Archive for the ‘General’ Category

40 years of women’s priestly ministry in the US

Posted on: July 29th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

 

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with some of those involved with the Philadelphia 11 ordinations
Photo Credit: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

[Episcopal News Service – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] A joyous celebration of the 40th anniversary of women’s priestly ordination on July 26 here included calls for people to realize that the dream of a more egalitarian and less patriarchal Episcopal Church – and society – that was embodied by the Philadelphia 11′s ordinations requires much more work.

“I wonder why we cannot speed up the work of gender justice and aligned oppressions in the days and years ahead,” Fredrica Thompsett Harris, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, asked during her keynote address to a symposium that kicked off a day meant to celebrate the July 29, 1974, ordinations of 11 women deacons at Church of the Advocate here. “This would be one way to honor our courageous sisters and those who stood with them.”

The Rev. Merrill Bittner, the Rev. Alison Cheek, the Rev. Alla Bozarth, the Rev. Emily C. Hewitt, the Rev. Carter Heyward, the Rev. Suzanne R. Hiatt, the Rev. Marie Moorefield, the Rev. Jeanette Piccard, the Rev. Betty Bone Schiess, the Rev. Katrina Welles Swanson and the Rev. Nancy Hatch Wittig were ordained on that day in 1974, slightly more than two years before the General Convention of the Episcopal Church gave its explicit permission for women to become priests.

Retired Colorado Bishop Suffragan Daniel Corrigan, retired Pennsylvania Bishop Robert L. DeWitt and retired West Missouri Bishop Edward R. Welles II (Katrina Wells Swanson’s father) were the ordaining bishops. They were joined by Costa Rica Bishop Antonio Ramos, the only one of the four who then was exercising jurisdiction in the church. Ramos did not participate in the actual ordination, but joined in the laying on of hands.

The group “40 Years Ordained – 2,000 Years in Ministry”, organized by the Diocese of Pennsylvania in conjunction with others throughout the church, designed the July 26 celebration not just to mark the Philadelphia 11’s ordinations – and those of the Washington Four on Sept. 7, 1975, at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. – but also to celebrate the ministry of all women, lay and ordained, in the past, present and future. The gathering included Holy Eucharist at Church of the Advocate, followed by a reception amid displays of various ministries in which women are engaged.

Speeding up the progress towards gender justice and eliminating other interlocking oppressions would be a good way to honor the first women ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, says Fredrica Thompsett Harris, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, during her July 26 keynote address. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Speeding up the progress towards gender justice and eliminating other interlocking oppressions would be a good way to honor the first women ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, says Fredrica Thompsett Harris, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, during her July 26 keynote address. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“This celebration must not be honored by excluding others,” Harris Thompsett said during her keynote address. “It should not be sentimentalized by Hallmark [greeting] card theology, or trivialized by invoking a too-small God, a non-controversial, semi-engaged complacent divinity.”

She gave three challenges to the approximately 230 women and men who attended the symposium. The first was to honor the first ordinations of women by becoming “much more insistent advocates for baptism as being chief among Holy Orders,” warning against what she called “creepy theology out there in everyday use” which assumes that deacons, priests and bishops are somehow more connected to God and called to be more prophetic than lay people.

The second challenge was to live truly into the “embodied nature of Anglican theology” that emphasizes the goodness of all creation and the dwelling of the incarnate Christ in us and us in him. All people, she said, must claim their bodies “as sacred vehicles of spiritual authority.”

Harris Thompsett’s third challenge was very specific, calling for making the House of Bishops 30 percent female in the next 10 years. That would mean electing about 50 or more “highly and diversely qualified women bishops,” she said. To do so would require more attention being paid to discrimination and tokenism in all search processes, including those for the episcopate, she added.

The symposium at Temple University also featured a panel of lay and ordained women who responded to Harris Thompsett’s speech. Participants included Bishop Carol Gallagher, the Rev. Miguelina Howell, the Rev. Pamela Nesbit, the Rev. Sandye Wilson and educator and social worker Nokomis Wood. The panel was moderated by the Very Rev. Katherine H. Ragsdale, EDS dean and president. Philadelphia 11 member Wittig closed the symposium with a meditation.

Wilson, the rector of St. Andrew and Holy Communion in South Orange, New Jersey, echoed comments made by her fellow panelists and Harris Thompsett about interlocking oppressions. For years black women were invisible in the Episcopal Church, she said.

“When they spoke of women, they spoke of white women, and when they spoke of black, they spoke of black men,” she said, adding that “we have to name these things because if we don’t name them, we’re subject to repeat them.”

Wilson, who was the fourth African-American woman ordained in the Episcopal Church, said “we need to be sure that we are radically welcoming everyone and that no one is left out or left behind, that the table is set for everyone and that no one on a committee has to advocate for one group or another.”

Ragsdale told the symposium that she heard a recurring theme about the “celebration of diversity along with the painful and … grief-giving and infuriating reality of how far we have yet to go in the church and the world to really celebrate that diversity” and the justice that ought to come with it.

She added that she also heard a call for people to value all four orders of ministry and to recognize that those in ordained orders must listen to the stories of the work done by lay people outside the doors of the church and empower those ministers to carry on.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her sermon at Church of the Advocate uses a pair of red high heels to illustrate the expectations set upon ordained women. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her sermon at Church of the Advocate uses a pair of red high heels to illustrate the expectations set upon ordained women. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, preaching and presiding at the celebratory Eucharist later in the day, said the entire Episcopal Church gives thanks that women now serve in all orders of ministry. As the congregation of about 600 roared its approval, she turned in the Advocate’s ornate pulpit and bowed to the five members of the Philadelphia 11 and one of the Washington Four who participated in the Eucharist.

Jefferts Schori reminded the congregation that women priests have been told that they should not wear high heels or dangly earrings in the pulpit or at the altar. After brandishing a pair of red high heels, she said “Women in all orders of ministry – baptized, deacons, priests, and bishops – can walk proudly today, in whatever kind of shoes they want to wear, because of what happened here 40 years ago.”

