Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Stop putting new wine into old wineskins, says missioner

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on September, 12 2016

Stewardship gathering participants discuss the impact of new expressions of Christianity on the church’s fundraising efforts. Photo: André Forget


Mississauga, Ont.
For decades, many parishes and dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada have watched the money raised through tithes and offerings drop. At the same time, they have seen the growth of new kinds of spiritual practice based around tight-knit, less denominationally rigid communities of worship.What if the first development has in part been caused by the second?

In a presentation at the recent annual Resources for Mission (RfM) stewardship gathering, Mark Dunwoody, diocesan missioner for the Anglican diocese of Montreal, argued that the way the church raises money has not kept up with the seismic changes that have taken place in the church in recent years.

Dunwoody said that many newer expressions of Christianity, which he calls “new contextual churches,” do not have as strong a sense of denominational affiliation as more traditional elements might. This means they are less willing to give for the purposes of supporting institutional Anglicanism.

“[New contextual church] folks want to see life change,” he said. “They want the brokenness that they perceive addressed. They don’t want to hear you talk about it—they want to see it.”

Ever since the Enlightenment, Dunwoody argued, Protestant churches have been structured on corporate, programmatic models that emphasize the efficient pursuit of what they believe to be the will of God on Earth. This model assumes that the church exists in a largely Christian society into which it can speak with an authoritative voice—it assumes that the context is “Christendom.”

But, in the past three decades, there has been a shift toward a model based not on “politics or power, but on participation and presence,” he said.

Churches in the new mould, such as the emerging church movement, Fresh Expressions, church plants and neo-monastic movements, are skeptical of hierarchical authority and value a less rigid, more experiential sense of faith.

While Dunwoody believes there is much to celebrate about these new expressions of Christianity, he thinks the institutional church has been too slow in adapting to the different ways new contextual churches operate.

For example, he said, Gen Xers and Millennials have less money than their parents and grandparents. They will support something they care about, but they want to know it isn’t simply “to keep a sinking ship floating.”

They are also less likely to be in church every Sunday morning, which Dunwoody says has a direct impact on church fundraising.

“There are going to be fewer Sundays where a household is going to be in attendance,” he said. “What that means is there are going to be less times in a year when people’s bums are in the seat so they can get the money in the plate.”

In fact, among new contextual churches, even the definition of “church” is changing.

For some, “going to church” doesn’t necessarily means showing up for a proscribed period of time once a week. Dunwoody explained that in his own diocese, activities like Messy Church sometimes draw larger numbers than weekend services.

While alternative methods of tithing, such as monthly automated electronic giving, can offset some of these changes, churches also need to be willing to ask some existential questions, Dunwoody said.

For parishes to understand what their purpose is, they not only need to have a strong sense of the general mission they share with all Christians, but also to know the roots of their particular churches.

“In every locality where we have a church, there was an original purpose,” he said, noting that buildings that often seem timeless expressions of piety were created to meet the needs of a very specific historical moment.

These needs were not, he added, always purely or even mostly spiritual: in his native Ireland, Dunwoody said, many Protestant churches were set up not to spread the gospel, but to demographically edge out the colonized Catholic population.

Every church must evaluate whether it is still meeting the need for which it was created, or if there are other needs it is positioned to serve, said Dunwoody.

 

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

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

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Anglican Journal News, September 12, 2016

Anglican Communion Task Group holds first meeting to ‘maintain conversation’

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By ACNS/Adrian Butcher on September, 09 2016

Members of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s task group gather at the Anglican Communion Office in London for their first meeting. Photo: ACNS


The Task Group set up after the Primates’ Gathering and Meeting in January to “maintain conversation” has met for the first time and stressed its determination to work together. But it acknowledged the process would take time and could not be rushed.

The Primates asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint the group to restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deep differences. Archbishop Welby presented the group’s mandate to ACC16 in Lusaka in April where it was received and affirmed. This week seven members of the group have been meeting in London. An eighth joined in via video conferencing.

