Archive for the ‘General’ Category

New Westminster Sacred Earth Camp highlights Indigenous land justice

Posted on: August 23rd, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

With the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, participants at the first Sacred Earth Camp paddle a traditional canoe on the Salish Sea opposite an oil tanker. Submitted photo by Laurel Dykstra

With the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, participants at the first Sacred Earth Camp paddle a traditional canoe on the Salish Sea opposite an oil tanker. Submitted photo by Laurel Dykstra

New Westminster Sacred Earth Camp highlights Indigenous land justice

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A group of budding young environmental leaders immersed themselves in the eco-justice issues of the lower Fraser Watershed from July 31 to August 13, publicly expressing their opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion project as the first Sacred Earth Camp unfolded in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Taking place at A Rocha’s Brooksdale farm in South Surrey, B.C. with trips around Coast Salish territory and the lower mainland, the camp aimed to teach youth and young adults about the local bio-region and to help them learn the spiritual and practical skills necessary to become long-term leaders for environmental justice.

Sacred Earth Camp is a project of Salal + Cedar, a new diocesan church plant rooted in the tradition of watershed discipleship. Partial funding came from the national Ministry Investment Fund and the social justice branch of the Primate’s office.

The Rev. Laurel Dykstra, director of the Sacred Earth Camp and priest in charge of Salal + Cedar, noted that the camp was catalyzed by the diocese’s Marks of Mission Champions initiative, in which “youth expressed significant concern about environmental justice, a strong desire to be effective agents of change—and little practical knowledge about how to do that”.

Participants ranged in age from 12 to 23, encompassing settler, Indigenous, and migrant youth. Seven participated in the full two-week program and three took part only in certain activities, while at least 70 other people, from infants to elders, participated in events, community activities, or camp life at some point.

Over the course of the camp, leadership moved from staff members to participants. The first week had a pre-planned schedule centred around the question “What are the issues?” while the second week saw a more flexible format based around the question, “What are the solutions?”

Opposition to Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion

Delving into issues from endangered salmon to climate change, participants chose to focus on Indigenous land justice in the form of opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. The proposed expansion would create a twinned pipeline through Burnaby Mountain on Coast Salish territory, nearly tripling the flow of oil from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels.

Sacred Earth Camp participants hold signs outside the Kinder Morgan hearings after speaking out against the Trans Mountain expansion project. Submitted photo by Devin Gillan
Sacred Earth Camp participants hold signs outside the Kinder Morgan hearings after speaking out against the Trans Mountain expansion project. Submitted photo by Devin Gillan



Attending public hearings on the pipeline expansion, Sacred Earth Camp participants drew upon lessons from a media literacy skills workshop and wrote and issued a press release outlining their position. They cited concerns about bitumen spills harming local marine life, the need to protect ecosystems sacred to Indigenous people, and the urgency of creating more sustainable energy solutions.

Prior to the hearings on August 11, campers held a prayer vigil in a park near the Kinder Morgan terminal. Dykstra noted that as part of the vigil, the youth made votive candles expressing “their prayers for land and water, their hopes for the future, and their desire to overcome fossil fuel addiction. These burned outside the hearings while the young people gave their testimony.”

While attending the hearings, participants dressed in and wrote signs using the colours of the medicine wheel to represent Indigenous justice and the diversity of voices opposing the project. Some prepared speeches, and all of the campers delivered a spoken-word performance together.

“The youth were extremely well received at the hearings and got some media attention—CBC, BurnabyNOW, Save the Coast,” Dykstra said.

“But they were very disappointed to see their focus on Indigenous land justice changed to a story about church-youth environmentalism,” she added, citing one media outlet that interviewed four youth but “failed to air the words of the one Indigenous youth living in the impacted community.”

Promoting environmental leadership

Throughout the rest of the camp, participants engaged in numerous activities based around environmental stewardship. Each morning, they took part in one of three work areas—farm and garden, conservation and habitat restoration, or meal preparation—while evening offered time for reflection.

Activities during the day included the KAIROS blanket exercise, harvesting and making medicine and food from native plants, hiking on Burnaby Mountain with activists involved in the 2014 anti-pipeline encampment, learning Haida cedar bark weaving, building wilderness survival kits, shoreline clean up, and workshops on writing, poetry, spoken-word performance, and environmental activism.

Venturing outside the farm, participants visited Steveston Cannery Museum, toured Chinatown to learn about the historic relationship of Chinese migrant labour to local industries, viewed the area drinking water reservoir, and floated down Burrard Inlet in the Salish Sea piloting a replica cedar Coast Salish canoe.

Reflecting on the inaugural Sacred Earth Camp, Dykstra indicated a positive reaction among those in attendance.

“The camp was a great success, and there will be more like it in the future.”