“We can walk proudly, even if not yet in full equality, knowing that the ranks of those who walk in solidarity are expanding,” she continued.

“Try to walk in the shoes of abused and trafficked women. Walk on to Zion carrying the children who are born and suffer in the midst of war,” the presiding bishop said. “Gather up the girls married before they are grown, gather up the schoolgirls still missing in Nigeria, and gather up all those lives wasted in war and prison. March boldly, proclaiming good news to all who have been pushed aside, and call them to the table of God, to Wisdom’s feast.”

Video and text of the presiding bishop’s sermon is here.

Attending the celebration from among the 11 members of the 1974 ordinations were the Rev. Alison Cheek, the Rev. Carter Heyward, the Rev. Merrill Bittner, the Rev. Marie Moorefield Fleischer and the Rev. Nancy Wittig.

Retired Bishop of Costa Rica Antonio Ramos, who assisted at the Philadelphia ordinations but did not participate in the laying on of hands that day, processed with the women, as did the Rev. Betty Powell, one of the Washington Four, and retired Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris, who this year is celebrating her 25th anniversary of being the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Speaking during the announcement time, Ramos told the congregation that on July 26, 1974, “we decided to disobey the order of the church for the sake of the orders of the church.”

“We decided to end a discriminatory set of canons to make all the orders of the church both equally inclusive for men and women,” he said.

Pennsylvania Bishop Provisional Clifton “Dan” Daniel had been a priest for a year when he decided to participate in the Philadelphia ordinations (priests are often invited to join the ordaining bishop or bishops in the laying on of hands). He reminded the gathering that while the ordinations changed the history of the Episcopal Church, it was also a very personal event for the 11 ordinands.

“At the time I think we had a very different sense of what was at stake for us and of how much we had to gain or lose,” Heyward told ENS in an interview. “I just knew it was an important step to take given where the church was and given where I was in my life.”

In the same interview, Cheek said her already-raised consciousness “got raised a lot higher after her ordination. “It was a real big turning point in my life and I think that that was because quite a few oppressed groups of folk then reached out to us and wanted us to come celebrate for them,” she said.

The Rev. Merrill Bittner, one of the Philadelphia 11 who was honored at the 40th anniversary celebration July 26, distributes communion at the Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Merrill Bittner, one of the Philadelphia 11 who was honored at the 40th anniversary celebration July 26, distributes communion at the Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

In addition to experiencing the typical feelings of a person preparing for and then being ordained, before and after, the women were barraged with criticism that veered into outright threats. Called unprintable names, their appearances and their voices were examined and found wanting as were their personalities and intellects. Some were told they would be good for the church because it would be better to see them in the pulpit than ugly, old male rectors. They were accused of being immoral and self-indulgent. One received a length of fish cord with the suggestion that she use it to hang herself, according Darlene O’Dell in her new book “The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven.”

On the day of the ordinations, buckets were lined up along the church’s wall in case of bombs or fire, plain-clothed police officers were among the 2,000 congregants, a busload of police were stationed down the street and the congregation included a group of radical lesbians, some trained in crowd control and karate, O’Dell wrote.

The path to the Church of the Advocate and beyond

When, after years of struggle and rejection, the Philadelphia 11 broke the traditional prohibition against the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Episcopal and Anglican Churches they entered a sort of limbo. There was no canon in church law that specifically forbade women from being priests and there was no canon that said only men could become priests.

However, the canons did and do still outline a process leading to ordination first to the transitional diaconate and then to the priesthood. The final step of that process before priestly ordination is the approval by one’s standing committee. For women, that never happened.

While all 11 had been through the canonical process for ordination to the diaconate (which had been open to women only since 1970), just one of them had received the necessary Standing Committee approval for priestly ordination. Her bishop refused to ordain her. Another’s bishop said he would ordain her if the Standing Committee approved. It did not.

None of the eight bishops who had authority over the 11 agreed to the ordinations and the bishop of Pennsylvania objected to the ordinations taking place in that diocese. Bishops in the Episcopal Church are required to ordain only those people who have gone through the ordination process in their dioceses, or they must have the permission of the bishop who supervised that process. Thus, the Philadelphia 11′s ordaining bishops were seen to have violated church law as well as tradition.

Charles V. Willie, who preached at the Philadelphia 11 ordinations, is greeted during the peace by the Rev. Renee McKenzie, vicar and chaplain of Church of the Advocate. Willie was vice president of the House of Deputies and a member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council at the time of the ordinations but he resigned both positions in protest when, three weeks later, the House of Bishops invalidated the ordinations. Willie read one of the readings during the July 26 Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Charles V. Willie, who preached at the Philadelphia 11 ordinations, is greeted during the peace by the Rev. Renee McKenzie, vicar and chaplain of Church of the Advocate. Willie was vice president of the House of Deputies and a member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council at the time of the ordinations but he resigned both positions in protest when, three weeks later, the House of Bishops invalidated the ordinations. Willie read one of the readings during the July 26 Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

On Aug. 15, 1974, the House of Bishops, called to an emergency meeting that reportedly was by turns rancorous and confused,denounced the ordinations and declared that “the necessary conditions for valid ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church were not fulfilled.” In effect, the bishops said, nothing had happened at the Church of the Advocate and the 11 were still deacons – to whom they offered pastoral care.

Charges were filed against the ordaining bishops and attempts, ecclesial and otherwise, were made to prevent the women from exercising their priestly ministries.

Still, women’s ordination movement continued. Resigned Rochester Bishop George W. Barrett ordained four women deacons on Sept. 7, 1975, at the Church of St. Stephen and the Incarnation in Washington, D.C., despite Washington Bishop William F. Creighton’s refusal to allow the action. About 1,200, including 50 priests, attended. The Rev. Lee McGee, the Rev. Alison Palmer, the Rev. Betty Powell, all of Washington, D.C., and the Rev. Diane Tickell of Anchorage, Alaska, became known as the Washington Four.

In September 1976, the General Convention approved the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate by adding a new section to the church’s ordination canons that read: “The provisions of these canons for the admission of Candidates, and for the Ordination to the three Orders: Bishops, Priests and Deacons shall be equally applicable to men and women.”

