TORONTO, February 7, 2000 -- Archbishop Michael Peers has used the strongest language yet in the widespread condemnation of irregular ordinations aimed at undermining the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Archbishop Peers, the Primate of The Anglican Church of Canada, termed recent ordinations in Singapore "an act of aggression: and "an open and premeditated assault on Anglican tradition, catholic order and Christian charity".
Last week in Singapore the Primates of Rwanda and South East Asia consecrated two American priests as bishops and said they would be "released" into the United States. Archbishop Peers said: "Bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of aggression".
The ordinations have been roundly condemned by liberal and conservative forces alike. Archbishop Harry Goodhew of the Diocese of Sydney (Australia) noted that a meeting of the Primates is to take place next month, and conservative church leaders, including Archbishop Moses Tay of South East Asia, had agreed in Kampala last month not to take any precipitous actions before the Primates meeting.
"I am surprised and not a little disappointed that people who were present at Kampala, and agreed upon, have moved now beyond that agreement and have taken action that is contrary to the tenor and spirit of our understanding," Archbishop Goodhew said.
An article on the web site of the conservative organization Forward in Faith America said the ordinations are likely invalid because "certain necessary ingredients to make the ordinations valid were missing and/or certain impediments were present." It lists nine `ingredients and impediments', including the veil of secrecy surrounding the event did not allow for a proper use of the Si quis", a clause in the ordination rite which allows objections to be expressed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury termed the ordinations "irresponsible and irregular" and said the action was "a grave disappointment". In the United States, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said he was "appalled" by the "singularly unhelpful" actions and "profoundly disturbed by the caricature that has been presented of the Episcopal Church in the United States".
Archbishop Peers, who is partly responsible for planning the meeting of Primates next month, said the ordinations indicate the need for the Primates to deepen their understanding of Episcopal ministry.
The text of Archbishop Peers' statement follows:
Statement by Archbishop Michael Peers, member for the Americas of the Primates' Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion
I write as a member of the Primates' Standing Committee which, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, has spent time over the past months planning the March meeting of Primates.
Because of the recent action in Singapore, there will be greater need at that meeting to deepen the understanding of Primates about episcopal ministry.
In the Anglican tradition, bishops are chosen by the local church according to its standards and practices. The persons chosen are affirmed by the wider church, that is, the province, and then ordained by bishops acting in, with, and for the church of the diocese and province.
Bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of aggression.
The recent irregular ordination in Singapore is, in my opinion, an open and premeditated assault on Anglican tradition, catholic order and Christian charity.
I ask for the prayers of the whole church for the Primates' Meeting that it may contribute to deeper comprehension. mutual trust, and godly quietness among its members and throughout the Communion.
Archbishop Michael G. Peers
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
Member of the Standing Committee of the Primates' Meeting
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Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence) or Sam Carriere, Editor, Print Resources 416-924-9199 ext. 256
TORONTO, March 21, 2000 -- The government is acting in a shortsighted and counter-productive manner in its approach to residential schools lawsuits, and its lawyers are behaving in an aggressive and uncoordinated fashion, a senior bishop of the Anglican Church has charged.
Archbishop David Crawley, who chairs the church's residential schools steering committee, said government lawyers, not native people, are likely to force the church's General Synod, its national organization, into bankruptcy. In fact, the government is the only party against the church in seven out of eight suits now on the docket of the British Columbia Supreme Court. This will make it vastly more difficult for the church to contribute to long-term healing efforts, said Archbishop Crawley, the Metropolitan (senior bishop) of British Columbia and the Yukon.
"On the one hand, the government says it wants us to be part of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes," Archbishop Crawley said. "On the other, their lawyers are suing everything in sight -- even band councils. They say they want healing, but their actions are dedicated mostly to limiting their own liability through suing others".
Seven thousand former students of residential schools are suing the Government of Canada asking compensation for cultural, physical and sexual abuse in the schools. About a quarter of those cases involve the Anglican Church of Canada, whose national mission body administered 24 schools under contract to the government -- but in many cases it is the government, not the native plaintiff, who is suing the church.
In the only one of these cases to come to trial so far, the church and government were found jointly liable for sexual abuse committed by a former dormitory supervisor some 30 years ago. The supervisor, who was a federal government employee, was convicted in criminal court and is now in jail. Eight other victims of the same abuser have court hearings scheduled for later this month. "But only one of these victims has chosen to press a suit against the church," Archbishop Crawley said. "In the other seven cases, the church is being sued by the government alone".
"It is this kind of government action that is most likely to force us to bankruptcy," Archbishop Crawley said. "If that happens, we will not be able to participate in ADR processes or to promote healing. It's a short-sighted strategy on the government's part, because if they force us to bankruptcy, they'll be left carrying the whole weight by themselves".