“What we are trying to do here is mirror what we desire for the whole Communion,” said the Coadjutor Bishop of Huron in Canada, the Rt Revd Linda Nicholls. “We are trying to practise in our engagement with each other here what we long for in the wider Communion.”

Archbishop Ian Ernest, from the Province of the Indian Ocean, said exchanges within the group had been frank and open.

“What has come out very clearly is the level of transparency that we have in the group. We have been able to be open and speak openly about our differences,” he said. “We also recognise the richness of the Communion. And we all love our Communion – that is what binds us together.”

The Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, Bishop Sarker, echoed the same theme. “Our cultures and backgrounds are very different, and we express our spirituality differently but we are moving forwards together,” he said.

Reflecting on the diversity, Canon Rosemary Mbogo, the Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Kenya, said there was no grouping within the Communion whose views would not be listened to.

“That is really needed if we are talking about healing and walking and working together in a unified Communion,” she said. Canon Rosemary added that she had been pleased at the progress made.

“It’s gone well. We have covered a lot of ground on understanding each other and the people we represent. We have been coming to know each other by spending time together. There is definitely hope – I am convinced of that.”

Archbishop Ian agreed: “It has gone beyond my expectations,” he said.

Anglican Communion secretary general, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said he was grateful to the participants for the sacrifices they had made to attend the meeting. He welcomed the progress made in the talks.

“I am really encouraged by the depth of trust that is beginning to be seen and also the hope expressed by the participants,” he said.

The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, acknowledged that finding solutions would take time.

“Quick fixes aren’t long-term solutions,” he said. “Long-term solutions require long-term work. We are talking about relationships. You don’t build or renew or heal relationships overnight. So, we are going to take whatever time it takes – but we are going to do it.

“I was coming to London anticipating and hoping we would find ways to genuinely go deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe the closer we draw to God in Christ, the closer we are going to draw to each other.”

Asked if he felt there had been progress, Bishop Curry said, “Well, we are here and we are doing it!”

He recalled a slave spiritual song from the US. “We’ll just keep inching along, like an inchworm. The wisdom [of the song] is that the worm keeps moving forwards, slowly and steadily. Don’t expect things to happen overnight. . . We are committed to the Anglican Church. We believe in the importance of the Communion for the sake of the gospel and the world.”

The group stressed the importance of prayer in the work they were doing.

“We have committed to pray for each other,” said Archbishop Philip Freier from Australia. “There may be a sense that this is just a ‘talk-fest’. But this [prayer] is a profound action consistent with the theme.”

Canon Rosemary Mbogo agreed prayer was the foundation of the group’s work and it was vital to know the will of God for its direction.

Bishop Curry added, “Our time here has been immersed in prayer. That is always going to be a formula for a better outcome.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury formally welcomed the group and prayed for them before talks began on Tuesday. He also attended the first session during which he stressed there was no pre-set agenda and that the group was to appoint its own chair.

Dr Idowu-Fearon, hosted the group and acted as secretary. The group agreed the post of chair would rotate around the membership. The ninth member of the group, Archbishop Ng Moon Hing from the Province of South East Asia was unable to attend. The Moderator of the Church of South India, Bishop Govada Dyvasirvadam, will not be taking part because of allegations he is facing in India.

The group is scheduled to meet annually with additional meetings electronically. The date of the next meeting is yet to be confirmed.

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Anglican Journal News, September 09, 2016

Primate: Fundraising and evangelism go together

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on September, 08 2016

Fundraising “isn’t about asking [for money]—it is about inviting people to participate in your visions and plans for the future,” says Martha Asselin of M&M International, a fundraising consulting firm that specializes in services for faith-based groups and churches. Photo: André Forget


Mississauga, Ont.Barnabas is best known as a New Testament missionary, apostle and companion of St. Paul, but Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, believes he can also teach the 21st-century church how to approach stewardship and fundraising.

“Barnabas is our mentor—he knew how to inspire people with the message of the gospel; he knew how to ask people to support the church’s ministry, and he knew how to thank them,” said Hiltz, in an introductory keynote to the Resources for Mission’s (RfM) third annual stewardship gathering.