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, August 23, 2016

Fredericton bishop takes pilgrimage through his diocese

Posted on: August 23rd, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget on August, 22 2016

Bishop David Edwards (centre, leaning on stick) stops for a rest with Anglicans from Campbellton, N.B.  Photo:  Trevor Fotheringham

For the second year in a row, Bishop David Edwards of the diocese of Fredericton spent the first two weeks of June walking the streets and highways to visit parishes, pray with Anglicans and witness to the communities he visited along the way.

From May 29 to June 12, Edwards visited six parishes of the geographically large but sparsely populated archdeaconry of Chatham, along New Brunswick’s rugged north shore. It was the second in a planned series of seven pilgrimages Edwards hopes to take through each of the diocese’s seven archdeaconries.

“It went extremely well. People were enthused…I think because it happened last year, that has enabled us to build up a little bit of momentum this year,” he said.

Over the course of 15 days, Edwards and his walking partner Trevor Fotheringham put a total of 170 kms behind them. Of those 170, Edwards estimates that they only spent six walking unaccompanied, with groups of parishioners joining them for most the journey.

“We had lots of people walking with us all through,” he said. “Maybe just one or two at times, but I think we had…30 or 40 people walking with us at one point.”

Edwards said walking the archdeaconries gives him a much more “holistic” sense of what the parishes in his diocese are really like.

“As a bishop you go out and visit churches, but it’s kind of you’re there and then you’re gone,” he said, noting that while walking the Chatham archdeaconry he often spent two or three days in a single multi-point parish.

“It enables people to have better access to me than sort of hit and run on a Sunday morning, and [it allows] me able to get a much better handle on what they are like as a community,” he said. “The feedback I get is that they really do feel more connected with me as their bishop.”

But Edwards noted that walking is also important for other reasons. Before setting out for Chatham, he stressed the importance of the walk as a way of moving church outside of the building.

“In a sense, this is a symbolic gesture on my part: to say to folks that we can’t sit in our buildings, the gospel is something to be proclaimed in the streets and on the hillsides,” he said.

As it turned out, Edwards ended up also proclaiming the gospel on fishing wharves and in fire halls.

At several points in his journey local people invited Edwards to join them in some of the activities characteristic of life in that part of the province, such as lobster fishing and a visit to the local volunteer fire department in Salmon Beach, and bass fishing at Wilson’s Point.

At other times, the people he met were simply other travellers on the road; as, for example, when a group of people honked and waved as they passed the bishop and his companions on a particularly rainy day, only to return on the way back from town with hot chocolate for the whole party.

“We met all kinds of different people en route,” Edwards chuckled.

In 2015, Edward’s first pilgrimage took him through the much smaller archdeaconry of St. Andrews, at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. This year, due to the size of the archdeaconry, Edwards and Fotheringham were driven between parishes at some points to save them having to spend days walking through large unpopulated areas.

The idea to walk around the diocese during summer came from Edwards’ mother, who told him stories when he was a child of how the bishop of her home diocese of Lichfield, England, would spend summers walking around the diocese. Following his election as bishop in 2014, Edwards thought it might be a good idea to try this approach in his own diocese.

“There is a degree of visibility [in walking]…and the opportunity to draw people in and to pray for people who may need prayer as we go along the road,” he said.

“Also, Jesus did a lot of walking, as far as I can see.”

You can read Edwards’ live blog of the experience here.

(Editor’s Note:  A change to the photo credit has been made. ) 


About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

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


Anglican Journal News, August 22, 2016

Brazil’s Anglicans protest destruction of Indigenous land

Posted on: August 19th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Gavin Drake/ACNS

The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil) is part of an ecumenical coalition supporting Indigenous rights in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state. Photo: USPG

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Hundreds of indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá and Terena people have been violently evicted from their homes in the central western state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The vacated land is being used for agricultural businesses, including soya plantations and cattle raising. Now, the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (IEAB – Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil) is joining with other churches to in a co-ordinated ecumenical campaign to fight for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Brazil’s Indigenous Council reports that 390 Guarani-Kaiowá and Terena people have been brutally murdered and more than 500 committed suicide in the past 12 years as part of the campaign to remove indigenous families from their homelands to make way for agri-businesses.

“On 14 June this year, near the village of the Guarani-Kaiowá in the municipality of Caarapo, indigenous community health worker Achilles Clodiodi Rodrigues de Souza, 23, was shot dead and another five Guarani were treated for severe gunshot wounds,” the IEAB said in a statement. “Residents in the area reported seeing men in trucks, tractors and motorcycles shooting from all sides.

“After the incident, a large group of indigenous people dispersed and occupied land in order to protect themselves. This generated conflict with the owners of those lands.

“Clodiodi was buried at the site of the attack and his grave has become a symbol of the struggle of the Guarani-Kaiowá and Terena people to regain their land.”