The House of Bishops, during the 1976 convention, at first ruled that the Philadelphia 11 and the Washington Four would have to be re-ordained, calling the first actions “conditional ordinations” similar to the conditional baptism allowed in emergency situations when one is not sure if a person was baptized. The women said they would refuse to be re-ordained and, the next day, the bishops voted unanimously for a “completion” ceremony that would avoid the laying on of hands.

The Rev. Betty Powell, one of the Washington Four who were ordained in September 1975 and who was honored during the 40th anniversary celebration July 26, asperges the congregation during the Eucharist that emphasized the ministry of all the baptized. All six of the first women who attended the service sprinkled the congregation members with water from the baptismal font. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Betty Powell, one of the Washington Four who were ordained in September 1975 and who was honored during the 40th anniversary celebration July 26, asperges the congregation during the Eucharist that emphasized the ministry of all the baptized. All six of the first women who attended the service sprinkled the congregation members with water from the baptismal font. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The story was not yet over. In October 1977, the House of Bishops adopted “A Statement of Conscience” that assured that “No Bishop, Priest, or Lay Person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support of the sixty-fifth General Convention’s actions with regard to the ordination of women to the priesthood or episcopate.”

The statement arose out of a meeting that began with Presiding Bishop John Allin saying he did not think “that women can be priests any more than they can become fathers or husbands,” and offering to resign as presiding bishop. The House of Bishops affirmed Allin’s leadership and adopted the “conscience clause” contained in a pastoral letter issued after the meeting.

Since the clause was never adopted by the House of Deputies, it had no canonical authority but a handful of bishops and their dioceses used it to bar women from the priesthood for 33 more years.

A more complete timeline of the history of women’s ordination in the Anglican Communion is here.

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Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), July 29, 2014

Island church marks 100th year

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Diana Swift

 

An ecumenical congregation of 200 packed St. Peter’s pews for the Anglican service, while almost 300 more worshipped outdoors. Photo: Ken Powell Photography

 


 

In 1913, as the clouds of war gathered over Europe, island-dotted Stoney Lake remained the serene jewel of Ontario’s Kawartha cottage region. And serene jewel it still is.

But back in 1913, the beautiful lake lacked a dedicated place of worship for its Anglican summer residents—until the Rev. Dr. Alexander Mackenzie, headmaster of The Grove, a boys’ preparatory school in nearby Lakefield (now Lakefield College School), launched a campaign to build a church.

That culminated in the 1914 completion of St. Peter’s-on-the-Rock. The picturesque white church sits on the rocky shore of an island donated by a local lumberman and landowner with the Dickensian-sounding name of Mr. F.W. Lillicrap.

According to Sue Dutton, the church’s historian and member of its 100th anniversary planning committee, fundraisers collected $499.15 in donations for the original simple structure designed to hold 150 people and built by a local farmer. As the congregation grew and became stable, founders Alick and his brother Michael Mackenzie devised a model that is still adhered to today. Their vision was for an incumbent and his family, “ideally from a city parish, to live on the island and to officiate for either July or August,” Dutton wrote in her article on St. Peter’s, “Good Roots.” Accordingly, in 1920, funds were raised and Clergy Cottage was built and furnished the next year.

In 1921, the church was extended by 10 feet to the north, allowing for an additional 30 people. When the expanded St. Peter’s was dedicated on July 16, 1922, its furnishings included its trademark shutters, pine pews to replace the old steamer chairs and a new wharf.

On Sunday, July 20, St. Peter’s celebrated its centenary in a superb service seamlessly marrying music and worship. The event was actually scheduled 25 years ago and has been in active planning since 2011. Almost 500 people made the July 20 trip by boat from the mainland to the church, in strong contrast to the inaugural service of July 29, 1914: this attracted just 24 congregants and took in a princely $1.75 at the offertory.


Clergy ministering indoors and out at the anniversary service included (left to right): Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson, the Rev. Bryan Beveridge, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Canon Kim Beard, Canon David Neelands, Archbishop Colin Johnson,  Archdeacon Bill Gray, the Rev. Michelle Stanford, Canon Steven Mackison, the Rev. Jane Watanabe, Canon Tim Elliott, Archbishop Terence Finlay, Archdeacon Paul Feheley, the Rev. Nicola Skinner, and the Rev. Alan Wotherspoon. Photo: Ken Powell Photography


The sanctuary island itself remains unnamed. “But what’s amusing is that the two channels around it are named Hell’s Gate and Devil’s Elbow, so called by lumbermen because they were narrow and annoying to try to move log booms through,” said Dutton.

 

“This church is very central to the community here,” added Patrick Bunting, chair of the centenary planning committee. “I came here as a child, and my grandchildren attended the anniversary service, so when I look at the front door, I realize that five generations of my family have passed through that portal.” Bunting noted that before 1914, worship and Sunday school were held in local gathering spots and in cottages, some of which are well over 100 years old.

Far from being confined to a single Sunday, the anniversary celebrations encompass a cottage tour conducted two weeks before the service, a potluck supper at a local pavilion on the eve of the service, a jazz vespers to take place in August and a commemorative photography yearbook to be published in 2015.

Apart from seating for 200 in the church, the organizers provided ministering clergy and sheltered outdoor seating for an additional 350 people. Among the dozen clergy in attendance was Archbishop Colin Johnson, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario and diocesan bishop of the diocese of Toronto, who presided at the service. “The simple wooden church with its shuttered, glassless windows open to the breezes, was packed,” said Johnson. “St. Peter’s parishioners come from a variety of traditions, so it is a strongly ecumenical crowd worshipping together using the Anglican liturgy. In fact, St. Peter’s has one of the largest congregations in the diocese of Toronto during the summer.”

Other priests included Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, former primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson of the diocese of Calgary, both of whom served as summer clergy at St. Peter’s and stayed for a month in Clergy Cottage with their families.

