It’s second only to the drug trade in profits, and it’s happening in every community” she said. And young middle-class girls are quite susceptible. “They are easy to convince, easy to scare, easy to shame. It’s a gigantic manipulative game.”

Sister of Charity Nancy Brown, an advocate for young people at risk for sexual exploitation, outlined programs and services offered by Covenant House and the Salvation Army. She called the conference important in light of changes to Canada’s prostitution laws. “These new laws will only be effective if they are implemented in the community, said Brown. “Education of the public will be key. This conference was a good starting point for educating members of the faith community as to their particular roles in advocacy.”

TV coverage of the event by CFJC Kamloops can be viewed online. In the coming months, IAWN’s website will make available a free e-book with conference presentations, reference materials and reflections from participants.

The world’s faith leaders are joining the efforts against human trafficking. In March, the Vatican, the Anglican Communion and the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University signed an accord to work to end this global scourge by 2020. “The Archbishop of Canterbury would like every parish across the Anglican Communion to be having a conversation about human trafficking. It’s the number one concern,” said Medcof.

—with files from Mary Margaret Dempster


Anglican Journal News, November 26, 2014

‘We can hold that diversity’

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leigh Anne Williams


Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he was encouraged by the commitment expressed by the bishops at their recent meeting. “We are not going to agree on everything but we can do that in a way that doesn’t fracture the body.”                                                           

Photo: Leigh Anne Williams


When the House of Bishops met at the Mount Carmel retreat centre in Niagara Falls, Ont., from Nov. 17 to 21, the agenda included discussion of some big issues—the controversial proposed amendment to the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage, end-of-life issues and the role of the house itself in the church. They also discussed a call from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) for the church to allow room for new governance structures that would align better with aboriginal approaches to decision-making.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal after the meeting, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, acknowledged that “within this meeting and this house and this church, there’s a huge amount of anxiety” about the proposed amendment to the marriage canon. But at the end of their meeting, Hiltz said that he felt encouraged by the tenor of the bishops’ discussions.

Bishops Stephen Andrews (Algoma), William Anderson (Caledonia), Michael Hawkins (Saskatchewan), Michael Oulton (Ontario) and Melissa Skelton (New Westminster) were nominated to form a committee to guide their peers through new discussions of the marriage canon issue, which will culminate at General Synod 2016 when a resolution on the amendment will be considered.

While discussing what the role of the House of Bishops should be in the church, Hiltz said that the bishops used an aboriginal-style circle to share what each was feeling and their hopes for the house. He said that he was encouraged that so many spoke of their commitment to be a part of that body. There was “a recognition pretty much around the circle that, of course, we are diverse. We are not going to agree on everything, but we can do that in a way that doesn’t fracture the body and allow partisan strife to go too far,” he said. “We can hold that diversity and hold it well.”

Hiltz said he thought bishops ended that discussion with “a sense of deeper peace, some renewed clarity of purpose and some renewed vigour for exercising that leadership role for which we know we are ordained.” He explained that it feels to many of the bishops that they have spent quite a long time attending to their relationships within the house and they now feel urged by the spirit to focus their attention outward and to lead the church in the myriad of issues confronting it—“everything from evangelism to congregational development to medically assisted dying to poverty in Canada, the crisis in indigenous communities.”

The bishops discussed end-of-life issues and medically assisted dying, and Hiltz said he aims to work with other bishops and a task force to produce a statement on the issue before the Supreme Court of Canada releases a ruling on the issue, which is expected sometime this spring.

National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald and Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh made a presentation to the bishops on behalf of ACIP, which pointed out that the top-down style of church governance does not fit well with aboriginal ways of decision-making. The document called on the church to allow room for new structures that would be a part of a self-determining indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada.

Hiltz said responses from the bishops were similar to those from members of the Council of General Synod who heard the presentation at their meeting on Nov. 16, with “everything from goodwill to fear about what are the implications long-term.” But he noted that there was little time for discussion and bishops felt they needed time to digest the document. MacDonald invited the bishops to respond directly to ACIP leaders, and Hiltz suggested that discussion at provincial synods might also provide useful feedback for what ACIP members said is still a work in progress that will be shaped by their consultations with various groups in the church.


Anglican Journal News, November 24, 2014

Primate’s commission sees long road ahead

Posted on: November 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leigh Anne Williams


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anglican Journal News, November 21, 2014

ACIP calls for change in church structure

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Ven. Sidney Black, the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald, and Judith Moses from the Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinating Committee at Council of General Synod. Photo: André Forget.

Mississauga, Ont.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anglican Journal News, November 18, 2014

Commission considers impact of proposed canon change

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

By Leigh Anne Williams


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


Mississauga, Ont.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anglican Journal News, November 15, 2014

Anglican-Catholic dialogues discuss marriage, physician-assisted suicide

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

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

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


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


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

The Rev. Dr. Eileen Conway

The Rev. Dr. Kevin Flynn

Dr. Joseph Mangina

The Rev. Canon Dr. David Neelands

The Ven. Bruce Myers (staff)


Roman Catholic

The Most Rev. Donald Bolen (co-chair)

Dr. Catherine Clifford

Mr. Julien Hammond

The Rev. Dr. Raymond Lafontaine

The Rev. Alexander Laschuk

Mrs. Annette Hrywna (staff)


Ecumenical observer

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


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


The Rt. Rev. Barry Clarke (co-chair)

The Rt. Rev. Peter Coffin

The Rt. Rev. David Irving

The Rt. Rev. Michael Oulton

The Most Rev. John Privett

The Ven. Bruce Myers (staff)


Roman Catholic

The Most Rev. Gary Gordon (co-chair)

The Most Rev. Brian Dunn

Mgr François Lapierre, P.M.É.

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

The Most Rev. Albert Thévenot, M.Afr.

Mr. Kyle Ferguson (staff)


For more information, contact:

Mr. Kyle Ferguson

Advisor for Ecclesial and Interfaith Relations

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops


Archdeacon Bruce Myers

Coordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations

Anglican Church of Canada


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

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


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


Mgr Linda Nicholls (coprésidente)

Rév. Eileen Conway

Rév. Kevin Flynn

M. Joseph Mangina

Rév. chanoine David Neelands

Vén. Bruce Myers (membre du personnel)


Catholique romain

Mgr Donald Bolen (coprésident)

Mme Catherine Clifford

M. Julien Hammond

Père Raymond Lafontaine

Père Alexander Laschuk

Mme Annette Hrywna (membre du personnel)


Observateur œcuménique

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


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


Mgr Barry Clarke (coprésident)

Mgr Peter Coffin

Mgr David Irving

Mgr Michael Oulton

Mgr John Privett

Vén. Bruce Myers (membre du personnel)


Catholique romain

Mgr Gary Gordon (coprésident)

Mgr Brian Dunn

Mgr François Lapierre, P.M.É.

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

Mgr Albert Thévenot, M.Afr.

M. Kyle Ferguson (membre du personnel)


Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec :

M. Kyle Ferguson

Conseiller pour les relations ecclésiales et interreligieuses

Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada


Archidiacre Bruce Myers

Coordonnateur pour les relations œcuméniques et interreligieuses

Église anglicane du Canada


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