Archbishop Crawley said recent research with active Anglicans shows that church members want to support healing efforts and are prepared to contribute financially. And a nationwide poll indicates that most Canadians believe we share a degree of collective responsibility for the residential schools. In a recent Angus Reid poll conducted for three church organizations (Anglican, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic), 60 percent agreed "we are all responsible for helping Aboriginal Canadians who suffered abuse as children within the residential schools".
"As a national body, with thousands of Aboriginal members, we have a significant capacity to contribute substantially to reconciliation between the First Nations and other Canadians", Archbishop Crawley said. "Instead, we're heading for bankruptcy, fighting government claims against us".
Archbishop Crawley said representatives of church organizations involved in litigation have pressed department of justice representatives repeatedly to place a moratorium on its suits against the churches, particularly in areas where there is an attempt to resolve matters through alternative processes. He said the government has so far refused to consider any such measure.
"This leads to several ironic consequences," Archbishop Crawley said.
"First, we have been forced to spend an enormous amount on legal fees, far more than we have yet contributed to the people who deserve compensation.
"Second, although the government appears to be driven by a desire to save money, its approach is likely actually to increase its costs, not just in legal fees but also in compensation". Archbishop Crawley said he believes church members will make substantial contributions to healing efforts, if they know the money will be used to help victims. "But if members feel their donations are only going to pay legal fees, they'll choose to place their charitable dollars somewhere else." Archbishop Crawley noted the church's income is based entirely on voluntary contributions.
The third irony, Archbishop Crawley said, is that the church may have to seek early bankruptcy protection as a way of channeling its dwindling resources toward plaintiffs, rather than to lawyers who represent them. "That's not meant to be disrespectful of lawyers, but, as things stand, legal fees have the first claim on any settlements we make. The plaintiffs get only what's left over. After a relatively few cases we'll be bankrupt and unable to respond to the just claims of other victims". Archbishop Crawley points out at least one diocese is already very close to bankruptcy.
"If we turn our assets over to a bankruptcy trustee instead, the trustees will be able to apportion the assets fairly, and the plaintiffs, will get their money first. We'll still be bankrupt, but at least our assets will have helped those who most need it."
Better yet, Archbishop Crawley said, the government should sit down with Aboriginal and church organizations and explore other approaches to resolving the residential schools legacy. "Nobody we've talked to wants to see Canada's churches crippled by this," Archbishop Crawley said, "not the native people, not the Canadian public at large, not even the government." In fact, the Angus Reid poll showed 80 percent of Canadians oppose forcing churches into bankruptcy.
"One way or another, all the lawsuits will eventually be finished," Archbishop Crawley said, "but they won't bring us any closer to reconciliation. Lawsuits can't do that. We have to find better options."
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Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence) www.anglican.ca
For further information contact: Archbishop David Crawley, Metropolitan of British Columbia and the Yukon, Chair, Residential Schools Steering Committee, Anglican Church of Canada, 250-762-3306
or visit the residential schools section of the General Synod web site at: www.anglican.ca/ministry/rs
TORONTO April 7, 2000 -- Canadian Anglicans who hold shares in Talisman Energy Inc. of Calgary are being asked to participate in a shareholder action arising from the company's business activities in Sudan.
The church has been in communication with Talisman since August 1998 in regard to concern that the company's oil development may be fueling the civil war in Sudan.
The shareholder proposal initiated by a coalition of church organizations and pension funds will be voted on at Talisman's annual meeting in Calgary, May 3 . It asks that Talisman provide an independently verified report on its compliance with the International Code of Ethics for Canadian Businesses and with internationally recognized human rights standards.
There has been ongoing concern that some of Talisman's activities in the Sudan may be linked to human rights violations. An estimated 10,000 people are killed each month in Sudan, in a civil war that has now lasted 17 years and claimed more than 2 million lives. The government of Sudan has been repeatedly cited for systematic human rights violations.
Talisman management has recommended against the shareholder proposal and initiate its own, less stringent proposal.
The full text of the Anglican Church's `Shareholder Action Alert' is contained at: [link] [also in Notes field in electronic database]
Talisman Energy's Management Circular, which contains the two shareholder proposals, is at: [link]
Canadian church action on with respect to corporate ethics is coordinated through the Task Force on Churches and Corporate Responsibility. Its web site is www.web.net/~tccr.
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Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); www.anglican.ca
TO: Diocesan Treasurers (please share with diocesan councils, others, as appropriate); Theological Schools Administrators (please share with others, as appropriate); Members of COGS and National Committees (for information)
FROM: Jim Boyles, General Secretary, and Joy Kennedy, Coordinator for Ecojustice
RE: Talisman Energy Inc. Shares
Since August 1998, the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility (TCCR), of which the ACC is a member, has been in communication with Talisman Energy Inc. of Calgary about its business activities in Sudan, a country in the midst of civil war and with a record of extreme and persistent human rights abuses. Information from our partner churches on the ground, and published accounts in the government's Harker Commission Report verify the continuing violence being suffered in the region. In the face of allegations that the company's oil development in Sudan is fueling the civil war and leading to human rights abuses, church shareholders have asked the company to pledge its adherence to internationally accepted standards of human rights and to issue an independently verified report on its compliance with these standards.