In giving his part of the homily, Hutchison drew inspiration from Matthew 16:18: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Hutchison’s ancestral home lies in nearby Peterborough and he spent several months at St. Peter’s in the 1990s when he was a priest in the diocese of Toronto. “The service was a most remarkable event in terms of planning and execution, considering how difficult it is to get 500 people over to an island,” he said. “It was an enormous challenge, but everything went smoothly.”

Bishop Kerr-Wilson, who assisted with the readings and the eucharist, fondly recalled his three summers at the island church in the 1990s as among the best vacations of his life. “It was a wonderful place for a young family. So when the anniversary celebration was announced, we knew we wanted to make the trip east.”

St. Peter’s has a long history of musical excellence, and a high point of the anniversary service was its musical program featuring vocal and instrumental performances with organ, piano, strings, woodwinds and brass. “The music was beautiful; the service was beautiful. The setting was beautiful,” said Kerr-Wilson.

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Anglican Journal News, July 23, 2014

 

 

 

Weaving liturgy and mission together

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Leigh Anne Williams

 

The National Worship Conference held in Edmonton from July 20 to 23 brought more than 200 participants from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church in Canada together for education, fellowship and, of course, worship.  Photo: National Worship Conference

 


 

Returning from the National Worship Conference, which brought more than 200 Anglicans and Lutherans together from July 20 to 23 in Edmonton, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he thought it was “a sign of health” for the two churches.

“You’ve got over 200 people from both churches who are really committed to good liturgy—liturgy that equips the people of God, inspires them for their work in the service of God’s mission. That’s good news,” Hiltz said.

“Much of the teaching…was setting liturgy in the context of mission, which of course, in both our churches there’s been a renewed focus on,” he added, noting that the address from keynote speaker Ruth Meyers, chair of The Episcopal Church’s standing commission on liturgy and music, made a beautiful point about liturgy and mission running together inseparably and continually, like a Mobius strip. The theme of the conference was “Weaving Strands: Liturgy for Living.”

Hiltz observed that even though it was the 10th anniversary of Anglican participation in the biennial event, which Lutherans created about 20 years ago, this year was the first time there was equal participation from both churches. “There was a good feeling about that…It’s really planned in the spirit of full communion, not just one church hosting a conference and welcoming another church,” he said. National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) also participated in the conference, along with Bishop Larry Kochendorfer of the ELCIC’s Synod of Alberta and the Territories, and Bishop Jane Alexander of the Anglican diocese of Edmonton.

Maylanne Maybee, principal of the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg, wrote in an email to the Journal that she appreciated the variety of workshops. “The ones I enjoyed were Bernadette Gasslein on consumerism and the conversion of desire— very thought provoking!” She added that “Worship at the Margins” with Rick Chapman, Scott Sharm and Laureen Wray (who spoke about street ministry, campus ministry and outdoor ministry, respectively) was “a concrete exploration of a topic (mission and liturgy) that was at risk of becoming abstract and rarefied.”



The theme of the conference was “Weaving Strands: Liturgy for Living.” Photo: National Worship Conference

 


 

 

Eileen Scully, director of the faith, worship and ministry department of the Anglican Church of Canada, who offered one of the workshops, told the Journal that she was pleased that although “not everybody agreed with everything that was said in addresses and workshops…all said they had learned very much from the exchanges.”

Music was central throughout the conference. In his blog posts on the conference’s Facebook page, Archdeacon Jacques deGuise Vaillancourt from the Anglican diocese of Edmonton wrote that
“At All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral, a mixed church, pick-up choir, under the direction of a Lutheran musical virtuoso [keynote speaker David Cherwien], performed a festival of sacred music. This event took us on a pilgrimage fuelled by the dynamic interplay of inspired European classically styled (original) compositions to music grounded in the fertile soil of Africa and selections with a South American beat, sourced in the passionate, hot-blooded Latin faith tradition.” 

Hiltz said he appreciated discussions about the role of visual signs, symbols and touch in liturgy. “We tend to be very wordy as Anglicans and Lutherans in our liturgy…there’s a real place for sign and symbol and allowing them to speak to the people.” The opening eucharist provided an example, with the participation of a liturgical dancer who, Hiltz said, took long ribbons of cloth to people in the congregation. “As the offertory hymn was being sung, she literally wove the three of them into one chord, and when she finished she picked it up and laid it across the front of the altar…it was absolutely amazing.”

A focus on revaluing the place of silence in liturgy and on “recovering that as a powerful medium in which people are given a chance to ponder what they’ve just heard or what they’ve just said” was another highlight, the primate mentioned.

 At each conference, a Companion of the Worship Arts Award is presented. This year, Dr. Joy Berg, associate professor of music and program co-ordinator at Concordia University College of Alberta, was honoured. And for the first time, an Anglican was also a recipient. The Rev. Canon Dr. Graham Cotter was recognized for “a lifetime of contributions to the Anglican Church of Canada,” which include producing liturgical dramas, liturgical dance and collaborating in the creation of a major altarpiece, vestments and labyrinths. In 1994, Cotter and his wife donated seed money for the Sacred Arts Trust, an endowment that provides financial support for creative liturgical expression and is administered by the Anglican Foundation.

 


 

Bishop Larry Kochendorfer, ELCIC Synod of Alberta and the Territories; Bishop Jane Alexander, Anglican diocese of Edmonton; keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair of the Episcopal Church’s Committee for Liturgy, ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson, and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: National Worship Conference

 

 

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Anglican Journal News, July 25, 2014

 

Bishop Collings dies at 75

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

 

By Marites N. Sison

 


Bishop Tom Collings felt a particular calling to native ministry. “Native people teach  you how to be a priest. They expect priestcraft from you,” he once said in an interview. Photo: General Synod Archives

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(Ret.) Bishop Thomas William Ralph Collings, who was known for having devoted much of his ministry with Canada’s native people, died after a long battle with cancer on July 8 in Winnipeg. He was 75.

Collings was consecrated the seventh bishop of the Anglican diocese of Keewatin in 1991, at the age of 52. He was bishop of the diocese, located in Kenora, Ont., for five years, until he resigned in 1996.  He and his wife, the Rev. Julie Collings, later embarked on a joint ministry in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, as parish priests at All Saints Anglican. He also served as part-time regional co-ordinator of the southeast region of the Anglican diocese of Qu’Appelle.