Last month, members of the IEAB joined Christians from other churches in a public demonstration outside the Mato Grosso do Sul state parliament to express their “total support for the indigenous cause” and to demand “an immediate end to the killing and resolution of the conflict.”

As a result of the protest, the state’s attorney general met with church leaders and representatives of the indigenous communities. “The indigenous leaders took the opportunity to bring their grievances, and the ecumenical mission committed itself to following up the process,” the IEAB said.

“As a church, we commit to advocate for the indigenous people in Brazil and abroad. We hear the plea of people who are Brazilian – a plea which bounds us to the struggles of all humanity to preserve our style of life, our lands, and our beliefs.”

The IEAG is being supported in its campaign for the indigenous people of Brazil by the Anglican mission agency USPG. “We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Brazil,” USPG said. “Please join us praying for an injustice in Brazil that viewers of the Olympic Games are not seeing.”

USPG is providing funds to train community activists who have been advocating successfully for land rights in the country.


Anglican Journal News, August 19, 2016

Southern African synod to consider blessing same-sex civil unions

Posted on: August 18th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Gavin Drake/ACNS on August, 17 2016

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has welcomed a debate on same-sex relationships at next month’s provincial synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, describing it as being “overdue.” Photo: WCC

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Anglican Church in Southern Africa is to consider blessing same-sex civil unions when its provincial synod meets next month. But the motion, proposed by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, would not permit clergy to solemnise same-sex marriages. The motion says that clergy should be “especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral care for those identifying as LGBTI” but that “any cleric unwilling to engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so.”

“The motion . . . proposes that any bishop of the church who wishes to do so may make provision for her or his clergy to provide pastoral care to those who identify as LGBTI,” the Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa, Dr Thabo Makgoba, said. “This proposal affirms the assurance already given by our bishops that church members who identify as LGBTI are loved by God and share in full membership of our Church as baptised members of the Body of Christ.

“More controversially, the motion also proposes that clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister in our parishes. It also suggests that ‘prayers of blessing’ should be able to be offered for those in same-sex civil unions. However, it specifically rules out the possibility of marriage under church law.

“It also accepts that any cleric unwilling to take part in providing pastoral care to people who identify as LGBTI shall not be obliged to do so.”

He added: “Without anticipating what Synod will decide, this debate is overdue in the top councils of our Church, and I welcome it.”

In addition to South Africa – which legalised same-sex marriage in 2006 – the Anglican Church of Southern Africa includes Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland, Angola and the British Overseas Territories of St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.

The full text of the motion on pastoral care in a context of diverse human sexuality reads:


The Anglican Communion has wrestled for many years to produce a comprehensive and mutually acceptable pastoral response to the issue of diversity in human sexuality, to homosexuality and to same sex unions.

And whereas

In 1998, Resolution 1.10 adopted by the Lambeth Conference called the Anglican Communion to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ, and called on the Communion to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation;

And whereas

Anglicans have historically chosen to use Scripture, Tradition and Reason and Experience when discerning God’s unfolding call to mission, knowing that these pillars provide a helpful space in which many voices can be heard and many insights shared, so that a loving pastoral response to those identifying as LGBT can be offered

And whereas

Provincial Synods of ACSA have asked the Bishops of our Province provide guidelines for ministry to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex (LBGTI), but have been unable to complete these guidelines

And whereas

Lay and ordained Anglicans who identify as LGBTI, throughout the Communion and within our Province and Dioceses are in need of pastoral care and spiritual support and look to the church for help especially when wanting to enter into same-sex unions

Therefore, this Synod resolves

1. That a Bishop may:

1.1. provide for clergy to be especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral care for those identifying as LGBTI, accepting that any cleric unwilling to engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so;

1.2. provide for pastoral counselling of those identifying as LGBTI;

1.3. provide for the preparation for and the licensing of those in same sex unions to lay ministries on Parochial, Archidiaconal and Diocesan levels;

1.4. provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil unions;

1.5. provide for the licensing for ministry of clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same sex civil unions;

1.6. provide for the use of Liturgical Rites in regard to the above ministries.

2. That a Bishop may not

2.1. provide For the solemnization of same sex unions by clergy, in terms of the ACSA Canon on Marriage (Canon 34).

3. That the Archbishop be respectfully requested to establish an Archbishop’s Commission to:

3.1. Review, reflect on, research and share such theological, pastoral and prophetic principles emerging from this Motion;

3.2 Recommend further actions, both through Interim Reports, tabled at meetings of the Synod of Bishops, and through a final Recommendations Report which is to be tabled at the 2018 meeting of PSC, so that Recommendations, Measures and Motions can be put forward to the 2019 session of the Provincial Synod.