CURRENT SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL
There has been much discussion among churches and other investors about divestment of Talisman Energy Inc. shares. This `Action Alert' is only regarding shares currently held, and which will be held after Talisman's annual meeting.
A shareholder proposal from church and other shareholders that makes the request stated above has been filed with the company and will be circulated in the proxy materials and voted on at the annual meeting taking place in Calgary, Alberta, May 03, 2000.
Talisman Energy Inc. by its own description, is Canada's largest independent oil and gas producer, with revenues of approximately $1 billion annually and operations in Western Canada, the North Sea, Indonesia and Sudan. It has grown steadily over the last decade through the acquisition of smaller companies and is widely held by Canadian institutional investors. In August 1998, Talisman announced its plan to purchase Arakis Energy Corp. and thereby acquire an interest in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company of Sudan (GNPOC).
TALISMAN IN SUDAN
Talisman Energy shares its 25 % interest in the GNPOC with China's National Petroleum Corp. (40 %), the Malaysian state petroleum company Petronas (30 %), and Sudan's state petroleum company Sudapet (5 %). GNPOC is developing a large oil basin in Southern Sudan and has constructed a 1500 km pipeline from the oilfields to port facilities in Northern Sudan. The pipeline became operational in September 1999. The oil development has transformed Sudan from a new importer into an oil exporter, and provides the Government of Sudan with revenue and foreign exchange.
CIVIL WAR AND VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Sudan is in the midst of a civil war that has caused approximately two million deaths in the last seventeen years. The ongoing death toll is estimated at 10,000 per month. Sudan is ruled by a regime that came to power in a coup. The Government of Sudan has been cited for gross and systematic violations of human rights by reports issued by the United Nations as well as respected international human rights NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, and by relief and development agencies operating in Sudan. The Government of Sudan prevents the delivery of relief aid to certain areas, and has been reported to have used chemical weapons and to have bombed villages, schools, hospitals and relief facilities. Peace negotiations under the auspices of the International Government Agency on Development (IGAD), a partnership of countries in the region, have been unsuccessful so far. Canada supports these efforts through the IGAD Partners' Forum. Senator Lois Wilson is Canada's special envoy to the peace process in Sudan.
WHY TALISMAN OPERATIONS ARE A CONCERN
The social impact of Talisman's operations in Sudan raise three levels of concern for investors:
1. Talisman's operations have been directly linked to human rights abuses. According to several independent human rights investigations, including one sponsored by the Canadian government (`Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian Assessment Mission' prepared by John Harker et al. for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, dated January 2000, released on 14 February 2000.)
2. New revenue from oil development flows to the Government of Sudan at a rate of approximately $1 million per day. Prior to this, the Khartoum regime struggled financially and evidence suggests that credit for future oil revenue may have been used to purchase war materials. By relieving fiscal pressure on Sudan's government, its capacity to fund and even expand war efforts is increased and its incentive to negotiate seriously is reduced.
3. Talisman's business presence in Sudan lends international legitimacy to the Sudanese regime. The company has repeatedly and publicly defended the Government of Sudan against charges of human rights abuses. Its presence has helped secure financial and technical resources for oil and other development.
The company has defended its actions in Sudan by denying human rights abuses in its oil operations, by claiming it is opening the country to Western values and by suggesting that the prosperity brought about by the development will be an incentive to peace. It has also claimed that its infrastructure benefits the local population. Ironically, the Canadian government mission led by John Harker reported that oil development infrastructure such as roads and an airfield assist government forces that have launched attacks on civilians, a finding which the company does not acknowledge.
A Talisman divestment campaign in the United States has resulted in sales of the company's stock be several large investors and the stock price is widely acknowledged to be under pressure. In Canada the company has been removed from the portfolios of socially screened mutual funds. Both the American and Canadian governments have indicated that sanctions against the company are under consideration, though statements by Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy indicate great reluctance to do so.
SHAREHOLDER AND OTHER INITIATIVES
Church shareholders have written to both company management and to the board of directors raising concerns about Talisman's operations in Sudan. A meeting between church shareholders and senior Talisman management took place in April 1999. Talisman refused to circulate a shareholder proposal filed in 1999 by Canadian and American churches, but representatives of church shareholders attended the company's annual meeting in May 1999 and raised concerns about its operations in Sudan during the question period. Church discussions, including a meeting with Talisman management and members of the New Sudan Council of Churches, have, throughout this time focussed on the issues of respecting human rights and on transparency and accountability in company operations.
