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‘A tribute to a dear friend in Christ’

March 21, 2017 - 5:16pm

It is with great sadness that our Church mourns the death of one of its most widely and highly respected leaders, Terence Edward Finlay. In the course of his ordained ministry which spanned almost fifty-six years, he was known as Father, Archdeacon, Bishop, Archbishop, The Primate’s Envoy for Residential Schools, Co-Chair of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, Liaison Bishop to the Mission to Seafarers Canada, and Chaplain to the National House of Bishops. No matter the order of ministry to which he was called, the office he held, or the title he bore, the most distinguishing mark of his ministry was friendship, that friendship into which Jesus called his disciples in The Upper Room on the Eve of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, that friendship into which he calls his followers in every age.

Terry was one of those bishops in whom as Rowan Williams would say, you could see “The Gathering Christ”…“someone around whom it is possible so see what the Church is”, the Body of Christ, each and every one of us, members one of another. Terry enjoyed gathering the Church for worship and fellowship, for dialogue and discernment of the Spirit’s work in our midst. Across differences in theological perspective he gathered people and enabled them to speak and listen to each other with respect. Throughout his entire ministry he upheld the wonders of diversity in unity. He worked hard to help us live by St. Paul’s counsel that we be “forbearing in love”, and “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. Indeed he embodied that long cherished principle among Anglicans of holding one another in “bonds of affection” in Christ.

None of us will ever forget his broad smile and his hearty laugh. None of us will forget those moments when his eyes danced with delight over someone’s happiness or great accomplishment. Nor will we forget those moments when his eyes welled up with tears over the great pain or grief someone was bearing. None of us will ever forget seeing his head lifted up in song – he loved to sing! Nor will we forget seeing his head bowed in shame and contrition for the suffering inflicted upon hundreds and hundreds of children through the Indian Residential Schools. None of us will forget how he gently raised his hands in presiding at the Eucharist and how he extended his hands in celebrating the peace into which Christ calls us. Terry had a handshake and an embrace in which we all experienced something of the fullness of Christ’s love for us all.

None of us will ever forget how much he enjoyed a good story nor how much he enjoyed telling one of his own – and he had plenty!

I know I am but one among so many who can say Terry was one of my dearest friends. I admired him. I learned much from him. I was encouraged by him. I was challenged by him. I appreciated his wisdom borne of many years in ministry. I was grateful for his counsel. And I always had the sense that when he said “I hold you in my prayers daily” he really did. There was about him a genuineness, a modesty, and a holiness that enriched my life and so many others too.

While we all mourn him we know what great trust he had in the promises of Christ. What great confidence he had in the Communion of Saints, what great joy he had in the very thought of being a guest in heaven.

As we remember, our dear friend in Christ, we pray for Alice Jean (“AJ”), and for their daughters Sara Jane and Rebecca and their grandchildren whom he loved dearly.

In remembering the manner of Terry’s living and dying, a prayer written many years ago by Theodore Parker Ferris comes to mind.

“Teach me, O Lord, not to hold on to life too tightly. Teach me to hold it lightly; not carelessly, but lightly, easily. Teach me to take it as a gift, to enjoy and cherish while I have it, and to let it go gracefully and thankfully when the time comes. The gift is great, but the Giver is greater still. Thou, O God, art the Giver and in thee is the Life that never dies. Amen.”

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There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

March 20, 2017 - 2:59pm

Dear Senator Beyak:

Not only in the Red Chamber on Parliament Hill, but across the country, many people – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – were dismayed by your remarks. You said “I was disappointed in the TRC’s Report and that it didn’t focus on the good,” associated with Residential Schools. Had you, Senator, made these remarks within a discussion of the TRC’s Report, your comments might have been less shocking.

Senator Beyak, you are quite right in saying that for a small minority of survivors, their personal experiences of Residential School were “good”.  But in much greater numbers, the personal experiences of children who were housed in those schools were “bad” – very bad in fact. One only needs to have attended a local, regional or national event hosted by Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission to know this. The Commissioners listened to the personal stories of thousands of students – of survivors – all of which bore witness to the horrific experience they had.

There are hundreds of students who went to Residential Schools administered by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). They have told their stories at our church’s National Native Convocation and at Sacred Circle Gatherings. We have been rendered speechless by what we heard. We have hung our heads in shame and raised them with remorse over the pain our church inflicted upon those children.

There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

There was nothing good about forbidding children to speak their own language, to sing and dance in a powwow, to practice their own spirituality. It was a denial of their dignity and human rights.

There was nothing good about experimenting with children’s diet to monitor the impact on their dental hygiene or their digestive systems. There was nothing good about pressing children into forced labour. It was state-sanctioned cruelty.

There was nothing good about denying a child a celebration of his or her birthday, about separating siblings one from another, not allowing them to be home for Christmas, or to enjoy summer holiday.

There was nothing good about child abuse – and it was rampant in Residential Schools – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. Such abuses were nothing less than crimes against humanity.

There was nothing good about children going missing and no report being filed. There was nothing good about burying children in unmarked graves far from their ancestral homes. It heaped cruelty upon cruelty for the child taken and the parent left behind.

There is nothing good about a lingering and sordid legacy of intergenerational trauma reflected in poor health, the struggle to enjoy healthy relationships, addictions, domestic violence, astonishingly high rates of incarceration and communal dysfunction.

There is nothing good about Indigenous people treated as “second class”, the blatant evidence of which persists in lower funding for health care, education, policing, and emergency health services. It is a travesty.

All these atrocities associated with the Indian Residential Schools have been documented through the work of TRC Commissioners Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson, and Wilton Littlechild. The several volumes of their report attest to this dark chapter in the history of Canada. We encourage you to review them. The ninety-four Calls to Action that complement their report are a “roadmap”, as they put it, for journeying toward healing and reconciliation. It will take years to address these Calls to Action fully, but in our commitment as a country to do so, we must be unwavering. We implore you to share in that commitment.

It is true that there were some glimpses of good, well-intentioned teachers, nurses and staff in those schools. We know a number of them personally and we know something of their own internal turmoil and agree that their stories have to be heard. It is true that some Residential School survivors can speak of a personal positive experience. We do not deny that their stories need to be heard too. But we are compelled to say that while there are those glimpses of good in the history of the Residential Schools, the overall view is grim. It is shadowed and dark; it is sad and shameful.

Senator Beyak, you hold up colonial historic accounts of church-run schools across Manitoba (the Pas, Grand Rapids), northern Ontario (Fort Frances, Fort Albany), and Athabasca. The accounts emphasize the good work of missionaries and the churches’ role in positively influencing the life of Indigenous peoples in these places. While there is no doubt that some good things happened, that is so clearly not the whole story that it demands a response.

What your story doesn’t tell us is of the cramped and unsanitary conditions in schools run by the Church Missionary Society of the Church of England, (the Anglican Church of Canada), in the Pas and Dauphin Manitoba; Lac La Ronge and Onion Lake, Saskatchewan; and Wabasca, Alberta. Conditions in these schools led to fires, to outbreaks of diphtheria, to gas leaks. Children died. We cannot speak about the Residential Schools without acknowledging these truths.  To do so would once more silence the witness of thousands of children – some of whom never returned home. It is Indigenous people who have the authority to tell the story. It is our duty to receive that story and allow it to change us.

Our church has offered apologies and will continue to do so. We have supported community-based programmes for healing, through the Anglican Healing Fund, and we will continue that work both as it seeks to foster healing in the lives of persons and families, and to support the recovery of language, culture and spiritual practices consistent with Indigenous identities and traditions. We recognize that this work of healing and reconciliation will take many, many years and we pledge our very best efforts in being steadfast in that work. We ask for a similar expression of commitment from you, and as a member of the Senate’s Aboriginal Peoples committee.

We say this as leaders in a church that ran a number of these Schools. We say this as leaders in a church that has members who are Indigenous and non-Indigenous, survivors and staff, settlers and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers made an apology to Residential School Survivors on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. Among his expressions of remorse for what had happened to so many innocent children he said “I am sorry that we tried to remake you in our image…We failed you. We failed ourselves. We failed God.”

We pray to God that our Church and our country remain firm in its resolve to support healing and reconciliation.

We pray that all the people of Canada – First Nations, Inuit and Métis – and all others who through waves of immigration have come to settle here may with goodwill forge a new future together.

We pray that future will be marked by a profound respect for the dignity with which the Creator has endowed all peoples, and by that harmony with which the Creator would have us live – in relations that are good and right and just for all.

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Canada The Right Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
The Anglican Church of Canada Michael Thompson
General Secretary
The Anglican Church of Canada

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Congregational development: Mission and organizational health

March 8, 2017 - 2:00pm

The following is part of an ongoing series on congregational development, which features reflections from Anglicans on how they are responding to the challenges facing churches today.

A longtime trainer at the Diocesan School for Parish Development in Vancouver, B.C., Tasha Carrothers is familiar with a wide range of models for congregational development.

Currently ministry resource associate for the Diocese of New Westminster, Carrothers describes congregational development as “finding a fit between the component parts in a congregation” through collaboration between clergy and laypeople.

“It’s about mission, but it’s about more than that,” Carrothers said. “It’s about organizational health.”

“When we talk about there being a fit, what we mean is, yeah, you have a mission,” she added. “But your mission is a good fit with the people who are in your parish, the people who are around in the neighbourhood, with your financial means, with your buildings. You can have a mission that is just disconnected from reality, or doesn’t stretch you enough.”

Carrothers was initially hired at the diocesan synod office to resource a specific program around parish revitalization and reorganization. The program was designed to facilitate conversations between parishes in the face of declining church attendance and the need for repairs on many buildings—two common challenges facing churches across Canada.

In her experience as a layperson, Carrothers has encountered many parishes and congregations that have worked on strengthening different aspects of their organization, which in turn improves their ability to carry out their ministry.

As an example of where the process might start, she recalled a small rural congregation in which the priest had identified a lack of connection and engagement with the surrounding neighbourhood.

“They’re starting with something that the priest has identified as a need, based on her understanding of what it is that a parish church should be doing … So you could say that that’s about clarifying their mission.”

In identifying the most pressing needs faced by a congregation, one area of focus will often lead directly into others. Carrothers pointed to a frequent instance of clergy approaching her and suggesting that their congregation needs to work on visioning—creating a compelling vision of goals and objectives to help guide it.