Organized with a theme of Inspire! Ask! Thank!, the event brought together around 80 clergy and lay people from 27 of the Anglican Church of Canada’s 30 dioceses and territories, as well as Lutheran and United Church partners, to sharpen their fundraising skills.

Hiltz stressed that one cannot talk about fundraising without also discussing evangelism and the purpose of the church.

Asking people to give money is not a matter of minor embarrassment made necessary by financial need, but a way for committed believers to take part in building something beautiful and important, he said.

In a talk based on the work of Episcopalian Canon C.K. Robertson, who has written extensively on the subject of stewardship, Hiltz explained that the Barnabas model treats fundraising as another side of discipleship.

When Barnabas first appears in the Acts of the Apostles, he has sold a field to provide money to be shared among the other members of the early church. When he is seen again, it is because he is championing the newly converted St. Paul. Hiltz argued that Christians need to fund mission by sharing wealth, and participate in it by actively recruiting newcomers.

It was to be a message that was repeated in the following plenary session, led by Martha Asselin and Murray McCarthy, senior partners of M&M International, a fundraising consulting firm that specializes in services for churches and faith-based groups.

Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz says Christians need to fund mission by sharing wealth, and participate in it by actively recruiting newcomers. Photo: André Forget


Asselin and McCarthy began their presentation by sharing some grim statistics about the demographic and financial health of mainline Protestant churches—falling revenues, aging membership—before moving on to examples of churches that have managed to “buck the trend” of financial and demographic decline.

Drawing attention to a study done on growing churches in the United Kingdom, Asselin noted that many of the key elements in building a healthy church—strong leadership, clear sense of purpose, adaptability and willingness to spend time nurturing individuals—are also essential in fundraising.

Indeed, if done properly, fundraising is a form of evangelism, and evangelism contributes to fundraising, she said.

In order for this to work, Asselin said, parishes must have a strong sense of the concrete good they are doing for their members and for their community.

She suggested that crafting a “missional plan” that has broad support in the congregation and offers a clear sense of purpose can give people the sense of working toward tangible goals and being part of something larger than themselves.

“It isn’t about asking [for money]—it is about inviting people to participate in your visions and plans for the future,” said Asselin, adding that people are more likely to give to a cause if they can see concrete benefits coming from their investment.

Asselin noted that many of the most successful M&M programs in Anglican parishes have worked because parishioners became “ambassadors” who reached out to other members of the church and community and encouraged them to get involved.

For example, the Anglican Parish of Maberly-Lanark in the diocese of Ottawa, a four-point rural parish between Ottawa and Kingston, had been investing most of its financial resources in maintaining its buildings.

But one of the most serious issues in the community was youth suicide, and after a long period of debate about where the church should invest its resources, the parish decided to start supporting YAK Youth Services in nearby Perth, an organization dedicated to providing young people with support, encouragement and training.

The result was not only an increase in giving, but a renewed sense of connection to the community beyond the church walls.

Asselin stressed that Canadians are very willing to give to causes—the problem is, the church has often done a poor job of articulating why it is a cause people should support.

“If people know people, they will support a cause,” Asselin said, stressing the importance of individual parishioners going out and supporting the work of their church. “If people know what it is about, they will support it even more.”

According to organizer Susan Graham Walker, who works in congregational giving and stewardship for the United Church and is on secondment one day a week to work with RfM, attendance at this year’s gathering doubled from last year.

Graham Walker said the schedule was designed to meet the practical needs of those who work in church fundraising.

“We’ve responded to the evaluation from the previous years to develop the agenda—this is in response to what people have identified as things that we need to be paying attention to,” she said in an interview before the gathering.

André Forget

André Forget

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

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Anglican Journal News, September 09, 2016

CLAY offers Christian youth a ‘safe space’

Posted on: September 7th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on August, 31 2016


For some Christian youth, events like CLAY are a rare opportunity to spend time with other young people who share their beliefs and convictions. Photo: ELCIC


The Canadian Lutheran and Anglican Youth (CLAY) conference, which took place from August 17-21, in Charlottetown, offered nearly 1,000 youth the opportunity to do many things: learn about their faith, dig into the nitty-gritty of discipleship with service projects, explore a different part of the country and swim in the ocean.