Other church and non-governmental organizations have also engaged the company and the general public in debate about the human rights consequences of Talisman's involvement in Sudan. The Inter-Church Coalition on Africa has worked tirelessly with the media, the Canadian government and partners in Africa to bring the gravity of this situation to the attention of the public and to influence decision-makers to act responsibly. Significantly, in February 2000, World Vision, The United Church of Canada, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund and Project Ploughshares withdrew from negotiations with Talisman on the development of a human rights monitoring mechanism for company operations, citing the company's failure to acknowledge that its operations are linked to human rights abuses and the escalation of conflict in Southern Sudan.
Talisman Energy us a very widely held stock. It is in many kinds of funds, sometimes of registered shareholders, often of beneficial shareholders, and commonly pooled. The Anglican Church of Canada currently holds shares in its Pension Funds and in the Consolidated Trust Fund. It is quite likely that any religious or educational institutional education also has such holdings in its endowments, pension fund and other investments.
There is an opportunity to let your voice be heard if you own such shares.
The resolution of the fifteen filers, including churches, religious organizations and two large public pension funds from the U.S., calls on the company to
- issue within 180 days an independently verified report on the company's compliance with the International Code of Ethics for Canadian Business and with internationally accepted standards of human rights, including steps taken by the company to ensure, to the extent feasible, that revenues which are received by the Sudanese government from the company's involvement in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company are not being used to finance the government's war efforts;
- provides shareholders a summary of the report and make the full report available to shareholders and the public upon request; and
- in consultation with an independent third party, develop and implement procedures for monitoring the company's compliance with the Code of Ethics for Canadian Business and with internationally accepted standards of human rights, and to issue annually to shareholders an independently verified report on the company's compliance.
Talisman's management will recommend to shareholders to vote against the proposal. In fact, they tried to get shareholders to change their demands and included a similarly-worded but different management proposal in the `Management Proxy Circular' to counteract this one. To avoid confusion: Exercise Caution when voting.
HOW ORGANIZATIONS ARE SUPPORTING THE SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL
Representatives of the filers will move and second the acceptance of the shareholder proposal at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on May 03, 2000. TCCR members are arranging to vote their shares in favour of the proposal and providing proxies to representatives who will speak from the floor in the discussion. Other shareholders can ensure that any holdings they have are identified and, if possible, proxies acquired and voted in favour of the proposal. When those holdings are in a pooled fund, managers can be asked how they intend to vote, and asked to report after the meeting how they did vote. It is a fiduciary responsibility of such investors to carefully examine the evidence that is being put forward by partners on the ground and by investigators and witnesses, to ensure that the companies they invest in are operating in compliance with human rights standards and best practices.
To not vote, is in fact to vote against the proposal, following the company's negative advice. Therefore, it is important to vote and to give specific instruction to managers to do so.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If your organization wishes to participate in this shareholder initiative or would like further information, please fill out the accompanying `Participation Form' and return it by fax ASAP. Meanwhile, contact your investment manager or adviser to ensure that you receive `Talisman's Management Proxy Circular'.
LIST OF FILERS
The fifteen filers include churches, religious organizations and two massive pension funds, including:
United Church of Canada
Sisters of Saint Ann
Scarboro Foreign Mission Society
Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (USA)
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Fonds Esther Blondin (Sisters of Saint Anne)
Grandin Provident Trust
Missionary Oblates of Grandin Province
Ursuline Religious of the Diocese of London
Jesuits of Upper Canada
Daly Foundation (Sisters of Service)
General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church (USA)
Trustee Board of the Presbyterian Church of Canada
New York City Employee Retirement System
New York State Common Retirement Fund
TALISMAN'S RESPONSE TO THE 2000 SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL
Talisman's management recommends to shareholders to vote against the shareholder proposal. In fact, they tried to get shareholders to change their demands to suit the company. The `Management Proxy Circular' includes a Commentary and a similarly-worded but different resolution of their own. Care must be taken to avoid confusion.
ACTIONS OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA
This spring both the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund and Ecojustice Committees discussed this issue and asked that any shares held by General Synod or its Pension Fund be voted in favour of the shareholder proposal. This request has been sent to the Council of General Synod. A Socially Responsible Investment Group (SRIG) was formed recently, which includes representatives of the above committees, the Pension Trustees and the Financial Management and Development Committee. They are monitoring the situation and are supportive of voting the shares in favour of the shareholder proposal, and in support of our church colleagues. We expect a final decision from the latter two groups in the next few weeks.
The Ecojustice Committee met in March and asked that we circulate this letter and material to all dioceses and theological colleges, schools urging their consideration of this action.
[Text of Participation Form not included in the electronic database.]
FREDERICTON, May 4, 2000 -- The Anglican Church's national executive council began four days of meetings here this morning attempting to balance hope for the church's future with the stark possibility of looming bankruptcy for the national structure.
An internal study indicates that legal costs from residential schools lawsuits will exhaust the resources of the General Synod, the church's national body, during 2001.
Those costs have already totaled about $1.5 million in 1999 and legal fees to March 31, 2000 reached $112,000.