“Tom was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, serving both the church and the community with deep faithfulness and incredible energy,” said a statement issued by the diocese of Keewatin. “He was profoundly committed to working for peace and justice for all, especially First Nations people. To the very end of his life, he continued to take a great interest in Keewatin’s commitment to new expressions of the Gospel in which the vision of an indigenous self-determining church within in the Anglican Church of Canada could become reality.” Collings “particularly rejoiced” in the election of Bishop Lydia Mamakwa as area bishop of Northern Ontario and last month, as the first bishop of Mishamikoweesh, said the statement.

Before he was elected bishop, Collings had been dean of theology, co-ordinator of native studies and director of the lay education program at St. John’s College, University of Manitoba, since 1983.

In 1987, he was also a non-stipendiary priest-in-charge of St. Helen’s Anglican Ayamihewkamik Church in Winnipeg. From 1982 to 1985, Collings was rector of Peguis/Hodgson, a six-point parish, and also had a ministry with native people. He was assistant priest at St. John’s Cathedral, Winnipeg, from 1980 to 1982.

Collings felt a particular calling to native ministry. “Native people teach you to be a priest. They expect priestcraft from you,” he once said in an interview.

When he became bishop, Collings pledged to develop “the ministry of the Whole People of God.” In a message he wrote for The Keewatin, the diocesan newspaper, Collings displayed a profound sense of humility. His work, he wrote, “will be continued after me, for all of us play only a small part in the designs of the Creator; it is never a path without problems and questions, and I give thanks that the Bible tells the story of God who works in and through our mistakes.”

One of his priorities, he wrote, was ensuring the participation of women in all parts of the church. “We need the gifts of women in leadership,” he said, quoting Archdeacon William Winter, a highly respected aboriginal elder and Anglican priest in Kingfisher Lake, Ont., who said, “In our generation, we are beginning to see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel ‘that the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.’ ” (Winter, who died in 2011, is the uncle of Bishop Mamakwa.)

In a brief message posted on Facebook, one of Collings’s children, the Rev. Megan  Collings-Moore, spoke poignantly about her father. As a bishop, she said, “there will be  much said about him as a pastor and teacher and defender of the faith.” But at the moment of his passing, she said, “I am primarily remembering the silliest father who  ever lived, who told me he and the other dads did their ballet lessons on Thursday  evenings when the daughters weren’t there.” He had taken her for sunrise hikes “and  taught me the ontological argument (and the arguments against it) at his knee when I  was three years old.” 

Collings-Moore, who is the chaplain at Renison College, in the University of Waterloo,  said it was her father who officiated at her marriage and ordained her a deacon and  later, a priest. He loved “jazz, and good food and wine, and my mother (not necessarily  in that order!).” He was the dad “whose Welsh accent became thicker as he became  weaker.” 

When he retired, Collings became interested in inter-faith dialogue and served on the executive of Manitoba Multifaith Council (MMC), according to an obituary prepared by his family. Concerned about the plight of prisoners, he sat on the Provincial Corrections Committee, chaired MMC’s Corrections Committee and for 11 years, volunteered weekly in the spiritual care department of Headingly Jail “and continued to work on projects when he could no longer go out,” said the obituary.

Collings had an ecumenical outlook, having been raised in his father’s Baptist Sunday school and in his mother’s Anglican church, said the obituary. “Until his children were old enough to walk three miles to the nearest Scottish Episcopal Church, Tom served as an elder in the Church of Scotland. Recently, he (had) been happy to worship with family at First Lutheran Church.” He also initiated many ecumenical discussion/education discussion groups. 

Born and educated in England, Collings was ordained a deacon in 1979 and became a priest a year later. In the 1960s, he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in math from St. Peter’s College, Oxford; a bachelor of arts in theology from Wycliffe College, Oxford; a master of sacred theology when he was a Harkness Fellow at the Union Theological Seminary in New York; and a master of arts at Oxford University.

 

In his profile as candidate for bishop in 1991, Collings listed jazz, recorder playing, novels, camping, jogging, yoga and table tennis as general interests. He displayed a wry sense of humour, adding, “If there were mountains in Manitoba, I would walk them.”

Collings would walk each day until his illness was advanced, said the obituary. “He cherished his family. (His) Christian faith was central. He was egalitarian, non-materialistic, honest, trusting, faithful, disciplined in prayer and action, and always, always enthusiastic.” 

Collings is survived by his wife of 49 years, the Rev. Julie Collings; by their three daughters, Megan Collings-Moore (John Moore), Bronwen Bugden (Shawn Bugden) and Tamsin Collings (Andrew Swan); by their two sons, John Collings (Joan Collings) and David Collings; by 19 grandchildren and a brother, Roynon Collings.  

The funeral service will take place at  St. John’s College Chapel, University of Manitoba, on July 12, at 11 a.m.  The burial will be at St. Mary’s-St. Alban’s Cemetery in Kaleida, Man., later in the afternoon. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information. 

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Anglican Journal News, July 9, 2014

 

‘Reconciliation is about change’

Posted on: July 5th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Marites N. Sison

 

The Ojibwa drum group Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak (Good Hearted Women Singers) took part in the ELCIC Eastern Synod event aimed at building “right relationships” between indigenous and non-indigenous people of Canada. Photo: Marites N. Sison

 


 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) member Marie Wilson has commended the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) for taking an active role in forging reconciliation between Canada’s indigenous and non-indigenous people even though it is not one of the churches implicated in the Indian residential schools system.

By standing up and claiming reconciliation as a vital issue, the ELCIC has offered “an honorable response” to the TRC’s mandate that reconciliation must be the work of the signatories to the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) and the people of Canada, said Wilson. A key component of the IRSSA, the TRC’s key mandate is to gather the statements of former residential school students and others affected by its legacy and to educate Canadians about it. From the mid-19th to the 20th century, churches – including the Anglican Church of Canada – operated 130 schools for more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children as part of the federal government’s forced assimilation policy.

