Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Examine mission of church, archbishop asks Anglicans

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Anglican Journal staff

The Provincial Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada gathered for its triennial meeting June 25-28.

Archbishop Percy Coffin, metropolitan (senior bishop) of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada, on June 25 urged Anglicans to examine its mission in the 21st century and to look beyond maintaining the church as an institution.

“The greatest challenge for us, who live in interesting times, is to examine ourselves, examine the mission of the Church,” Coffin told about 40 members of the provincial synod who gathered for their triennial meeting here June 25-28.

[The Province of Canada includes the dioceses of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Central Newfoundland, Western Newfoundland, Fredericton, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Montreal and Quebec.]

The time has come, Coffin said, for the church “to leave behind the shallow waters of maintaining the institution and launch out into the deep waters of evangelization.”

In order to become authentic, “the church needs to return to Jesus,” he said, adding that the church’s mission is “to manifest the deeds of Jesus.” The mission of Jesus in the world “is one of making the culture of the Good Samaritan our own, feeling as our own the pain of the oppressed, getting close to them and freeing them,” he added.

Coffin’s remarks came as the synod  grappled with the question of whether it should maintain its governance structure or whether change is necessary.  “Does our current structure support the current needs and ministry of the 21st century?” was a question posed to members during a group discussion held later.  It is a question that has been echoed in other governance bodies as the church struggles with the reality of dwindling membership, declining finances and staying relevant in a secular society.

The church, Coffin said, “will stand a chance of converting the world not by argument but by example.” It has to “reach out to the displaced, the periphery, to the new missionary frontiers of the contemporary world,” he added.

While doctrinal issues are important, “people will be attracted by the humanity of Christians, the example of those who live by faith, those who radiate the joy of being fully human, fully alive,” said Coffin. “What if we exhibited such care and compassion as Jesus did? What if we reached out to people with such genuine interest that they sat up and took notice? What if we were seen, not as self-righteous and judgmental, but as a breath of fresh air? What if we came across as not having all the answers but as having doubts and fears?”

But a “culture of compassion” cannot be developed, “nor can we implicate ourselves in the reality of the suffering if we do not act out of love…as did the Good Samaritan,” said Coffin.

The church also cannot afford to close the door to dialogue, he said.  “The church does not have nor ever had a monopoly on truth nor does it have the right to pontificate  on matters, or hold positions denoting arrogance or superiority. Instead the church needs to look into the common arena, plainly and humbly, and share in the common search for truth.”


Anglican Journal News, June 29, 2015

Changing marriage canon would ‘abrade ecclesial trust,’ ARC warns

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Bishop Donald Bolen and Bishop Linda Nicholls, the Roman Catholic and Anglican co-chairs of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC). Photo: Salt + Light TV

In a nine-page contribution submitted to the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon earlier today, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC) warns that changing Canon 21 to allow for same-sex marriages would “weaken the very basis of our existing communion, and weaken the foundations upon which we have sought to build towards fuller ecclesial communion.”

The contribution, produced at the request of the Anglican church, acknowledges that while great changes have taken place in the broader cultural understanding of marriage in North America in recent years, “Roman Catholics are left to wonder what has changed, such that our previous common understanding of marriage is left in doubt.”

The commission on the marriage canon, established by Council of General Synod in the fall of 2013, was created in response to a resolution approved at General Synod earlier that year to bring a motion concerning same-sex marriage to its next meeting in 2016. The commission’s mandate is to carry out a “broad consultation” within the church in preparation for the motion, and part of this consultation has involved seeking opinions from ecumenical partners such as the Roman Catholic Church.

The ARC submission, created collaboratively by both Anglican and Catholic members of the dialogue, begins by providing an outline of the traditional agreement that has existed between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches on the meaning and purpose of marriage. It then sets out a series of concerns about ways changes to the canon would impact moral teaching and ecclesiological considerations, as well touching on the ecumenical implications.

The document states unambiguously that “there is no such thing as an entirely unilateral decision or action,” and that a change to the canon would have a serious and damaging effect on the ecumenical relationship Anglicans and Catholics have been building in Canada since Vatican II [1962].

“Not only would it signify a new obstacle on the road to full and visible unity between us,” the document states, “it would also put at risk the fuller reception of the consensus and convergence that has been achieved through the years, raising questions about the level of awareness and authority that past agreements carry, and abrading the ecclesial trust between us.”

It notes that one immediate consequence of a change to the canon would be “a necessary revisiting” of the Pastoral Guidelines for Interchurch Marriage Between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Canada, a document produced in 1987 based on “what was then our common understanding of marriage.”

Among the more technical issues the document raises is the way the decision is being made, with the authors suggesting that “a cogent rationale” has not been provided to explain why a doctrinal change is  appropriate, and that the “relatively rapid pace” of this decision is “worrisome.”

The document also expresses concern over the disruption such changes would make within the Anglican Communion.

As for Anglican-Catholic relations, it acknowledges that “Our two churches have experienced similar challenges in our relationship in the past,” over such issues as the ordination of women and the remarriage of divorced people, and that “Despite these differences, we have remained in dialogue.” It closes by expressing a desire for continued dialogue regardless of the outcome on Canon 21.

The ARC contribution, first requested in June 2014, was drafted in Ottawa in May 2015, after which it was reviewed the Ottawa-based Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops before being made public.