Archbishop Michael Peers, the church's Primate, placed the church's current situation in dramatic biblical terms.
Responding to the idea that a General Synod bankruptcy would have little impact, because a new structure would carry on the work, Archbishop Peers said: "Let's not pretend this is simply a shift from `system A' to `system B'. It's a stop.
"On Good Friday, Jesus stopped. His heart stopped beating. His blood stopped flowing. But the story didn't stop. God's purposes will not be thwarted.
"And there are those who say this is God's judgment, that the church has lost its way. Maybe so; but the people being judged are from generations earlier. I was a member of the General Synod meeting in 1969, which changed the church's relationship with Native peoples forever; virtually all of what we are facing happened before that time," Archbishop Peers said.
"And so, if bankruptcy becomes inevitable, we are really called to be the body of Christ. Dead. Absolutely dead. And just as absolutely destined to rise."
Archbishop Peers's reflections came at the end of an hour-long presentation in which members of the Council heard reports on various aspects of the residential schools response.
Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's General Secretary, reported:
- claims continue to rise. There are about 1,600 plaintiffs now involving the Anglican Church of Canada, out of the 7,000 involving the Government of Canada.
- About 100 of the Anglican-related cases involve an abuser who has been convicted in criminal court.
- The Mowatt case (the first case arising from the sexual abuse committed by Derek Clarke at St. George's School, Lytton) is under appeal but the appeal will likely not be heard before the fall, or possibly early in 2001.
- Additional St. George's cases are proceeding, involving other individuals abused by Clarke.
- Some Saskatchewan cases will proceed in the fall with eight cases fast-tracked in a "litigation management" process; one of those involves the Anglican Church of Canada.
- An ADR process in southern Saskatchewan is proceeding slowly. We don't yet have a list of participants or an agreement with government on apportioning the costs of the process.
Doug Tindal, the Director of Information Resources, gave an overview of public opinion research. Canadians expect the church to do all it can to meet its obligations, but 80 percent say the church should not be forced into bankruptcy.
Archdeacon Boyles said the churches have been meeting with government figures to address an agreed goal of continuing the viability of the church organizations. A paper on the assets and structure of General Synod, prepared by an audit team from Ernst and Young, has been approved by the church's finance committee and presented to government officials.
The information was presented during the first of several sessions on "Planning for the Future" to take place during the meeting, which continues through Sunday.
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Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); During May 4-7. 416-540-3653 www.anglican.ca
I write to share something of this moment in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. In this troubling time we are faced with litigation so costly as to change radically our structures and our life as a national church. But the time is also profoundly hopeful; God leads us ever deeper into the path of healing and new life.
Simply put: resulting from abuse in the residential schools, there are over 1,600 claims of varying kinds brought against the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. About one hundred cases involve the proven abuse of children, and the perpetrators are in prison. The costs of litigation and settlements for these alone is sufficient to exhaust all the assets of the General Synod and of some dioceses involved.
What does this mean ? For the national church, the way we presently carry out our mission will be modified. We are negotiating with the federal government in order to find alternatives to litigation by which we can make a just contribution to compensation. However, whether or not this is achievable, we will be a very different Church.
Where in this do I discern hope ? At the heart of it, we trust God is with us in the choices we face, that we will find new ways to carry out our shared mission and that we will continue to work for healing and reconciliation.
Healing and reconciliation is our first and clearly affirmed goal. Both the Council of General Synod and the House of Bishops gave it the strongest possible support in meetings earlier this month. The legacy of the schools has been deeply wounding. Healing never happens if we ignore wounds. The first step is truth-telling -- recognizing and acknowledging past failures. The Anglican Church of Canada collaborated with the Government of Canada in a policy that brought pain to many individuals and despair in many communities. That injury continues into the present. We have an obligation, and a will born of our desire to be just, to account for past injustice.
Healing also requires being prepared to turn and walk in a different direction. Indeed repentance means "turning around". The wounds of past prejudices, injustices and broken trust will never be healed unless we "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being." Ever since the General Synod of 1968 set us in a new direction, aboriginal and non-aboriginal Anglicans have been learning to walk together in a different way. I assure aboriginal brothers and sisters that we will not be deflected from this road. I call each of us to recommit ourselves to that path, so that together we may find the healing Christ offers in his Cross and Resurrection.
I want to assure all Anglicans that what is at risk financially are our assets, not the contributions that provide for the ongoing ministry and mission of the church at parish, diocesan or national levels. Your contributions serve the mission of the church -- not the costs of litigation. If our present structure ceases to exist, we will find a way for our contributions to continue to serve that work.
How do we continue authentically if the depletion of our assets means we are unable to meet the claims against us ? I believe that our greatest asset in the Anglican Church of Canada is our ability to be in relationship, to support and care for each other. This will survive. So will our capacity to worship, to learn, to grow, to serve and to bear witness to Christ. Nothing at the heart of our faith -- our desire for wholeness and healing in ourselves, in our relationships, in our country and in our world -- is at risk. We have these abundant and enduring assets that will help us to continue to do justice and work for healing.
