Archive for the ‘General’ Category

William Murdoch is ‘sort of our best selves’

Posted on: April 18th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Shannon Hengen

Fr. Keegan (guest star Peter Outerbridge) and Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) in episode 815, “Shipwreck.” Photo: Christos Kalohoridis © Shaftesbury

In its eighth season, shown in 110 countries, Murdoch Mysteries (CBC) is often praised for the detective’s use of innovative crime-solving technologies. But the series offers more: a study of how its central characters work through all that is new in their time. As in our own, much in late nineteenth-century Toronto was new, forcing the main characters into perplexing situations.

Yannick Bisson (Detective William Murdoch) says about the character that “an ongoing theme with him was to constantly observe what he believes to be true, whether it holds up or not” (FAJO Magazine, Jan. 10, 2013). Clearly related to his professional life as a detective, the statement also explains how Murdoch makes personal decisions, of which perhaps the most significant has been whether or not to marry the woman he loves (Dr. Ogden)—herself a woman of integrity. He is Catholic, she is not, and they must both wrestle with such issues as abortion and divorce. Wrestling with moral issues distinguishes all of the main characters and helps to raise this series above the ordinary.

Detective Murdoch wants to find the truth as a detective and as a person.

It’s an interesting part of life that none of us can deny. Part of what we set out to do with our show is to service all of the things that appeal universally. One of the things that is universally appealing, obviously, is a man and a woman that are somewhat destined to be together and how they work that out. Logistically, it’s been tough because we’ve had to stretch it out for many years. None of us expected to be this far down the road. We’re about to start season nine. It’s such a rare thing for these shows to go so long.

Do your own values figure into the character?

Well, sure. It’s always been interesting to me because I think the character of Murdoch isn’t really just a reflection of me. The way my writing team and I have seen it when we’ve had this conversation is that William Murdoch is sort of our best selves. He’s our ideal self in any sort of crisis. He’s sort of the eyes of the audience. He helps to guide the audience through the ebbs and flows, so I like to think he’s our best selves in the worst situations. He’s honest, he’s forthright, he stands by his principles, he’s forward-thinking, but he hangs on to tradition. That’s sort of been my take on it and certainly collectively what we’ve built with him.

Popular culture has many characters who aren’t like that.

I’ve noticed that in a lot of the more popular shows at the moment the characters are very reprehensible, but you’re sort of drawn into the show. You have guys that cook drugs, you have guys that are informants, you have a president that’s devious—all these different things that make up these big cable shows right now—some pretty wacky characters. So for us to have been able to have appeal and to last so long with somebody who’s a fairly straight arrow is unique and kind of fun.

The denominations of the two main characters…

Different characters speak about it in a positive connotation, and sometimes negative, where [Murdoch] gets called a papist at times. At the beginning of the series, it became clear that William Murdoch was always going to be faced with a glass ceiling. He would never be able to rise above the position of detective, so that very much is the reality that he lives within and deals with daily. She [Dr. Ogden] would be more—we sort of thought of her as being more—I don’t want to say atheist…But she’s not in sync with the constraints of male-dominated religious society as well as political society.

We see characters making hard decisions that give them humanity and integrity. Is that why people love the show?

I would say that’s my number one compass: your own personal integrity, fighting and striving to be true to yourself and true to your beliefs.


Shannon Hengen is a writer based in Sudbury, Ont.


Anglican Journal News, April 17, 2015

Church leaders sign climate change declaration

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

Bishop Dennis Drainville of the Anglican diocese of Quebec talks with workshop leader Paul Mackey and atmospheric scientist Alan Betts at the Green Churches Conference in Quebec City. Photo: André Forget

On April 15, Christians from across Eastern Canada gathered at the Green Churches Conference/Colloque Eglises Vertes in Quebec City to learn about how churches can practise better environmental stewardship and to sign an ecumenical declaration committing their churches to creating a “climate of hope” in the face of worsening climate change.

Rooting itself in ancient biblical teachings and modern climate science, the declaration committed churches to enact “an ecological shift” by “bringing improvements to our places of worship.” It also pledged churches to “act as good citizens in order to build a society which is greener and more concerned about the future of the next generations.”

