Anglican Church of Canada Responds to MMIWG Final Report

Tragedy, grief, and action:
Response to the report from the
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

~ A statement from The Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, and The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, posted to the Anglican Church of Canada’s website by General Synod Communications on June 17, 2019

With respect and gratitude, The Anglican Church of Canada receives and welcomes the report of The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, “Reclaiming Power and Place”.  We acknowledge the courage and strength of survivors, families and loved ones who gave statements and testimonies to the Inquiry over the course of its mandate.  We are mindful of all those whose pain and grief is so intense that they are not yet able to speak publically of their horrific experiences.  We hold in our prayers all who mourn the murder or disappearance of their daughters and grand-daughters, sisters and nieces, partners and friends.

The Calls for Justice in this Report address governments, industries and institutions; protective health care and correctional services; attorneys, educators and social workers; and all Canadians.  We receive these Calls acknowledging the manner in which they have been framed, that is “to transform systemic and societal values that have worked to maintain colonial violence”.

As a Church, we lament again our complicity in the systemic racism that sustains an environment in which Indigenous women and girls are so highly vulnerable to human trafficking, and to atrocities of unspeakable abuse.  We commit ourselves to the work of undoing the sin of racism within our own Church and in Canadian society.

We commit ourselves in partnership with other churches, institutions, and movements to act on these Calls for Justice, “to give them life”, a life that frees Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people from the violence that mars their lives.

In accord with the Calls for Justice issued to all Canadians, we make public our pledge to:

(15.5)      Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

(15.6)      Protect, support, and promote the safety of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.

That our resolve be unwavering we ask the guidance and strength of God.

The Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

~ 2SLGBTQQIA stands for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual.

Parish’s Annual Worship Service and Picnic

June 23rd, beginning at 11:00 am
at the Church of St Paul

Our sanctuary awaits our worship.

Providing the weather cooperates, the congregations of Trinity Shared Ministry and the Church of St Paul will hold the annual Parish Worship Service on the lawn beside the Church of St Paul.  Following worship, the traditional picnic of hotdogs, salads, and desserts will be held with folks choosing to sit inside or out.  Our annual gathering gives folk from the two congregations an opportunity to connect:  some meet for the first time, while others catch up with long-time friends.

This year, the Church of St Paul congregation is hosting which means they are responsible for the hotdogs and all the trimmings; Trinity Shared Ministry, the salads.  Desserts are welcome from members of either congregation.  Bring a lawn chair and, thinking positively, a hat and sunscreen!

United Church of Canada’s Response to the MMIWG Final Report

Let This Be the Last Inquiry

We renew our pledge to be good relations,
and we ask the whole of the church to pray.

~ from the post on the United Church of Canada’s website:

In a letter to The United Church of Canada, Moderator the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Bott and the Rev. Maggie Dieter, Executive Minister, Indigenous Ministries and Justice, urge non-Indigenous members and friends of the United Church to

    • read the final report of the Inquiry
    • advocate for the actions it demands of government
    • explore how each of us, individually and as communities of faith, will make the changes necessary to ensure the dignity and safety of Indigenous peoples in this country

A Letter to the Church on the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Let This Be The Last Inquiry

5 June 2019
Grace and peace to you to in the name of Jesus, who calls us to love each other.

On June 3, we witnessed a historic event with the completion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the release of its Final Report.

This was a day long anticipated by survivors of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual) people, their friends, and their families., as well as the friends and families of those who did not survive. Our hearts are first with them; we pray that the report gives them comfort and hope.

We appreciate that the report placed the issue of violence against Indigenous women in the larger context of the human rights abuses flowing from our history of colonialism, and continuing policies that do not recognize the inherent value of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures and laws. The United Church of Canada shares this commitment to the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We recognize how racial violence significantly affects the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples and denies them justice. We are pleased to see that the Inquiry has included in its Calls to Justice the creation of a national action plan to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and a national action plan on racism. These were key hopes that we expressed in our submission to the Inquiry.

We also support the call for a national action plan to address ongoing impacts such as the need for clean drinking water, proper and safe housing, and food security. It is distressing to hear once again that the basic needs many Canadians enjoy continue to be missing in Indigenous communities. We have heard these stories in too many inquiries. Let this be the last inquiry.