Anglican Journal News, August 18. 2016

African Anglicans concerned by lack of ‘sustainable peace’

Posted on: August 16th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Gavin Drake/ACNS on August, 16 2016

A rusting helmet lies on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Africa’s Anglican leaders have expressed their “deep concern” that the continent has yet to achieve a sustainable peace. Photo: Abel Kavanaugh/UN Photo

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The leaders of Africa’s Anglican churches have expressed their “deep concern” that the continent has yet to achieve a sustainable peace. In a communiqué issued at the end of last week’s meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (Capa) in Kigali, Rwanda, the continent’s primates said that they “decry the numerous lives lost and futures and hopes destroyed in meaningless wars.” They were challenged by Rwandan government minister Francis Koboneka to use their influence “to contribute to building cohesive, peaceful and thriving communities” on a continent that is “deeply wounded and needs healing.”


They added: “The continuing mis-investment in weapons of war at the expense of productive sectors like agriculture, social services, job creation and research into initiatives that will enable communities mitigate the effects of climate change and food insecurity is a major concern to us.”


They expressed particular concern about the situation in South Sudan and expressed their solidarity with the Christian community in that and “other countries that are experiencing political strife” and called on the leaders of South Sudan to “bring the fighting to an end and firmly commit to a sustainable peace.”


In their detailed communiqué, the leaders also addressed human trafficking and modern slavery, saying that they were “increasingly concerned” at the issue which was “adversely affecting the human capital of the continent and putting Africa’s people in situations that undermine their human dignity.”They said: “we took the challenge to use our influence and structures to contribute to the ending of this outflow of Africa’s people and to advocate for security and favourable environments in the continent for job creation.”


They resolved that the threats from fundamentalism and radicalism “should not paralyse us from engaging with radicalised groups” but that they should instead “renew our calling and deepen our commitment to being the light and the salt.” They asked for theological colleges to develop resources to help the church “respond more appropriately to the emerging pastoral challenges.


They welcomed the address by the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, “and his call for the Church in Africa to rise up to the challenges of our time by drawing on their rich cultural and spiritual heritage and set the pace for the Anglican Communion.” And they reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10 on human sexuality.


The communiqué concludes by confirming the election of Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa as the new chair of Capa; and of Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda as its vice chair. “We look forward to God’s continuing blessing as we continue to collaborate as the African Anglican family to grow the Church and enable the continent to realise all its aspirations.”


Anglican Journal News, August 16, 2016

National Worship Conference ties liturgy to God’s mission

Posted on: August 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan Johnson presides over the opening service of the 2016 National Worship Conference, attended by members of the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada. Submitted photo by André Lavergne

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan Johnson presides over the opening service of the 2016 National Worship Conference, attended by members of the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada. Submitted photo by André Lavergne

National Worship Conference ties liturgy to God’s mission

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One of the gifts of the full communion relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) is the opportunity to share in each other’s liturgies. The relationship between worship and ministry was a major focus of the 2016 National Worship Conference (NWC), which took place from July 24-27 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. In pooling their resources for worship together, Anglicans and Lutherans expanded their capacity to nurture a shared commitment to God’s mission in the world.

Approximately 135 people attended the conference, which brought together Anglican and Lutheran clergy and lay people from across Canada, the United States, and abroad.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Formation and Reformation: Worship, Justice, and God’s Mission”. The Rev. Tanya Ramer, Lutheran co-chair of the National Worship Conference Planning Team alongside Anglican co-chair the Rev. Canon Kevin George, explained that the word “Formation” had strong resonance in Anglican circles, while “Reformation” held significance for the Lutheran side.

“From our conversations around these two important foundation points, the words justice and God’s mission seemed to beg the invitation to join a worship conference, as they are all intertwined,” Ramer said.

“This also led us to the question which grounded all planning discussions, ‘How can worship be a response and catalyst to social justice issues and God’s mission in the world?’”

Keynote speakers

Two keynote speakers offered insights towards answering that question based on their own experiences.

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Larson, interim pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Hamburg, Ont., offered a Lutheran perspective. Participants praised his natural storytelling ability as he related personal encounters of justice and compassion to how ritual and liturgy can serve as a starting point for Christians to examine their role in the world.

In what Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz called “a very powerful image that I won’t forget for a long time,” Larson related the idea of a breadline, commonly associated with images from the Great Depression, to people lining up in the context of Christian worship—where, in the Primate’s words, “we are coming hungry for the bread of tomorrow and the wine of the age to come.”

The Very Rev. Bruce Jenneker, rector of All Saints Church, Durbanville in the City of Cape Town and canon liturgist for the Diocese of Saldnaha Bay in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, provided an Anglican perspective. He discussed the meaning of liturgy in Christian tradition as a public work aimed at “the glorification of God and the divine sanctification of those who celebrate him.”