“After interviewing them for a while, it turns out it isn’t really visioning for the whole system that they need to work on,” she said. “It’s more that the leaders don’t understand their roles. The wardens don’t really know what they’re supposed to be doing, or there’s this jockeying back and forth between the authority of the priest and the role of the laypeople.

“So we could work on that, just developing clearer boundaries [and] clearer understandings around decision-making that’s going to make things go more smoothly. Then the place will be happier, and then visitors might stick around. It can be that basic.”

Following a series of town hall meetings to identify mission priorities in the next five years for St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Vancouver, Carrothers ran a workshop with members of the congregation to clarify the role of parish councils, which had not been clearly articulated canonically.

To help improve the effectiveness of parish councils at St. Paul’s, she asked council members as individuals to reflect on why they chose to serve on council. Rather than out of a sense of obligation, Carrothers indicated that serving on parish councils should represent a form of participation in Christian service.

Along with reflection at the individual level, the workshop also asked council members to reflect on their goals as a council.

“That intervention is going to make council more effective,” Carrothers said. “It’s going to make the church experience more fulfilling for those individuals, and that’s congregational development … It helps strengthen the mission, but it’s one of the building blocks.”

Key to successful congregational development, however, is maintaining a sense of proportion regarding the long-term success of implementing different plans and ideas.

“It’s not where I go in one Saturday and run a workshop … and everybody feels good at the end of the workshop, but then nobody’s actually able to do it, or the opportunities don’t arise, and so there’s no membership growth,” Carrothers cautioned. “Let’s just be realistic about what the outcomes are going to be as well.”

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Rupert’s Land Urban Indigenous Ministry promotes traditional and Christian healing practices

March 2, 2017 - 2:00pm

As urban Indigenous ministry developer for the Diocese of Rupert’s Land, the Rev. Vincent Solomon plays the lead role in ongoing work to bolster Indigenous Anglican ministry in the city of Winnipeg—work that has three major components.

Responsible for growing and ministering to a new worshipping community, Solomon was installed as Incumbent at the opening service of Epiphany Anglican Indigenous Church on Feb. 12. The Rt. Rev. Donald Phillips, bishop of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land presided and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald preached at the ceremony.

To deepen healing and reconciliation within the diocese, local events are currently being planned to bring members of the community together—as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, as Anglicans—for joint worship services, feasts, and conversation.

Perhaps the most critical component, in Solomon’s view, is a focus on healing by providing a safe place for Indigenous people who have endured trauma. Primary among the sources of this suffering is experiences in Indian residential schools—many of which were run by the Anglican Church of Canada—and the resulting intergenerational trauma.

Since September 2016, Solomon has provided pastoral care at St. Francis Mission Centre in north Winnipeg to those who have asked for it, providing a forum for people to talk through painful experiences within the context of traditional Indigenous and Christian forms of healing.

Clinical counselors, pastoral care workers, and elders, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are now in place and ready to hold regular talking and healing circles as more people in the Winnipeg community hear about the ministry being offered.

“The elders will be teaching on our traditional cultures, traditional values,” Solomon said. “That’s part of the healing process, I believe, for Indigenous people.

“We need a lot more of that, because it’s been taken away, and it had been taken away by the church, and so we need to replace that … in order for Indigenous people to get back to where we were before, which was a place of health and wellness.”

Bishop Don Phillips described the Indigenous ministry work spearheaded by Solomon as the “bringing to fruition” of work that has been going on in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land for decades.

The bishop said that the vision of a flourishing Indigenous worship community was first realized in the 1980s and 1990s, but gradually subsided as financial support dried up. It found new life about 10 years ago when the Rupert’s Land Indigenous Council and its program arm “Wechetowin” (Cree for “people helping people”) launched a full-time Indigenous Mission Developer position, until funding once again ran out three years later.

“The launch of Epiphany Indigenous Anglican Church provides a secure foundation from which Indigenous-led programs (in partnership with non-indigenous Anglicans) can flourish and help persons find healing and wholeness appropriate to their own journey,” Bishop Phillips said.

“An important part of accomplishing the spiritual restoration that must take place is the opportunity to experience mutual learning and reconciliation with non-Indigenous persons, and the talking and healing circles provide for this. Because this is a ministry immersed in the middle of our diocesan community, our whole diocesan family will be affected by its presence and invited to grow and learn from the wisdom and healing that emerges.”

Solomon’s efforts to promote urban Indigenous ministry in Winnipeg recently received a boost in the form of two $10,000 grants from the Anglican Foundation.

One grant will pay for items such as office furniture, computers, and a baptismal fount at Epiphany Indigenous Anglican Church. The other will cover the cost of honorariums and gas money for the counselors, educator training in traditional Indigenous and Christian forms of healing, pastoral care workers, and elders who often travel long distances to take part in the healing circles.

An Indigenous-led group called Rising Above recently provided training to the six counselors, pastoral care workers, and elders, half of whom are Indigenous and the other half non-Indigenous.

The session focused on the background of residential school experiences and the trauma that must be dealt with in terms of healing and counselling, which Solomon noted includes sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that took place within the residential schools.

“You compound that [abuse] with being stripped of your culture and your language, at the same time being told that you’re a worthless Indian … the trauma of having your culture taken away from you and your language taken away from you … [Being] taken away from the home of your parents and from learning about your heritage, and those kinds of things that people also need healing from.”

With the last residential school in Canada only closing in 1996, and the persistence of intergenerational trauma, demographics of people who have attended the healing circles will encompass a wide age range, from youth to seniors.

Solomon described the reception of the healing program within the Winnipeg community as “very positive” thus far.

“There is an interest out there for the services and the ministry that we will be providing and are providing … But it will be a very positive thing for the people who do come and talk through their own trauma,” Solomon said.

“Of course, it’s not all positive,” he added. “They’re in pain and they need to work this stuff through, and so the positive part of that is that they are willing and needing and asking for help, which is hopefully what we are giving them.”

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Remember the Refugees and Migrants

March 1, 2017 - 7:12pm

Remember the Refugees and Migrants: An Ash Wednesday message from the ACC, ELCIC, TEC and ELCA

Ash Wednesday, 2017

On this day many people will participate in a liturgy including the Imposition of Ashes.  Some presiders blot these ashes upon our foreheads and we are reminded that we are but dust and to dust shall we return.  Others trace them upon our forehead in the sign of the cross, a reminder of the place to where the Lenten journey takes us.  Even at the outset of this holy season we are reminded that while for some the cross is a stumbling block and for others mere foolishness, it is for those who are being called, the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23).  Remembering Christ crucified we are mindful not only of our personal need for repentance and renewal in doing the work of God, but indeed of the need of all humanity to repent of our indifference to the brokenness of our relationships, to the suffering of millions of people worldwide who are starving, oppressed, enslaved, or seeking sanctuary even if it be in a place far from their homeland.

This Lent we call our Churches to be continually mindful of the global refugee and migration crises, and the injustices and conflicts that have swelled the statistics to a number greater than ever in the history of the world.  We acknowledge the good work done by so many of our synods and dioceses and parishes in sponsoring refugees, welcoming them, accompanying them and advocating for them as they settle in our countries.  Similarly, we commend the compassionate work of our partner churches in other lands and intergovernmental bodies caring for migrants and refugees. We call on our Churches not to weary of this good work in the name of God.

Given the current political climate in the United States, it is important to say that while both our countries recognize the need for measures ensuring homeland security, we also stand up for the long established policies that welcome migrants and refugees.  That is not to say any of them are not beyond reform.  But it is to say that fair and generous policies strengthen the economy of our nations and enriches the economic, fabric of our countries – a fabric woven by both the First Peoples of these lands and all those who have settled here through numerous waves of migration throughout our histories.

Fair and generous action and deliberations are from our perspective, deeply grounded in the Law of Moses, in the teaching of the Prophets and in the Gospel of Jesus.  For some two millennia millions of people have found consolation in the suffering of Jesus upon the cross and in his holy name they have prayed for the compassion and justice of God in the midst of the terrible circumstances of their lives – circumstances that compel them to flee their homelands, making their way over dangerous treks of land. Sometimes they find refuge in new nations and frequently they make their way to ports where they can board vessels and make what are often treacherous voyages in the hope of reaching a land free of the oppression they have known.  Some make it.  Many don’t.

May this Season of Lent be especially marked by our prayers and advocacy for refugees and migrants – on the run, in United Nations camps, in waiting, in our communities… And let it be marked by a continuing resolve in welcoming the stranger in our midst, for such hospitality is in keeping with the faith we proclaim. (Matthew 25:31-40)

In Christ,

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop
Episcopal Church (United States)

Download this message in PDF format

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How Anglicans and partners are confronting human trafficking

February 28, 2017 - 2:00pm

A renewed focus across the worldwide Anglican Communion to tackle human trafficking kicked into high gear in 2012 when the Anglican Consultative Council passed Resolution 15:10 on the Trafficking of Persons. The resolution urged provinces in the Anglican Communion to learn about and raise awareness of trafficking in their respective countries and to work towards its elimination.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s contributions to the fight against human trafficking have taken a variety of forms. General Synod’s Director of Global Relations, Dr. Andrea Mann, is currently coordinating the church’s work in combating human trafficking. Mann said that Resolution 15:10 gave a “green light” for work in this area by providing a framework for Canadian Anglicans to tackle the issue.

“I can say with confidence that it’s something that the church has worked on for some time,” Mann said.

“Certainly locally, people who are maybe not in paid accountable church ministry as clergy, but [are] certainly church members—as social workers, as teachers, as front-line workers, in urban ministry—are working with traffic-vulnerable or traffic-rescued people in the programs that they have in shelters and food kitchens and places like that.”

Church initiatives against human trafficking encompass dioceses, religious orders, Mission to Seafarers, the Anglican Military Ordinariate, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and the General Synod.

At the national level, Anglicans work through ecumenical organizations such as KAIROS and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) to coordinate their efforts with other denominations.

Part of the CCC Commission on Justice and Peace is the Working Group on Sexual Exploitation in Canada, formerly known as the Working Group on Human Trafficking in Canada. The working group brings together representatives of different churches to share information and identify areas each church is currently working on, as well as areas where they might further collaborate.