The principal signatories of the declaration were Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, primate of the Catholic Church in Canada; Archpriest P. Nectaire Féménias of the Orthodox Church of America; Rev. David Fines, former president of the Montreal/Ottawa conference of the United Church of Canada; Bishop Dennis Drainville of the Anglican diocese of Quebec; Diane Andicha Picard, Guardian of the Sacred Drum Head for Andicah n’de Wendat; Rev. Katherine Burgess, incumbent at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City; and Norman Lévesque, director of the Green Church Program.

However, to emphasize the collective responsibility of churches in fighting climate change, the declaration was read by all present, and everyone was given the opportunity to sign.

The reading of the declaration followed a presentation by Dr. Alan K. Betts, an atmospheric scientist based in Vermont who has been studying the effects of climate change for more than 35 years. Betts explained how the unusual weather patterns of last winter—in which parts of western North America experienced record highs while Easterners experienced an especially cold winter—were in keeping with larger changes to weather patterns consistent with the rise of C02 in the earth’s atmosphere.

But Betts also spoke about questions that touched much more closely on faith, arguing that climate change was a “spiritual denial” of the facts. “Climate deniers do not want to see truth,” he said. “We are in a society where the rich are very dependent on propaganda to defend fossil fuel exploitation.”

While Betts was very clear about the enormity of the threat that climate change poses, he did not suggest that there was no hope, but argued that people “united with the spirit and the science” can cause change, “because when we stand for truth, creation responds.”

The conference was organized by Green Churches, an ecumenical network that began in 2006 as a project of Saint Columba House, a United Church mission in Montreal. In the nine years since it began, the network has grown to include 50 churches across Canada from Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Evangelical and Quaker traditions.

Following Betts’s presentation and the reading of the declaration, participants spent the late morning and afternoon of the one-day conference in a series of workshops, held in both English and French, focusing on practical ways in which churches could reduce their carbon footprint and energy use. One workshop, led by the Rev. Cynthia Patterson and Sarah Blair of the diocese of Quebec, looked at the work that the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is doing to return its grounds to their original function as gardens.

Lévesque, director of the Green Church Program, said that while there were slightly fewer people in attendance than he had expected, he was impressed with the number of prominent church leaders in attendance, such as Cardinal Lacroix and Bishop Drainville.

He was also struck by the participants’ passion. “The people here, the interest—it was more than interest—it was conviction,” he said, adding that it was important that participants included people with the power to change church structure.

Elana Wright, who works for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and led a workshop on the relationship between food justice and climate justice, was likewise impressed with the level of participation.

“It showed that there is a critical mass of people that want to take action and do something,” she said, “and they are following the Christian principles of respect for creation and really putting it into action and bringing it to their church leaders.”

Drainville also viewed the conference as being highly important—so much so, in fact, that he delayed his flight to the House of Bishops meeting by a day in order to participate.

“It is always a great opportunity to spend time with people who see the same kind of priorities,” he said, “and obviously as an Anglican, believing strongly in the Marks of Mission and particularly the fifth mark of mission [To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth], coming here and showing our solidarity as we respond to the needs of creation is very important.”

The next Green Churches Conference is scheduled to take place in Ottawa in autumn 2016.


Anglican Journal News, April 15, 2015

Holocaust document reaffirms fight against anti-Semitism

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The re-release of a document exploring the context of the Holocaust is the latest step taken by the Anglican Church of Canada to promote Christian-Jewish dialogue and continue the struggle

Commended in 1989 by the church’s National Executive Council—the precursor to the Council of General Synod—From Darkness to Dawn: Rethinking Christian Attitudes Towards Jews and Judaism in the Light of the Holocaust was written by the Subcommittee on Jewish-Anglican Relations, following a 1983 resolution that condemned racism and anti-Semitism. The resolution also called for the production of materials to help Anglicans learn more about anti-Semitism.