Wilson gave a keynote address at a gathering of more than 250 delegates from the ELCIC’s Eastern Synod held June 26 to 29 at the International Plaza Hotel, in Toronto. The meeting was part of an effort to build “right relationships” with indigenous people in Canada.

While the TRC’s work will officially end in June 2015, “the work of reconciliation is just beginning,” said Wilson. “It is not for me to define for you what reconciliation means, (but) we have been saying in a general way that it is about restoring respectful relations…It is about creating conditions where peace is possible in one’s heart, in one’s home, in one’s family, in one’s community and in one’s country.” She quoted an aboriginal elder from Alberta who talked about the need for “an ethical space where indigenous and non-indigenous views can come together so that we can find the parallels of truth, love and honour.”

From her own perspective, Wilson said reconciliation is about change and transformation. “The status quo is not going to get us anywhere. If nothing changes, nothing will change.”

Wilson said there was a correlation between residential schools history and the over-representation of indigenous people in the country’s child welfare system, emergency room wards, prisons and correctional system, and in graveyards.

“We not only have important, but urgent work to do as a society,” she said, adding, “How long will we allow it to be acceptable for us as a country that we have one of our founding nations living in abject poverty?”

Wilson acknowledged that educating Canada about the residential schools legacy has been a “daunting” task.  “I’m grateful that you’re here in the spirit of learning and pondering what to do…(with this) huge job of inspiring reconciliation…”

She expressed hope that the work that the TRC has begun “will mark and transform our country so that we will begin to know each other for the first time because most of us, honestly, have grown up not knowing each other…So many of us grew up not knowing about residential schools.”

Meanwhile, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, who also spoke at the gathering, urged churches to go beyond apologies and confront institutional evils that allowed the residential school system to happen.

“As institutions, we’ve acted like other institutions, maybe a little bit better. At times we’ve been courageous in our apologies, at times we’ve been sacrificial in some of the responses we’ve made,” said MacDonald. “But beyond saying that we’re not going to do it again, I don’t think we’ve really gone into the heart of our participation in these kinds of evils.”

While churches understand individual reconciliation, it doesn’t understand corporate reconciliation, added MacDonald. “We understand individual repentance and forgiveness, we don’t seem to be good at corporate repentance and forgiveness.”

Churches need to discover “who we are in Christ, and that means we have to know what it is as a people to repent and to seek healing,” said MacDonald.

Dr. Allen Jorgenson, assistant dean and associate professor at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, for his part, said reconciliation did not begin with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to indigenous people in 2008 even as he acknowledged that it was necessary and important. “Reconciliation is a plant that God placed in a garden at the beginning of time. God planted and God continues to plant reconciliation where there is brokenness,” said Jorgenson, who spoke at the event. “It grows in a soil of First Nations truth telling. It grows in the soil of church repentance. And it grows in the light of prayer.”

Jorgenson also offered some advice to foster reconciliation, including practicing vulnerability. “Recognize the truth that you are already vulnerable, dependent on God and dependent on the land,” he said.  European settlers at the first year of contact wouldn’t have wouldn’t have survived winter “without the hospitality of Turtle Island’s First Nations,” he said. But they soon forgot their dependence on God, on land and the people of the land, he added. “Too soon they eschewed vulnerability and took on a posture of mastery.”

He emphasized the need for honesty, saying, “You need others, you need this land, you need the people of this land. We’re all in this together. “

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Anglican Journal News, July 3, 2014

 

 

 

Something remarkable just happened

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By The Rev. Jesse Dymond

acconvo14 groupSomething remarkable just happened. Last week, nearly 40 of the Anglican Church of Canada’s youngest priests gathered together in Montreal for professional development, networking, and ministry strengthening.

In truth, the gathering didn’t “just happen,” but rather grew organically, from one Montreal priest’s vision, to a small Facebook group that grew to over 150 members, to the establishment of  a cross-country planning team, and all with the generous support of General Synod’s Faith, Worship, and Ministry Department.

I’ve spent the past week reflecting on the conference’s success, and especially on this cohort’s natural tendency to build relationships and share resources over long distances using the tools native to their generation. And I’ll be reflecting with you on that in the near future. But today, I want to draw your attention to some of the other voices in this community: six priests who took part in a unique conference, and found themselves transformed.

  1. First, a blog by Rhonda Waters, who first proposed the need for such a gathering. Back in early May, Rhoda outlined the plans and purpose for Conversation 2014 in Colleagues and conversations.

Immediately following the conference, and over the course of the next week, the Internet buzzed with energy around the connections made, and opportunities presented. And while much of that activity took place between participants and in private forums, others chose to unpack the three days, and to share their reflections publicly:

  1. First came Rachel Kessler’s Thought’s from the train.
  2. Dawn Leger discussed the open, unconference format in All this hopey-changey stuff: how did conversation 2014 work?
  3. Scott McLeod looked to the future in Long term vision.
  4. Dana Dickson reflected on relationship building in A unique conference experience.
  5. Finally, Martha Tartarnic shared a personal reflection on her one of the small group topics in  The 10th Comandmenta reflection on the “why Anglican” question at Conversation 2014

I do hope that you’ll take the time to read through these blogs, and to engage their authors with your questions and comments. These priests have been encouraged in strengthened in their respective ministries, and are hoping to share that new life with you!

About The Rev. Jesse Dymond

I’m a priest from the Diocese of Huron, serving as Online Community Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada. I have a lifelong interest in computer technology, and continue to pursue interdisciplinary studies in science and theology. I love composing and performing music, cooking, photography, sailing, and riding vintage motorcycles.

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Weekly update from The Community, June 27, 2014

Date set for Anglican-Roman Catholic cricket match

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Archbishop Justin Welby meets the Vatican First XI during his recent visit to Rome, 15 June 2014.

From Lambeth Palace

Anglican and Roman Catholic First XIs will face each other in Canterbury on 19 September in a historic match to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking.

Details of a historic cricket match between Anglicans and Roman Catholics to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking have been announced today.