At the moment, the working group is focused on four key areas: advocacy, education, theological reflection, and worship resources.

Where advocacy is concerned, the CCC working group is committed to a focus on missing and murdered Indigenous women and children. Members have written letters to federal ministers asking them to take women and children who have been ensnared in the sex trade into consideration as they move forward with the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The working group also continues to engage with Bill C-36, which was passed under the last Conservative government and amended the Criminal Code regarding sex work in Canada.

“There have been rumblings that maybe the Liberal government will re-evaluate this law,” said Jennifer Lucking, working group chair and coordinator of human trafficking outreach for the Reformed Church in America. “So we’re keeping our eye on that.”

A major resource released by the working group is Human Trafficking in Canada: A Leadership and Learning Kit for Churches. Members are currently working on updating the resource and providing further worship resources for theological reflection.

Since 2013, the Rev. Carolyn Seabrook, regional dean for Carleton and incumbent at the Parish of Kars-Osgoode in the Diocese of Ottawa, has served as the Anglican representative on the CCC working group. She first became active in combating human trafficking through her involvement with the International Anglican Women’s Network.

“It has been somewhat challenging to fully participate in the work of this group, given that our Anglican Church is not quite as far along as many of them are on this issue,” Seabrook said.

“We have not yet had a broad conversation that might lead us to be able to make statements on behalf of our church on this topic. Therefore we participate in discussions, but are not always able to sign on to the letters that get forwarded.”

Many Anglicans are taking action at the parish and diocesan levels. In Ottawa, working with the group Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking (PACT), Anglicans have worked with local women’s organizations to take grassroots action to raise awareness of human trafficking.

One project to raise awareness involved volunteers creating rag dolls for an art display in order “to show how easily women’s lives are discarded through trafficking,” Seabrook explained.

“That art installation then would lead to an opportunity to provide education and resources and whatnot, just to raise awareness.”

To effectively coordinate Anglican responses across Canada, Seabrook points to the need to map out what individuals, parishes, and dioceses are doing in the fight against trafficking.

“It would be great to gather this information so that it can be shared,” she said. “No doubt there are Anglicans who are engaged and feel strongly about these issues and some have started taking action but we don’t currently have a handle on it in any comprehensive way.

“We need to pull people together from across the church to have some conversations about human trafficking from a theological perspective,” Seabrook added. “We would do well to include related issues such as prostitution, for example, because there is a range of opinion, with some considering it sexual exploitation while others consider it to be legitimate work.

“We know there is a range of opinion on these issues, and it would be a very good thing if we could gather around a table and talk about these issues from a faith perspective.”

View a list of resources related to human trafficking.

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Ontario diocese boosts ministry in Mohawk territory

February 23, 2017 - 2:00pm

Deepening its ties with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, the Anglican Diocese of Ontario has allocated funds from its Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation (ACCRC) return to support local First Nations art and culture as well as ministry in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

Drawing upon its approximately $115,000 return to promote ministry among the Mohawk population was a natural move for the Diocese of Ontario. This decision stems from the diocese’s commitment to healing and reconciliation and its proximity to and connection with the Tyendinaga territory.

The Anglican Parish of Tyendinaga includes All Saints’ Church and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawk.

“We have a long… heritage [and relationship] with the [Mohawk] people here, so for us, that’s a natural focus,” diocesan executive officer Alex Pierson said.

Supporting arts and culture

Reflecting the importance of the thriving cultural and art practices in Tyendinaga—and spurred by an individual affiliated with the church who works with the territory’s annual art festival—local First Nations art and artists were an important and obvious area to support financially.

“The [diocese recognizes] that by bringing [financial support] forward, we are supporting the community that was harmed [by the Indian residential school system], and we’re also bringing that to the fore for our people to understand.”

Jonathan Maracle, a Mohawk musician from Tyendinaga, performs at the most recent Ontario diocesan synod. Submitted photo by Mark Hauser

The diocese recently became one of the principal sponsors of the annual arts festival held on the territory, which brings together Indigenous artists in a variety of media, ranging from sketches and paintings to woodcarvings.

Helping to promote the musical element of the festival, the diocese sponsored a music competition in which participants wrote songs in either of two categories—a traditional hymn or anthem, and a children’s song or campfire song—and received a fair number of entries. At the next diocesan synod, Anglicans heard the two winning entries, which included a performance by well-known composer Jonathan Maracle.

Healing and reconciliation was a major focus at the synod, which also included participation in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, an activity that uses blankets to teach how colonialism has effected Canada’s Indigenous people and their relationship with the land.

“The song that was written [by Maracle] talked about residential school … There were a lot of tears as that was performed,” Pierson said. “It helped bring that [history] to light and to understanding.”

Return to full-time ministry

Along with the arts, the diocese also used funds from its ACCRC return to bring back full-time ministry in the Tyendinaga territory.

Following the departure of its previous incumbent in October 2015, the Parish of Tyendinaga found itself in a position where it could no longer afford full-time ministry.

“We felt that there was still a strong opportunity to grow the ministry there, and also to grow the congregation,” Pierson said. “At that point, we had again what we believed to be the Spirit moving.”

Enter the Rev. Canon Rod BrantFrancis and the Rev. Lisa BrantFrancis. The married couple had both been ordained at All Saints’ Church, while Lisa had grown up on the Tyendinaga territory. After they applied for the vacant position, the diocese hired Rod as the new incumbent and Lisa as priest associate for the parish.

“We’re actually building specific [outcomes] for our ministry or our objectives that we want to achieve in supplementing the ministry on the Tyendinaga territory,” Pierson said.

“Because of the way Rod and Lisa work, it basically brings you two priests working to grow the ministry there and to minister the people, and to the people that aren’t Anglicans or aren’t regularly attending.”

Tyendinaga has a very active parish community and includes a number of notable worship and learning events each year, from Evensong to the attendance of the bishop at the annual Mohawk landing, which celebrates the original arrival of the Mohawk from the United States during the American Revolution.

Moving forward

Additional funds still remain in the diocese’s ACCRC return, with a myriad of possible uses all dedicated to healing and reconciliation locally. One possible focus revolves around how it might better support Indigenous people from northern communities who come through Kingston to obtain medical services.

As it plans to move into a new synod office, the diocese will be commissioning an artist from the Bay of Quinte Mohawks to produce a piece of art that will serve as a centrepiece display in the new office focusing on truth and reconciliation.

“It’s not a one-time shot,” Pierson said of the diocese’s careful management of its return, adding, “Our intention is that that will go on for some number of years.”

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The Book of Common Prayer in worship today

February 21, 2017 - 6:57pm

Despite being supplanted in many churches by the Book of Alternative Services, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) remains the definitive prayer book for a great number of Canadian Anglicans.

Far from being a mere textual reference for prayer and liturgy, the BCP, according to Trinity College assistant divinity professor Dr. Jesse Billett, represents a “total system of Christian life”.

“If you treat it as a resource book for worship, you’ll find it very dissatisfying,” Billett said. “It requires you to go all-in.”

The scholar described the BCP as assuming a discipline of private prayer and meditation as well as participation in the daily office, Holy Communion on Sundays, major feast days, and life milestones such as baptism and marriage.

While language in the prayer book can be difficult for some 21st century readers, Billet believed that parishes that use the BCP as the basis for their community life provide compelling counter-examples.

“Just by using the prayer book as it’s meant to be used, you can enter right into it, and it ceases to be anything foreign,” Billett said.

“If you’re in a parish that uses the prayer book very naturally—where people know what page you’re on, or rather, don’t need to look at the page anymore—you can experience it as a natural, flowing, perfectly harmonious way of worshipping.”

A timeless work

The Rev. Jonathan Turtle, assistant curate at the Church of St. Mary and St. Martha in Toronto, concurred on the benefits of increasing familiarity with the BCP.

“The BCP is a bit like a pair of good leather boots,” Turtle said. “At first it can be uncomfortable and even cause you a measure of pain. But once broken in it becomes like a second skin and gives voice to prayers and petitions that one didn’t even know they had.”

He sees the BCP as being “more relevant than ever” in part due to its timeless, unchanging nature.

“Consider the prayer that comes at the end of Compline that asks for God’s presence and protection through the night, ‘so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness.’

“The world is changing and fleeting. The BCP isn’t, and is thus uniquely situated to address our weariness.”

For the Rev. Daniel Bowyer, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Stratford, Ont. in the Diocese of Huron, liturgies from the prayer book constitute his earliest memories of worship, connecting him with God at an early age and continuing to shape his Christian life and ministry today.

“The liturgies within the Book of Common Prayer,” Bowyer said, “have a timelessness in connecting Christians to the living God, Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected, deepening their faith and sending them into the world to carry out ministry in Christ’s name.”

Mother Melissa Frankland, an Anglican priest serving as associate pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Steinbach, Man., described the BCP as an important part of Anglican identity, noting that it contains the XXXIX Articles defining Anglican doctrine and practices, as well as the Catechism.

“The poetic prose, biblical content, and its monastic rhythm of daily prayer, I believe, contain the tools necessary to help us live as disciples of our Lord,” Frankland said. “It is very convenient that it is all in this one spot.”

She contends that the continuing importance of the BCP in daily worship flows from its “biblically solid” nature—the majority of the prayer book draws directly from Scripture—and the ageless qualities of the text itself.

“Unlike the more modern liturgies and Eucharistic prayers which, I believe for the most part, are created to satisfy a ‘trend,’ the language and poetic prose of the BCP, combined with a theology which is deeply rooted in Christian tradition, make it a worship tool that helps to draw us outside of ourselves, and points us to our Heavenly Father, the very one in whom we are created to worship and glorify.”

Indigenous perspectives

The prayer book retains a special appeal for many Indigenous Anglicans.

“The BCP has much relevance in First Nation communities,” Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Ginny Doctor said.

One of the churches in her own community of Six Nations, Ont. uses the BCP for Sunday worship, while the current Indigenous Catechist Training Manual contains the 1962 Catechist found in the BCP. Translations of the BCP exist in Mohawk and Oji-Cree—though each was translated prior to the 1962 edition authorized by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Growing up in the Episcopal Church, Doctor used the 1928 version of the prayer book published by the church in the United States.

“I have good memories of that time and that BCP, which is similar to the 1962 BCP,” Doctor said. “I love the language, although that may seem strange since it is ‘old English’ and I am a Mohawk woman!”