Anglican Journal News, June 29, 2015

Primate hopes marriage canon debates will be respectful

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Journal staff


Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Rev. Joanne Mercer (diocese of Central Newfoundland), Penny Noel (diocese of Montreal) and Valerie Bennett (diocese of Montreal) at a banquet prepared by St. John the Evangelist parishioners for Provincial Synod. 

Archbishop Fred Hiltz said he is aware that there is anxiety among Anglicans about how the 2016 General Synod will deal with a motion amending the marriage canon (church law) to allow the marriage of same-sex couples.

Hiltz expressed hope that the debates that will precede any decision will be conducted with respect and patience.

He is praying, he added, that people will “know the leading of the Holy Spirit” and that there will be “grace in the midst of what will be a very difficult and challenging conversation.”

Hiltz discussed the marriage canon and other issues that will come up at the triennial General Synod when he spoke on June 26 as an observer at the Provincial Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada.

“I know there’s anxiety. There are people who already are saying ‘if General Synod says this, then here’s the plan,’” said Hiltz. “But I need to remind people that because this is a doctrinal matter, if General Synod were to approve this on first reading, it requires a second reading” by the following General Synod, in 2019. It will also be sent to provincial synods for information, he said. “There’s a three-year window for conversations before 2019.”

If the motion to amend the marriage canon is not approved “then for a time the conversation is done in some form or another,” said Hiltz.

In July 2013, General Synod — the church’s governing body — approved Resolution C003, which asked Council of General Synod (CoGS) to prepare and present a motion to change the church’s Canon 21 on marriage “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples.”

It also asked that this motion include “a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in our authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”

The resolution also asked that there be a broad consultation about the preparation of the motion. A commission on the marriage canon was subsequently established by CoGS;  its findings are expected to be released this September.

In line with the theme, “You shall be my witnesses,” the 2016 General Synod will be “mission-focused,” said Hiltz. “We will look at the mission of God in the world and how the church endeavours to serve it.” [The triennial gathering will take place in Toronto from July 7-13, 2016.]

Hiltz also updated the Provincial Synod about the Anglican Council of Indigenous People’s call for greater determination within the Anglican Church of Canada. “We may be looking at a fifth province or a federation of Indigenous members,” he said.

Meanwhile, in another session where he was asked to offer a reflection, Hiltz focused on Jesus’ call to “feed my lambs,” tying it to issues around poverty, child welfare and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s “Calls to Action” on issues around Aboriginal justice, education, health, missing residential schools children and missing and murdered Aboriginal women, among others.

Hiltz said he found it disconcerting that with federal elections coming up he has not heard any political party talking “boldly and prophetically” about the TRC’s Calls to Action and its challenge for Canada to forge a new relationship with Indigenous people.

The church, said Hiltz, has an advocacy role to play in this regard. “I hope this church will rise to the occasion and not see these (Calls to Action) as political statements but as priorities for the church.”

It is “staggering,” said Hiltz, when one considers that today, more Aboriginal children are in government care than there were at the Indian residential schools, which operated for over a century.

Hiltz also noted that MPs have failed in their commitment made  in 1989 to end child poverty by 2010. “The poverty rate then was 15.8 per cent and it’s 19.1 per cent today,” he said, noting that among Aboriginal children, the rate is 40 per cent. About 1.3 million children live in poverty in Canada, he added.

Once again, political parties have renewed their pledge to end child poverty, said Hiltz, as he urged Anglicans to take a stand. “Are we going to turn this into an election issue?”


Anglican Journal News, June 29, 2015

‘Thankful, honored and blessed’ Presiding Bishop-elect Curry addresses the media

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Pat McCaughan, Episcopal News Service


Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry makes a point at his first news conference a few hours after his historic election as the 27th presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. Photo: Janet Kawamoto / For Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Salt Lake City] Several hours after being elected as the Episcopal Church’s 27th – and first African-American – presiding bishop-elect, Michael Curry fielded a range of media questions with characteristic humility and humor June 27 and said he intends to build on the good work of his predecessor “because that’s the way the Spirit works.”

Current Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori introduced Curry at a crowded press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City, saying the House of Bishops handed him “a major mandate” with the historic landslide victory.

Curry jokingly agreed that he thought both bishops and deputies “were happy houses today.”

Jefferts Schori and Curry became diocesan bishops the same year and “it’s the first time presiding bishops from the same class have been elected” successively,” she said. It is also the first time that a presiding bishop has been elected on the first ballot.

Curry, whose term will begin Nov. 1, was accompanied at the news conference by his wife Sharon, a daughter, Elizabeth, and other family members and friends. Included among his guests was “Josie Robbins who, when I was a young boy and my mother died, … was one of the women in our church community along with my grandmother and others who came in and raised me.”

“I believe in the community of church because I’ve been raised by it,” he said.

He shared some thoughts about a range of issues:

Among his priorities – the Jesus movement

“I am looking forward to serving and working for the cause of the Jesus movement in world … to help this become a transformed world that looks more like God’s dream and less like our nightmare. That’s what energizes me and what I believe in and we can really continue and build on the good work that’s been done in Bishop Katharine’s years.”

Evangelism vs. evangelical

“Everybody knows I really do take evangelism seriously and discipleship and witness and service and social advocacy, the gospel principles that we hold. Those three things are critical and needed in this time. I think The Episcopal Church has something to offer in the public square. We have a way of looking at the Gospel that makes known the love of God in Jesus.”

