The Anglican Church of Canada has just completed a through-going self-criticism in the presence of third world critics. A four day "Partners in Mission" consultation wound up on Tuesday, May 29 at the University of Toronto.
The concept of Partners in Mission is an accepted one in the Anglican Communion throughout the world. It involves one of the twenty-seven independent, self-governing churches which constitute the Anglican Communion, in a process of critical examination of its programmes, life, structures and priorities in the presence of "Partners" from other countries, churches and cultures. Canadian Anglicans have acted as Partners in such consultations in several African churches and in Ireland, the USA, the Caribbean, South America and Asia.
During the past week more than a hundred Canadian Anglicans, representing the Church's thirty dioceses from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, and north beyond the Arctic Circle, gathered in the nation's Capital. They were joined by Partners from Burundi, West Africa, the Sudan and South Africa, from the West Indies, New Zealand, Ireland and England, the USA and Asia. There were also representatives from the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches in Canada.
In their final report to the consultation, these Partners said, "We have come from continents which have experienced poverty, despair, effects of nuclear holocaust, inhuman racist regimes, military dictatorships, trampling of human rights and division of nations on ideological grounds. We have come too, from countries which are rich and affluent, and from sectors in the Third World which share in those riches and those who do not. In these situations we have experienced sufferings of all kinds - the rat-race of consuming more and more, of being bored, lonely and fearful. Yet we know that through these sufferings we also experience hope for we worship the crucified and risen Lord. In this spirit we share four examples of challenges we see based upon what we have seen and heard at this Consultation."
Their four areas of challenge were the Natives of Canada, the French Fact, the Ministry of the Laity and the Ecumenical Dimension.
The Partners observed, "The Natives of Canada have suffered through hundreds of years of genocide. Entire tribes and people have vanished from the face of the earth. Many of them today live in poverty, illness, early death rates and little or no education. To correct these wrongs requires a change in attitude, a death to the old ways and a rebirth under God." They agreed that they "must commend the Anglican Church of Canada for its long history of ministry to the Native People," but questioned whether native people have been trained for or allowed to assume positions of leadership in the church's structures.
They declared that "lumping the Native problem with the white rural or white isolated area problem will not work." The Partners had all travelled fairly extensively in Canada prior to the Consultation. From that experience and from their discussions in Ottawa, they concluded that there is a "strong undercurrent of prejudice against the Native People in Canada." They acknowledged that there are no simplistic answers, but urged the creation of a more adequately staffed Native "desk or portfolio" on a national basis.
The Partners described the French Fact as, "A people under the threat of losing its identity, its right to live according to its culture, can hardly act as a partner and may become, as a consequence, a burden to the country instead of taking its place as an enriching part of the cultural mosaic of Canada." They continued, "In a word, a whole mentality must be surrendered in order to communicate within the new milieu," and urged that "The Church must study this matter in the spirit of Christ, that is, in a spirit of love, detachment and sharing."
They added, "while fighting for the rights of this or that group, we must not forget that rights are first and foremost human rights; they are not French, they are not English; they are human, but they apply to French or English or Indians or West Indians."
An "inherited clericalism...which is still accepted as the norm" came under sharp criticism in the section of the Partners' report on the Ministry of the Laity. "The real participation of the laity in the mission of the church may pose a threat to the clergy" but that participation must not be "considered a privilege, a temporal innovation or a concession to the spirit of modern times." "A multitude of habits, ready-made judgements and reactions need to be stripped away from us before we can expect to progress very far in dealing with the key issue of the ministry of the laity."
In discussing the Ecumenical Dimensions, the Partners declared, "The general impression given is that the Anglican Church of Canada is self-sufficient and does not naturally look outside itself, whether to other churches in Canada or to other Anglican churches around the world, for working partners in the process of developing the issues which face them in their common service of the Mission of Christ to the world."
