Four hundred years ago this month a motley crew of English adventurers came ashore on what is now Baffin Island in the midst of their explorations for a northwest passage to the riches of the Orient. Their purpose? Of all things -- to hold a Church service !
It was the third expedition of Martin Frobisher, and, since one of its purposes was to establish a colony of 100 persons if possible, Frobisher had been instructed,
"That a minister or twoo do go in this jorney to use ministration of devyne service and sacraments, according to ye churche of England."
Therefore, Master Wolfal of the Diocese of Bath and Wells, scholar of King's College, ordained by the Bishop of London in April 1569 got the job -- and found himself on the barren northern shores of our country about to make history by celebrating the first Anglican Holy Eucharist in the New World.
He appears to have done well. Here is what the records tell us,
"Maister Wolfall on Winters Fornace (Baffin Island) preached a godly Sermon, whiche being ended, he celebrated also a Communion vpon the lande, at the partaking whereof, was the Captaine of the Anne Fraunces (Best himself) and manye other Gentlemen & Soldiers, Marrinters & Miners wyth hym. The celebration of diune mistery was ye first signe, seale & confirmation of Christes names death & passion euer knowen in all these quarters."
The service itself would have been taken from the Prayer Book of Queen Elizabeth I which had been issued in 1559.
To commemorate this historic event the Anglican Diocese of the Arctic will hold its Diocesan Synod at Frobisher Bay the last week in August this year . During the Synod a special Commemorative Holy Eucharist will be celebrated with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Donald Coggan, as Preacher.
The Chief Celebrant at the Eucharist in St. Jude's Cathedral on Wednesday evening, August 30, will be the Rt. Rev. J.R. Sperry, Bishop of the Arctic. In addition to Dr. Coggan, other Church dignitaries attending will be, the Most Rev. E.W. Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; the Most Rev. F.H.W. Crabb, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land; the Rt. Rev. G.F.C. Jackson, Bishop Ordinary of the Armed Forces; the Rev. Jens C. Chemnitz, Lutheran Bishop of Greenland and the Rev. Jean Dufour O.M.I., representing Roman Catholic Bishop O. Robidoux.
The Commissioner of the North West Territories, Commission S.M. Hodgson and the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Hugh J. Faulkner, will represent the two levels of Government in the North at the Service.
The Holy Eucharist this time, unlike its counterpart four centuries ago, will be largely in the Eskimo language and all English parts will be simultaneously translated.
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"Be it resolved that this General Synod express its gratitude to:
- Archbishop Harold Nutter and the Diocese of Fredericton for all the work they have done on our behalf, and particularly for the dinners they extended to us;
- Dean Rhodes Cooper and the local Arrangements Committee for the welcome we have received in Fredericton and New Brunswick, and also to the Dean and people of the Cathedral for the opportunity to worship in that historic place;
- the University of New Brunswick and the employees who worked so diligently for us;
- those people in Fredericton and elsewhere who welcomed us into their homes during Synod;
- hundreds of lobsters who at King's Landing made the supreme sacrifice for us;
- the staff of the General Synod for all the work before Synod, and especially to those members of the staff who have worked so hard behind the scenes during the Synod;
- Joy MacLaren and the Anglicans in Mission Diocesan Directors for their work through the whole of Anglicans in Mission and presence during the Synod, both of which added substantially to our ability truly to Rejoice;
- the persons in dioceses and parishes who designed and created the Anglicans in Mission banners and the triangles which have brightened our horizon;
-those who responded to the invitation to set up displays in the Aitken Centre;
- those who conducted the orientation sessions for Synod members;
- the Sessional Committees, especially the Agenda, Nominations and Resolutions Committees for their work on our behalf and for much grace under much pressure;
- the Worship Committee, both for their work and for their sensitivity to the variety of worship within the Church;
- the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer for unremitting prayer among us and for us;
- Professor Douglas Richardson, the Canadian Church Historical Society, and the Diocese of Fredericton Archives Committee for one of the most creative reports to the Synod;
- those who arranged, and those who made themselves available for, noon and evening events around the Synod;
- those who organized the spouses' program;
- Christopher Earl who staffed the public address system;
- Paul Gibson and his electronic device for the "Daily Review";
- the Assessors for their rulings quickly given and thoroughly thought out;
- Bishop John Sperry and Chitra Fernando for their daily call to us to deepen our understanding of the theme "Rejoice";
- our ecumenical and overseas partners for the gifts they give us to see ourselves as others see us, or in the words of a less[er] Celtic saint, for their ministry to us in speaking the truth in Love;
- the press for their efforts in the interpretation of our work to the outside world;
-Andrew Atagotaluk [sic i.e. Atagotaaluk], Eskimo language translator, for dealing with a difficult agenda with integrity and ingenuity;
- tous ceux parmi nous qui ont osé s'exprimer en l'autre langue officielle de cette province et de notre pays;
- the General Secretary and his staff for their steady guidance of our process;
- the Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor for gracious and competent chairmanship in the stead of the person last, but first in our thanks, namely
- the President of this Synod whose stature in our midst and in the worldwide church grows each year, for whom our affection and admiration grows each year, and whom we remember daily in our prayers and thanksgivings as 'Edward our Primate'."