We are deeply moved by the words spoken by the Commissioners. Chief Commissioner Marion Bullard made it clear that “an absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism in Canada,” and urged us all not just to speak out against racism, violence, and misogyny, but also to call our governments to account for fulfilling the Inquiry’s Calls to Justice.

Commissioner Qajaq Robinson was equally direct: “As a non-Indigenous person I’ve struggled to come to terms with my role in Canada’s genocide…. it’s my truth, it’s your truth… I see it, I own it. Who we will be and who we are will ultimately be defined by how we respond, now that we know.”

This is the charge to non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Indigenous peoples have told their truth. Now is the time for non-Indigenous Canadians to hear that truth, to own it, and to act on it.

We urge non-Indigenous members and friends of the United Church to

  • read the final report of the Inquiry,
  • advocate for the actions it demands of government, and
  • explore how each of us, individually and as communities of faith, will make the changes necessary to ensure the dignity and safety of Indigenous peoples in this country.

We renew our pledge to be good relations, and we ask the whole of the church to pray.

All My Relations,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Bott
Moderator

The Rev. Maggie Dieter
National Indigenous Council

God of peace, receive our prayers

For the beautiful Indigenous girls growing up across this country
May they always be able to enjoy times of learning, times of play, and time at home safely

For the beautiful Indigenous women working hard for their families and communities May they always be able to enjoy times of relaxation and respite from their cares, securely and free from fear

For the beautiful two-spirited people blessing all those with whom they come into contact May they always be able to enjoy the cities, the towns, and the country side of this great land in comfort and with a sense of welcome wherever they go

God of grace, receive our prayers
For the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls For the families and all those who loved the beautiful ones who have been lost
For the justice we all hope for and long for so very much

In the name of all our relations. Amen

(Excerpted from For the Beauty of Those Lost, for Healing Founded on Justice,
The United Church of Canada)

Moderator’s 2019 Video Pentecost Message

Moderator Richard Bott reflects on the movement
of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

To view the Moderator’s Pentecost message, go here.  The transcript of the video follows:

The Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, 43rd Moderator of The United Church of Canada
Credit:
The United Church of Canada

Hello. My name is Richard Bott, Moderator of The United Church of Canada.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples decided to go down to the marketplace. There, with people from all over the known world, and with the Holy Spirit, they began to tell the stories of Jesus. And everyone who was there understood what they were saying in their own mother tongues. The first ministry of the apostles was made possible by the mystery of the Holy Spirit.

This is one of the scripture stories I love. I wish we could take a month to focus on the presence of the Holy Spirit, not just in the Pentecost story but in many of the places the Spirit shows up in scripture.

I think that one of the things we would find is that the Holy Spirit is a harbinger of change—sometimes moving like a gale-force wind, sometimes in the whisper of a breath. Wherever we meet the Holy Spirit in scripture, from the first Creation story, to the dry bones given new life, to the stories of Lady Wisdom, to Jesus’ baptism and time in the desert, to the first time the apostles spoke to the entire world about the good news of Jesus, spoke to the world—something amazing was about to happen.

The Holy Spirit—God’s Spirit—is subversive. It blows where it wants to and, like the wind, can get up in our faces and move creation in unexpected ways. One of the things that I love about the Pentecost story is that the people gathered asked themselves, “How can we understand these Galileans, and in our own languages?!” It makes me wonder. The Holy Spirit may have landed on the apostles like tongues of flame, but did it change them—or did it change the people who were listening? Or perhaps both? Possibly opening something in them to the Jesus story?

As a denomination, The United Church of Canada believes that the Holy Spirit continues to move in the world. As we say in the New Creed, God “works in us, and others, by the Spirit.” Where we recognize movements in the world that bring healing, hope, life, and abundant life for all creation, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ve met the movement of the Holy Spirit.

When Paul was writing to the Galatians, he talked about the fruits of the Holy Spirit being “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

I wonder what it would be like if we took the time to keep our minds, our hearts, and our souls open to the movement of the Holy Spirit—not just inside our own lives, but out in the world around us? I wonder what we would find happening if we went searching for places where those fruits were growing? Perhaps, as communities of faith, we could go on “Spirit Sightings,” where we regularly gather together to talk together about where we are experiencing the Holy Spirit moving in the world!