The Twenty20 match, which will be played at Kent County Cricket Club in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral on 19 September at 4pm, will raise funds for the Global Freedom Network, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic anti-trafficking initiative launched in March.

Entrance will be free but there will be a bucket collection during the match, which will be followed by a gala dinner to raise further funds.

The match will mark the culmination of the St Peter’s Cricket Club ‘Tour of Light’ initiative, and follows a challenge laid down by the club’s honourary president Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi to Archbishop Justin Welby.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “I was delighted to meet members of the St Peter’s Cricket Club during a recent visit to Rome, and am greatly looking forward to welcoming them to Canterbury in September for what will be an historic occasion. I would like to express particular thanks to Kent County Cricket Club for so generously offering the use of their ground, and to those who are working hard to ensure the St Peter’s team enjoy a memorable tour. I also pray that the match will draw attention to the very serious problem of modern slavery and human trafficking, which our two churches are working closely together to combat through the work of the Global Freedom Network.”

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said: “’If you want to arrive first, run alone. If you want to go far, walk together.’ For this sporting initiative I recall this Kenyan proverb, as it states so simply our need for teamwork, and with clear reference to the charitable aspect chosen, namely the issue of human trafficking, a plague which hurts most those who are left alone and abandoned. In our culture of massive movement of peoples, sport challenges us to examine not just how hospitable we are, as individual athletes, but also how similar we are, for as Jean Giraudoux affirms, “sport is the real esperanto of the peoples”. Look at the great success of the World Cup in Brazil! We do well to recall this in our pastoral work!”

Read more about the match – including details of the squads – on the Pontifical Council for Culture website.

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Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), June 23, 2014

Bishops reflect on Coventry dialogue

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

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spent a day with the bishops from Africa and North America gathered in Coventry.    Photo: Michael Ingham


Coventry, England, was an inspiring setting for the 24 bishops from Africa and North America, who met there from May 22 to 25 for the fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue to talk about reconciliation within the Anglican Communion and in the world.The ancient Coventry Cathedral was destroyed in November 1940 during the Second World War. And yet in a BBC radio broadcast from the ruins on Christmas Day that year, provost Dick Howard told listeners that when the war was over they should all work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-like world.” That history impressed Bishop Michael Oulton of the diocese of Ontario. “The cathedral was still a smouldering ruin when [church leaders] were saying that, so I think that’s powerful,” he said

A new cathedral was built alongside the ruins and connected to it, and it is home to the Community of the Cross of Nails, which is devoted to working for peace, justice and reconciliation around the world. “To be part of the Sunday worship in the “new” Coventry Cathedral on the 52nd anniversary of its consecration, was deeply moving and symbolic,” Bishop Garth Counsell told the Anglican Journal after his return to his diocese of Cape Town, South Africa, where the bishops met in 2013.

Bishop Jane Alexander from the diocese of Edmonton said the examples of reconciliation work done in both post-apartheid South Africa and Coventry were “really encouraging for us in many ways.”

The bishops’ dialogues grew out of an informal gathering that Archbishop Colin Johnson of the dioceses of Toronto and Moosonee organized during the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The hope was to increase understanding between parts of the global Anglican Communion that were divided over issues such as human sexuality and moves in the North American churches to bless same-sex unions and consecrate bishops in same-sex relationships.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, who served on Johnson’s diocesan staff at the time and who was recently named Africa relations officer for both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, organized the first gathering of 11 bishops in London and has been instrumental in bringing a growing number of bishops together each year since. Efforts have been made to better understand mission in local contexts and to build relationships.

“When the consultation was started it wasn’t with the idea ‘let’s all keep talking until we all agree’ on a particular topic, whatever that topic would be,” explained Alexander. “It was more about ‘let’s understand one another and let’s really have an appreciation for one another as faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.’ And I think that is certainly there now and that is huge.”

Counsell has participated in all five dialogues, which he told the Journal has strengthened his “long-held view that, as a Communion, there is far more that unites us than that which threatens to divide us.  I have come to realize that appreciating the other’s context for ministry is critical if we are to understand our different positions on issues.”

He added that the experience has “also underscored the immense value, and indeed the necessity, for keeping the communication channels open through honest and continuing conversation so that we are able to listen, hear, understand, trust and respect one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, even when we do not agree

The Coventry consultation was the first in which Bishop Joel Waweru of the diocese of Nairobi in Kenya has participated. Reached by email once he returned home, he told the Journal that the experience “has helped me accept and accommodate people who have different opinions [and] approach issues with an open heart and mind with the love of God in Christ Jesus. [I] am reminded of Christ, who met with the prostitute and the tax collector, and he accommodated them.”

All the bishops spoke of their deep appreciation of the day Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spent with the group. “We got to see first-hand the depth of his commitment to reconciliation within the Communion,” said Oulton. He recounted that one of the bishops asked Welby what he would like them to do for him. He asked that they pray for him, and more specifically for “wisdom, patience and courage—wisdom to know what to do, patience to know when to do it, and the courage to act.”

“I think it was powerful for all of us,” Oulton said, “but it also struck us that we are praying for him out of relationship with him and with one another and with those who would find it difficult to be in that room.”

Oulton was part of the writing team that crafted the six-page statement issued by the bishops “Testimony of our Journey to Reconciliation,” [link to PDF] which spoke of the Anglican Communion as a family of churches. There was a commitment, he said, to continue to walk together, build partnerships and relationships, and engage in the difficult issues they face in those relationships. Human sexuality is just one of those issues, Oulton said. “For me, as part of the dialogue, the issue was not as much front and centre in our dialogue, as it was building the foundation from which we can have these conversations, and that may be, in my personal view, what has been lacking up to this point.” He added that it seems that Archbishop Welby is working hard to lay that foundation.

“This has to be much more than an internal conversation,” said Oulton, explaining that it is essential “to talk about reconciliation within the life of our church and the life of our Communion…[and] how do we give that sense of reconciliation as a gift to the world because we have a world right now that is just ripped and torn in so many places.”