As we move into the future, I ask for your prayers: for the bishops and people of Cariboo and Qu'Appelle dioceses who are most immediately concerned; for members of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples who give outstanding leadership, and who bear such love for the whole of the Church; for those who ministries are given over to witness in the courts. Pray that we may all perceive the need for our own healing.
We read in the gospels how Jesus speaks of things ending -- of the heavens and earth in turmoil. In one sense, it is a picture of chaos. But Jesus says that it is more truly to be interpreted as a birth: " ...when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28) For many in the church, things are being shaken, and it feels like chaos. But we stand up and raise our heads; God is present and leads us into something new.
When we look up at the evening horizon, we see the sun falling. Turn the other way, and we will see it rise. I believe with all my heart, and with sure confidence, that God is with us both in the falling and in the rising, and that, even in our dying, God will bring us to new life.
+ Michael, Archbishop and Primate
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Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); www.anglican.ca
Produced in English and French.
Lettre pastorale du Primat a etre lue dans les paroisses de l`Eglise anglicane du Canada, avec la permission de l'eveque diocesain, le dimanche 28 mai 2000. L'Embargo pour les medias sera leve a 15 h, H.A.E., le 28 mai 2000.
Mes freres et mes soeurs dans le Christ,
Je veux partager aujourd'hui une etape dans la vie de l'Eglise anglicane du Canada. En cette periode troublee, nous sommes confrontes a des recours juridiques dont les couts financiers sont tels qu'ils peuvent changer du tout au tout la vie et les structures de notre Eglise nationale. Mais cette periode est egalement source de grand espoir, car Dieu nous guide encore plus loin dans la voie de la guerison et de la vie nouvelle.
En resume, des agressions dans les ecoles residentielles ont donne lieu a plus de 1600 reclamations diverses contre le Synode generale de l'Eglise anglicane du Canada. Dans une centaine de cas, des personees ont deja ete reconnues coupables de services contre des enfants et elles sont en prison. Le cout des procedures juridiciares et des reglements relies a ces cas peuvent, a eux seuls, epuiser tout l'actif du Synode general et de certains dioceses touches.
Pour l'Eglise national, cela signifie que notre facon d'accomplir notre mission sera changee. Nous discutons avec le gouvernement federal afin de trouver des approches autres que judiciaires pour assurer notre juste part de l'indemnisation. Nous saurons si cela est possible dans les mois qui suivent, mais peu importe l'issue des discussions, nous allons devenir une Eglise profondement differente.
Ou voir alors de l'espoir ? Nous sommes confiants, au plus profond de nous-memes, que Dieu est avec nous alors que nous faisons face a des choix difficiles, que nous saurons trouver de nouvelles facons d'accomplir notre mission commune et que nous allons poursuivre nos efforts de guerison et de reconciliation.
Il est tres clair que la guerison et la reconciliation constituent notre objectif premier. Plus tot ce mois-ci, autant le Conseil du Synode general que la Chambre des eveques ont endosse inconditionellement cet objectif. Le cas des ecoles a cause de profondes blessures qui ne sauriaent etre ignorees si on veut assurer la guerison. Il faut d'abord commencer par dire la verite, reconnaitre et admettre nos echecs. L'Eglise anglicane du Canada a coopere avec le Gouvernement du Canada a l'application d'une politique qui a cause de la souffrance chez plusieurs et du desepoir dans maintes communautes. Meme aujourd'hui, la douleur persiste. Nous avons l'obligation et la volonte, issue de notre desir de justice, de rendre compte des iniquites passees.
La guerison exige egalement que l'ont soit pret a changer de cap et a suivre une autre voie. D'ailleurs, se repentir signifie "changer" de destination. Les blessures causees per les prejuges, injustices et abus de confiance du passe ne pourront jamais guerir, a moins que nous soyons "prets a lutter pour la justice et la paix parmi tous les peuples et a respecter la dignite de chaque etre humain". Depuis 1969, alors que le Synode general nous indiquait une nouvelle direction, les personnes anglicanes, d'origine autochthone, apprennent une autre facon de progresseur ensemble. Je promets a nos freres et soeurs autochthones que nous n'allons pas devier de notre route. Je demande a chacun et a chacune de se reengager a suivre cetter voie afin, qu'ensemble, nous puissons trouver la guerison que le Christ nous offre par la Croix at la Resurrection.
Je tiens a assurer l'ensemble des personnes anglicanes que le risque financier que nous encourons ne touche que notre actif, certes pas les contributions qui nous permettent de poursuivre notre ministere et notre mission sur le plan paroissial, diocesain ou national. Vos contributions servent a la mission de l'Eglise, et non a couvrir nos frair juridiques. Si nos strcutures actuelles doivent disparaitrem nous trouverons le moyen d'utiliser les contributions afin de poursuivre notre mission.