I wonder what the Holy Spirit might change in us as we experience the stories of the Spirit changing the world?

I’d love to hear about the Spirit Sightings you’re having, in your life, your community of faith, and in the world!

May the Holy Spirit fill you this Pentecost, and may you be changed in amazing, life-giving ways.

Christ’s peace to you!

© 2019 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.

Bishop Barbara Andrews Announces Retirement Date

~ Posted on The Territory of the People website on June 2, 2019

Surrounded by delegates and guests gathered for the Assembly of the Territory of the People in Quesnel BC, and in the presence of the Primate, the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, accompanied by the Rt. Rev. Mary Irwin-Gibson, the Bishop of Montreal, Bishop Andrews announced her intention to retire Dec 31, 2019. By that time, she will have served as Bishop Suffragan for the Territory of the People for over ten years.

Hours before her announcement a policy to elect a Bishop was approved at the Assembly, which sets out a process which can immediately commence with the hope of an Electoral Assembly on September 28, 2019 and the seating of the next Bishop in early January 2020.

In her resignation speech, Bishop Andrews, said: “When I became Bishop Suffragan in 2009, I envisioned a different ministry, but found my role was to give leadership to a process of moving the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior from under the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon, to becoming once again an independent Anglican identity with all the rights and responsibilities of a diocese.”

Bishop Andrews sees this evolution as one more step along the journey to healing and reconciliation, and as a way to truly embrace the whole people of God in this area as suggested in the new name: Territory of the People. The name was given to the Territory by the Territory Pastoral Elders, the Indigenous Council and the Coordinating Council, to be inclusive of all people who walk together sharing the love of Creator God.

Seeing the need for the Territory to embrace new models of ministry, Bishop Andrews worked with a team to develop an understanding of collaborative ministry within the Territory and installed the first leadership team to oversee a parish church with locally trained priests, deacons and lay leaders.

Bishop Andrews added: “What I will miss most in retirement is the privilege of sharing in ministry with an outstanding team of clergy and laity who have been courageous in finding new ways to be God’s people in the Territory.”

Barbara Andrews grew up in Fort McMurray, Alberta in a Métis family of nine children. She recently obtained her Status as a member of the Enoch Cree Nation. She is the mother of David and Patricia who are the great joys in her life. She is a life-long learner who attended St John’s Theological College at the University of Manitoba. During a recent Sabbatical at the Chicago Theological Union, she worked with Dr. Robert Schreiter on reconciliation initiatives.

Ordained a Deacon (1997) and Priest (1998) in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land by Bishop Patrick Lee, Bishop Andrews was consecrated in 2009 by Archbishop John Privett to serve the once titled Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. Elsewhere she has served in parish ministry, in an inner-city shared mission project, and as Executive Director of the Sorrento Centre.

She is deeply committed to the empowering of all people in their baptismal ministry. Her education and experience have taught her the healing power of a life of prayer, and the transforming and restorative power of God’s love, especially when the Christian community reaches out in acts of social justice and love to the most vulnerable of our society.

The text of Bishop Andrews retirement announcement is below:

My dear Friends:

On Oct 18 of this year, I will celebrate the tenth anniversary of my ordination as your Bishop. I have loved being your Bishop – it has been for me both the most humbling experience and the greatest privilege to serve with many fine clergy and lay leaders over this past ten years. I have loved each of my parish visits in times of great joy, and even in times of sadness and struggle, as we always worked together to find a way forward.

When God called me to be among you as your Bishop, I envisioned a much different ministry, but I found my role was to give leadership to a process of moving the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior from under the umbrella of the Province of BC & Yukon to becoming once again an Anglican Identity with the rights and responsibilities of a diocese. During my episcopal ministry, in my visits with each parish and to the many gatherings we held, I learnt some important truths about the people who God had gifted me to share in ministry with.

The first truth is the deep commitment to be the family of God despite the horrors of our history, and along with your deep commitment to walk together to healing and reconciliation has been paramount in your sharing with me – you were prepared to give up all to stay in the family of God here in this place.

The Second truth was your desire for the right to elect your own Bishop under your terms.