A major part of Jenneker’s address was the process of prayer book revision for the South African church, guided by the principle “Under southern skies in an African voice,” to create a specifically African prayer book.

Liturgy in a northern context, for example, often uses images of spring and renewal as part of Lent and Easter celebrations. In the southern hemisphere, however—where the Lenten season occurs in autumn—images of harvest are used instead to discuss the death and resurrection of Christ.

Worship, workshops, and music

Participants had the chance to take part in a variety of workshops, many of which explored the use of music in worship and the role of liturgy in building movements for justice.

Worship at the conference itself reflected similar themes. A highlight was an outside Eucharist held under the trees. The Rev. Canon Norm Casey, parish priest for the Anglican Parishes of the Six Nations, led the service along with other Indigenous clergy and lay leaders, with an elder ceremonially opening and closing the space.

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald called the conference “historic, in that it focused on issues of the church and Indigenous Peoples. It was expansive in bringing a new view on these issues to people working in all the related fields present”.

While ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson presided over the opening service and Bishop MacDonald preached, Archbishop Hiltz presided over the closing service. Bishop Linda Nicholls, coadjutor bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Huron that served as host diocese, offered a homily for the latter.

“The worship is always certainly a highlight, because of the musicians and the care that’s taken to plan and prepare the worship,” Bishop Nicholls said.

During the conference, participants recognized the contributions of two individuals for their significant contributions to the worship life of both churches, as the Rev. Dr. Paul Gibson and the Rev. André Lavergne became the Anglican and Lutheran recipients, respectively, of the 2016 Companion of the Worship Arts. Archbishop Hiltz and Bishop Johnson presented the awards.

‘Being the church in and for the world’

For Archbishop Hiltz, the conference underlined the shared importance of liturgy for both the ACoC and the ELCIC, and their common commitment to “being the church in and for the world”.

“I think this particular national worship conference really did nurture our continuing life together,” he said.

From a Lutheran standpoint, Ramer echoed the Primate’s sentiments.

“I think both of our churches are churches that have a message of abundance to share with the world,” she said. “And I don’t necessarily mean abundant of financial wealth, but an abundance of the good news the world is craving.

“When we come together to share ministry, we become a richer church, because we model for the world that even though there are differences, the gifts in which we share unite us in works of justice and love for the world.”


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, August 10, 2016

‘Cultural genocide and ecocide are deeply connected’

Posted on: August 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Harvey Shepherd on August, 11 2016


Panelists Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi, director of the Commission for Justice, Development and Peace, Nigeria, and Jennifer Henry, executive director of KAIROS, at the World Social Forum. Photo: Harvey Shepherd


The executive director of a Canadian ecumenical justice coalition contributed a passionate voice Wednesday, August 10, to an international panel in Montreal calling for basic change in attitudes on environmental and social issues.

Jennifer Henry, executive director of KAIROS urged that attention be paid to Aboriginal women who have long sought action on environmental issues.

“There are people who can see what we are doing to God’s body,” she told about 150 people at a discussion at Laudato Si’: A Call for Change, one of many events at the World Social Forum, which brought over 15,000 people from around the world to the city.

Henry, an Anglican, joined four activists from Roman Catholic development organizations in Honduras, Nigeria, Brazil and India in a discussion of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on environmental issues issued over a year ago.

Henry said she was “surprised, with a sense of hope,” to see the Pope and other religious leaders “intentionally putting their shoulders to the wheel in the interest of the great turning that we need.”

She singled out mining by Canadian companies in countries in the Southern Hemisphere and their impact on local populations and the Earth.

“Aggressive extractivism is neo-colonialism,” she said. “Cultural genocide and ecocide are deeply connected.”

Shalmal Guttal of India, executive director of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South said it is often Indigenous people and the poor who are bearing the brunt of climate change.

She said a high-growth high-consumption promoted by “a mafia of people with a lot of money” is leading to the alienation of humans from nature in a society where “nothing is sacred anymore, that the market does not enter into.”

The Rev. John Patrick Ngoyi, director of the Commission for Justice and Peace, Nigeria, says the current shift to secularism is undermining the social justice message of the church.

“Those who have a new religion called neo-liberalism have a field day. God is no longer the creator; what matters is profit.”

He said the church, once preoccupied with helping the faithful confront personal sin, is now dealing with structural sin and ecological sin in society.

Moema de Miranda, a member of a Franciscan lay order and an anthropologist with the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis, said the bad living conditions of many in her country demonstrate a need to “listen to the way of nature, of creation, of Gaia, of Mother Earth.”

“What has happened to us?” she asked, replying that much of the problem goes back to a dualism originating with such writers as St. Augustine.

“We need to convert our minds and hearts,” she said. Pope Francis’ encyclical points the way, although even he fails to recognize the important role women should play in this, she said.

