That this Council of General Synod approve 'A Charter For Racial Justice in The Anglican Church of Canada' (attached) as a guide [for] the General Synod’s ongoing work on racial justice. CARRIED #09-03-07
A CHARTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE in the Anglican Church of Canada
A working document of General Synod
The following was received by the Council of General Synod in March 2004 as a working document and a basis for further education with the committees, councils, and boards of General Synod. The Anti-Racism Working Group has modified it slightly since. It is intended to complement a more detailed policy for employees and members of General Synod, its committees, councils, and boards.
RACISM is the belief, reinforced by power and privilege, that one race is innately superior to other races. Systemic racism occurs when the power and privilege of one racial group results in the exclusion, oppression or exploitation of other groups of different racial origin. Racism also manifests itself in individuals in the form of racial harassment when a person or persons belonging to a privileged group behaves in ways that intimidate, demean, or undermine the dignity of others on the basis of their race. A consequence for victims is that racism becomes internalized as deeply engrained feelings of self-hatred and low self-esteem.
AS MEMBERS OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA, we strive continuously to be faithful to our life in Jesus Christ that we embraced at our baptism. We are learning that one of our strengths as a church lies in our diversity and in our commitment to eliminate systemic and individual racism, whether intended or not. We are called to be a church where people will have the assurance that they will be treated with dignity and respect, and where they will find a community that is determined to be free of racism.
BECAUSE WE BELIEVE that…
God created the world and saw that it was good, and created human beings in God’s own image.
Jesus in his life and teaching actively sought to be in loving, right relationship with others, embracing those who were pushed out by society, while challenging the structures of his day that separated one group from another.
God’s Holy Spirit breathes and gives life to all humanity, and moves within God’s people to overcome separation and sin.
In baptism we are given a new life of grace, a life of mutuality and community; and are incorporated into the Body of Christ, one body with many parts. In accepting the new life in Christ, we affirm that divisions of race have been put aside and that all come before God as equals.
In our baptismal covenant, we promise to “persevere in resisting evil”, and whenever we sin, “to repent and return to the Lord”, and thereby commit ourselves to make a new beginning when we discover that we have offended God or injured others.
Our struggle for racial justice requires new attitudes, new understandings and new relationships, and these must be reflected in the policies, structures, and practices of the church, as well as in the laws and institutions of society.
WE THEREFORE COMMIT OURSELVES
1. to eliminate racism and all forms of discrimination by identifying and removing the barriers based on race, and transforming the structures of power and privilege that favour White people and prevent others from full participation in the life and work of the Anglican Church of Canada.
2. to ensure that the policies, procedures and practices of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada reflect the principle of equity for all.
3. to educate ourselves and receive training in anti-racism practices and find ways of modeling these to the wider church and society.
4. to increase awareness of and appreciation for the diversity of race, colour, and culture within the Anglican Church of Canada and in Canadian society.
5. to support and participate in the world-wide struggle for racial justice in church and society, as advocates and activists.
6. to monitor our progress by listening to the evaluative comments of people oppressed by systemic and individual racism.
7. to endeavour to ensure that human and financial resources are allocated to enable these commitments to be fulfilled.
HISTORY and CONTEXT
From the onset of colonialism, racism has been manifest throughout Canadian history and continues into the present. The assumption of racial difference and inequality was the basis of much of Canada’s social legislation. For example, as a result of the Indian Act, First Nations people were confined to their reserves and their lands, and made susceptible to exploitation and take over. Immigration policies restricted Black, Asian and Jewish immigrants. Canadians of Japanese and Ukrainian descent were rounded up and interned during World War Two. Labour legislation dictated who could and couldn't work for whom, and who could do what kind of work. At moments in Canada’s history, certain groups of people were denied access to professions, higher education, vote, or secure citizenship because of their racial origin. Racism was explicit in the theory of Social Darwinism, which was commonly taught and accepted until the 1960’s; racism was implicit in science, art and literature; and racism shaped our demography, history and national self-image.