But is he evangelical? “I think it’s fair to say that I am a follower of Jesus.”

How will he address societal issues?

“Some of this will evolve over time,” Curry told the gathering, adding that there are good public initiatives already going on, with the church’s Office of Governmental Relations and other efforts, to address issues of racism and poverty.

Noting the specter of the recent killings of nine people at a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, he added: “it was the voice of the Christian community that really did change the narrative from one that could have degenerated into a negative and hurtful to one that was a narrative of forgiveness. That’s one of the roles religious communities and in particular the Christian community can offer, is a positive way forward.”

Becoming the beloved community:

“I believe profoundly that Dr. King was right. We were put here to create the beloved community; God is the same God and creator of all of us. If we all come from the same source, I’m not a scientist … I’m just a preacher, but if we’ve got the same parental source then you’re related to everybody. We are brothers and sisters of each other. The hard work is to figure out how we live as beloved community, as the human family of God and do that in practical and tangible ways.”

Involving more Latinos in leadership roles

“This will be critical. It’s one of the things we’ve worked on in North Carolina. It has taken time. I’ve been bishop there for 15 years and people from the Latino community are now taking leadership in the life of the diocese. It’s happened over time in communities of faith.”

On preaching

“I do love to preach. The preaching and teaching of God’s word does make a difference and can lift us up. You know the story in Ezekiel 37? That’s pretty much about preaching. We’re a valley of dry bones; God said preach to them and the bones started to shake, rattle, and roll … that is what preaching does. I hope to continue the preaching ministry as well, as a way of moving the church forward.”

On being elected the African-American leader of a largely white denomination
“It’ll be interesting to see what terms get used about me. Let’s wait and see.”

He said the election of Jefferts Schori as the first woman presiding bishop paved the way for him. “I was there when it happened and I remember just realizing it was an experience of the Holy Spirit for real. And today I had that same feeling,” he said, his voice growing softer.

“I think that’s a sign of our church growing more deeply in the spirit of God and the movement of God in our world. It was like the day of Pentecost, when the spirit came down, people living in the spirit of God’s love, of God’s embrace, and we find ourselves growing more in the direction of God’s dream.” 

On growing churches

“The gospel hasn’t changed. Jesus is still the same. We need to learn and discover new ways of carrying out and sharing that good news of Jesus. In this day, in this time, the church can no longer wait for its congregation to come to it. That change of directionality on the part of the church, church-wide, will have impact for reaching people who are not automatically coming to our doors.”

What he wants people to know about him?

“That Michael Curry is a follower of Jesus. Not a perfect one. I want to be one of his disciples. I believe that the way of Jesus, the way of God’s love that we see in Jesus, is the way of life, life that sets us free, that moves us.

“I just want people to know that Michael Curry does strive to follow in the way of Jesus and reflect his love and compassion in his life and in the life of the church.”

About reconciliation
“If you follow Jesus, you’re good with me … let’s go together. Ultimately, that’s the thing that matters. We deal with each other in love and charity. We’ll find a way forward. We will create space. Better yet, the spirit of God will create space for all of us.”

About the Supreme Court’s decision and what General Convention will do about same gender marriage
“The Supreme Court affirmed the authenticity of love. We’re in the business of love. There’s a hymn, ‘where true love is found, God himself is there.’ We’re in the process of working that out, what form that will take we’ll know at the end of this convention. The reality is the issues are about marriage. How do we make it fulsome and wholesome for all? How do we make marriage a context where life is ennobled and lifted up? Those are critical pastoral concerns.”

About healing the breach with the global south

“As a bishop, I am supportive of our current presiding bishop and our leadership and the work we’ve done. I am committed to the work of reconciliation. It is part of our gospel mandate. I have friends in the global south and many of my ancestors are from the global south. I will be an instrument of God’s reconciliation any way I can that will lead to true reconciliation. I’ll do my best.”

About living into his new ministry
“I am very thankful for the presiding bishop’s long, sustained, courageous, wise and faithful stewardship. Thank God for you,” he told Jefferts Schori. “I am very thankful, honored and blessed. I’ve been blessed to be bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina for 15 years. I love that diocese and our people and I’m blessed to be the presiding bishop-elect.”


— The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for Episcopal News Service.


Anglican Journal News, June 29, 2015

WCC Faith and Order Commission charts future directions

Posted on: June 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Participants in a meeting of the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission at the Caraiman Monastery in Romania.
Photo Credit: Romanian Orthodox Church

[World Council of Churches] Meeting from 17 to 24 June, the newly reconstituted Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has begun to define its principal trajectories for ecumenical study and common activity from 2015 until the next WCC Assembly in 2020.

Gathered at Caraiman Monastery in Romania, the 49-member commission determined to focus its upcoming work in the areas of examining theological foundations of the WCC programme emphasis “the pilgrimage of justice and peace”, continuing work on dialogue and the discovery of common ground among churches regarding the Christian doctrine of the Church, and coordinate consultations and seminars on how churches engage in processes of “moral discernment” when deciding policies leading to action on such topics as climate change, slavery, apartheid, human sexuality and matters of life and death.

The commission will also encourage such long-term activities as collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church facilitating, for example, the annual preparation of resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and joining other offices in the WCC and partner agencies in activities related to inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. It works, too, with the Ecumenical Disabilities Network and the Ecumenical Network of Indigenous Peoples.