Comment pourrons-nous continuer de maniere authentique si notre actif est epuise et si nous ne pouvons nous acquitter de ce qu'on nous reclame ? Je crois que le bien le plus important que nous ayons sein de l'Eglise anglicane du Canada est l'aptitude a tisser des liens, a nous soutenir mutuellement et a nous soucier les uns des autres. Cela survivram tout comme notre capacite de prier, d'apprendre, de croitre, de servir et d'etre des temoins du Christ. Rien de ce qui est au coeur de notre foi n'est en peril, soit notre desir de completude de guerison pour nous-memes, nos proches, notre pays et notre monde. De cela, nous en avons toujours en abondance pour nous aider a poursuivre notre oeuvre de justice et de guerison.
Notre march vers l'avenir reclame vos prieres: pour les eveques et les gens des dioceses du Cariboo et de Qu'Appelle, le plus durement touches; pour le Conseil anglican des peuples autochtones (Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples), demontrant un leadership exceptionnel et debordant d'amour envers l'Eglise entiere; pour les personnes dont le ministere a laisse le pas aux temoignages devant les tribeaux. Priez afin que nous puissons saisir le besoin de notre propre guerison.
Dans l'Evangile, Jesus parle de la fin des choses, du ciel et de la terre en deroute. Dans un sens, on decrit le chaos. Mais Jesus nous rappelle qu'il faut y voir un commencement: "Quand cela commencera d'arriver, redressez-vous et relevez la tete, parce que votre deliverance est proche." (Luc 21 28) Plusieurs dans l'Eglise voient des bouleversements autour d'eux et la situation leur semble chaotique. Mais nous nous redressons et nous relevons la tete: Dieu est present et nous guide vers une situation nouvelle.
Lorsque nous regardons l'horizon au crepuscule, nous voyons le soleil tomber. Mais, si nous tournons a la tete, nous le reversons se lever au matin. De tout mon coeur, je crois et j'ai entierement confiance que Dieu est avec nous, autant dans notre chute que lorsque nous nous relevons, et que, meme dans la mort, Dieu nous amene a la vie nouvelle.
TORONTO, Monday, August 14, 2000 -- The Anglican Church will cut more than half a million dollars in grants to support ministry in Canada's north and overseas, and eliminate eight full time positions at its national office.
At the same time, grants available from the church's Healing and Reconciliation Fund, supporting work with Indigenous peoples, will double.
The reductions, amounting to about 11 percent of the church's $10.9 million national budget, respond to continuing financial pressure from the cost of litigation related to residential schools.
The impact of the reductions will be felt around the world. Grants to support ministry across Canada's north will decline by about $125,000 in 2000, with a further $130,000 reduction recommended for 2001. Similar grants to programs in the Third World will decline by almost $400,000.
"With these reductions we will balance our operating expenditures in the current year," said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's general secretary, "but our assets will continue to be depleted to pay for our litigation costs."
The church's General Synod (its national structure) and eight of its 30 independent dioceses, or regions, are named in about 350 suits for cultural, physical and sexual abuse at the schools. In some cases the church is named directly, in others it has been brought into the suit as a third party by the Government of Canada, which is also being sued.
The residential schools operated into the 1980s under government control. Churches, including the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Churches, participated in operating the schools until 1969.
Archdeacon Boyles said the church is continuing to urge the Government of Canada to stop pursuing lawsuits as its primary response to the more than 7,000 individuals who are seeking compensation. "We agree with the Law Commission of Canada that a redress mechanism would offer a better means of meeting the needs of people who were harmed in the schools," he said.
"We have told the government that we could make a substantial commitment, both financially and in other ways, to support such a redress program". There has been no response from government, he said".
The church committed itself to a new relationship with Indigenous people in 1969, when its involvement in the residential schools ended. It established its Healing and Reconciliation Fund in 1991, after hearing reports of abuses in the schools. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers gave an apology on behalf of the church for its participation in the schools.
The Healing and Reconciliation Fund is administered by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. It provides grants in support of community-based healing initiatives for Indigenous groups. Since its inception, the fund has provided about $600,000 to assist with 60 healing projects. Financial support for Indigenous ministries, including the work of the Council and the Healing Fund, will increase from $262,000 to $547,000 annually.
The continuing drain of litigation costs and other factors have lead to the current reductions. Other impacts include:
- reduction of work in environmental and social justice areas, and reduction of support for a number of inter-church coalitions working in these areas
- reduction in the number of pages in the national newspaper, the `Anglican Journal'
- elimination of the national Resource Centre, which provided loans of videos and other resources to support parish ministries.
Ten staff positions have been eliminated at the church's national office, but two new ones have been created, leaving a net reduction of eight full time positions. Those affected have been provided with a severance package and relocation assistance, Archdeacon Boyles said. The staff reductions are effective immediately; grant reductions will come into full effect in 2001, if the church's national executive committee approves the proposed budget.