The study program From Darkness to Dawn was made available online this year, in advance of the annual commemoration of the Holocaust, or Shoah, on April 15.

Archdeacon Bruce Myers, coordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, noted that despite From Darkness to Dawn’s official commendation, it is unclear how widely the study program has been taken up by the church at large.

Myers himself only discovered the document while doing research in the General Synod archives on the church’s involvement in Christian-Jewish dialogue.

“It’s a fine document into which a considerable amount of time and work was invested, but it appears to have been only minimally received by our church,” he said.

“Even if a few of the references [that] the document makes seem a bit dated, the larger issues it deals with—especially the historic roots of anti-Semitism and the church’s historic complicity in it—haven’t changed.”

The strong stand by the Anglican Church of Canada against anti-Semitism dates back to 1934, when the General Synod of what was then known as the Church of England in Canada adopted a resolution condemning the persecution of Jews in Germany and recognizing Jewish contributions to human history.

More recently, in 2013, General Synod approved a resolution committing the church to “resolutely oppose anti-Semitism” as well as anti-Arab sentiment and Islamophobia.

While the Anglican Church of Canada, along with other churches, participates in national-level dialogue with the Jewish community through the Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation (CCJC), the CCJC has been in a state of limbo since 2012, when Jewish representatives stepped away from the table due to a decision by one of the participating churches to boycott goods produced on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

On a local level, however, Christian-Jewish dialogue remains as vibrant as ever.

In Montreal, local Christian and Jewish representatives continue to meet regularly. The Rev. Stephen Petrie represents the Anglican church at the dialogue and serves as treasurer, while the Rev. Prof. Patricia G. Kirkpatrick, who teaches Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew at McGill University, attends occasionally and provides support.

In 2013, the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal promoted interfaith dialogue about the proposed Quebec Charter of Values—which would have banned the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols by public employees in Quebec—through discussion groups, radio and TV interviews, and the production of a video entitled Nous sommes québécois.

“It may seem strange to people out in the community that a Jewish-Christian dialogue would launch a campaign stressing issues of diversity, and why it is that individuals should be allowed to wear their religious icons—whether it be a kippah or a cross around your neck or a veil on your head…,” Kirkpatrick said.

“But we felt strongly that we could actually engage the larger community with this kind of political issue that was right on our doorstep in order to highlight those aspects of anti-Semitism that are almost global, in the sense that all people can all of a sudden be the recipients of draconian legal measures brought on by governments wanting to forbid certain religious…rights and privileges.”

The responses to the proposed Charter of Values, she suggested, illustrated the importance of promoting community dialogue to guard against the type of scapegoating that has targeted Jews and other minorities throughout history.

Global Relations Coordinator Andrea Mann, who serves as the church’s lead staff on Israel-Palestine issues, noted that the definition of anti-Semitism has changed over the years.

“I think that Christians want to better understand what it means to be anti-Semitic in the contemporary context,” she added, “and are going to find some help in that regard in From Darkness to Dawn.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Bishop Barry Clarke of the Diocese of the Montreal and the Rev. Prof. Patricia G. Kirkpatrick represented the Anglican Church of Canada at the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal. Erroneous information was provided.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 13, 2015

Niagara Anglicans embark on Dominican mission

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Parishioners from four different Anglican churches in the diocese of Niagara embarked on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in late February this year.

St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in St. Catharines, Ont., led the way, this being its sixth mission trip to the Caribbean nation. St. Thomas’ was joined on this occasion by members of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Niagara Falls, Ont.; St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Thorold, Ont.; and the Parish of St. James and St. Brendan in Port Colborne, Ont.

The Anglican team worked together with The Samaritan Foundation and the Not Just Tourists project to build houses and provide essential medical supplies for people living in the impoverished areas surrounding the tourist city of Puerto Plata. They also provided school supplies and distributed two weeks’ worth of staple foods to 75 families living in houses previously built by The Samaritan Foundation.