Although in principle the Anglican Church of Canada is committed to the "Lund Declaration" (that churches should not do separately what it is possible from them to do ecumenically), the Partners suggested that should mean "looking first to see what things can be done together and not regarding ecumenical cooperation as an optional extra."
The over-all report from the total membership of the Consultation is wide-ranging and lengthy. The discussions gradually crystallized into eight areas in the life of the church today:
- Mission: Theology and Practice
- Christian Lifestyle
- Commitment and Stewardship
- Ministry: Lay/Clergy
- Social Justice and Action
- Ethnic, Cultural and Linguistic Groups
- Communications and Structures
In each section there was a thorough evaluation of the present situation in the Anglican Church of Canada and an attempt to discover strengths and weaknesses in its life. Strategies for the future were also developed.
These reports will now receive wide distribution in the Dioceses and Ecclesiastical Provinces of the Church and in various national committees of General Synod, for study and discussion. They will have a major influence on the Church's National Programme Committee and National Executive Council when they meet this fall, and on the General Synod of the Church which will be held at the University of Trent in Peterborough in June 1980.
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For copies of the reports or further information, please contact:
Be it resolved that this Synod urges each Diocese to encourage its people to work, through dialogue and planned co-operation, towards a deeper understanding of our French speaking fellow Canadians. CARRIED in both Houses.
That National Executive Council endorse in principle the proposal regarding the appointment of a person to assist the Anglican Church of Canada to understand and involve itself at all levels in the cultural and religious content of Quebec and French-Canada, and request the Primate to consult with the Administration and Finance Committee and the Dioceses concerned regarding its implementation. CARRIED
Resolved, That, the Upper House concurring, the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada desires to place on record its admiration of the supreme heroism of that great Frenchman, Jacques Cartier, who, four hundred years ago this year, sailed up the St. Lawrence and first planted the Cross of Christ on the shores of our noble river, thereby opening up a new world wherein might dwell righteousness and peace.
In the four centuries that have elapsed since its discovery, Canada, still preserving the traditions for which Jacques Cartier stood, has passed from the Crown of France to that of England, her riches have been opened up, great cities have arisen along what were once lovely lakes, rivers and plains. Railroads link her wide scattered regions into one whole and she has mounted, as a Dominion in the Commonwealth of the British Empire, to a proud position in the nationhood of the world. But, behind all these splendours of achievement, the figure of Jacques Cartier, in the eyes of English as well as of French-speaking Canadians, stands out as the Founder of Canada, and that common admiration is a pledge that, in the centuries to come, the harmony, loyalty and cooperation of the two great races which form the unit of Canadian citizenship will be maintained.
This resolution was CARRIED unanimously by a standing vote and sent to the Upper House as Message X.
X1 - That Message X of the Lower House be altered to read:
"That the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada desires to place on record its admiration of the supreme heroism of that great Frenchman, Jacques Cartier, who four hundred years ago this year, sailed into the Bay of Gaspe, and first planted the Cross of Christ on the shores of this great country, thereby opening up a new world herein."
That the second paragraph be eliminated.
X1A - That the Lower House concurs in Message X1 of the Upper House.
That this General Synod call on Anglican Church members in all parts of Canada to become more aware of all that is involved in French/English relationships, and to initiate, and give increasing support to, programs which foster dialogue and understanding among all Canadians. CARRIED ACT 88
[Text of report found on pages 142-143 of the 1980 General Synod Journal of Proceedings]
PROJECT IN FRENCH-ENGLISH RELATIONS
To the Most Reverend, the Primate and Members of General Synod:
This Project began in 1977 with three main objectives, (1) to help the Anglican Church throughout Quebec to adapt to the new "French Look" in the Province and so to become better equipped to develop its own Christian witness among all the people of Quebec: (2) to foster closer relationships with the Francophone Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches in Quebec and with their National and Provincial organizations" and (3) to interpret to the Church across Canada what is happening in Quebec and in the French Canadian Community at large outside Quebec. Canon R.M. Turpin of Montreal was appointed to serve as Project Officer on a part time basis.