“It’s the memories that make it meaningful to me,” she added, recalling one time when she was asked to provide overnight hospice care to an elder while working as a missionary in Alaska.

“He asked me if I would do morning prayer with him,” Doctor remembered. “The next night I went with my 1979 BCP in hand. When I started, he said, ‘No, not that one, the old one.’”

“I immediately knew what he meant and told him if he would be okay, I’d go and get the old one. I did and as I began reading, he began reciting with a big smile on his face.

“When we were done, he said, ‘I saw so many memories.’ And so did I.”

Using the prayer book

Today, Doctor uses both the 1928 and 1962 editions of the BCP in her morning devotions, carrying each version of the prayer book on her Kindle.

Dr. Paul Dyck, English professor at Canadian Mennonite University and a lay reader and preacher at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg, begins each day with an abbreviated BCP morning prayer.

“These words of encounter set the conditions for the rest of the day,” said Dyck, who also finds himself drawn to the Coverdale psalter with its “strikingly tangible character” and “strangely concrete and dramatic” words.

Having become an Anglican through the Church of England, Billett uses the 1662 prayer book for his daily office. Like the BCP itself, the daily office was historically one of the unique hallmarks of Anglican identity.

“I would love to see more places use [the BCP] and rediscover it with its own integrity,” Billett said. “If a parish is interested in restoring the daily office, I hope they’d have a look at the prayer book and at least learn how to use that before deciding whether or not to use it moving further.”

“I think that seminaries like here at Trinity College are going to have a lot to do with that,” he added, noting that students at the college alternate every six weeks between the BCP and the Book of Alternative Services.

For his part, Turtle exclusively uses the BCP in his own devotional life, drawing strength from the daily office and psalter and praying variations of Compline with his two young daughters each night before bedtime.

Referring to the preface in the Canadian prayer book—which reads in part, “The Book of Common Prayer is a priceless possession of our church”—he noted, “We would do well to recover the sense of its pricelessness, that we may become more truly that which we already are, the People of God.”

Learn more about the historical roots of the Book of Common Prayer.

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The historic heritage of the Book of Common Prayer

February 14, 2017 - 9:41pm

To fully appreciate the impact of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) on Anglican thought and worship, one must first understand the sixteenth century world from which it emerged.

For Anglican scholars and academics, careful study of the origins and evolution of the BCP reveal a text that evoked early Christian worship and drew upon medieval Catholic doctrine, while embracing aspects of doctrinal change that characterized the Protestant Reformation and paved the way for modern evangelical approaches.

Dr. Jesse Billett, assistant professor in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College, teaches a course on the BCP that highlights the many ways in which the prayer book straddled divisions not only between Catholicism and Protestantism, but also within the Anglican tradition itself.

“The old joke is that Anglicanism is evangelical software trying to run on Catholic hardware, which is why we get so many system crashes,” Billett said. “You can see that operating in the prayer book itself, because the prayer book retains a lot of the medieval Catholic hardware.”

First published in 1549, with subsequent revisions leading up to the 1662 edition, (that today remains the official prayer book of the Church of England), the BCP retained structures of Catholicism, including the ancient orders of bishop, priest, and deacon—to the dismay of groups such as the Puritans, who desired a more “thoroughgoing” Reformation more reflective of the ideas of John Calvin, with an undifferentiated order of pastors.

Though it recognizes two sacraments of the gospel, baptism and Holy Communion, the BCP also preserved rites equivalent to the medieval seven sacraments. The other five are: confirmation, marriage, visitation of the sick, the sacrament of order, and provision for private confession to a priest with absolution.

The retention practices from the medieval age, albeit with less specific language, embodies what Billett considers “the key to understanding the BCP.”

“It retains as much of the tradition as possible that is agreeable to Scripture,” Billett said. “But it will only say about those rites what Scripture actually says, and this can lead to a certain amount of ambiguity [for some]. It can also lead to a lot of misunderstanding of the book today, because people are not nearly as scripturally literate as they were in former generations.”

Language of the prayer book

If the language of the BCP can sometimes appear perplexing to modern readers, for early English-speaking audiences it represented a marvel of clarity—the first time in which the entire liturgy of the church had been written in the English language.

“It is the moment when the English language acquires a liturgy,” Billett said. “I like to think of it almost as a missionary moment, because we see the same thing happening much earlier, for instance, with Saints Cyril and Methodius, who evangelized the Slavic peoples.”

Equally crucial to the prayer book’s success was the quality of its language.

“I think that the beauty of its language and the seriousness of its theology is in part what can account for its longevity and influence,” the Rev. Jonathan Turtle, assistant curate at the Church of St. Mary and St. Martha in the Diocese of Toronto, said of the BCP.

“The language is clearly English, but it is an unfamiliar English. You wouldn’t speak this way with your friends down at the pub, and that’s precisely the beauty of it. What we have here is a prayer language, holy language reserved for the worship of a holy God. Moreover, it is theologically serious and deep.

“It is thoroughly steeped in Scripture and it takes seriously things like the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our salvation. In its lectionary, it challenges us to take in more Scripture than we thought we could manage. In these ways and more, it honours the ‘Reformed Catholic’ identity at the core of Anglicanism.”

Dr. Paul Dyck, professor of English at Canadian Mennonite University and a lay reader and preacher at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg, noted that the language of the BCP is almost never simply metaphorical or symbolic, but rather grounded in the real conditions of bodily existence.

He characterized the sixteenth century as attuned to verbal and rhetorical effects in the same way that we are attuned to visual effects today.

“The gripping strangeness and beauty of the language is not simply because it is old and that we are not used to it, but because it is a product of a very highly accomplished verbal artfulness,” Dyck said. “People went to Shakespeare to be dazzled by speech, not spectacle, and they would stand for an hour outside at Paul’s Cross to listen to a sermon.

“When we read the BCP now, with some sympathy for what it is doing, allowing it to work upon us, we enter into the art of worship in a unique way. It does not seek to settle us, but to unsettle us and move us toward God. It doesn’t begin from a place of righteous consensus, the way some modern liturgy does, but from a place of encounter, in which the very act of worship, the very possibility of holy language, is entirely conditional upon the present gift of God.”

Canadian editions

The 1662 version of the prayer book, which altered its biblical quotations to reflect the King James Bible, served as the standard edition for Canadian Anglicans until 1922, when the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada authorized a new version with minor clarifications and corrections.

A more substantial revision emerged in 1959 that significantly modernized the language of the BCP. Reflecting the diversity of opinion among Anglicans in Canada, the revision committee included two key figures—Ramsay Armitage, principal of Wycliffe College, and Father Roland Palmer, superior of the Society of St. John the Evangelist—respectively representing the evangelical “low church” and Anglo-Catholic “high church” traditions.

“They wanted a really strong evangelical and a strong Anglo-Catholic, because at the time, those were the polarizations in the church, whereas now it would be more liberal versus conservative, I think,” Billett said.

While representing a particular historical moment in scholarship and attitudes to worship, the 1959 revision of the BCP—which received final authorization from General Synod in 1962—managed to balance different perspectives in the Anglican spiritual tradition. Armitage and Palmer exemplified the spirit of dialogue that prevailed, consulting with each other before meetings to iron out points of discussion and sitting together throughout the revision process.

“The book as it was revised was really acceptable to people across the whole spectrum of churchmanship in Canada, which was quite a remarkable thing,” Billett said.

“Things have become much more adversarial in how change proceeds, and I think we can really look to the example of that time as fairly encouraging.”

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A message from National Bishop Susan Johnson and Primate Fred Hiltz

February 2, 2017 - 4:00pm
To Members of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

As you may know, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) Council of General Synod (CoGS) passed resolutions in support of a Joint Assembly of our two governing bodies—the ELCIC National Convention and the ACC General Synod—in 2019. Building on our 2013 Joint Assembly, we have been looking forward to another opportunity to be together as two churches living out our Full Communion relationship.

Our staff teams have been working hard to realize this intention. Early on, a decision was made to plan the Joint Assembly in Vancouver, and at its 2016 General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada announced the Diocese of New Westminster as the host of General Synod 2019.

One of the realizations that has come to light is the challenge around aligning our two gatherings in a way that feels meaningful and in the best spirit of Full Communion. Part of this is simply the mass of work before our two national bodies in the governance of each of our churches. There are also logistical concerns—finding venues that work for both our churches simultaneously has proven to be a real challenge. And then attention must be made towards ensuring that all of this works within the financial constraints of the ELCIC and the time restraints of the ACC.

The prospect of a Joint Assembly where we are each hurrying through agenda and scrambling on and off buses to commute to one another’s venue in order to accommodate time together was not a prospect that we welcomed. We are both very mindful of the need of both our churches to have adequate time to do the work they must do. Both of us would also want the maximum amount of time together in Joint Assembly.

In light of this, we proposed to NCC and CoGs that Joint Assembly be rescheduled for 2022, in a venue that will accommodate the national bodies of both our groups together, as well as providing separate meeting places for the work unique to each of our churches and that planning for such a gathering begin immediately. Both bodies affirmed this proposal by a majority of their members in a ballot conducted by e-mail.

We believe a Joint Assembly in 2022 will be a really fine celebration marking more than twenty years of Full Communion. In the meantime, we continue to give thanks to God for all who are at work in hundreds of places across our two churches to realize the Full Communion relationship that has been written so deeply on our hearts.

Yours faithfully,

Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Anglican Church of Canada


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Volunteers and the future of prison ministry

February 1, 2017 - 6:43pm

The following is the fifth and final instalment of a multi-part series detailing the work of Anglicans involved in prison ministry. Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

In the face of budget cuts to the federal correctional system, many chaplains increasingly work on a volunteer basis. The Rev. Tim Smart, for instance, a prison chaplain at Cowansville Institution in Quebec, is paid for four hours per week, and volunteers equal unpaid time.

The Rev. Peter Huish (deacon) did not renew his contract this past April after 18 years of chaplaincy, but received permission from Correctional Services Canada to continue his work with federal inmates on a voluntary basis. Twice a month, Huish visits correctional institutions “with a band of volunteers, the way I always have, simply because the willingness is there to do it, as part of my life and the life of the volunteers that go with me.

“It’s also something that the guys who we go [visit] at that particular institution are keen to have continue,” he added.