A complete report on the reductions is available at www.anglican.ca/church.
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For further information contact: Archdeacon Jim Boyles, 416-924-9199 ext. 280
Residential Schools, Legacy and Hope (`Ministry Matters' special edition), http://www.anglican.ca/mm/2000/legacy/
Healing and Reconciliation Fund, http://www.anglican.ca/ministry/healing/
Other resources related to the Residential schools, http://www.anglican.ca/ministry/rs/
`Restoring Dignity': Report of the Law Commission of Canada, www.lcc.gc.ca/
Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); During May 4-7. 416-540-3653 www.anglican.ca
That the next 45 minutes of this meeting of the Council of General synod be held "in camera" with the following present:
Members of the Council; Partners; Members of the Planning and Agenda Team; Staff: All Directors, and Donna Bomberry, Gordon Light, Margaret Shawyer, Dianne Izzard. CARRIED #02-05-00
An open discussion took place. Areas of comment/question included the definition of the term Healing and Reconciliation; the church's financial obligations to coalitions and partners; the Healing and Reconciliation Fund; political lobbying; depletion of assets; CCAA protection vs. bankruptcy; the redevelopment of 600 Jarvis Street; agreement with the government and the potential for fundraising.
That the meeting of the Council of General Synod move out of "in-camera". CARRIED #03-05-00
A summary of the In-Camera session, prepared by Mr. Doug Tindal is attached to the minutes. (Appendix B)
Summary of in-camera session
Healing and Reconciliation
- We need greater clarity about what we mean by those terms. We need common language and understanding, a way of connecting with that goal more concretely.
- Our Healing and Reconciliation Fund has made grants totaling more than $500,000 since its inception in 1991. The grants are managed by the Anglican Council of Indigenous People. A complete list of the initiatives it has supported is available on our web site, or from the national office. The range of projects gives an indication of our understanding of healing and reconciliation.
- This is our primary goal and we must keep centered on it. Even though the legal proceedings compel our attention, we must remember that the people who are suing us are not there just for the money. They're also seeking healing.
- We don't know what's going to happen and we can't control it, so we have to go by faith. We should focus on the healing and reconciliation, find people who are gifted in that work and get on with it.
- The Good Friday experience is extremely difficult and painful; but avoiding it is not helpful. So we have to be careful identifying what is depressing, as opposed to being part of the way of the cross; and what is truly hopeful for everyone.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes
ADR offers potential advantages over litigation. In particular, it is seen to be more humane than an adversarial legal process, and so to avoid the "re-victimization" that may occur in a trial setting. There is also the potential to work with large numbers of claimants at a time, so the process may be faster than litigation. Finally, it may be possible to go beyond the boundaries of strict legal liability within an ADR process in order to work toward community healing.
Effects on Partners
Our overseas partners were notified in December 1999, and ecumenical coalitions in January 2000, that there are no guarantees of funding after this year. Most of the money that we contribute to partners and coalitions is used for salaries.
The General Secretary meets with our lawyers, including some diocesan lawyers, each month by conference call. At the most recent meeting there were nine lawyers involved.
Advocacy with government
- We will begin now to mobilize our members to speak with their Members of Parliament. A fact sheet will be available by the end of this meeting to assist with this.
- Nationally, we are working with a consultant named Michael Butler, formerly a senior civil servant. He is helping us to focus government attention on the policy areas that need attention.
- Other denominations are also involved in our talks with government; and we are also raising the case of those dioceses which are financially pressed.
- A bankruptcy proceeding would apply only to the assets of General Synod, not to dioceses.
- The Pension fund is separate by legislation. It would not be liquidated in a bankruptcy proceeding.
- Anglican Appeal is not a separate fund. It supports the work in the North and Overseas through the general funds of the church.
- An alternative to bankruptcy might be to seek the protection of the Companies Creditors Arrangements Act (CCAA), which allows an organization time to restructure.
'Business as usual'
- We are proceeding on two tracks. Crisis response is on one track. The other, as far as possible, is 'business as usual', as for example in planning for a General Synod in 2001. Our continuing mission is what justifies our survival.
- Our building redevelopment is proceeding. On the one hand, we have a contract; on the other, the redevelopment increases the value of our assets and so offers no threat to creditors.
Ms. Susan MacKay-Smith presented the report, noting that page two, by articulating the relations with The Anglican Church of Canada, addressed concerns on how the Fund would operate while still being a part of the church. She noted that once approval was received, the next steps would be to apply for corporation status and a Revenue Canada tax number.
That the Council of General Synod support the action by the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund to proceed with arrangements for incorporation and registration as a charitable, not for profit corporation to be known as The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund / Le fonds du primat pour le secours et le developpement mondial, working in close association with the Anglican Church of Canada. CARRIED #05-05-00