The consequences of such racist beliefs are with us in the present. Systems of power and privilege still favour White Canadians more than others. In times of public fear or perceived scarcity, restrictions on economic and social mobility, or immigration on the basis of race, are still commonly accepted. Practices of immigration and certification of professionals still screen out people along racial lines. Some Indigenous peoples are still dispossessed. Other peoples still live with the cumulative effects of centuries of discrimination and exploitation.
Racism has been and continues to be no less present in the Anglican Church of Canada. Aboriginal and other non-White congregations in our urban centres are more likely to be resisted or marginalized than to be welcomed and supported to become full and equal partners in a multicultural parish. Church governance systems of decision-making and power do not reflect the diversity of Anglicans in our synods and parishes. The struggle to build a new relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is teaching Anglicans how our church has been complicit in Canada’s history of racism and how we have to change.
As an institution, we are committed to advocate for and comply with human rights and other legislation aimed at eliminating racism among people and in organizations, within Canada and globally. As people of faith, our prayer is to see God’s Spirit moving in our church, public institutions, and society, finding expression in a growing desire to eliminate racist structures and behaviours.
APPENDIX A: WORKING DEFINITIONS:
- Prejudice is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation.
- Discrimination is unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice.
- Racial prejudice and discrimination is the partiality and unfair treatment or a person or group on the basis of race.
- Racism is the belief, reinforced by power and privilege, that one race is innately superior to other races.
- Systemic racism occurs when one racial group misuses its power, privilege or discriminatory attitudes to exclude, oppress or exploit another racial group.
- White privilege refers to the benefit or advantage given to or enjoyed by White persons beyond the common advantage given to all others.
[Footnote 1] The concept of “race” is a social construct. But racism, which evolves from the construct, does exist and is real. It is our belief and assumption that there is only one race: the human race.
That this Council of General Synod approve the name "Anti-Racism Implementation Group" as a new name for the group working on anti-racism, and further, approve the following mandate and membership of the group for the 2007-2010 Triennium:
- Provide a one-day training session for the Council of General Synod, and for the Standing Committees, Councils, Boards, of General Synod.
- Provide a one-day training session for the Council of the North and the House of Bishops.
- Further develop the training materials to ensure variety and appropriateness for each group, as much as possible.
- Promote and make known the Charter for Racial Justice in the Anglican Church of Canada to the members of the Council of General Synod, the members of its Standing Committees, Councils and Boards, and the members of the House of Bishops and the Council of the North.
- Develop policies and procedures to ensure diversity in the structures and governance of General Synod.
- Towards a goal of decentralizing the anti-racism work, develop a plan for training regional teams of anti-racism trainers. Begin to implement this plan to the extent possible.
- Review this mandate at the end of the triennium.
In the 2007 – 2010 Triennium, the following principles will determine the membership of the Anti-Racism Implementation Group:
- To the extent possible, the Anti-Racism Implementation Group will retain the current members of the Anti-Racism Working Group, so as to be able to utilize and build on the skills already acquired by members.
- The group shall continue with a membership of not more than 12, including staff.
- Where members find it necessary to resign, replacements will be selected from people who already have some demonstrated level of training and skill.
- No more than 3 new members shall be recruited during this triennium.
- Members will not necessarily be attached to a particular Standing Committee, Council or Board, but the group will continue to communicate collectively with Standing Committees, Councils or Boards about its work and direction
That the sentence in the section on Membership “No more than 3 new members shall be recruited during this triennium” be deleted.
Mrs. Susan Winn and Mr. Sam Carriere, Director of Communications and Information Resources, presented the report and introduced two resolutions.
Moved by: Mrs. Susan Winn
Seconded by: The Rt. Rev. Greg Kerr-Wilson
That the Council of General Synod:
Seek a revision of the Handbook – section 39.G describing membership of the CIRC [Communications and Information Resources Committee] to note that the Anglican Journal Board no longer exists and that sub-set 4 be struck from the Handbook.