Volunteer help is a major asset to all prison chaplains. On Monday chapel evenings at Cowansville, Smart brings in volunteers from various churches and denominations to meet with prison inmates, sing and pray together, socialize, and engage in Bible study and discussion.

On Friday mornings, volunteers help him with English and French literacy programs for inmates.

“The guys are so appreciative of the volunteers who come in,” Smart said. “They kind of expect paid chaplains to be there, but when somebody comes of their…own volition to spend their Thanksgiving Monday at chapel to talk to [them], to pray with them, to sing with them—this really means a lot.

“Especially for many of the men who no longer have family visiting them because they’ve been cut off…or who have few visits…it means a lot…that they’re not forgotten and…can be treated with some kind of care and interest. That’s all part of the rehabilitative process.”

With the institutional relationship of the church to prison chaplaincy now less direct—a private contractor, Bridges of Canada, currently oversees the hiring and pay of chaplains, while in the past, Anglican dioceses held direct contracts with Correctional Services Canada—volunteers serve as a vital pillar enabling the work of chaplains to continue.

Even so, Huish said that Anglicans tend to be underrepresented among volunteers he works with. As founder of the restorative justice group Communitas, Huish reports every month on activities involving 50 to 60 volunteers working with past and present inmates in the greater Montreal area. Of these volunteers, about six or seven are Anglican.

“It’s not an easy or particularly attractive pursuit for your average pew-sitting Anglican, I think,” Huish said.

Ongoing service and budget cuts, however, mean that the need for volunteers in prison ministry will continue to grow.

Smart encouraged Anglicans to support prison ministry by supporting Anglican chaplains who are part of the national chaplaincy network, and by encouraging volunteers to become involved in the prison system.

“We’ve got prisons in every large and medium-sized town across the country,” Smart said. “Find out who those chaplains are. See if you feel called to be a part of their activities.”

Huish highlighted the need for church members at all levels—up to and including councils and bishops—to learn more about prison ministry to gain a greater appreciation of the work of chaplains. He praised Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz as “a very great example of someone who has a heart for that kind of ministry.”

“When we choose our ministers and our leaders,” he added, “I think we need to discern the people who have the right kind of heart, to ensure that the [forms of] ministry that are less popular and less attractive do not get neglected.”

Learn more about how to volunteer in support of prison chaplains.

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‘With sympathy and solidarity with Sainte-Foy’

January 30, 2017 - 4:35pm

In a mosque in Ste-Foy in the City of Québec full of devout Muslims gathered for Evening Prayer, their chanting was shattered by the crack of gunfire, leaving six people dead, scores of others injured, a neighbourhood traumatized, and a nation horrified.

My heart, indeed the hearts of all people of good will, goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack. We hold in our prayers those who have died, for their families and for their imams who care for them in their grief. We also pray for those who have been injured and for those tending them. We remember too the police, and all others whose daily work is to “serve and protect”.

At moments like this, people of faith must stand together in solidarity for those values common to our respective religious traditions: the adoration of God, the respect we owe one another as fellow human beings, and the care with which we tend the earth, our common home.

In the Readings for Sunday past we heard the call of the prophet Micah – “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God?” (6:6-8). We also heard Jesus teaching in the Beatitudes, that we are called to be merciful, to hunger and thirst for right relations with one another, to do what makes for peace among all.

These are the values that make us children of God, friends in faith, and citizens of the world. Please join me in praying for the people of Ste-Foy and especially for our Muslim friends in this very difficult time.

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Bursaries aid Indigenous Anglican theology students

January 26, 2017 - 4:46pm

Two Anglican theology students have received major boosts towards completing their education and providing spiritual guidance to Indigenous communities, thanks to a generous donation from the Diocese of Western Newfoundland.

The diocese received a return from its portion of the Residential School Settlement Fund amounting to more than $37,000 and chose to use the money to fund bursaries for Indigenous students engaged in theological education. With additional funds from Indigenous Ministries, bursaries of $20,000 each were awarded to students Aaron Sault and Sandra Campbell, currently working to obtain their Master of Divinity (MDiv) degrees.

Bishop Percy Coffin of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland said the donation aimed to alleviate some of the misery caused by the Indian residential schools, many of which were run by the Anglican Church of Canada, by sponsoring students seeking holy orders and helping them avoid the burden of debt.

He emphasized the importance of self-determination, as ordained Indigenous ministers promote healing, identity, and recovery in their own communities.

“We learn from each other, whatever our race or creed is—but for Indigenous people to go and serve Indigenous communities, I think, is more important at this time,” Bishop Coffin said.

“Self-determination has loomed largely at CoGS [the Council of General Synod] and everywhere else, and to equip somebody to do that is important to us, and I hope important to them.”

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald and Indigenous Ministries Co-ordinator Ginny Doctor first suggested Sault and Campbell upon hearing that the Diocese of Western Newfoundland was looking to fund bursaries.

“I think it’s great, because there aren’t a lot of resources for our folks to draw from when they’ve experienced a call to the ministry,” Doctor said. “It’s really going to help those two further their education, and to reach their goal of being hopefully priests in the communities they’re serving right now.”

Aaron Sault

Sault, 33, is a student minister at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Six Nations, Ont. He is currently pursuing studies at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, travelling there four times per year, and the Vancouver School of Theology, where he attends classes once a year in July.

Student minister Aaron Sault speaks at the 2015 Sacred Circle in Port Elgin, Ont.

Prior to pursuing his MDiv, Sault trained and worked as a paralegal, later studying Indigenous studies and political science at Trent University.

His decision to pursue a career in ministry arose, in part, from a subsequent pill addiction that led to a criminal record. Praying to God for help in quitting drugs, Sault successfully cleaned up—yet the experience gave him insight into addiction issues that disproportionately affect many Indigenous communities.

“I know a lot of people who are drug addicts…I still hung out with these people who did pills, even though I didn’t do pills [anymore],” he said. “So it allowed them to start trusting me…They had no shame to be in front of me, so that seemed to be easy for me to get through to them.”

As an Ojibwe-Mohawk, Sault notes numerous parallels between Christianity and Indigenous traditions, such as the Christ-like figure of Deganawida in the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Confederacy. He sees many opportunities to draw from both traditions in the ongoing developments towards Indigenous self-determination within the Anglican Church of Canada.

“We have youth coming that are trained to become ministers…to carry on not only the traditions of the Anglican Church, but also the traditions of the First Nations people, so that they can get the full value…the full understanding.”

Along with Doctor and Bishop MacDonald, Sault credits his uncle, the Rev. Phil Sault; Adrian Jacobs, Keeper of the Circle at the Sandy-Saulteaux Centre; and the Six Nations Anglican congregation for helping him on his own spiritual journey. He thanked Bishop Coffin for the bursary funding.

Sandra Campbell

Campbell, a Mohawk from Wahta First Nation, lives in Toronto, where she is studying for her MDiv at Wycliffe College while working part-time as a social and pastoral care worker for Toronto Urban Nativity Ministry (TUNM).

Describing herself as both a Sixties Scoop survivor and intergenerational survivor, Campbell had actively worked in the Toronto Aboriginal community for years, including at an Indigenous men’s residence, before an encounter with the Rev. Canon Andrew Wesley led to her involvement with TUNM.

Her current work includes street outreach, caring for the homeless, working with single parents and youth, visiting hospitals and jails, and one-on-one spiritual mentoring. She also maintains close connections with local Indigenous organizations.

By obtaining her MDiv, Campbell hopes to work more effectively with TUNM while relieving some of the pressing demand for Indigenous ministry in the city. The Rev. Chris Harper currently is Indigenous Native Priest for the Diocese of Toronto, serving as the sole ordained Anglican minister for an Indigenous population of almost 20,000, according to 2011 census data.

“The need’s so high, it’s kind of difficult, because there’s not many of us in Toronto,” Campbell said. “And I’m prepared to do that work, because I’m doing the combination of studying and working.”

She expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the Diocese of Western Newfoundland for providing the bursary funds, describing it as a constructive way for the church to reinforce its commitment to healing, following the 1993 apology of then-Primate Michael Peers for the church’s role in administering the residential schools.

“The question from the Indigenous individuals in the Toronto community is, now that the apology has been done…and the Truth and Reconciliation [Commission] is over, will the church still remain involved with this?” Campbell said. “That’s the question, and their fear [is] that they’ll be forgotten, like the flavour of the month.

“There still is a huge need,” she added. “There are individuals still grieving, still hurt, and that’s where a lot of the spiritual mentoring comes in, on the grieving issues and the anger issues, and the youth are coming out wanting to get involved in the church, and questioning, ‘Where will that fit with my identify of being Aboriginal?’ ”

Particularly for many older members of the Indigenous community, Campbell said, the presence of more Indigenous clergy is a major test of the church’s ongoing commitment to healing and reconciliation.

“I hope something like this will continue on for other Native theology students to help with that repair.”

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Prison chaplain shares Inuit experience

January 25, 2017 - 9:00pm

The following is the fourth instalment of a multi-part series detailing the work of Anglicans involved in prison ministry. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Visit the Anglican Church of Canada website next week for the final instalment.

Before taking on her current role as priest associate at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in Bracebridge, Ont., the Rev. Barbara Graham lived for 18 years in the Diocese of the Arctic, where her husband served as an Anglican priest. Her time living in the North brought her into close contact with the local Inuit population—an experience that would serve her well in subsequent ministry.

Since 1999, Graham has made regular visits to Beaver Creek Institution, a minimum and medium security federal prison located in Gravenhurst, Ont., to serve on a volunteer basis as a prison chaplain. While offering a monthly Eucharist for all Anglicans in the facility, her prison ministry consists chiefly of work with Inuit offenders.

“To me, it’s very rewarding,” Graham said. “For one thing, it keeps me in touch with those people that we lived among for so many years.”

Recalling her time living in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, she noted, “It really was a small settlement, and you got to know people and they got to know you. They were family, and they still are family to me…I certainly draw on their faith and learn from them, as I hope they learn from me.”

The vast majority of Inuit identify as Anglican. As a result of her own experience, Graham is highly attuned to the unique challenges faced by Inuit inmates, many of which may reflect the experience of inmates from other Indigenous groups.