The Third truth, you knew you needed to embrace new ways of being church and doing the mission of God in this place. I witnessed how faithful you were in prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to take you on a journey that brought us here to today. As you moved to becoming the Territory of the People, you held firmly to your commitments, made right here in Quesnel in 2000 as you let go of the Diocese of Cariboo. You held firmly to the affirmations you adopted as you became the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, and I believe you have been able to maintain the best of who you have been and are as you walk together into a hope filled future.

I have a deep sense that God is calling me to retirement as Bishop, now that we have completed this part of the journey together. Coordinating Council this morning has made way for me to retire and to begin the process of electing a new bishop over the summer and it is my prayer that on September 28th, you will gather to elect your new Bishop. With this in mind, early today, I sent a letter to the Metropolitan, stating my intention to retire at the end of the 2019.

Retirement for me has many exciting possibilities and I will take time to discover them. However, what I will miss most in retirement is the privilege of sharing in ministry with an outstanding team of clergy and laity who have been courageous in finding new ways to be God’s people as the Territory of the People. I pray you will live into your theme for this Assembly, as you go forward to build, renew and strengthen by walking together in unity.

A video of Bishop Barbara Andrews announcing her decision to retire is available at the bottom of the post on The Territory of the People website.

Jerusalem and Holy Land Sunday

The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada lift up the Seventh Sunday of Easter as Jerusalem and the Holy Land Sunday.

They are encouraging us to use this prayer:

God of all peoples, acknowledging the significance of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the history and lives of Jews, Christians and Muslims; and aware of political and social conflicts in the State of Israel and surrounding nations, and global involvement and tensions focused on this region; we pray for justice and lasting peace, compassion and hope for all peoples of these lands. As you hear the cries of those who suffer, grant them new life. Continue to uphold the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land and Bishop Ibrahim Azar, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Archbishop Suheil, and supporting organizations and agencies working for the well being of all. Amen.

The following information is from the Anglican Church of Canada’s website.

At the 2013 Joint Assembly, General Synod passed a resolution to “observe the Seventh Sunday of Easter, commonly known as the Sunday after Ascension Day, as Jerusalem Sunday.” For 2019, the theme for Jerusalem Sunday is Multi-Narrative Pilgrimage.

Jerusalem Sunday is an opportunity for Anglicans in Canada to learn more about and support God’s mission in the Diocese of Jerusalem. Parishes are encouraged to use liturgical resources . . . in celebration of Jerusalem Sunday. Parishes and individuals are also invited to make an offering in support important health care work in the Diocese of Jerusalem.

In a letter to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Rev. Suheil Dawani, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, expressed his gratitude for Jerusalem Sunday celebrations. “It is a tremendous encouragement and further testimony to our oneness in the Body of Christ and our bond-of-affection as members of the Anglican Communion.”

This page also has more information and links to pictures and worship resources.

On-Line Pentecost Devotions from Lutherans Connect

Living in the Spirit
May 30th to June 16th

The following description is from the Lutherans Connect post on their Facebook page.  You are able to access the devotions from their blog or their Facebook page.

Many of us would like to spend more time in prayer than we do, but often find it hard to make space for it in the day-to-day challenges of our lives. In the post-Easter and summer season it can become easy to fall out of spiritual practice as schedules change and faith communities wind down their programming. In the spirit of our previous Lenten and Advent online devotional projects, Lutherans Connect invites you to make space over the feast of Pentecost for daily reflection. As we have in the past, we will offer a daily meditation, bringing together scripture readings, poetry, music and reflections, from a range of ecumenical traditions. They will be posted each morning on Facebook and Twitter.

Our theme this season is “Living in the Spirit”.

Pentecost is the feast in which we remember the descent of the Holy Spirit on the gathering of apostles in the Upper Room. We associate this moment with the beginnings of the early church, but Acts 1 takes us earlier in the story, when the apostles were witnesses to the ascension of Jesus. After he is gone, they are confronted with the ‘what now?’ of pursuing God’s mission into which they have been called. In those early days before Pentecost, they are putting their hope in the promise of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus has said will appear and guide them. But what to do until then? In an unfriendly and even dangerous time, they find themselves in a vulnerable and frightening place.