The Samaritan Foundation has been active in the Puerto Plata region for over 25 years, and has planned and funded 1,500 homes, 12 churches, eight schools and six medical centres. Not Just Tourists began in the late 1990s when, after witnessing the startling need for basic medical supplies in Cuba, St. Catharines residents Dr. Ken Taylor and his wife, Denise, started bringing essential medicines with them on trips to the island nation and neighbouring countries.

On the February mission to the Dominican Republic, Dr. Taylor treated over 900 patients and helped deliver medical supplies worth approximately $100,000.

In a letter to the Anglican Journal, Bill Rivers, who heads up Youth Ministry at St. James and St. Brendan and was a participant in the mission, conceded that the “‘grunt’ work—moving concrete blocks, mixing mortar, digging foundations”—was demanding, but also served to unite the team in its common purpose. “Happily,” he added, “before leaving, the team experienced great joy in seeing the houses awarded to two young Dominican families.”

Rivers was quick to point out that although the construction of houses and the distribution of various supplies were key components of the mission, they were not the only aspects. “Our faith manifests itself in not only the work we do while there, but in the compassion we feel, the love we share and the prayers we offer,” he said. “It absolutely…[has] both an immediate and lasting impact.”

That impact proved all the more powerful the week before the group was set to leave for the Dominican, when they discovered that all their construction tools had been stolen. The mission would have been derailed had not Bickles Hardware in Niagara Falls, Ont., and Canadian power tools manufacturer Makita stepped in and donated five brand-new power tool kits. “Prayers answered!” as Rivers put it.


Ben Graves is an intern for the Anglican Journal.


Anglican Journal News, April 13, 2015

Anglicans push for gender equality at UN commission

Posted on: April 5th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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UNCSW59 065

Members of the Anglican Communion official delegation to the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women pause for a group shot. The Rev. Canon Alice Medcof (third from right in the back row) represented Canada. Submitted photo



Highlighting the global struggle for gender equality, Canadian Anglicans joined counterparts from across the worldwide Anglican Communion at the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) from March 9–20.

A group of eight Canadian Anglicans comprised of six women and two men, including one bishop, travelled to New York City for the UNCSW. Along with their participation at the UN discussions, they attended parallel events organized by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations (ACOUN).

The Rev. Canon Alice Medcof, a member of the Canadian Anglican group who has attended the UNCSW each year since 2004, was also the Canada representative on the 19-member ACOUN international delegation, which included Anglican women from Myanmar, Japan, Brazil and Papua New Guinea, among other countries.

“It was quite thrilling…to have women from parts of the Communion where Anglicanism is perhaps two per cent or eight per cent of the population,” Medcof said.

Three dioceses from the Anglican Church of Canada were represented among the Canadian group, which consisted of Bishop Michael Bird, Susan Bird, the Rev. Canon Sharyn Hall and Fred Hall from the Diocese of Niagara; Judy Dickson, Maria Jordon and Medcof from the Diocese of Toronto; and Dr. Jane Clelland from the Diocese of British Columbia.

The UNCSW included approximately 400 discussion groups, with members of the Canadian Anglican group able to attend a maximum of four events each per day based on their interests or area of expertise. Each of the eight members will write about their experiences as part of a group report that will be submitted to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

This year’s UN commission marked the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action, which was accepted globally in 1995 and called on governments to raise awareness about women’s place in society and pass legislation to promote gender equality.

In affirming the Beijing Platform, the UNCSW urged governments to work toward the goal of complete gender equality around the world by 2030.

“The request was that governments…continue to include women in the discussions and work towards a society where women gain equally with men the good that society has, like equal food, equal pay for equal work, [and] the opportunity to participate in decision-making,” Medcof said.

Other issues impacting women that the ACOUN international delegation identified as emerging from the commission were gender-based violence, climate change, human trafficking and slavery, statelessness and birth registration.

Meanwhile, the events organized by the Anglican Communion Office at the Episcopal Church Center included presentations by World YWCA General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda as well as Archbishop Sir David Moxon, emissary to the Holy See for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

In his remarks, Moxon focused on the issue of human trafficking, which now earns more illegal money than the international drug trade. He spoke in detail about the Global Freedom Network, an organization with an interfaith leadership dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Confronting human trafficking remains a focus for Medcof, who will attend a forum in Toronto on April 28 organized by the FCJ Refugee Centre, Human Trafficking and LGBTQ+ Community: Breaking the Silence and Mobilizing Support. She invited fellow Anglicans to attend the event, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 519 Church Street Community Centre. Registration is $10.

