The Rev. Norman Casey, ACIP Co-Chair, welcomed members to a session in which they experienced meeting in a Sacred Circle. The session began a prayer and scripture reading by Mr. Peter Kitchekesik.
Bishop Mark McDonald presented the ACIP report. He spoke of the deepening crises and urgent needs in Indigenous communities both on and off reserve; the pressing issues of governance, sovereign identity and pastoral care. These crises and growing frustration led ACIP to write "The Mississauga Declaration", an urgent cry for self-determination and a call to the church. Bishop McDonald emphasized that a practical accommodation to the culture and boundaries of Indigenous life within the structures of the church is sought. He outlined an aggressive timeline that would see a comprehensive plan presented to COGS and the House of Bishops in the Spring and to the Sacred Circle in August 2012. Members then offered their reflections on what they had heard. The session closed with prayer.
Following the lunch break, the Prolocutor Canon Robert Falby assumed the chair.
The Primate acknowledged ACIP's moving presentation and suggested that COGS respond with a formal resolution. It was
That the Council of General Synod in a spirit of great respect and hope receives The Mississauga Declaration as a gracious invitation and urgent call to the whole church to renewed commitment in walking and working with Indigenous Peoples in addressing the many crises in their communities, in strengthening pastoral ministries, in supporting their desires for self determination, and in re-affirming their sovereignty as People of the Land.
The text of the Mississauga Declaration is attached as Appendix D.
THE MISSISSAUGA DECLARATION
Gathered in a sacred circle of love, prayer, and hope, we placed the Gospel in the centre and listened to hear God’s voice. Seventeen years after The Covenant, our communities are still in crisis and we are convinced that we must act in defense of the people and the Land. Though gathered as a consultation on governance, we have realized that our task is more urgent and more extensive. We affirm that God has a plan for us in the Gospel and that we must claim the freedom to become what God has called us to be. We believe that we must act now to reaffirm our sovereign identity as the people of the Land and to revive, renew and reclaim the ministries in our communities. Empowered in faith, we will live and work to overcome the crisis that brings overwhelming death to the peoples of this land.
We need to explore the possibilities and potential as spelled out in the Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission’s work that would develop structures of authority, ministries and jurisdiction up to and including the development of a fifth province.
Our collective experience over decades of struggle of reconciling the historical wrongs and now the impact of assimilation upon our Elders, our children and grandchildren tells us that realistic answers come from our ways of living upon the Land and from our relationship we have always had with God, through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. We are called by our Elders to take responsibility to practice and express our way of life so our children and their children can live as the people of the Land, your neighbors, friends and partners of our Church.
We know God is calling our peoples through our Elders’ Vision to renewal and restoration. With respect for our various traditional ways of living we hear God’s call to our peoples to unite as the renewed and restored peoples upon the Land. We will begin, today, to live towards a vision of ministry to Indigenous peoples throughout our native lands, many of us know as Turtle Island. We commit to plan and pray towards a full expression of God’s truth and love among the People of the Land. We call upon our partners in the Anglican Church and beyond to join us in the fulfillment of this calling.