General Synod 2007

GS07 Report 01
The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous Ministries Program Office

up to Convening Circular
^-- up to Reports

Once again, many Members of ACIP and some members of other national committees sit among you at your Diocesan tables as ‘the Indigenous Partner’ who will participate in all of the proceedings of General Synod.  ACIP invites you to join us and the Rupert’s Land Native Council in the Indigenous Peoples Hospitality Room to pay a visit and relax with us when General Synod is not in session.

Earlier this year ACIP Co-Chairs, The Rev. Gloria Moses (APCI) and The Ven. Dr. Sidney Black (Calgary) were pleased to join Archbishop Andrew Hutchison in the appointment of our first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop on January 4th  (see the background and history on reverse).   The Indigenous Ministries Program staff team, Donna Bomberry, Coordinator and Teresa Mandricks, Program Associate along with everyone at 80 Hayden St. welcomed The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald to the national office in Toronto.  This week we will welcome Mark’s wife, Virginia Sha Lynn and their three children Rose May Li, Brenna Li, and Adrian Blake, who are now in the midst of moving from Alaska to Ontario.

Indigenous Ministries work has included hosting the Anglican Indigenous Network in May at the Vancouver School of Theology and UBC.  We welcomed delegations from: 
Aotearoa, New Zealand; Australia and Torres Strait Islanders; Hawai’i; the USA; and ourselves.  We were pleased to include guests throughout the gathering:  The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, our Primate, Andrew Hutchison, The Ven. Paul Feheley, Bishop Michael Ingham and The Very Rev. Peter Elliott, GS Prolocutor.  Updates about the meeting can be seen at   The next gathering will be hosted in Hawai’i.  We are pleased that the AIN Secretary General, Malcolm Naea Chun is with us for the ACIP presentation.

We are now making preparations to convene the next Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle in 2008 in central British Columbia.  Gloria Moses and Willard Martin are working with us to help us prepare for this national gathering.

We have worked on committees, boards, and issues such as:

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop…a step to a new era
Background and history

The 2005 Sacred Circle in Pinawa, Man., approved a proposal for the appointment of a National Indigenous Bishop. The decision, which drew the support of all Anglican bishops at the Sacred Circle, was a turning point in a long road that really began in 1967 when the Anglican General Synod commissioned a sociologist, Charles Hendry, to examine the relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and Aboriginal peoples. Two years later, his report Beyond Traplines was tabled.

Hendry gave first-hand accounts by former residential school students and his words stung non-Aboriginal members of the church with shame and confusion. He called on the church to develop a new partnership with Aboriginal peoples based on solidarity, equality and mutual respect. The church’s response focused on attempts to put the past behind and concentrate on the future. The 1969 General Synod approved several resolutions taking the church in new directions. It recognized Aboriginal peoples’ contributions to the life of all Canadians and established a fund for the implementation of the Hendry Report on issues of justice through recognition of treaty, Aboriginal and other rights. It drew the line, however, at the creation of a staff liaison position funded by the church but accountable to Aboriginal people and organizations.

The Anglican Church of Canada began to engage in solidarity work with Aboriginal peoples in three areas: self-determination, treaty and land rights, and industrial and environmental development.

As this work progressed, Indigenous Anglicans began to recognize the need for a parallel response within church structures that would provide forums for addressing issues such as native needs, concerns and the accommodation of appropriate spiritual and cultural expressions of Aboriginal Anglicans. Although progress was slow, some concrete signs of the church’s intentions included hiring a national Consultant on Native Affairs in 1969, and establishing a sub-committee on native affairs in 1973. The staff person and sub-committee played an intermediary role in relaying Aboriginal voices and concerns to the church. During this time Indigenous Anglicans were re-embracing their long suppressed heritage, re-vitalizing their identity, language and culture and developing visions of community health and wholeness.

In 1980, General Synod gave the new Council on Native Affairs responsibility for carrying people’s concerns directly to the National Executive Council (now called the Council of General Synod). This gave Aboriginal peoples more status and a stronger voice within the decision-making structure of the church.

In the late 1980s the Council for Native Ministry became increasingly aware that a process of recovery must begin within the church and focus on social justice issues within its life and structure. The council took the initiative and organized an historic event – the first national Native convocation, held in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., in September, 1988.  Five such national convocations, now known as the Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle, have taken place since.

The second Sacred Circle gathered in Minaki, Ont., in August 1993.  The Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers made an apology to Indian Residential School survivors on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada.  The apology acknowledged wrongs committed to Aboriginal peoples by the church through the maintenance and operation of residential schools.

In April 1994, the Council for Native Ministry held an Aboriginal Anglican leaders Preparing the Way consultation to give input and direction, along with dioceses, on the national church’s restructuring and its work in preparation for the next century. The outcome was a statement entitled Our Journey of Spiritual Renewal and The Covenant.

In 1995, at the General Synod held in Ottawa, a resolution was passed changing the name of the Council for Native Ministry to Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. This synod also received, accepted and affirmed Our Journey of Spiritual Renewal and The Covenant “which extended the hand of partnership to all those who will help us build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada.”

Another resolution stated:
“That this General Synod support and encourage the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples as it works at redefining the role of Indigenous Anglicans in the Church, and specifically encourages the exploration of:

  1. The establishment of the office of a national indigenous Bishop who will work in partnership with the national church and dioceses;
  2. The development of indigenous forms of church government and decision making;
  3. Ways for the indigenous congregations to move toward self-sufficiency.”

In October 2003, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) convened a Leadership Conference and established the Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission (ICIC) to develop a plan and a model for the implementation of The Covenant.

ICIC prepared an eight-page document used to facilitate discussion in the 12 talking circles meeting daily for the week long Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle in Pinawa, Man., in August 2005. On the fourth day of the Sacred Circle 41 Elders, guided by the Holy Spirit, called on the Primate and the Anglican Church of Canada “to provide a national aboriginal bishop within one year. This bishop will have episcopal and pastoral responsibilities as well as full authority and jurisdiction for aboriginal communities across the country. This bishop will be fully recognized by the Anglican Church and be welcoming of aboriginal teachings, traditions, and ceremonies. 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. The provision of this bishop is a first step in a new era for the Indigenous Anglican Church.”

The following day, those who gathered as the Sacred Circle 2005 unanimously agreed and authorized and commissioned the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), to nominate to the Primate, a fit and qualified person to be appointed as the first National Indigenous Bishop. Further we authorized and commission the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples to move the appropriate councils of the Anglican Church of Canada to:
1. Adopt a process for the election of subsequent National Indigenous bishops by a Sacred Circle representative of all Canadian Indigenous Anglicans, and
2. Empower the National Indigenous Bishop with episcopal and pastoral responsibilities as well as full authority and jurisdiction for aboriginal communities across Canada.  

The Primate and bishops gathered at the Sacred Circle 2005 accepted the request and pledged to see that the appointment of a National Indigenous Bishop with pastoral oversight could be realized within a year. The Primate explained that a bishop with full authority and jurisdiction would take longer because church canons have to be changed.

The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples is very grateful for Lisa Barry, Senior Producer and the Anglican Video crew and for Lisa’s dedication, sensitivity and intuition about our stories and history-in-the making since the mid 1980s that has been documented and archived:

Respectfully submitted by
Donna Bomberry
Indigenous Ministries Coordinator


The Anglican Church of Canada
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