“They’re far from home, and so then it’s very expensive for them to keep in contact with home,” Graham said. “Another [challenge] is the fact that most of the time, they have to eat food that they’re not normally used to.”

Every so often, the federal government will provide Inuit inmates with food reflecting their traditional diet, referred to as “country food,” such as raw seal, caribou, and fish. Such feasts, however, can be less frequent than desired.

“It’s supposed to be on a regular basis,” Graham said. “But that doesn’t work very well.”

Occasionally, conflicts can emerge between Inuit and non-Inuit offenders. However, Graham said, in keeping with their cultural values, Inuit inmates who are treated in an unkind manner will rarely lash out, but generally will prefer to keep to themselves.

While she speaks some Inuktitut and can converse with inmates in the language, Graham holds weekly Bible studies at Beaver Creek in English, often alongside a version with Eastern Arctic syllabics. The choice of inmates to study in English rather than Inuktitut arises, in part, from the fact that Inuit populations from different regions speak different dialects of Inuktitut.

In supporting the work of prison chaplains engaged with Inuit inmates, Graham highlighted the possibility of future visits from diocesan Arctic bishops to worship with them. Though Arctic bishops have made such visits in recent years, in each case the bishops were Inuit.

“Right now in the Diocese of the Arctic, we have two non-Inuit bishops, but there are many other Inuit canons and [clergy],” Graham said. “If the church can provide some money and some impetus to get those people to come down, even once a year, that would be incredible…[Inmates] ask, ‘When is the bishop coming?’ because they feel cut off.”

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A Statement from the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada regarding the legacy of Ralph Rowe

January 20, 2017 - 6:06pm

Yesterday, January 19, the Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Alvin Fiddler, noted that the Anglican Church of Canada shares responsibility for the crisis in the communities he serves, and especially for the tragic number of young people who have died by suicide. We acknowledge that our past actions have helped to create a legacy of brokenness in some First Nations communities, and we express our willingness, in spite of failings and false starts in the past, to renew our commitment to dialogue and discernment that will help us understand more deeply and act more effectively on our responsibilities.

Over a period that spanned the 1970s and 1980s, Ralph Rowe, then an Anglican priest and a Boy Scout leader, abused young Indigenous boys in more than a dozen communities in Northwestern Ontario. We know that the trauma he inflicted was not only on persons, but also on communities, and that its impact is intergenerational.

The Anglican Church of Canada has, since it became aware of the nature and scope of Ralph Rowe’s abuse, been actively concerned about its impact.

Ralph Rowe was trained as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and served with the Ontario Provincial Police on Manitoulin Island in the 1960s. He served as a missionary pilot prior to studying at Wycliffe College, and was ordained in 1975. He also served as a Scout Master with the Boy Scouts of Canada.

Ralph Rowe’s abuse was massive in its scope and horrendous in its impact, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those who with great courage have borne witness to that abuse, and continue to help us understand our moral obligation as the Anglican Church of Canada to support initiatives that address its continuing consequences.

To that end, in 1996 the Anglican Church of Canada engaged in an extended process of mediation with the people of one of the communities most affected, Wunnumin Lake First Nation.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Healing Fund has supported community-led healing projects in Wunnamin Lake (1997), across several First Nations (2005), in Sachigo Lake (2007), in Kingfisher Lake (2010), and in Sioux Lookout (2013).

In response to the continued need for healing and in recognition that similar abuse, especially through the Indian Residential Schools, creates an obligation for our church to support the victims and their communities, the Council of General Synod, the national governing body of our church, has authorized a special appeal to renew the financial capacity of the Anglican Healing Fund, so that it may continue to make grants beyond the completion of its court-mandated obligations in 2017.

The Anglican Church of Canada currently supports two suicide prevention coordinators in northern Indigenous communities, working in partnership with the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and the Centre for Suicide Prevention, and with tribal councils, governments, health and social service agencies, community groups and faith groups. The work is grounded in Indigenous cultural practice, working with Indigenous communities to discern what resources and practices will serve them best.

In 2014, the ministry of the Diocese of Keewatin, the diocese that Ralph Rowe served, came to an end. In its place emerged an Indigenous jurisdiction within the Anglican Church of Canada, the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh. The Bishop of Mishamikoweesh, the Right Reverend Lydia Mamakwa, was chosen by Indigenous leaders and members of the community in a manner consistent with Indigenous practices of discernment.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, intends to continue a process of engagement with Bishop Lydia Mamakwa to renew a way forward that will lead to a formal national apology to the victims of Ralph Rowe and to their communities.

We know that Grand Chief Fiddler’s call to our church and to our government to live more fully into our obligations comes from a heart that is broken by the tragic deaths of children. Whatever our words, we will only have honoured that grief when we act, and we look to him and to others to help us direct our actions in ways that will help end the crisis in the communities he serves.

Michael Thompson
General Secretary
The Anglican Church of Canada

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Remand centre chaplains offer guidance in stressful times

January 19, 2017 - 5:32pm

The following is the third instalment of a multi-part series detailing the work of Anglicans involved in prison ministry. Read Part 1 and Part 2. Visit the Anglican Church of Canada website later this month for future instalments.

Inmates at the Edmonton Remand Centre represent a group in transition—either those awaiting trial if not granted bail or those awaiting a bail hearing if not yet sentenced. As a result, its population is highly fluid, with 1,600-1,700 male and female inmates residing in the centre at any given time, and approximately 50-75 inmates entering or leaving on any given day.

For remand centre chaplains such as the Rev. Quinn Strikwerda, day-to-day work with inmates involves helping them at their most stressful times. Chaplains may flag those who have never been incarcerated before, or those going into trial. Many people in crisis may be feeling suicidal, have recently lost loved ones, or have had their children taken away by social services.

“As you can imagine, a jail is a place where people get very lonely,” Strikwerda said.

“They’re often very afraid. Sometimes, they’re in a place where they may find themselves sober for the first time in a long, long time, because all their drug supplies have been cut off, and they’re stuck in jail. They’re maybe even fuzzy on what happened and what’s going on. But they’re feeling really like, ‘Now is the time when I need to start to really think about where is my life going.’”

To help guide inmates through those stressful periods, chaplains will sit down with them for one-on-one conversations. The resulting encounters, Strikwerda said, involve “helping people to frame their lives and really just hopefully…opening a window so that God can come in.”

Chaplains in provincial remand centres face different conditions from those in federal prisons, with the former having a much higher volume of inmates and less stability in terms of population. Inmates at remand centres awaiting trial or sentencing face greater uncertainty than those in federal correctional facilities, who have already been sentenced.

Since Strikwerda began serving as a chaplain at the Edmonton Remand Centre more than three years ago, the inmate population there has seen a dramatic increase, from approximately 1,000 to the current figures of 1,600-1,700 inmates.

Regardless of the given situation for each inmate, the work of chaplaincy involves helping them cope through spiritual guidance as well as practical assistance.

“If they have a trial coming up, we’ll go down to units and we’ll do a whole prayer liturgy with them…just to give them a sense of being able to hand the process over to God,” Strikwerda said.

In cases of personal stress, “We just try to be with people in those moments that are obviously very difficult,” he said. “For people who have lost family members, a lot of our work involves trying to get them to a funeral if it’s possible…or if they can’t go to a funeral, we’ll very often do memorial services with them here in the jail.”

As remand centre chaplains continue to improve their approach to the work, Strikwerda annually attends conferences on restorative justice to examine the possibility of incorporating new concepts into chaplaincy.

Talks are also underway to have instructors from local Christian educational institutions offer weeklong courses on topics such as church history or the New Testament, for which inmates could receive credits—an idea Strikwerda was “pretty excited about,” noting, “I think that it really gives people something to work towards and to feel really good about.”

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A Call to Prayer for the U.S.A. from the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

January 13, 2017 - 1:00pm

“Lord, keep this nation under your care”

Next week, the eyes and ears of all Americans and indeed many other people around the world will be turned toward Capitol Hill in Washington as Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office as the 45th President of the United States.

Many of course will be rejoicing in his inauguration and eagerly anticipating his administration.  Many others are anxious.  Given some of the rhetoric in his campaign for election, they are wondering how tolerant he will be of the multi-racial, -cultural and -religious textures with which the fabric of the United States of America is woven.

In the face of an ever-growing gulf between Americans who are rich and Americans who are poor, there is considerable angst as to how the Trump administration will address this concern.  Many eagerly await initiatives that will be in the form of laying firm foundations ensuring equality of access to health care, education, and employment opportunities for all Americans.

Mexicans wonder about the nature of future relationships with the United States and so too do many Canadians.  World leaders will be watching to see how he takes his place in the gatherings where they take counsel together for peace and security of the world, and for the care of the earth itself.

The motto of the United States is “In God We Trust” – words that inspire the very principles and values upon which that nation is built.  In truth they are etched on the soul of America.  In the spirit of that confession, people of many faith traditions will be praying in coming days with special intent – for their nation, their new President and his administrative team, and all whom they are called to serve.

On such a historic occasion as Inauguration Day, it is worth noting that every day our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church pray,

“Lord, keep this nation under your care and guide us in the way of justice and truth.”

In company with them let us hold in our prayers the United States of America and all for whom, by birth or by choice, it is home.

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Feedback on changes to the Canadian Church Calendar: We hear you

January 12, 2017 - 4:19pm

The 2017 Canadian Church Calendar was a collaborative project of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and offered a glimpse into the ministry of both churches across Canada and around the world.

While shifting the focus of the 2017 calendar, we also made several design and content changes which garnered considerable feedback.

Thank you for being frank and generous in sharing with us what does and does not work for you. That feedback has helped us realize and celebrate how important the Canadian Church Calendar is to many people across our church. For example, the calendar is an important tool for Altar Guilds across the country as they do the unseen work that prepares the space in which we worship and celebrate. It’s also a way for our church to see itself from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Calendars are often gifts passed to friends and family around the world, showing who we are as a church and People of God.

We are committed to ensuring that future editions of the Canadian Church Calendar meet these and the many other needs that you have identified. We want to let you know that we have heard you and how we will respond as we plan calendars. We also want to renew our commitment to this project and to meeting its aims in 2018. And we are asking you to help us do the work of showing and celebrating the local ministries of our church that honour God and serve God’s mission.