The bishops heard presentations on reconciliation from Canadian and Kenyan perspectives. Bishop Anthony Pogo talked about the church and conflicts in Sudan. Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon  spoke about Nigeria, including the situation in the north, where the extremist Boko Haram is prevalent, but he also talked of his passion for Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Many people will rush to one side or the other of issues and conflicts, said Bishop Oulton and asked, “Who are the people who are going to try to stand in the middle ground? It’s a difficult place to be,” he acknowledged. But in his earlier comments he said the middle may be where Anglicans are called to be and where reconciliation happens. “I think that’s the gift the church brings to the world,” he said.

—With files from the Episcopal News Service

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Anglican Journal News, June 21, 2014

Young clergy meet in Montreal

Posted on: June 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Harvey Shepherd

 

Joey Royal, 33,  jumped at the chance to travel from his parish in Yellowknife to network with some of his young peers from across the country.   Photo: Harvey Shepherd

 


 

In what is sometimes thought of as a dying church, Amanda Longmoore of Plaster Rock, N.B., was not exactly surprised but at least impressed to find that her conversations with about 35 other young Anglican clergy from across Canada has left her with quite a different impression.

 

“In fact, there is lots of life and lots of hope as well,” she said in a conversation outside sessions of a three-day conference for clergy under 40. The conference was organized by the Anglican Church of Canada in the synod offices of the diocese of Montreal, host of the conference, June 17–19.

Ordained about 11 years ago at age 25, Longmoore has been serving Anglicans and now United Church people as well in the forest industry and agricultural community at the north end of the Appalachian Mountain range for five and a half years. About a year ago, she oversaw the creation of an Anglican-United shared ministry grouping of five churches, of which she is the pastor.

She appreciated the chance that the “Conversations 2014” conference provided to learn about what’s happening in other parts of Canada, and hoped to take home some ideas and resources to help in her work in Plaster Rock.

She was struck by her colleagues’ passion for the church, across the country.

“For me, Christian community is important. We can encounter God alone at all kinds of times and places, but building community is something people crave, and that’s important.”

Organizers of the conference used what they described as an “unconferencing” approach, with little set program and lots of relatively unstructured time for peer-to-peer learning, largely in small-group and one-on-one conversations.

Joey Royal, 33, who has ministered to a congregation of Inuit, Dene and a wide variety of people of other origins for about two years at Holy Trinity Church in Yellowknife, said, “When you’re up north, your world is really the parish.”

He does get quite a bit of spiritual support from clergy of other denominations in Yellowknife, but he often does not have much contact with other Anglican clergy, and he appreciated the opportunity Conversations 2014 offered for this.

“There’s a real sense of togetherness, that we are all engaged in the same work. It’s good to know what your peers are thinking and doing. And besides, up north when you have a chance to go south, you jump at it.”

Matthew Arguin, from London, Ont., a member of the planning committee for the conference, said it aimed to help build a network of contacts, friendship and relationships.

“The face of the church is changing,” he said, and a new generation is facing new realities and new challenges. “A priest has to ask himself or herself, ‘How do I, as a leader, empower others to be disciples?’ ”

Updates from Conversations 2014 were posted to the Anglican Church of Canada Facebook page.

 

 

Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Montreal

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Anglican Journal News, June 21, 2014

 

 

Responsible Resource Extraction: A Conversation for the Whole Church

Posted on: June 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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A conference on treaty rights and resource development brings South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the heart of Alberta’s oil sands region this weekend.

The gathering, “As Long as the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in our Time,” features Archbishop Tutu as a keynote speaker and takes place on May 31 and June 1 in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  The archbishop is known for his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and his support for divestment of fossil fuels in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Anglican Church of Canada recognizes that one in every 54 jobs in Canada is in mining and more than 20,000 people are employed directly in the oil sands. The international reach of Canada’s mining industry is also strong – as of 2010 over one thousand Canadian mining companies comprising 60 per cent of mining and exploration companies operating globally, held assets in more than one hundred countries.

Our church is also aware that extraction and transport of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) affect the health of land, water and air, and the wellbeing of persons and communities often in ways that only become evident over time.

These operations also often cross the traditional territories of Indigenous people without their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), a right enshrined in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is a signatory.

The global reality is that the impact of resource extraction and climate stress fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable. Through our commitment to the Marks of Mission – “To seek to transform the unjust structures of society…” and “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation…” – Anglicans are drawn into this conversation worldwide.

Anglicans in Canada represent many and diverse experiences and perspectives with respect to resource extraction.  Together, we are finding creative ways to engage questions brought up by resource extraction. These expressions include:

  • Justice Camp 2014: Land, in August the Diocese of Athabasca will receive immersion session participants who will visit oil sands sites, First Nations communities and residents of the city of Fort McMurray in this program coordinated by the Diocese of Edmonton.
  • A study of the divestment of fossil fuels by churches
  • Participation in ecumenical and interfaith conversations about climate change.

In a 2013 Joint Declaration, the Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada spoke of “responsible resource extraction.” Our two churches affirmed that “responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.” The Joint Declaration calls the whole church:

  • to learn about issues of resource extraction and the effects on environment, health, Indigenous peoples, communities, and economies and to raise awareness within our communities and with policy shapers and decision makers
  • to act in support of our partners in defining their own development goals, including supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and overseas in exercising their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent; and to act to embed enforceable legal obligations based on FPIC in Canadian policies and practices with respect to resource extraction
  • to advocate for responsible and ethical investment and actions by individuals, faith communities, corporations, and governments both in Canada and around the world
  • to pray for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely  and responsibly.

Our church commends the UN effort to reach a global treaty in 2015 to secure a global agreement on a net zero emissions goal. Seventy-nine percent of Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2011 were from carbon dioxide, mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels.

We recognize that these are long-term challenges that will require collaboration among all the stakeholders.  This work is urgent and requires our patience at the same time.  Through it all we pray for wisdom and the courage of our convictions.

To read the full text of the Joint Declaration, please click here. To learn more about resource extraction in Canada and abroad, please visit Anglican ecumenical partner KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. To learn more about ecumenical responses to climate change, please visit The Canadian Council of Churches

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, May 29, 2014