The commission’s moderator is the British theologian Rev. Dr Susan Durber of the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom. In remarks in the closing session of their meeting, she told the commissioners that “I feel that a new wind is blowing.”

She reminded commissioners and staff, “The Church is God’s creation, not ours”, arguing that anxiety for religious institutions is wasted: “Overcoming poverty – this is where the real crisis is!”

Referring to the economic and cultural globalization of the early 21st century, Durber posed the question: “What does Christian unity bring to a world that tries to impose another kind of unity?” And she offered this word of assurance: “We are those who can afford not to be anxious, because Christ has already done what we need to be done.”

Pilgrimage in a pluralistic world

A major task at the meeting was the establishment of working groups to oversee the commission’s chosen projects. While precise details will be designed by these groups in later meetings, a broad picture emerged of Faith and Order’s concerns in the latter half of this decade.

The working group that focuses on issues surrounding “the pilgrimage of justice and peace” hopes to sponsor discourse on the theological foundations of pilgrimage. It will ask how the concept and practice of pilgrimage may be lived out in a multi-religious, multi-cultural and secular age, not least among minority and oppressed churches. Another theme to be engaged was described as “Christian responsibility and hope in a broken world”. The environmental crisis may be addressed under this rubric, alongside justice and peace.

The Church

In Christian theology, study of the doctrine of the Church is termed “ecclesiology”. A series of Faith and Order documents have addressed aspects of ecclesiology and ecumenical dialogue, including the publications Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry; The Nature and Purpose of the Church; Nature and Mission of the Church; and The Church: Towards a Common Vision. Responses continue to be received in regard to questions posed by the latter document, and these will be analysed along with the history of challenges and accords  arising from earlier publications. Continuing dialogue among widely diverse churches also will continue.

Moral discernment and the sources of Christian social ethics

Consultations will be organized on how particular churches arrive at moral decisions, reviewing historical instances of change in positions on moral issues. Examples suggested include churches’ policies on slavery, apartheid, abortion, suicide, euthanasia and the ordination of women to offices of ministry.

Within the coming week, Faith and Order staff in Geneva will submit budget proposals for the 2016 fiscal year. Recommended projects will proceed based on resources available from the WCC and interested partners.

Anglicans/Episcopalians at the 2015 Faith and Order Commission meeting

Anglicans/Episcopalians at the 2015 Faith and Order Commission meeting
Photo Credit: Bruce Myers

An ecumenical heritage

The Faith and Order movement among Christian churches built during the early years of the 20th century and was organized on a global scale through its first international conference at Lausanne, Switzerland in 1927. There, delegates from various Christian churches proclaimed that “God wills unity”, and “however we may justify the beginnings of disunion, we lament its continuance.”

The World Council of Churches came into being following the Second World War largely through a merger between the theologically oriented Faith and Order movement and the Life and Work movement which showed primary concern for practical means by which churches could act together on social issues and oppose injustice.

Initially made up of Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches, Faith and Order has continued its work as a commission of the WCC and now includes churches from outside the formal membership of the World Council of Churches. The Roman Catholic Church became a full participant following the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, and the Assemblies of God is a commission member.

Anglican members of the WCC Faith and Order Commission: the Rt Revd Stephen Conway (The Church of England), the Revd Dr. Makhosazana Nzimande (The Anglican Chuch of Southern Africa), the Revd Dr Ellen Wondra (The Episcopal Church). Minute taker is the Venerable Bruce Myers (Anglican Church of Canada).


Anglican Communion News Service,  ACNS Today’s top stories, June 25, 2015

Anglican Witness initiatives on discipleship and youth presented at Toronto symposium

Posted on: June 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Revd Robert Sihubwa speaks about the new Anglican Witness award for youth work.
Photo Credit: Diocese of Toronto/Michael Hudson

[Diocese of Toronto] A symposium on mission and church growth, held in Toronto on June 22, heard about two exciting new initiatives for the Anglican Communion.

The first is the creation of an award that recognizes and supports innovative youth work in the fields of evangelism and discipleship. Up to $20,000 will be given to an individual or team that is involved in an “emerging initiative” with youth in those areas.

“We’ve noticed that in many places, people have the creativity and innovation but they don’t have the resources to carry out their work, so we’re hoping this award will help them do that,” said the Revd Robert Sihubwa, a priest and youth worker in Lusaka, Zambia, and a member of Anglican Witness, a group that supports evangelism and church growth in the Anglican Communion.

The award will also honour an individual or team that has achieved success with a youth program in evangelism or discipleship. The person or a representative of the team will be flown to the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka in 2016 to give a presentation of their work.

“We want them to share their story, and that can go out across the Communion so that others can learn from it,” said Mr Sihubwa, who came up with the idea for the award.

He said the award will give youth work and youth in general a higher profile in the Communion. “I think it will give a lot of people encouragement that the church is recognizing young people and putting their work more and more on the agenda.”

An announcement about the award is expected to be made in fall. The information will be on the Anglican Witness webpage.

The symposium, which was held at St. Paul, Bloor Street, also heard that Anglican Witness is proposing that the Anglican Communion adopt a 10-year period of “intentional discipleship.” The group is drafting a paper that will be sent to the Anglican Consultative Council, which is expected to vote on the proposal when it meets in Lusaka in 2016.