But at a time when devout religious practice in Canada is on the wane, it also gave them something more basic: the feeling of not being alone.

For 17-year-old Krista Hum, an Anglican from the diocese of Ottawa who attended CLAY for the first time this year, this was no small thing.

Hum, who attends St. Alban’s Anglican Church, near the University of Ottawa, is the only other youth at her church. She and a friend from St. Alban’s joined the youth group at St. James, Manotick, to attend CLAY. Being able to spend time not only with other Anglicans, but other Anglicans in her age bracket, was something of a novelty.

“Sometimes it seems like you are the only one in your age group, and no one else seems to be super interested in what you’re interested in, or super interested in expressing what you believe in,” she said, adding that at CLAY she felt less alone.

“All these youth from all over Canada who also have the same faith are all gathered—that creates this kind of community that you don’t get many other places,” she said. “You are in…a safe space that has been created [for you] to express yourself as you truly want to.”

CLAY, which takes place in a different Canadian city every two years, began as a gathering for Lutheran youth. It expanded to include Anglicans in 2010 as a practical outgrowth of the full communion partnership the two denominations entered into in 2001.

Since then, Anglican participation has risen steadily from 85 in the first year to 195 in 2016.

The theme of the conference was “Not for Sale,” and the activities emphasized values that many in both denominations hold dear, such as service, social justice, worship and environmentalism. Youth like Hum were given a chance to, among other things, visit and work on an organic farm, chant alongside Buddhist nuns, practise slam poetry and go on a street walk to learn about homelessness.


Youth take to the main stage during CLAY 2016. Photo: ELCIC


Donna Rourke, a CLAY veteran who organized the youth group from Manotick, noted that for many of the young people attending CLAY, the gathering is a unique opportunity to see a different side of the church.

“They learn that there are lots of people from all walks of life and all over the country who are interested in the same kind of social justice issues that they are interested in,” she said.

Both Hum and Rourke observed, the energy also spills into life outside of CLAY.

Rourke said she noticed her own youth being “empowered…and challenged to go out there and make some changes—to be the change,” and explained that there are plans to bring the group of 44 Anglican youth from Ottawa together throughout the year.

“We will intentionally get together to worship, we will intentionally get together to socialize, we will intentionally get together to do outreach,” she said.

With CLAY now a happy memory, this is one of the things Hum is most excited about taking with her.

“I know there are a lot of diocesan events for youth, so I’ll definitely be going to those,” she said. “I will definitely have to try and get in contact with [the other youth] again.”

The next CLAY conference will take place in Thunder Bay, Ont., in 2018.

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

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

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Anglican Journal News, September 02, 2016

New Westminster Sacred Earth Camp highlights Indigenous land justice

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

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

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

New Westminster Sacred Earth Camp highlights Indigenous land justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opposition to Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Promoting environmental leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fredericton bishop takes pilgrimage through his diocese

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

By André Forget on August, 22 2016


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

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

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Anglican Journal News, August 22, 2016

Brazil’s Anglicans protest destruction of Indigenous land

Posted on: August 19th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Gavin Drake/ACNS


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Anglican Journal News, August 19, 2016

Southern African synod to consider blessing same-sex civil unions

Posted on: August 18th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Gavin Drake/ACNS on August, 17 2016


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Whereas

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

And whereas

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

And whereas

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

And whereas

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

And whereas

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

Therefore, this Synod resolves

1. That a Bishop may:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. That a Bishop may not

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

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

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

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

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Anglican Journal News, August 18. 2016

African Anglicans concerned by lack of ‘sustainable peace’

Posted on: August 16th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Gavin Drake/ACNS on August, 16 2016


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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Anglican Journal News, August 16, 2016

National Worship Conference ties liturgy to God’s mission

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

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

National Worship Conference ties liturgy to God’s mission

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

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

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

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

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

Keynote speakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worship, workshops, and music

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Being the church in and for the world’

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

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

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

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

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

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