Initially, a Support Group was set up to cooperate with the Project Officer, being representatives of the Dioceses of Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Moosonee, the Arctic, and of the Parish of Temiscamingue attached to Algoma. In November 1978 the structure was changed, disbanding the Support Group and putting responsibility for production of materials, the promotion of language training, and the encouragement of ministry in French directly in the hands of the Quebec Bishops. Since General Synod 1977, although just a beginning, much has been done in the putting together of pamphlets and liturgies, and in the training of clergy to speak French. Ministry in the Diocese of Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec, and occasional bilingual Services are becoming more common generally. A long term goal is the addition of an indigenous francophone Anglican Church in Quebec led by Quebec francophones. Steps are now being taken to provide some theological education in French for ordinands. Gradually core groups of clergy and laity, all bilingual, are taking the lead in responding constructively to the "francization" process visible throughout Quebec.
In 1978 history was made when the Primate and the Quebec Anglican Bishops met for the first time with Cardinal Roy and a number of French Roman Catholic Bishops. A second meeting was held in 1979 for a discussion of mutual concerns related to Quebec and the mission of the Church generally. The Project Officer also keeps in touch with various individuals and groups associated with French work and ministry in the United and Presbyterian Churches. All the Dioceses report increasing contacts between parish clergy, program officers, and bishops with counterparts in the Quebec Roman Catholic Church. These efforts are supported through the Project Officer's role with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Quebec Assembly of Roman Catholic Bishops, and with the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. Related liaison work takes place with and through the Canadian Council of Churches.
Outside Quebec, apart from regular consultation with the National Office, the pressure of time has limited visits to other parts of Canada. Most prominent are those to areas where there are large French minorities, such as the Dioceses of Rupert's Land and Fredericton. Other liaison work has been done by letter and telephone. An important element of the Project Officer's activity relates to research, the obtaining of up to date information, the preparation of data reflecting some of the current developments in the French Church and Community.
Another aspect of the Project is the growing contact with the Francophone parts of the Anglican Communion, such as Haiti, the Dioceses in Zaire, in the Indian Ocean, etc. This was made plainer at the National Partners in Mission Consultation held in Ottawa in 1979. Some of their students now come to Canada for theological training: at the same time, responding to their requests, some of the French materials produced through the Quebec Anglican Church have been sent to them.
At its meeting in November 1979 the National Executive Council expressed an interest in expanding the Project to allow for more work outside Quebec. In March 1980 it approved a proposal to make possible such an expansion by providing for the employment of a full time Officer, to begin either in September 1980 or January 1981. This proposal, adopted by the Council, while affirming the objectives of the original mandate concerning work in Quebec and relations with the French Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches, includes as specific goals for 1980-83 --
- (1) To help Church members in all parts of Canada become more aware of the moral and theological implications of all that is involved in the Quebec-Canada debate.
- (2) To initiate and support programs which will foster dialogue and understanding among French and English people.
Respectfully submitted, Reginald M. Turpin, Project Officer.
Courtesies of the House were extended to Canon R.M. Turpin, who presented the report.
"That this General Synod reaffirm the obligation of Anglicans to do everything possible to further French-English relationships and request the National Executive Council to monitor the continuing work of the French-English project and to report to the 1986 General Synod." CARRIED Act 80
[Text of report, in English and French, as published in 1983 General Synod Journal of Proceedings]
PROJECT IN FRENCH/ENGLISH RELATIONS
To the Members of General Synod
From its beginning in 1977, the French/English Relations Project always assumed that the nature of the Canadian nation and of the total Canadian Church required Anglicans to see the "French Fact" as something much bigger and more complex than being solely a Quebec phenomenon. However, the initial small part time measure of the Project and the dynamics of events in Quebec dictated that most of the Project's early efforts should be centred there. In brief, the first objective was to support the Quebec dioceses in becoming better equipped to function effectively in the changing Quebec milieu.