“We need to revisit the whole idea of discipleship,” said Bishop Moon Hing Ng, bishop of West Malaysia and chair of Anglican Witness. He said discipleship is becoming increasingly important not just for the Anglican Church but for other denominations as well. “It is like a wave that has come,” he said. “Many of the churches are all moving in the same direction.”

He described discipleship as “basic Christian life. It’s not a course or a module or a certificate. It’s the life of a person. A disciple must be able to know the Gospel and articulate it; to know the scriptures and feed themselves from them; to know how to pray to the point that he or she can hear from God; to serve God with no expectation of return; and to see the needs of others that will spur us into social concern.”

The symposium was held after three days of meetings by Anglican Witness in Niagara Falls. Anglican Witness, which is made up of clergy and lay people from around the Communion, was formed in 2010 at the request of the Anglican Consultative Council and has met in different parts of the globe. Since its inception until recently, the group was chaired by Bishop Patrick Yu, the area bishop of York-Scarborough in the Diocese of Toronto.

Bishop Ng praised Bishop Yu’s leadership, saying that under his direction the group has accomplished a number of things, including the creation of a webpage and Facebook page to share information and resources throughout the Communion.

At the symposium, Bishop Ng spoke about the challenges of evangelism and church growth in the Communion and the work of discipleship in West Malaysia. Mr. Sihubwa spoke about youth work in Zambia. Mark Oxbrow spoke about the work of Faith2Share, which fosters discipleship around the world, and Archbishop Colin Johnson spoke about missional direction and initiatives in the Diocese of Toronto. After their talks, those in attendance broke into small groups to learn more from the speakers.

The symposium was attended by members of Anglican Witness from the United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa, Pakistan, Nigeria, Zambia and Peru. Bishops and clergy from the Diocese of Toronto also attended.


Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, June 25, 2015

22 Days Later: Reflections and future plans

Posted on: June 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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jessica schaap

The end of the #22Days project saw members of the Anglican Church of Canada reflecting on their experience while pondering how the church could maintain its commitment to justice for Indigenous people going forward.

For more than three weeks, Anglicans from coast to coast listened to the sacred stories of residential schools survivors, prayed for survivors and their families, and rang church bells to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Thoughts from the Primate

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, suggested that dioceses and parishes should continue to raise the profile of the residential schools’ legacy.

“I think the value of the 22 days in terms of the stories is that it gives a very complex issue in this country a face and a heart,” Archbishop Hiltz said.

“These stories remind us of what’s behind all this and what continues to unfold in terms of the intergenerational impact of the residential schools and the conditions with which people in Indigenous communities and in downtown cores are living. They’re connected.”

The Primate said that the #22Days campaign and bell ringing have had a “life-changing” effect on many church members by opening up conversations about the residential schools and the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, while giving them a chance to get involved.

This September, Archbishop Hiltz will attend a meeting to begin discussing the overall plan of the church to respond to the 94 recommendations put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

He noted that the church will likely organize events on Oct. 4, the National Day of Vigils to remember and honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The 2015 federal election, he added, provides another opportunity for Anglicans to press for a government inquiry into the issue.

Indigenous Ministries reacts

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald said he was gratified by the commitment shown by church leaders towards following up on the TRC calls to action.

But he stressed that any effective follow-up would require an overall strategy or vision for the church and associated organizations—including the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, Anglican Foundation, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, and Council of General Synod—to implement the recommendations.

“It really involves all of us … Again, I’m seeing so much positive and enthusiastic response and interest in talking about this that I’m very happy,” Bishop MacDonald said.

“People are reading the recommendations and saying, ‘Well, this applies to us’—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”

Though hopeful at the beginning of the #22Days project and impressed that non-Indigenous deans had proposed it, he said that the campaign had exceeded his expectations.

“It appeared to grow and in a person-to-person kind of way,” he said. “We had a lot of reports of how much impact this had on local folks. The cathedrals and many Anglican churches took it to heart, and I’ve really lost track of the dozens and dozens of people who’ve said that it was going very well and that it had had a huge impact on their community.”

Hearing the sacred stories of residential school survivors during the 22 days, however, proved a draining experience for Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Ginny Doctor, who offered a personal glimpse into the ongoing harm caused by residential schools.

“There’s a lot of things that aren’t right in our Indigenous communities,” Doctor said. “It’s really mind-boggling. It really keeps me up some nights, because as a woman who was raised on a reservation … I’ve experienced all of those injustices and all those losses that contribute to who I am today, and my family as well.

“So it’s really difficult at times to have to sit through and watch those stories, because a lot of them are your stories.”

Expressing her desire to move forward with the healing process (“Let’s do that kind of work so that we can move on”), she noted that any follow-up would require strong commitment both inside and outside the Anglican Church of Canada.

“It’s going to take commitment from all of our folks out there who are really concerned about justice-making,” Doctor said. “Otherwise we’re not going to go anywhere with it.”

Views at the parish level

In churches and cathedrals throughout the country, clergy and parishioners had plenty of ideas to continue the momentum created by the #22Days project.

The Very. Rev Mike Sinclair, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Regina, said the cathedral had floated the idea of continuing to ring its bells even after the end of the campaign.

Noting that the national church had to go beyond such symbolic measures by building relationships of equality with Indigenous communities in their midst, he pressed for a “restorative” approach.

