Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples

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The Fifth Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle

Wilderness Edge Retreat and Conference Centre in Pinawa, Manitoba
August 7- 13


The Fifth Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle will take place at the Wilderness Edge Retreat and Conference Centre in Pinawa, near Winnipeg, Manitoba from August 7-13. Over 200 people - lay, ordained, youth, visitors and invited guests- are expected to attend this year’s gathering.

Some of the topics to be addressed include problems affecting the current generation of native people, justice issues, what it means to “be” church in the present day and the vision for the future of indigenous people.

The ideas and stories shared will guide the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP) in responding to its role of guiding the church on issues concerning indigenous Anglicans.

The gathering is an opportunity for indigenous people to continue the journey of “claiming our identity as Indigenous Anglicans and continue to share and heal from the legacy of residential schools and colonialism,” said Donna Bomberry, indigenous ministries co-ordinator.

About the Indigenous Sacred Circle

Orgnaised by the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP) and formerly known as the National Native Convocation, the Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle gathering is the only event that brings indigenous Anglicans together.

So far four Indigenous Sacred Circles have taken place; the first one was held in 1988 at Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., where indigenous Anglicans first began to speak about their residential school experiences, the second was held in 1997 in Lethbridge, Alta., the third took place in 1993 at Minaki, Ont.,(at which then-primate Archbishop Michael Peers apologised for the church’s role in the residential school system). The fourth was held in 2000 in Port Elginn, Ont.  However, a gathering planned for 2003 did not take place due to the withdrawal of a major funder.

Besides being a business meeting, the Sacred Circle is a time for people to share their experiences through music and story telling. Most of the discussions take place in groups called ‘sharing circles’- where participants share their personal stories and tackle specific themes.

The circle is a particularly aboriginal way of decision-making. It is different from the type of setting where a group faces in one direction and a moderator calls on speakers.

In a circle every voice is respected and everyone is given a space to contribute.

The fifth gathering will be an opportunity for indigenous Anglicans to renew the group’s Covenant with the national church and recovering its members’ spiritual and cultural heritage and traditions.

The Covenant, signed in 1994, between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Anglicans, stipulate that native would form “a new, self-determining community within the Anglican Church of Canada.

Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission (ICIC)

(The Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission will raise issues for discussion at the gathering. Below is some background information)

In October 2003 the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples convened a Leadership Conference and created the Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission (ICIC) and appointed eight people to provide research and recommendations on the implementation of The Covenant.  The task of the Commission was to design an implementation model for the recommendations approved at the 1995 General Synod and that was later reaffirmed in the “A New Agape Working Document” at the 2001 General Synod which states:

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

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

Brief Native History

Since 1989 Indigenous Anglicans have attended General Synod as presenters and observers and in 2001 and 2004 as partners. Other signs of the recognition of this growing voice are the consecrations of five Indigenous Bishops.

In 1993 at the second National Native Convocation, that was hosted by the Council for Native Ministries the Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, acknowledged the wrongs done to aboriginal people by the church because of the Residential Schools experience. It was this deepening understanding of the barriers alive in the Church and growing strength of our voice that prepared Indigenous Anglicans for the Covenant. This gathering will be remembered for the pain that was shared, the strength and faith of a people, the involvement of youth, the generosity and willingness to forgive and the powerful presence of God’s spirit. 

Also it was during this time that the church held diocesan consultations called “Preparing the Way” seeking input and direction for the necessary restructuring for the national church and its work as it prepared to go into the next century.   We therefore convened an Indigenous Ministries Leadership Consultation in 1994 which produced The Covenant and Our Journey of Spiritual Renewal by the 21 Indigenous Anglican leaders attending.

In 1995, General Synod passed a resolution by embracing The Covenant not only as a promise and a hope for liberation and self-determination for Indigenous people, but the possibility for transformation for the whole Anglican Church.   The Council (CNM) was renamed the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples to reflect the call for partnership and reconciliation with the Anglican Communion.   The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples developed a 5-Year Plan (from 1996-2000) to set out educating and consulting about this vision and how we might implement The Covenant and build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada.

Draft Agenda (pdf)

Daily Highlights



For further information please contact

Donna Bomberry

Anglican Church of Canada

Co-ordinator, Indigenous Ministries

Tel: 416-924-9199 ext 626



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last modified: October 23, 2007
managed by: Donna Bomberry, Co-ordinator, Indigenous Ministries

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