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Native Anglicans to see national indigenous bishop
Anglican Journal [Canada] ^ | 8/12/2005 | Staff

Posted on 08/13/2005 3:00:29 PM PDT by sionnsar

August 12, 2005 -

Delegates to the fifth Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle gathering in Pinawa, Man. on Aug. 11 unanimously asked the Anglican Church of Canada within one year to create the office of national native bishop - an idea that native leaders have supported for several years.

"I never thought in my life I would see this moment. I say meegwetch (thank you) and plead with the primate (Archbishop Andrew Hutchison) to accept this challenge," said delegate Shirley Johnson from the diocese of Huron.

PHOTO BY BECKY BOUCHER Sacred Circle delegates light the sacred fire. Left to Right, Bill Cochrane, Fire-Keeper; Bob Smoker, Lutheran Circle of Life; Rev. Martin Brokenleg, Vancouver School of Theology; Canon Murray Still, Diocese Of Rupert's Land.


The seven bishops - six Canadian and one American - who attended the gathering stood with Archbishop Hutchison and expressed approval of the concept. However, they also expressed caution that it may take longer than one year to achieve the goal of a bishop with full authority and jurisdiction for aboriginal communities.

The conference's declaration said that the proposed bishop would be "fully recognized by the Anglican Church and be welcoming of aboriginal teachings, traditions and ceremonies." Furthermore, "the bishop will have spiritual support from the whole church and will be monetarily supported so the indigenous Anglican Church stands strong and independent of any subordination," it said.

In 2001, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, the group that represents native Anglicans across Canada, called for a national native bishop and for more "self-determination" for native congregations. Over the years, the idea of a native diocese has also been discussed.

In 1994, native Anglicans and the national church signed a covenant stating that First Nations people aim to be "a new, self-determining community with the Anglican Church of Canada."

More than 130 people from 19 Canadian dioceses are meeting Aug. 7-13 for the national gathering, held at the Wilderness Edge Conference Centre.

Archbishop Hutchison, who is attending his first sacred circle as primate, celebrated the opening Eucharist and expressed his commitment to the 1994 covenant.

"I commit myself to the vision of that covenant, which is self-determination for indigenous Anglicans. I want you to know that I will walk that journey with you," said Archbishop Hutchison. He also paid tributes to two former primates, the late Archbishop Ted Scott and Archbishop Michael Peers, for their ministry to indigenous Anglicans. The primate cited Archbishop Scott for his social justice work, particularly around the issue of aboriginal land claims, and Archbishop Peers, for issuing an apology on behalf of the church for the abuse suffered by some native children in residential schools. "I honour these two great leaders and their actions, and I will be faithful to their actions throughout this primacy," he said.

The gathering, which included the lighting of the sacred fire during the opening service at dawn, "sharing circles" (where each person gets a chance to speak), and a gospel music jamboree, discussed challenges faced by aboriginal Anglicans such as the continuing effects of the residential school crisis as well as problems faced by native youth.

Archdeacon Sidney Black and Rev. Gloria Moses, co-chairs of ACIP, welcomed the participants, which included representatives of the Saugeen First Nation, on whose territory the Sacred Circle was held.

Also in attendance were Archbishop Caleb Lawrence of Moosonee (who is also metropolitan of Ontario), Archbishop Terence Finlay, the primate's special envoy to indigenous Anglicans, Bishop Anthony Burton of Saskatchewan, Bishop Donald Phillips of Rupert's Land, Bishop Gordon Light of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), and Bishop Bruce Stavert of Quebec. Bishop Mark MacDonald of Alaska and Archdeacon Hone Kaa from New Zealand were among the foreign guests.

Participants Alice Tooktoo, Erwin Oliver and Robert Pike, who were the designated "memory keepers" noted that the youngest member of the gathering was seven-week-old Marsha Nashaooraitook from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, who was born in Yellowknife on June 13.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 08/13/2005 3:00:29 PM PDT by sionnsar
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