We live in a time when our own gathering and worship spaces have become focal points of secular and religious anxiety and tension. In our home parishes, we are experiencing changing realities: structures too big for our budgets, losses foreseen, closures and mergers anticipated. In our wider world, we have seen the intentional destruction of sacred spaces because of racism, and the murder of people of differing faith traditions, while they are at worship. In continuing to live out our discipleship, how do we serve God amid such challenges, while also listening and living for the Spirit moving in our own lives?

To respond and reflect on these realities, Lutherans Connect will offer an eighteen day devotional, beginning on May 30, the day we commemorate the Ascension of Jesus, and progressing daily to June 16th, Trinity Sunday. In this way, Pentecost will fall in the middle of the story of the early church, instead of at the beginning. Can we be inspired to rest in the promise of the Holy Spirit, in the way that the apostles did? How can we prepare ourselves for a time of transformation?

Join us, as we think about what it means to build the realm of God in troubling times. Come Holy Spirit!

Trinity Shared Ministry’s Annual Plant Sale

All Things Gardening
Saturday, May 18th

Trinity Shared Ministry’s Annual Plant Sale will be held in the basement (access from the back of the church) of St. James’ Catholic Church (located near the Fire Hall).  The doors will open at 8:45 am and stay open until 12:00 pm or we are sold out.  This is a fantastic opportunity to purchase perennials that are hardy for our area at very reasonable prices.  For sure, there will be white lilacs, purple Daphne bushes, basil, chives, lady’s mantle, and much, much more!  You could also find books on plants, gardening tools, and fancy plant pots.

Pray for Sri Lankans

Primate Fred Hiltz Has Issued A Call To Prayer

St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, Sri Lanka, before the attack on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019. AntanO/Wikimedia Commons

~ by Fred Hiltz, Primate and Archbishop, on April 24, 2019

In the terrible aftermath of bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Day, I ask for your prayers for all affected by these hate crimes.  Let us remember the 359 persons who, as of this morning, are known to have died and for their grieving families.  Let us remember the hundreds more who were seriously injured and for yet more hundreds of people traumatized by what they witnessed.  Let us remember too, the first responders who placed themselves in harm’s way to help people across lines that distinguish people’s politics and religion.

Sir Lanka is a nation in shock – not only by what happened but by what appears to be a lack of action on the part of the government to alert worshippers and tourists to take precautionary measures when there had been warnings that the likelihood of such attacks was very real.  The reaction of Sri Lankans at home and dispersed throughout the world is a mix of dismay and outrage.  It is all very poignant given a presidential election in coming weeks.

The current Bishop of Colombo, Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey released a statement saying “the Church of Ceylon unreservedly condemns these cowardly and cruel acts of terrorism”.

The former Bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera in a statement issued on Easter Day spoke of “a combustible atmosphere with a mix of surging nationalism and faith based identity politics”.  In the name of our common humanity he called for the condemnation of the crimes that have shattered the lives of so many people.  In supporting a National Day of Mourning, he spoke of the power of people’s movements “…to build social trust and assert that dialogue is the best method for resolving our differences. We will then rise to a new life.”

I ask your prayers for Bishop Canagasabey and Bishop de Chickera, and all leaders who comfort a nation in grief and chaos.

Pray for them as they bury the dead, tend the injured, and work with all those committed to restoring peace and order in the interests of the common good of all.

Such crimes as the world has seen in Sri Lanka sharpen the intent of our prayers throughout Easter, particularly as we pray “that isolated and persecuted churches may find fresh strength in the Easter gospel”.  (The Easter Litany, p 122, The Book of Alternative Services)

~ from The Anglican Church of Canada’s Website

Earth Day – Monday, April 22nd

Canadian Faith Leaders Issue Urgent Plea For Climate Action

This collective message by faith leaders from across Canada is clear: the global climate crisis has reached a critical stage and requires an urgent moral and spiritual response.  All three of our denominations are represented in a seven minute video collaboration that was coordinated by the Canadian Council of Churches, KAIROS, and Citizens for Public Justice.  Go to the KAIROS website to watch “For the Love of All Creation”.   The video highlights the need for urgent action by Canadians – and the Canadian government – on climate change.