Design changes: liturgical colours and calendar grid layout

We heard from a number of people about unhelpful changes in the practical presentation of the calendar. In particular, we will restore the liturgical colours to dates in the calendar grids, so as to serve those who serve the church in preparing its sanctuaries for worship.

We also heard that the absence of previous month and next month graphics is frustrating for planning. They will be back in the 2018 calendar.

Timelines and ordering

As we entered into a new way of doing things to produce the 2016 calendar, our deadlines became compressed. For the 2018 Canadian Church Calendar, we commit to having the calendar available to order through our distributor early in the spring of 2017, and ready to be shipped in August 2017 at the latest. This means that the teams who gather orders, distribute calendars, and sell them in our parishes, will have them in-hand with time to spare.

Content changes: churches, scripture and tradition

We heard mixed feedback on the decision to move away from pictures of church buildings to pictures that focus on ministry and mission. We still believe that the decision to focus on ministry is a good one, although we now believe that the execution of this focus needs to change.

Our churches are our gathering places. We were remiss to exclude them completely. The cycle of our lives happen at the steps of the altar – in our baptisms, our worship, and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; through our confirmations, our marriages, and our funerals. Our churches are the containers for ministry where we plan, gather, and worship, where we encounter God, where we respond to Jesus’ call to spiritual works of mercy (Matthew 25:36).

So we are asking that you share images of your church for the 2018 Canadian Church Calendar. But don’t just share the building, share what happens there to support the desire of God’s heart to heal and renew the earth and its creatures, and to restore the loveliness of the life of the world that is God’s gift.

We want to see you! What does worship look like in your church? How and where do you gather? We want to see your ministry both inside and outside of church buildings. (You can send us a photo of just your church too, and we’ll include as many of those as we can in the calendar grid page.)

Show us your community outreach and lunch programs. Show us young people and children engaged in your church (with parents’ permission of course) as they grow to be followers of Jesus. Show us how you partner with different groups in your communities. Show us how you welcome the stranger. Show us who you are.

All that we ask is the following:

  • That any photos be print quality (i.e. 300 dpi)
  • That all people in the photo have given their permission to be included in the calendar
  • That you tell us who is in the photo and provide a simple caption
  • That you provide a contact person’s information so we can follow-up to find out more
  • That you send all information to

Deadline for submission is Friday March 10, 2017.

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Changing conditions impact federal prison chaplains

January 11, 2017 - 8:55pm

The following is the second instalment of a multi-part series detailing the work of Anglicans involved in prison ministry. Read Part 1 here. Visit the Anglican Church of Canada website later this month for future instalments.

Ministry in the federal correctional system has undergone numerous changes in recent years that have posed challenges to chaplains. One of the most notable was the decision by the Harper government to hire a new private contractor, Bridges of Canada, to oversee the hiring and pay of chaplains.

Previously, Kairos Pneuma Chaplaincy, a New Brunswick-based organization run by prison chaplains, had handled chaplain contracts in federal corrections. The Rev. Tim Smart, who has served as a part-time prison chaplain at Cowansville Institution in Quebec since 2009, described the change in contractor as “a broadside to all of chaplaincy.”

“It was very hard for the chaplains to accept that their own organization, which had managed to make something administratively workable, had not been given a chance to grow and understand, and had just hired this other contractor…who didn’t really know a whole lot about institutional chaplaincy,” he said.

Concurrent to contractual changes have been a series of budget cuts to Corrections Canada, which spends the majority of its money on buildings, infrastructure, and paying guards.

Along with chaplaincy, a wide range of programs related to education, psychology, and rehabilitation for inmates have been either completely eliminated or have seen their funding drastically reduced in the past 10-12 years.

“I think there’s just this general sense that chaplaincy is not terribly important to a lot of people in Corrections Canada—although they will say it is,” Smart said. “The fact that the budget is continuously being cut and [the] lack of concern for employees shows that it’s not that great a concern.”

He argued that budget cuts based on saving money in the short term might prove more expensive in the long term.

“What is a better deal financially—to help these guys while they’re inside with some better programs and better support, or do we just release them with very little support and very little training or education, and then they’ll come back?

“If it costs $110,000, $120,000 to house somebody in a federal prison every year, maybe we need to make sure they’re not coming back in and costing the system, in fact, more.”

Evolving culture

While structural changes abound at federal institutions, just as significant to the work of prison chaplains are the effects of an increasingly secular and pluralistic culture on their own role.

At the time that the Rev. Peter Huish (deacon) first began work as a chaplain at Cowansville Institution, there was a fairly distinct delineation between Protestant and Catholic chaplains, with the former primarily serving anglophone inmates and the latter francophones.

Even then, however, inmates who attended chapel and came to speak to Huish included not only Protestants and Catholics, but “post-Christians,” future Christians, those who had never attended church, those who held no faith at all, and those who came from Jewish, Islamic, or even Rastafarian backgrounds.

“For me personally, those traditional lines of Protestant/Catholic very, very quickly faded away, and then in the service itself, those lines became quite muddied,” Huish said.

Gradually, the situation evolved to its current state, wherein the Correctional Service of Canada requires what is known as a “site chaplain,” who is responsible for ensuring that inmates of any faith tradition have access to the spiritual resources they need from the community.

“The role of a chaplain has moved very much away from a kind of narrowly denominational one to one of being a spiritual facilitator, implicating other spiritual leaders and animators and so on from different traditions,” Huish said.

In larger prisons, there could be two or three full-time chaplains, as is the case at the Federal Training Centre in Lavalle, where Huish currently works as a part-time volunteer. Most site chaplains in Quebec are Catholic, though there are also some Protestant site chaplains, as well as an imam and Buddhist monk who travel from prison to prison.

“We are a pluralistic society…The designation of Protestant or Catholic just doesn’t cover it anymore in terms of the prison population,” Huish said. “According to our Charter [of Rights and Freedoms], we have an obligation in our prisons to meet the needs of all people of faith.”

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A Pastoral Letter to The Anglican Church of Canada on The Feast of the Epiphany

January 6, 2017 - 3:58pm

Dear Friends in Christ,

I greet you in his name and love on this The Feast of the Epiphany. Today we remember the visit of the magi, their adoration of the Christ Child, and the offering of their gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Church has come to think of them as

“Sacred gifts of mystic meaning
incense doth their God disclose
gold the King of Kings proclaimeth
myrrh his sepulchre foreshows”
(Hymn 158, Common Praise)

The word “epiphany” means to “manifest” or “show forth”. On this day the glory of the Lord was manifested to a world far beyond that manger where he had been laid as the Babe of Bethlehem. Now his glory was being revealed to the nations.

In this holy season we see the Child grow into adolescence and into adulthood. Luke writes he was strong, filled with wisdom and the favour of God was upon him”. (Luke 2:40) We see him leave his home in Nazareth and make his way to the edge of the River Jordan where John was preaching. We follow him in these coming weeks from his Baptism to his Transfiguration. We see him changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee and feeding a hungry multitude in a grassy place. We hear him calling his first disciples and see how he begins to nurture them as a community. We encounter him as Teacher and Lord, and come to know the power of his love to heal and reconcile, to re-set our relations, one with another, in the wondrous grace of God.

This year we are “in Epiphany” until the very last day of February, almost two months to watch the gospel that is at the very heart of God made known in our Lord’s ministry. And if we listen carefully we will hear his invitation to show forth that same gospel in the manner of our living, particularly through the vows of our baptism.

This year our country celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. In prayer for Canada we often say, “Make us who come from many nations with many different languages a united people”. (Prayer for the Nation, p. 678, BAS) Considering those many nations, we are more conscious than ever that they include the First Nations of this land – the Indigenous Peoples who lived here long before “settlers” from other places arrived. There is great hope all Canadians will recognize the contributions of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit to the cultural fabric of this country and that where that fabric has been torn, we will have more resolve than ever to mend it. The Calls to Action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission with respect to the sad and lingering legacy of the Indian Residential Schools are a declaration of what we need to do as a country. I ask your prayers for the Prime Minister, the Parliament of Canada, and for the Churches that our response to these Calls be worthy of the depth and integrity required. With respect to our own Church’s response I am pleased to say that within just a few weeks we will have appointed a full-time staff person whose work will be entirely dedicated to reconciliation. That individual will work in close consultation with the offices of the Primate and General Secretary, the National Indigenous Bishop and the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice.

In 2017 we will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation. In that time, the AFHR has provided grants of over 7 million dollars for 654 projects all across the country. They range from language and culture recovery to healing circles, supporting the healing journeys of Indigenous communities and their members.

Much of the money that supports this process was raised from Canadian Anglicans as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and the Agreement stipulates that all of the money allocated in this way be spent before 2018. The Healing Fund Committee has faithfully fulfilled this mandate, but that means that as of the end of 2017, the funds raised as part of the Settlement Agreement will have been depleted and the fund will be empty.

Another twenty-fifth anniversary comes in 2017. The annual campaign originally known as “Anglican Appeal” and now called “Giving with Grace” began a direct appeal to Canadian Anglicans to support the ministries of the General Synod.

The convergence of these two anniversaries creates an opportunity for our beloved Church, an opportunity to replenish the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation and renew our commitment to healing. I am very pleased to tell you that the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation will be the focus for Giving with Grace in the twenty-fifth anniversary year that they share. We have begun good work in this ministry, and I am particularly grateful to Esther Wesley for her leadership in developing the AFHR and its relationships with indigenous communities and their members. In 2017, the generosity of Canadian Anglicans will allow a renewal and continuation of that ministry.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Installation of The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald as National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. Mark has travelled the country and met the some 120 Indigenous congregations. He has confirmed 100’s of young people and adults too. He has sat with Elders and Chiefs and Councils and listened to the needs of their people and the hopes they have for building a truly Indigenous Church within The Anglican Church of Canada. There is as the Anglican Council of People has said, “an urgency” to move ahead, and it is anticipated that year will see some significant progress.