And further, that a new sub-set 4 read, “the national communications director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada shall be an ex-officio member with voice and vote (with ‘ex-officio’ meaning ‘by virtue of their office’).
Motion to refer
That the matter be referred to the Handbook Committee to prepare the proposed revision to Section 39 of the Constitution.
That the Council of General Synod encourages the development of a communications strategy for General Synod based on the Communications and Information Resources departmental communications strategy and the five Marks of Mission.
The mover and seconder agreed to delete the word “five” from the motion. The amended motion now reads:
That the Council of General Synod encourages the development of a communications strategy for General Synod based on the Communications and Information Resources departmental communications strategy and the Marks of Mission.
The report of the Chair, the Rev. Canon Milton Barry, and his letter to the General Secretary regarding the CIRC’s discussion about the Structures Consultation, were noted for information.
That the Council of General Synod seek the following revisions to the Terms of Reference for the Communications and Information Resources Committee:
- Section 1(d) – remove the reference to the library and Ministry Matters.
- Section 2(b) – remove the sentence, “At the appropriate time in the triennium, the Communications and Information Resources Committee may nominate possible names to the Council of General Synod for membership on the Anglican Journal Board.
Note: At the request of the Chancellor, permission was granted by COGS for the inclusion of the above revisions in the report of the Handbook Concerns Working Group.
The Interim Nominating Committee comprised of the Prolocutor Canon Robert Falby, the Deputy Prolocutor Archdeacon Harry Huskins and the Acting General Secretary Sam Carriere presented a slate of nominees for COGS sessional committees and other required positions. (The number required for each position is indicated in brackets.) The Prolocutor invited additional nominations
Officers of General Synod (2)
To be elected: Two representatives, one from the order of clergy and one from the order of laity, from provinces other than those represented by the Prolocutor (Ontario) and the Deputy Prolocutor (Ontario).
Clergy Nominee: The Ven. Sidney Black, Rupert’s Land
Lay Nominee: Ms. Leila Zimmer, BC and Yukon
Nominations were closed.
Planning & Agenda Team (3)
Nominees: The Rt. Rev. James Cowan
- Canon Dr. Randall Fairey
- Mrs. Sue Winn
Resolutions Committee (3)
Nominees: The Rt. Rev. Dennis Drainville
- The Ven. Harry Huskins
- The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson
The Resolutions Committee is chaired by the Deputy Prolocutor.
Nominations Committee (4)
Nominees: Mr. Ron Chaplin, Ontario
- Mr. Felix Cote-Gadreau, Canada
- The Rev. Chris Harper, Rupert’s Land
- The Rev. Lynn McNaughton, BC & Yukon
The Nominations Committee is chaired by the Deputy Prolocutor.
Expenditures Committee (2)
Nominees: The Rt. Rev. Greg Kerr-Wilson
- Ms. Cynthia Haines Turner
Audit Committee (1)
Nominee: The Rt. [sic i.e. Most] Rev. Colin Johnson
Handbook Concerns Committee
Nominees: Canon Dr. Randall Fairey
The Handbook Concerns Committee is chaired by the Chancellor.
Anglican Award of Merit Committee (5)
To be elected: Five members – one from each Ecclesiastical Province and one from the Canadian Forces.
That this Council of General Synod, noting with concern the potential for confusion among General Synod delegates in working with complex documents such as the St. Michael and Windsor Reports, encourages dioceses to take all steps to ensure that members of General Synod have opportunity to understand the content and significance of these reports. CARRIED #30-11-06
That Council of General Synod renew its investment in the future of the church by providing LDTN [Letting Down the Nets] with the appropriate resources for the next triennium, a clear sign that serving dioceses is an emerging and essential priority role of General Synod.
Motion to defer
That the motion be deferred to the March 2007 meeting of the Council of General Synod. CARRIED #27-11-06
That this Council of General Synod request the Planning and Agenda Team to appoint a Governance Working Group for the 2007-2010 triennium, with appropriate representation of both geography, and expertise, and with adequate funding, so that the work of the Governance Working Group may continue. CARRIED #31-03-07