“We need to be deliberate about figuring out what it is that we helped in taking away, and then find ways in relationship to help restore those things,” Sinclair said.

“If it’s language, we need to be about language. If it’s culture, we need to be about culture. If it’s a family structure, we need to be able to support endeavours to strengthen the family structure. If it’s identity and self-worth, we need to be pouring our energies into that.”

He added, “I think it’s important as far as reconciliation goes for us to be as restorative as we can, but from a place of equality rather than from a place of kind of continued colonialism.”

The Rev. Barbara Liotscos (ret’d), a member of Christ Church Meaford in the Diocese of Huron, suggested that #22Days could become an annual event.

She pointed to the importance of continued education on Indigenous issues in addition to the stories of residential school survivors.

“It might be looking at land or treaties, or all kinds of different aspects of what does it mean to be in right relationship,” Liotscos said.

Offering the example of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, she added, “We could look at best practices as the Anglican Church of Canada for where Indigenous Anglicans have more of a voice, and see how we might build that into at least our General Synod.”

Speaking from Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa, Dean Shane Parker emphasized the importance of building relationships, which the cathedral had done to a great extent over the 22 days.

On Thanksgiving Sunday, he noted, local Algonquin spiritual leader Albert Dumont will speak at the cathedral in place of the sermon, recognizing the equality of native spirituality.

Meanwhile, the cathedral has also established relationships with other Indigenous leaders and artists in the community.

“It is about relationships, both within the Indigenous Anglican community but also outside of that community, with Aboriginal peoples across the country who have communities in all of our dioceses—to hold them up in prayer … and to come to understand and know one another as companions on the journey, not as conquered people and conquerors.”

At St. George’s Anglican Church in Owen Sound, Ont., parish council—after receiving requests from the non-church community—voted to continue ringing its bells on a daily basis and to erect a semi-permanent sign noting it would continue to do so until the federal government holds an inquiry.

Visit the Anglican Church of Canada website tomorrow for more details on truth and reconciliation plans within the church and ecumenically, as well as links to resources and future action opportunities.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, June 25, 2015

#22Days Highlights: Week 3

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

As bells rang out across the country during the final week of the #22Days campaign, Anglicans looked to the future with an understanding that the journey towards healing and reconciliation has just begun.

Throughout the week, the ringing of church bells continued to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, drawing attention from politicians, the media and all Canadians while serving as a call to action.

On June 17, Regina-Wascana MP Ralph Goodale tweeted a photo highlighting bell ringing at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Regina. “Sadly,” he wrote, “govt today voted down a Motion for Inquiry.”

Two days a later, Eagle Feather News—Saskatchewan’s most widely circulated Aboriginal newspaper—published a story on the ringing of bells at St. Paul’s, whose members played a key role in creating the #22Days project. In the article, Diane Campeau, who rang the bell in honour of her murdered brother and sister, praised the church for acknowledging its past mistakes and working to raise awareness of an ongoing issue.

The number of Indigenous women reported missing and murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012 has been estimated at either 1,122 or 1,181, varying figures reflected in the number of times each church rang their bells.

Church services on June 21, the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer, saw many churches complete the ringing of their bells, such as St. John the Evangelist in South Lancaster, Ont., which had rang its bells 1,181 times.

In a post on the 22 Days Wall of Commitment, David Clifford of St. John the Evangelist recounted a touching visit the day before by three young girls and their father who sat respectfully and attentively while the bells rang 169 times allotted for that day.

Afterwards, Clifford wrote, the girls “were able to give stunningly clear explanations and voice their understanding of the Residential Schools issues – and all while expressing a desire to never let this happen again.”

He added, “They explained that their teachers had focused on these issues in the classroom – bravo to those teachers out there, for instilling in this group a sensitivity to the issues, a sense of urgency to respond, and a deep respect for survivors of this National tragedy.”

Parishioners at St. Martin’s Anglican Church in North Vancouver, B.C. held a minute of silence to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women and all who continue to suffer from prejudice and racism. The ringing of church bells broke the silence, symbolizing the “end of silence and the beginning of action.”

In a post written on June 18 for the Community website, “For whom the bells toll,” the Very Rev. Mike Sinclair, dean of Qu’Appelle—writing in the space of the Rev. Kyle Norman from the Anglican Parish of Holy Cross in Calgary, Alta.—expressed the feelings of many when he asked what might follow the end of the #22Days campaign.

“We’re in this with our words and our bells,” Sinclair wrote. “Now is the time to give generously of our hearts and our time, and our continued action.”

Visit the Anglican Church of Canada website later this week for details on how church members plan to maintain their commitment to healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples moving forward.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, June 23, 2015

After 30 years as priests, Brazil’s women look toward episcopacy

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

The Revd Carmen Gomes, the first female priest ordained in the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, The Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Christina Takatsu Winnischofer, president of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil’s Women’s Union and the church’s former general secretary, during the lay and ordained women theologians conference in Porto Alegre.
Photo Credit: Lynette Wilson/ENS

By Lynette Wilson for Episcopal News Service

In 1985, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil ordained its first female priest, nine years after The Episcopal Church (TEC) opened all orders of ordained ministry to women.

“As a church we feel we were really blessed to take this step quite early,” said Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, Brazil’s primate since 2013, and bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Brazil, adding that it wasn’t until 1994, nine years later, that the Church of England ordained women to the priesthood.