The Rev. Ismael Moreno Coto, of Fundacion ERIC/Radio Progreso, Honduras, said the Pope’s encyclical is important not only for the church but for a world “heading for the cliff” environmentally.


About the Author

Harvey Shepherd

Harvey Shepherd

Harvey Shepherd is a freelance journalist in  Montreal.


Anglican Journal News, August 12, 2016

Remembering Debra Fieguth, journalist and activist, 62

Posted on: August 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Sue Careless on August, 09 2016

Debra Fieguth in 2008 with Eh Ka Moo, a five-year-old refugee she had helped bring to Canada from Myanmar. Photo: Contributed

‘Mama Debra’ opened her home to students and refugees 


“Mama Debra” died on Mother’s Day.

Journalist Debra Fieguth had no children of her own, but befriended hundreds of international students and immigrants.

Fieguth died suddenly May 8 from an undiagnosed lung disease, which caused a massive stroke. She was 62.

The award-winning journalist, who freelanced for the Anglican Journal, didn’t shy away from tough topics. In “Educating Omar,” published last September in Faith Today magazine, she told the story of how an English professor at a Christian university in Edmonton had for seven years been co-ordinating the education of one of Canada’s most infamous prisoners, child soldier Omar Khadar, first held in the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and later in Edmonton.

Fieguth was born Nov. 29, 1953 in the small Saskatchewan town of Battleford, about 135 km northwest of Saskatoon.

“She was an excellent journalist, with a strong sense of both personal faith and social justice,” said veteran journalist Lloyd Mackey, who first met Fieguth in 1976, when he was editor of The Chilliwack Progress and she was embarking on her 40-year career in journalism.

For 12 years, Fieguth was editor of BC Christian News in Vancouver, then in 1992 moved to Winnipeg, where she worked as an editor at ChristianWeek and in 1995 met her future husband, Dr. Ian Ritchie. In 2000, they moved to Kingston, where Ritchie was ordained an Anglican priest.

The two had a special love for Africa. Fieguth had visited Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in the early 1990s, several years before she met her husband, who had taught for five years in Nigeria. He was pleased she had made Africa a priority before visiting Europe.

A 2010 journey took them to Zambia for the wedding of Chewe Nkole, the young man they considered their African son. In total, Fieguth made six trips to Africa, visiting nine countries.

Friday night dinners 

Additional travel to the Middle East inspired them to open their small Kingston home to international students attending Queen’s University. Every Friday night for seven years, anywhere from 15 to 25 young people would arrive for dinner and a Bible study. “Mama Debra” and “Papa Ian” would eventually welcome students from more than 40 countries.

“When you get a chance to be invited into a real Canadian family’s home, for the first time, and you feel like you are home, with a mom and a dad, for [the students] it was very personal and they loved Debra,” Ritchie told the Kingston Whig-Standard. “She was encouraged by the idea of being a mother-figure, to even more people than if she had had her own children. She felt very strongly that her mission in life was to be hospitable, especially to the stranger, because the Bible encourages hospitality to strangers.”

Most of these students came from very hospitable cultures, but had never seen the inside of a Canadian home. She wrote in Faith Today: “What a perfect opportunity to make our home a mission, where young people—often the brightest minds in their home countries—can relax, enjoy food, ask questions and learn.

“It is a holy thing when we see a Chinese student, taught all her life that God doesn’t exist, begin to understand that not only is there a God, but that he loves her. It’s precious to watch as a Muslim student begins to ask tentative questions about how the Jesus we worship is different from the Jesus he has read about in the Koran.”

A heart for refugees 

Fieguth was a founding member of the decade-old DOORS (Diocese of Ontario Refugee Support), which recently welcomed more than 60 refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

“I can’t fix Syria; I can’t fix Europe,” Fieguth told the Kingston Whig-Standard in an interview last October. “What I can do is help bring a few families to safety.”

Last September, she asked her bishop, Michael Oulton, to hire her for one day a week to help parishes and other sponsoring groups bring families over. He agreed, and she worked tirelessly, almost around the clock. At the time of her death, she had co-ordinated 14 sponsorship groups under the umbrella of the Anglican diocese of Ontario, and had advised the local Catholic archdiocese as well. In fact, she helped people across Canada connect with Sponsorship Agreement Holders.

She came to know many of these refugees personally as her Christmas letter reveals:

“While we have been waiting, others have also waited: the Eritrean widow and her three young adult daughters who arrived in November had been living in ‘temporary’ circumstances in Sudan for more than 20 years; a Burundian family with nine kids also arrived after living in a Tanzanian refugee camp for several years. And just an hour ago, we went to the Kingston airport to greet a Syrian family of six who have been waiting for a few years to come to Canada. It was, for many, the best Christmas present…Our response here is only a drop in the bucket, but it is so gratifying to be part of this huge movement of hospitality to newcomers.”