In June, Bishop Mark and I are hosting an Indigenous Ministries Consultation. This will be a gathering of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across the country – laity, clergy, young people, elders, Indigenous Ministry Development Officers, Archdeacons for Indigenous Ministries, Bishops and staff of the General Synod. We will take time to reflect on where we are as a Church in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in the spirit of the Covenant of 1994, the 2014 Statement, “Where we are Now: Twenty Years after the Covenant”, and a 2016 document “Circles of Faith; A Jesus Plan for Indigenous Leadership”. We will celebrate some achievements, note disappointments and acknowledge failures. We hope to learn from them all. We hope to discern together next steps for honouring of the right of Indigenous Peoples to be self-determining with respect to meeting ministry needs, raising up leaders, and making decisions in keeping with aboriginal customs. I pray this conference will be another watershed moment in the Timeline of “Indigenous Peoples and The Anglican Church of Canada: An Emerging Relationship”.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Anglican Foundation which has eagerly come alongside thousands of individuals, parishes, dioceses and faith communities to help invigorate, rejuvenate and refresh ministry on all levels, whether it be infrastructure, innovation, or improvement. As AFC celebrates sixty years of generosity, it remembers with gratitude the foresight of its forebears who said in 1957, “the time to proceed is now” when referring to establishing a Foundation to provide Anglicans the opportunity to give to support ministry in Canada where need is greatest. Sixty years of generosity! Sixty years of believing that when we all give, we all benefit. In recent years our tag-line has been “Imagine More!” Now is a time to imagine yet more!

Our Church has long standing Global Relations – some exceed forty and fifty years – I think of Cuba and the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. This year marks the 10th anniversary of a resolution of the General Synod of 2007 to strengthen ties with the Diocese of Jerusalem. And in those years some amazing things have happened – visits I have made with Dr. Andrea Mann, our Director of Global Relations, the funding of a Canadian priest to serve as Chaplain to Archbishop Suheil Dawani, visits by Suheil to Canada, the forging of a very vibrant Companion Relationship between Jerusalem and Ottawa, the formation of Canadian Companions of Jerusalem, the establishing of Jerusalem Sunday (Easter 7). Within recent weeks we have appointed the Rev Canon Richard LaSueur as a Middle East Liaison volunteer. We will mark the 10th anniversary of this relationship by hosting Archbishop Suheil and his wife Shafeeqa for an extended visit throughout Canada this fall. We are grateful for the flourishing of this Global Partnership and we pray that we may be true companions in a diocese so committed to the ministries of hospitality for pilgrims, education and healthcare for all irrespective of their faith tradition, and reconciliation for a lasting peace in the Land of the Holy One.

I am also pleased to say that in recent years we have been able to rebuild a number of relationships with Churches throughout Africa. This is in no small measure a credit to the ministry of The Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa who works for both our Church and The Episcopal Church (in the United Sates) nurturing these relationships. Eight of our dioceses are in companion relationships with diocese in five provinces throughout Africa. The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue continues strong and vibrant. This spring the bishops will gather in Nairobi in Kenya. This fall we will welcome to Canada the Chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, The Most Rev. Albert Chama (Primate of Central Africa) for a pastoral visit and engagement with our Church. There is much for which to be thankful and ever hopeful.

When we think of Africa, we often think of the amazing work the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has done over the years – in food aid and security, in combating HIV AIDS, and especially in these times in extending Maternal Newborn and Child Heath. All these programs have the wonderful effect of nurturing good relations between our churches and the agencies we support. The “bonds of affection” between us are real and genuine.

For the Church Catholic 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Anniversary of the Reformation that followed Martin Luther’s act of nailing to the door of Cathedral Church in Wittenberg 95 Theses for reform in the Church. That Reformation brought with it many blessings but in time would be viewed as the first of many other movements by which the Church became very much divided. Lutherans around the world have been very clear in saying this anniversary is not a celebration. It is a commemoration that will be marked by numerous ecumenical gestures. A key element in holding these gestures together is the very theme of this commemoration, “Liberated by God’s Grace” and its three sub-themes – “Salvation not for sale, Human Beings not for Sale, Creation not for Sale”. Historically rooted, and biblically based these themes address some of the most pressing issues of our time – religiously motivated violence, human trafficking and Climate Change. Many Churches are partnering with Lutherans in marking this anniversary in such a way as to show our care and concern for our common humanity and our common home, the earth itself.

Fittingly, the World Council of Churches invited the Churches in Germany to prepare the resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25). The theme is “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us”. (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). In the midst of liturgies for this week, people will participate in the erecting of a wall confessing the many sins by which Christians have been so sadly divided – ignorance, contempt, intolerance, inquisition, persecution, and exclusion. Having looked upon this wall for a space of time they will move to a time of prayer for forgiveness of these sins. Then the wall will be slowly dismantled and its pieces quietly rearranged in the shape of a cross around which everyone will gather remembering that “Christ has broken down the dividing walls of hostility…that he might create in himself a new humanity, making peace, reconciling us to God in one body through his cross”. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

Within our own Church we look forward to the appointment of a new Coordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations with special responsibilities for our Full Communion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; our dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church, the United Church of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee Canada; and our work with the Ecumenical Councils and movements of which our Church is a member, the Canadian Council of Churches and KAIROS.

Like every year this one will mark significant anniversaries for some dioceses and parishes throughout our Church. It is my continuing joy to respond to a number of invitations to share in these celebrations. If I cannot be present I happily send greetings on behalf of the whole Church.

Like other years 2017 will also represent for countless men and women significant milestones in their ministries as lay readers, intercessors, sacristans, Sunday School teachers, catechists, musicians, choristers, pastoral care workers, advocates for compassion for the poor, champions for justice and peace, deacons, priests, bishops, and scholars of the Faith. For the Spirit’s grace at work in their lives we give thanks to God and pray that in every generation the Church may be so blessed for its ministries in the service of the Gospel.

Speaking personally 2017 is a year of several significant anniversaries in my life in Christ. It marks the 60th of my baptism – April 7, 1957 at Emmanuel Church in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I was not quite 2 ½ at the time! As many of you know, I carry the certificate of my baptism in my Prayer Book and occasionally pull it out in the context of a chat with children or in preaching. It is old and yellowed. It is a bit frayed around the edges as indeed I am at times! I must unfold and refold it carefully lest it tears apart. I treasure this piece of paper, for it reminds me of who I am, to whom I belong, and that my life’s labour as Rowan Williams put it is “to take hold of him who first took hold of me” and to live by the principle that “only as a disciple can I lead, only as a learner can I teach”.

I share this baptismal anniversary with you not so much to draw attention to myself, as to lift up one of the current initiatives throughout our worldwide Anglican Communion, – “A Season of Intentional Discipleship”. It is an invitation to the Churches to ponder the holistic nature of discipleship and its impact on every aspect of our living – from our worship to our work and our service in the community, from our political choices to our care for the earth. It is an opportunity to ponder those great biblical texts that remind us that life as a disciple means life in a community of faith and all the joys and struggles that entails. It is a challenge to think afresh about how Anglicans understand the nature of the Church and its calling in Christ. I have great hope that our own Church will seize this opportunity. And in doing so will embrace the recently published text, “Intentional Discipleship and Disciple Making” – An Anglican Guide for Christian Life and Formation, edited by The Rev. Canon John Kafwanka and The Rev Canon Mark Oxbrow. It is superb.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of my ordination as a Deacon-June 3, 1977 in the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I plan to keep this day in quiet at the Convent of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in Toronto. It will be a time to give thanks for all those who nurtured my call to ordained ministry, all who taught me the Atlantic School of Theology all who mentored me through the years, and all the many people among who I served in parish ministries and in time episcopal ministry throughout Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Through the example of so many people so dedicated to Christ his gospel and his Church, I have been so blessed and even now as I begin to think of them all my heart overflows with gratitude.

A few weeks after that anniversary I will recall the 10th of my installation as Primate June 25, 2007 in Winnipeg. I have travelled much in these years and I give thanks for the warmth of hospitality with which I have been received in dioceses and hundreds of parishes across the country. I rejoice in the many ministries that bear such an incredible witness to the Gospel of Christ in your local context. For some of you that is a huge and densely populated urban sprawl, for others a vast expanse of communities scattered across Canada’s North. For some it is a ministry concentrated among the poor and destitute in the downtown core of our large cities, for others it is a chaplaincy in hospitals and in hospice, in shelters and in centres for recovery from addictions, in prisons and in half way houses. For some it is ministry on our streets with the homeless and for others it is ministry at our harbour fronts with mariners from all over the world.

As dedicated as you are to all these local ministries I recognize and appreciate your commitments to the work of the Church more broadly as well. Thank you for your support of the ministries of the General Synod, Anglican Foundation and PWRDF. I am so encouraged by all who embrace “the big picture” of what it means to be The Anglican Church of Canada.

I draw this pastoral letter to a close with reference to an initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in “drawing together young Christians (age 20-35), from all over the world and all denominations and varieties of Christian expression, for one transformative year of prayer, theological reflection and service to the poor, in the heart of London”. The Community of St. Anselm as it is known is based at Lambeth Palace. These young people lead the liturgical life of the Chapel in the Palace crypt. They work in the community and on occasion some of their numbers accompany the Archbishop in his travels. In this “A Year in God’s Time” prayer is at the heart of their life and work. Their quest for a closer walk with the Lord, their openness to his leading in their lives is very much in the spirit of St. Anselm. (Archbishop of Canterbury 1093-1109, and Teacher of the Faith) Here is an excerpt from his great work, “Faith Seeking Understanding”.

“This is my prayer, O God: may I know you, may I love you, so that I may rejoice in you. And if in this life I cannot know, love, and rejoice in you fully, may I progress day by day until that joy comes to fullness. May knowledge of you advance in me here, and there be made full; may your love grow, and there be full; so that here my joy may be in great hope, and there may be full in reality. Lord, through your Son you command or rather counsel us to ask, and you promise that we shall receive, that our joy may be full (John 16:240. I ask, Lord, for what you counsel through our wonderful Counsellor (Isa 9.2) I shall receive what you promise through your truth, that my joy may be full. Faithful God, I ask to receive it that my joy may be full. In the meantime, may my mind meditate on your promise, may my tongue speak of it. May my heart love that joy, may my mouth talk of it. May my soul hunger for it, may my flesh thirst for it, may my whole being desire it, until I enter into the joy of my Lord, God three and one, who is blessed for ever. Amen (Rom 1.25).”

In so much as that was the prayer of Anselm and now that of a Community named after him, it is a fitting prayer for any and all of us who through our baptism endeavour to live more fully our life in Christ.

With blessings for Epiphany and this New Year,

Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate

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