Yet despite 30 years of women’s ordination, he said, “We still have resistance,” and despite female candidates in bishop elections, no diocese has taken that step.

In early June, as part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil also celebrated 30 years of women’s ordination. Coinciding with the celebration in Porto Alegre, the birthplace of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 40 lay and ordained female theologians gathered at a Roman Catholic retreat house for a three-day national conference themed, “women, strength and faith.” As an invited speaker, TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivered a lecture, “Discipleship of Equals: Episcopate and Sexism” on June 6.

For years, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil’s Women’s Union has actively worked toward raising women’s status in the church and society, but despite women having accessed leadership positions in the church, the absence of a female bishop is cause both for concern and question among lay and ordained women.

The Brazilian church came close to electing the Revd Patricia Powers, a longtime Episcopal Church-appointed missionary who in 1986 became the second ordained female priest and then the first woman to serve as a dean. In the 27 years since Powers stood for election, women have been included in bishop slates three times, most recently in 2012.

“We need to be represented in the House of Bishops where the decisions are made,” said the Revd Carmen Gomes, who was the first woman ordained priest. “We can offer service in the house, not just as representatives of women, but of all who feel marginalized in the church.”

The three largest Southern Cone countries – Argentina, Brazil and Chile – all currently are headed by female presidents; unlike the Brazilian church, however, Argentina and Chile belong to the more conservative Anglican churches of South America, and do not support women’s ordination.

Modeled after a 2005 resolution passed by the Anglican Consultative Council that called for equal representation of men and women in leadership goals, the women drafted a similar resolution to be introduced at the church’s 2017 synod. In the meantime, they’ve committed to work not only to empower and prepare women for leadership roles, but to envision an episcopate different from the traditional, top-down male model, said the Rev. Glenda McQueen, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, who attended the three-day conference.

A women’s model was something the presiding bishop touched on.

Because of their gender, women can bring particular gifts to the episcopate, said Jefferts Schori in her June 6 lecture, echoing words she’d spoken in late May at the Westminster Faith Debates at St. James’s Church in London, England: “… women’s presence in leadership expands the image of what it means to be made in the image of God.  Furthermore, given their social location in most societies, women’s experience of marginalization can help to bring that particular perspective to the work of leadership.”

During that lecture, the presiding bishop expanded her thoughts on marginalization saying that women bring their own experience “outside the norm” into leadership of a community, and women continue in much of the world today to experience marginalization and varying levels of social control in their lives.

Women as leaders “serve both as iconic images of the complexity and otherness of God and by representing and raising the concerns of the marginalized, having known that reality themselves.  Both are basic to following Jesus, who spent most of his active ministry with the marginalized, seeking to make them and their communities whole.  It doesn’t mean that men cannot also do that work, but that women by their social location are often closer to the reality of the oppressed and ‘unfree,’” she said.

Jefferts Schori spent June 5-7 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in celebration of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil’s 125th anniversary, 50 years of autonomy and 30 years of women’s ordination. In addition to the June 6 lecture, the presiding bishop preached and co-celebrated at the June 7 Eucharist at Most Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil’s national cathedral.

Nearing the end of her nine-year term as presiding bishop, the faith debate in Westminster and the lecture given in Porto Alegre were the only times she’s been asked to speak on women, sexism and the episcopacy, Jefferts Schori said.

The invitation to participate in the faith debate at Westminster came after the Church of England appointed its first female bishop, the Rt. Rev. Libby Lane.

In July 2014, the Church of England, following years of debate, approved legislation enabling women to serve as bishops as early as 2015. By June 10, the Church of England had appointed four women as bishops.

On June 6, during the gathering in Porto Alegre, the Very Rev. Mary Irwin-Gibson became the first woman elected bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal.

At Westminster, Jefferts Schori said, she focused on women in religious leadership, but in Brazil, she thought it was important to emphasize the different trajectories and realities across the Anglican Communion, including statistics.

When the women learned the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church would preach on June 7, they changed the date of their conference to coincide with her visit, said the Very Rev. Mannez Rosa dos Santos, dean of Most Holy Trinity Cathedral.

“It’s very special for the women of Brazil,” she said, speaking through an interpreter.

Three points underline the importance of the presiding bishop’s visit, she said: Elected as the first female primate in the Anglican Communion, Jefferts Schori has “a special witness and prophetic position”; sharing herself with the women indicates an openness to relationship; and her visit served as an opportunity for the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil to see a female bishop and visualize what women’s leadership in the episcopate means.

“We need to change our vision,” said dos Santos, who is one of two female deans serving the church.

Today, women make up 25 percent of the of the Brazilian church’s 150 active clergy serving nine dioceses. In the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, women make up 35 percent of the more than 6,500 active clergy serving 99 dioceses.

Female priests make up more than 50 percent of clergy in eight of the 99 U.S.-based dioceses, mainly small, rural dioceses, said Jefferts Schori in her lecture.

Female priests “are also under-represented as senior leaders (rectors or deans) or clergy serving alone in a congregation. They constitute 31 percent of such clergy across the U.S. part of the church, and we don’t have enough data to say very much about the non-U.S. parts of The Episcopal Church,” she continued. “The percentage of women serving as senior clergy is lower in the more politically conservative parts of the U.S., and in dioceses where there are a lot of large and wealthy congregations.  More women are deployed in poorer and more rural areas, and in positions that pay less than average or where they serve without compensation.”