Moving funeral 

Four hundred mourners, some of them wearing hijabs, packed the pews of St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston for her funeral. A large contingent of mostly Iranian students came down from Ottawa to pay their respects. Most of the pallbearers were international students or refugees whom Fieguth had befriended.

After Bishop Oulton’s homily, the large Kashira clan, almost all of whom were brought from Congo to Canada several years ago, in part through Fieguth’s efforts, sang the Swahili hymn Hakuna Munga Kama Wewe, which means “There is no God like our God.”

“The air was electric, in a way that was both awesomely sad, and yet also very, very great,” said Ritchie, who is diocesan interfaith officer and interim priest-in-charge of the Parish of Trinity in Camden East and Tamworth. “Not many people get this kind of response. I am humbled by it. I feel at last Debra is getting the recognition she deserved all along.”

Besides writing or editing thousands of articles in numerous publications, Fieguth authored two books: Keepers of the Faith (2001), which follows the journeys of five Canadian Indigenous women, and The Door is Open: Glimpses of Hospitality in the Kingdom of God (2010).


Sue Careless was a colleague and friend of Debra Fieguth.


Anglican Journal News, August 10, 2016

Working with the UN for human rights

Posted on: August 8th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Working with the UN for human rights

Posted By Rachael Fraser

08 August 2016 9:51AM

Rachael Fraser, a member of St James the Less Episcopal Church in Bishopbriggs, part of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is a student of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. She recently attended a week-long training course on human rights advocacy for faith-based organisations organised by the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva. In this column, she reflects on the week.

The focus of the training was around the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), otherwise known as CEDAW, which was a landmark convention for women’s rights globally. It was an incredibly busy week, with lots to cram in; lots to discuss and lots of individuals to hear from.

My first impression of the group attending was how diverse we were. Numbering nearly 50, we came from many corners of the world. We were of different ages, different races, different cultures, different jobs – all different walks of life. I also felt a little out of my depth. There were many questions of “so who do you work for?” and a lot of explaining that I was actually still studying at university and had been sent by the Anglican Communion Office. As much as I felt somewhat underqualified to attend, as the week went on I learned so much from the men and women around me and from the wealth of experience they brought to the discussions – I also felt that I had something valuable to bring to the table, and as everyone had individual experiences, everyone had something to contribute from their respective perspectives.

We heard from representatives of church aid organisations (Church of Sweden, Mission 21, LWF, World YWCA, to name a few) who acknowledged the increasingly shrinking space afforded to civil society in engaging with UN mechanisms – and especially those faith organisations striving for human rights to be upheld. One particular highlight for me was hearing from Jane Connors, who works for Amnesty International but previously worked for the United Nations, who spoke candidly of her experiences and her recommendations of how to engage with UN mechanisms, and to hold countries accountable for their ratification of CEDAW.

Throughout the week we also heard from training attendees themselves, who shared their particular experiences of working in faith-based human rights advocacy, and sharing of best practices. In hearing from these experts, we were able to learn ways to engage with UN mechanisms as civil society organisations. I learned a great deal from these discussions, and I am now thinking of ways that my church (and others) can better work alongside the United Nations.

The highlight and focal point for many during the week was a visit to UN’s headquarters in Geneva, to attend a session of the committee whose job is to ensure that those who ratified CEDAW are taking necessary steps to eradicate discrimination against women. This day included a lunch during which we met some members of the committee, which was hugely informative and gave us a small insight into the backgrounds and minds of those doing this work. Seeing the committee in session was fascinating – there was a lot of question avoiding from the country under review (Myanmar), but the committee members kept them on their toes. A thoroughly interesting and informative morning.

I particularly enjoyed a session on forum theatre from Claudia Signoretti, which encouraged us to use our bodies and physical movements to draw out stereotypes, think about the way that particular actions perpetuate these stereotypes, and using theatre to highlight and address gender based violence.

Overall, it was an action packed week and I learned a huge amount from those around me. I had hugely enriching discussions, and made connections across the world that will be invaluable in the work ahead. Huge thanks go to Terrie Robinson and the Anglican Communion Office in London who arranged for me to attend, and for all the support you have given me!

I will leave you with a quote that Martin Junge, general secretary of the LWF, shared with us during his opening remarks:

For those who have heard and seen how God wants this world to be, it is hard to accept how this world is.

Let’s work towards how God wants our world to be.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 8 August 2016

Shalom, salam, peace

Posted on: August 8th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Campers and counsellors give the victory sign at the 2015 session of the London Interfaith Peace Camp. Shown at the rear are the organizers: Sister Shahin Pardhan (left); Rabbi Deborah Dressler (right); Pastor Charlene Jongejan Harder (far right).
Credit: Sukeina Bhimji

What happens when Jewish, Muslim and Christian kids attend an interfaith summer camp together?