Anglicans interested in getting more involved in women’s issues may contact Medcof at for more information.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 01, 2015

Churches stress negative impact of mining at World Social Forum side-event

Posted on: April 1st, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Fr Dário Bossi speaking at the churches’ side-event at the WSF in Tunis.


[World Council of Churches] The social and ecological cost of expanding mineral exploration and extraction was highlighted by the churches in a side-event at the World Social Forum (WSF) held last week in Tunis, Tunisia.

Church representatives stressed that mining projects often hamper the wellbeing and sustainability of local communities, noting the need to find new alternatives to extraction as a development paradigm.

The side-event, which took place on 27 March, was organized by Iglesias y Minería (Churches and Mining), Franciscans International, Missionários Combonianos and the Rural Women’s Assembly, among other groups.

The 14th WSF this year has gathered some 70,000 participants from around the world, representing more than 4,000 mass-based movements and organizations. The World Council of Churches (WCC) was represented at the event by Athena Peralta, the WCC’s consultant for the Economic and Ecological Justice Programme.

The discussion at the churches’ side event, titled “The Christian Church and Mining”, underlined how several countries especially in Latin America are increasingly witnessing the negative impacts of mining projects. According to several reports, these projects have harmed the health and the sources of sustenance of people in mining areas.

In response to this situation, since 2013, the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant church groups in Latin America have worked together to support communities resisting large-scale mining, promoting the protection of vulnerable communities and working together to find alternatives to extraction.

“Churches are among the most reliable actors in defense of the communities’ rights to their territory, land, water and all the common goods,” said Fr Dário Bossi, a Comboni missionary and member of the International Network of those Affected by Vale, a mining company. “In Latin America, our network Iglesias y Minería is strengthening its position for the promotion of social and ecological justice,” he said.

“As Christians we have a common vision of a just and peaceful world,” said Athena Peralta.

“To translate this vision into a reality we must address the injustices arising from extractive activities and the extractive model of development. This model tends to benefit only multinational corporations and economic elites at the expense of people and ecology,” added Peralta.

The participants urged support for the struggles of communities against mining corporations. The churches must contribute to a spirituality of struggle in defense of life and the human right to land and water, they said. They also encouraged churches to lift up in dialogue the cries and demands of vulnerable communities affected by mining.

The church representatives agreed to raise awareness about mining issues and to develop collaboration among affected communities. They strategized to publicize and oppose human rights violations in mining areas, such as displacement and the persecution of community leaders and activists. They hoped to share their reports with the United Nations and other international platforms for effective redress of the situation.

The participants at the event also agreed strongly to denounce any attempt by mining companies to “buy the churches” and influence their theologies and liturgies.

Read more.


Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Daily Summary, March 3, 2015

Anglican UN delegation urges bold steps to gender equality

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Anglican Communion delegation to UN Commission on the Status of Women
Photo Credit: Ecumenical Women

The Anglican Communion delegation to a recent UN meeting has lifted up the full inclusion of women at all levels of decision-making and leadership in the church as an issue for action.

In a statement from the 59th Session of the UN Commission for the Status of Women (CSW59), the all-woman delegation urged Anglicans and Episcopalians to take bold, giant steps towards gender equality.

Gender-based violence, climate change, human trafficking and modern slavery, statelessness and birth registration are highlighted in the statement signed by the 19 Anglican Communion delegates, each officially representing her province.

The statement calls on church leaders to lobby their governments for the implementation of policies improving women’s access to healthcare, limiting carbon dioxide emissions and promoting the use of ‘green’ technologies.

The Anglican women delegates also agreed on the importance of grassroots action where local churches use their connections, create awareness and educate communities on such critical issues as ending child marriages, rape and domestic violence. In addition, they encouraged local churches to use ministry opportunities such as baptism to raise awareness of the importance of registering the birth of children.