This can change, she added, if dioceses prepare the electorate to elect a woman:

Share the data; share the reality (for example, the number of ordained women and what fraction of the whole that represents, their trajectory and whether they are growing in percentage).

“And (challenge) people in the congregation to think about why women aren’t elected as church leaders in ordained ministry and why there are so few of them, because I don’t think people are conscious (of that) when they go to vote,” said Jefferts Schori in an interview with ENS.  “I think people vote for who they like and people they can imagine being their bishop and if they have never seen a woman [as a] bishop they probably aren’t conscious of the fact that they are not going to vote for somebody that they don’t think of potentially as being a bishop. And I don’t think it’s terribly conscious, but it can be brought into consciousness by doing some preparatory work, and by ensuring that there are women on the ballot and that the electors get exposed to the variety.”

In her lecture, she talked specifically about women as bishops, showing the numbers, which indicate it may be easier for a woman to be appointed a bishop, as is the case in the Church of England, rather than to be elected as in The Episcopal Church.

“In 1988, Barbara Harris was the first woman to be elected bishop in the Anglican Communion.  Since then, 44 other women have been elected or appointed across the Anglican Communion.  They have been almost exactly divided between suffragan bishops, 23, and diocesan bishops, 22. One suffragan has since been called to serve as a diocesan. In some parts of the Communion, bishops are elected by dioceses; in other provinces they are appointed by more centralized church bodies.  Thus far, it appears to be far easier to appoint women bishops than it is to elect them, especially as diocesan bishops,” she said.

Of the total 22 women elected as bishops in The Episcopal Church, nine have been diocesan bishops; four remain and a fifth will be consecrated in September. Since Jefferts Schori was elected in 2000, there have been 125 bishops elected, she said.

“The House of Bishops is beginning to talk about the low percentage of women [as] bishops,” the presiding bishop said, during the interview with ENS.

Jefferts Schori ran alongside six male candidates both when she was elected bishop of the Diocese of Nevada in 2001 and as presiding bishop in 2006.

“The male bishops are noticing that there are fewer women bishops in the House because the women who were elected in the first round are retiring,” she said. “It shocked me when I first looked at the statistics: 20 percent of the total are women, and only 10 percent of the active bishops in The Episcopal Church. And we’ve elected some 40 to 45 percent of the women in the communion, simply because we have so many dioceses, so many opportunities, but the fact remains that we are not electing them as diocesans.”

During a question-and-answer session following the presiding bishop’s lecture, the women wanted to know if she’d ever been discriminated against.

“Face to face, I’ve been treated well, but lots of mean things have been said on the Internet,” she said, adding that at her first Primates Meeting, the situation was tense at times, but the comments made weren’t personal, she said.

Later, when asked by ENS if she felt like a role model throughout her term as primate, Jefferts Schori said: “The fact that a woman is seen in that role, it’s really important. It’s like what I said in the first part of the lecture, women present another aspect of the image of God and if they are not represented then people’s understanding – of what and who God is – is really limited, and again it’s unconscious for most people. And again, it’s important to see the possibility that a woman can do this, particularly in patriarchal societies that continue to tell women that they can’t do these things.”


Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, June 18, 2015

Prayer unites us

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Praying hands. Some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) by LMP+This past week, the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer held a national consultation. Diocesan Representatives, Executive Committee members, and local Parish representatives had the opportunity to engage in multi-directional conversations about what it means to be people of prayer in this day and age.

We gathered in Newfoundland, greeted with astounding hospitality by a committed local committee. We literally came from coast to coast to coast, to pray together, to share experiences, and to be empowered by the joys of being the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer.

We came from different places and contexts; as lay and ordained; as seasoned members and as brand-new representatives. Our ages varied, our styles varied, our politics varied.

Anyone just glancing in a window would have wondered what brought us all together, what our commonality was. But the answer is simple: prayer.

Even in prayer, we did things differently. Some prayed silently, others aloud; some prayed with eyes open, others shut; some prayed in their native language, others in the conference norm of English; some prayed extensively, others offered few words.

Yet despite these differences, these prayers united us. They united us because when we were opening our hearts and minds to the ministry of prayer, that was all that mattered.

And so we prayed. With one another, for one another. We prayed in words, we prayed in song, we prayed in action. We prayed so much we had to adjust our agenda. We prayed as one.

And it was beautiful.

So now we’ve all gone home, yet we remain united. United in prayer, empowered by the Spirit, supported by our fellowship with God and one another. And we are united, not just with those who were present last week, but with all Christians who will engage in the practice of prayer.

So this week, as we enter into our own prayers, may we all know that we are all united and uniting through this ministry. May we trust that we are being held in prayer, just as we hold others in prayer. May we proclaim the gift of prayer as profound and amazing and exciting and alive. May we live knowing that prayer united us all: and for that truth we humbly give thanks to God.

Profile photo of Laura Marie Piotrowicz

About Laura Marie Piotrowicz

I’m a high-energy priest catching glimpses of the kingdom in daily life. I consider church to be a verb, and I’m passionate about PWRDF, eco-theology, and social justice. I love travel, reading, canoeing, camping, gardening and cooking, playing with my dogs, and drinking good coffee.

The Community, An update from The Community, June 12, 2015