In these past years, like many other groups, usually identified with the overall English minority in Quebec, the Anglican Church has accepted and supported the need of the majority to take initiatives to ensure a French future in North America. Such initiatives are often referred to as the "francization process" in Quebec society. It is a continuing process and it has not proved any easier for Anglicans than for others. While some extreme policies and regulations are opposed, the main thrust of the minority generally has been to adjust, to find common goals, and to work out a viable relationship between French and English.
The Anglican Church has made steady progress in coping with these changes, yet much remains to be done. There are now many more bilingual clergy. There is much more frequent and closer co-operation with French neighbours in Church and society. Signs of the Anglican Church's involvement in issues or in activities which cut across old English-French divisions are the Brief submitted by the Quebec Anglican Bishops concerning the Government's drastic proposal to restructure the Quebec school system; the participation of Anglican representatives in a new province-wide bilingual ecumenical association; co-operation with French Protestant groups; the annual meetings of Anglican/Roman Catholic bishops; some radio and T.V. broadcasts, such as the service in French at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Quebec City during the 1983 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. One disappointment has been the slow pace in developing a fully French ministry across the province, a goal to which all the dioceses are committed but for which, as yet, there is no common agreement in how best this should be led and organized. A number of the dioceses have included in their Anglicans in Mission objectives resources for expanded "French work".
Since the 1980 General Synod at Peterborough, with the approval of the National Executive Council, the Project has been enlarged to allow for more activity outside Quebec, emphasizing the national nature of the English/French relationship. On the political front, this period coincided with the whole Canadian constitutional debate and the repatriation process that aroused a mixed reception in Quebec and among French minorities. This has been a time, also, when bilingualism has grown in Canada, and when some provinces, such as Ontario, have increased the rights and services provided for their French minorities, even though falling far short of French aspirations. Moreover, the increased focus of the Project was developing at a time of mounting interest in bilateral and multilateral discussions among different Churches, such as that between the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics. These various Project initiatives have been mainly of an educational kind, in providing information, and in developing sensitivity. Activity was largely concentrated with the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, particularly in the Dioceses of Moosonee, Algoma, and Ottawa, where English and French live side by side, through visits, dialogue, and research. Arising from this background and experience, a small manual has been produced as a possible resource item for general use. It is entitled "A Primer to Encourage and Equip Anglicans Outside Quebec for Encounters of the French-English Kind". These efforts were supported indirectly through contacts made with representatives of such diverse groups as the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, la Federation Des Francophones Hors Quebec, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and The United Church of Canada. More routine features of the Project include preparing data for the Primate and other Anglican leaders; the promotion of bilingualism at various conferences, the obtaining of French resources for Anglican inquirers; and serving as a "resource person" at seminars.
While the achievements have been relatively modest, the Project has helped to sharpen awareness within the Anglican Church concerning both the English-French partnership of the country and the bilingual character of the Christian family of churches. It visibly conveys to the latter a sense that the Anglican Church, so strongly English, has some appreciation of the French dimension and is actively engaged in the ongoing struggle to bring about greater understanding and community between English and French people everywhere.
Reginald M. Turpin, Project Officer.
[French language report]
PROJET de RELATIONS FRANCOPHONES-ANGLOPHONES
Au très réverènd le Primat et aux membres du Synode général:
Dès le début en 1977, le Projet de relations francophones-anglophones a toujours admis que la nature de la national canadienne et de l'église épiscopale en son entier exigent des épiscopaliens qu'ils voient dans le "fait francais" quelque chose de bien plus grande portee et complexité qu'un simple phénomène quebécois. Par ailleurs, le peu de temps qu'on pouvait consacrer à ce Projet au départ, et la poussée des événements au Québec commandaient que les premiers effort soient centrés en cet endroit. Bref, l'objectif primordial fut d'aider les diocèses du Quebec à se mieux pourvoir afin de fonctionner efficacement dans le milieu francophone en évolution.