Yes, the campers at the London Interfaith Peace Camp learn about the moral and spiritual values shared by practitioners of the three Abrahamic religions—“the People of the Book,” as they are known in Islam. But, perhaps more important, they learn to empathize and co-operate with adherents of all three creeds long before prejudice sets in. The seeds of a chance for more harmonious future are sown in their young minds.

“At the most basic level, they make friends with children of the other faiths. And there is interface and dialogue that promote peace and solidarity,” said Natalie Hleba, camp director, who serves as a Roman Catholic lay minister to youth at Western University’s Office of Campus Ministry at King’s University College in London, Ont. This personal contact can offset biased and negative stereotypes they may see in the media in the context of political strife. “At the end of camp, when they hear about people of these faiths in the news, they can think of a friend and see the person rather than the public perception,” Hleba said.

Now in its fourth year, the week-long $50-per-session camp attracts ever-increasing numbers of children entering Grades 1 to 8, and even has a waiting list. For the 2016 session, August 15-19, the campers included 29 Christians, 21 Muslims and five Jews. In addition, there were 16 interfaith teen volunteers and three adult co-ordinators: Sister Shahin Pardhan of the Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre, Rabbi Deborah Dressler of London’s Temple Israel and Pastor Charlene Jongejan Harder of Valleyview Mennonite Church.

The peace camp, in fact, has Mennonite roots: it’s modelled on a successful U.S. initiative launched by the Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. This year, the London session is being sponsored by the Centre for Jewish-Catholic-Muslim Learning at King’s.

The children enjoy the usual social life and outdoor activities of summer camp, but also spend time going beneath the surface of the Abrahamic religions to discover both their common core and the idiosyncratic beauty of each. They learn to build on these for harmony and co-operation, and little could arguably be more essential in a world of conflicts often fought along religious divides. They meet an imam, a minister and a rabbi, and are free to question each other about their beliefs.

“We are all looking to create a peaceful world for future generations,” said Sukeina Bhimji, a Burundi-born Muslim filmmaker who made the compelling documentary Shalom, Salam, Peace about the 2015 session. “This camp addresses the questions the kids have and discusses interfaith differences in a fun way,” she said. “It was beautiful to capture the children at the moment when the counsellors explain what is happening. And the counsellors are so passionate about what they’re doing.”

One of the most interesting learning exercises relates to Scripture and the common teachings in the sacred books of all three faiths. “The rabbi put up passages from the Torah, the Bible and the Qu’ran, and asked the kids to identify which book they came from,” said Pardhan. “They can’t tell which comes from which. Each passage contained verses about love and respect for one another, common themes across all faith groups.”

Her twin sons, Khaleel and Qasim, now age eight, have attended the camp for the past three years. Asked if they enjoyed learning about other faiths and were looking forward to this year’s session, the duo simultaneously responded with a resounding, “Yeah!”

Hands-on fun at the 2015 London Interfaith Peace Camp. Photo: Sukeina Bhimji

The campers also visit mosques, churches and synagogues. “For many of them, it’s the first time they’ve been inside the place of worship of another faith,” Pardhan said. Back at the centre, the educational program emphasizes shared beliefs, such as one transcendent deity, as well as common religious observance—for example, similarities in dietary laws in Judaism and Islam, and the practice of covering one’s head when entering a synagogue or mosque.

The sessions focus on religious similarities young campers kids can easily relate to. “When kids ask why they have to remove their shoes at the mosque, we explain that Moses was asked to remove his sandals when he went to speak to God at the burning bush,” explained Pardhan.

Many Christian children are surprised to learn of the important roles played by Jesus and Mary in Islam. “When I share with them that the name of Jesus is mentioned in the Qu’ran more often than the name of Muhammad—25 times versus four times—they are shocked,” said Pardhan. And an entire chapter of the Qu’ran is devoted to Mariam, the Arabic name for Jesus’ mother, Mary—and a model for understanding why some Muslim women cover their heads in public. “Mary is treated with high esteem in Islam, and when Muslim women wear the hijab, they are trying to emulate her modesty and chastity,” Pardhan said.

Each year, parents and counsellors have a festive potluck supper at a mosque. “It’s wonderful to see adults of different faiths mingling together and learning from one another,” said Pardhan. And each year, there are requests to launch a peace camp for adults.

The benefits of the camp are quickly spreading by word of mouth, and the organizers are gearing up to accommodate more and more campers. “Word is quickly getting out to the wider community,” said Hleba.

As the camp grows, the organizers hope it will become an even stronger beacon for interfaith understanding and a robust emblem of Canada’s tolerance and religious diversity.


About the Author

Diana Swift

Diana Swift

Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.


Anglican Journal News, August 08, 2016