According to UN data, one in three women is a victim of gender-based violence. The statement highlights the importance of men and women working together: “Many women feel unable to speak out about their experiences, or feel unheard, because of legal and cultural constraints. We welcome men and boys who recognise the equal humanity of women and girls and encourage them to join us in eradicating gender-based violence.”

The statement also invites provinces of the Anglican Communion to support the Global Freedom Network, a faith-based joint initiative of the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020.

“Gender equality applies to all human beings and should be a discussion for all women and men, girls and boys,” concludes the statement.

The Anglican Communion comprised delegates  from Australia; Hong Kong; Jordan; Malawi; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia; Brazil; Japan; Sri Lanka; Swaziland and South Africa; USA; Canada; Ghana and England.

The CSW59 took place on March 9-20 at the UN headquarters in New York.


Download the statement in PDF format.


Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Daily Summary, March 31, 2015

Ottawa fundraiser brings in money for the Arctic

Posted on: March 27th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget


St. Jude’s Cathedral, in Iqaluit, was destroyed by arson in 2005 and rebuilt in 2012, but the debt incurred still sits at $1.27 million. Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of the Arctic


While St. Jude’s Cathedral now stands proudly in central Iqaluit, the debt incurred in building it stands at $1.27 million, according to Darren McCartney, suffragan bishop for the diocese of the Arctic, an amount that significantly inhibits the diocese’s ability to go about its mission.

For this reason, and because of its extensive and long-standing relations with Anglicans from the Arctic, Christ Church Cathedral in the diocese of Ottawa held a fundraiser on March 21 at its new parish hall building to bring in money to retire the debt.

Leslie Worden, who is involved with the Anglican of Church Women Canada (ACW) and who helped to organize the event, said that despite poor weather, around 100 people came out to a screening of the documentary Soul of the Arctic, produced by Northern-Ireland television network UTV. The documentary chronicles McCartney’s journey from being a priest in Northern Ireland to being a bishop in the Arctic.

“People always want to know about the North,” said Worden, “and there’s not that much I know how to tell them. So in this video, people can see for themselves.”

The fundraiser, which also included a performance by former RCMP officer and noted singer Garth Hampson, brought in $3,000 through freewill offerings, which Worden will be sending to the diocese directly.

When the Anglican Journal contacted McCartney, he expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Christ Church and others. “We’ve been blessed from the wider national church,” he said, “who have contributed quite a lot toward the building and [retiring] the debt so far.”

Fundraisers also help raise awareness, he added, not just about St. Jude’s but about the overall ministry of the church in the North. “Putting ordained ministers in communities and raising up ordained ministers—that’s the challenge. We’ve got something like 31 communities that are currently ministered to by lay readers in non-sacramental ministry.”

McCartney noted that more funds would allow the diocese to bring on more ordained clergy, and to pay more clergy for the work that is being done. “The seminary here in the diocese, where we trained people in the North, sort of went on hold because of the financial commitments that were weighing on us due to the cathedral debt,” McCartney explained. “For a period of time, the focus was very much on the cathedral, and getting the debt down on the cathedral so that the ministry could continue in the Arctic.”

But now that things have stabilized a little, McCartney wants to shift the focus more onto the work that needs to be done. “We need to look at training and the continual need for clergy, the continual need to train our own people,” he said. “That will be the next thing.”

The original St. Jude’s building, erected in 1972 by local volunteers, was destroyed in a 2005 arson fire. The current building was completed in 2012.


Anglican Journal News, March 27, 2015

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

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Rev. Chris Harper, Freda Lepine, Rev. Ginny Doctor, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples co-chairs Rev. Norm Casey and Archdeacon Sidney Black, Primate Fred Hiltz, Rev. Laurette Glasgow and National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald discuss greater self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans. Photo: André Forget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anglican Journal News, March 25, 2015

Faith groups invite Pope to visit Vancouver’s poor

Posted on: March 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Ben Graves


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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