CARRIED by Applause Act 115
The Primate declared the Synod prorogued and the Closing Eucharist was celebrated.
THAT this General Synod advise the Provincial Synod of Rupert's Land that the Eskimo delegates reported the feelings of the Eskimo people of the Diocese of the Arctic were that when the new Bishop is elected he should be a person able to speak the Eskimo language, and conversant with the culture and customs of the Eskimo people.
That this General Synod asks the Council for Native Ministries to continue to facilitate the ongoing dialogue on Native Spirituality amongst Native people and "to share with and teach the whole church, as appropriate, those elements of Native spirituality which will strengthen us all in our common journey" and asks other Standing Committees, Councils and Boards, in consultation with the Council for Native Ministries, to implement NEC's resolution with regard to Native Spirituality within the Church as a whole.
Moved by: Mr. T. Maffin
Seconded by: Ms. L. Sibley
That the question be put. CARRIED Act 65
The motion was read to Synod in Inuktitut and Cree before being put and CARRIED Act 66.
That this General Synod encourages NEC to build upon the NEC MOTION #53-05-91 REFERRED TO THE OFFICERS and requests all Standing Committees, Councils and Boards to follow the example of NEC and actively explore new ways of working using the consensual models of Aboriginal decision-making which would foster new life through new ways of meeting. CARRIED Act 60
The above motion was read to General Synod in both Cree and Inuktitut.
The Reverend Bryan Bjerring expressed the hope that, in order to assist Standing Committees in shaping this work over the next triennium, the Council for Native Ministries would initiate and provide materials.
Bishop Caleb Lawrence urged members to involve the native representatives on the Standing Committees and Mr. Andrew Wesley added that NEC members would also be willing to assist whenever possible.
The National Executive Council had referred motion #53-05-91 to the Officers of General Synod for consideration. This motion reads as follows:
That this NEC ask the Agenda Committee, in consultation with the Council for Native Ministries, to enable us to experience parts of our agenda in the style of a Native Council.
"A mobile app featuring daily prayers from the 'Book of Common Prayer' (BCP) in English now also features Bible prayers in Inuktitut -- and will soon expand into other languages" (p. 1). "The Rev. Chris Dow, rector at St. Jude's Cathedral in Iqaluit and dean of the diocese of the Arctic, serves on the national council of the PBSC [Prayer Book Society of Canada]. He has been involved from the outset in development of the Common Prayer Canada app, which began with English prayers. Since an April  update, the app also includes prayers in Inuktitut from the Eastern Arctic Inuktitut Bible translation" (p. 1). "Dow says the PBSC plans later this year  to add prayers in the Inuinnaqtun language of the Central Arctic, as well as the Walton Cree prayer book used on Hudson Bay's eastern coast which includes translations from the prayer book" (p. 10)
"The society is in early talks to include a French translation of the BCP, [Dow] adds, with plans to form a small subcommittee of French language speakers. Dow has also spoken to Lydia Mamakwa, bishop of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, about incorporating liturgies in other Indigenous languages" (p. 10).
"The PBSC partnered with a U.S.-based developer, Episcopal priest the Rev. Greg Johnson, who had developed an app based on the 1979 edition of the BCP used in the Episcopal Church. The Common Prayer Canada app was released in Advent 2020" (p. 10). "Various updates followed, notably the incorporation of prayers in Inuktitut. That change followed a positive review on Apple's App Store by diocese of the Arctic Suffragan Bishop Joey Royal, who suggested including Canadian Indigenous languages" (p. 10).
"Nick Kigeak, a student at Arthur Turner Training School ... downloaded the Common Prayer Canada app last year and uses it for morning and evening prayer. The language of the existing BCP translation in Inuktitut, Kigeak says, is 'still pretty old Inuktitut, which most people won't understand today'" (p. 10).
The following resolution was read to Synod in Cree and Inuktitut:
That this General Synod request the National Executive Council, as part of its strategic planning process, to review all past National Executive Council and General Synod resolutions related to Native people and issues, beginning with the Hendry Report of 1969, and to report on actions taken and areas still to be addressed, and to recommend future action or projects required for their implementation.
The mover and seconder agreed to add the words "to General Synod" on line five following the word "report."
The amended motion reads:
That this General Synod request the National Executive Council, as part of its strategic planning process, to review all past National Executive Council and General Synod resolutions related to Native people and issues, beginning with the Hendry Report of 1969, and to report to General Synod on actions taken and areas still to be addressed, and to recommend future action or projects required for their implementation. CARRIED Act 82
A translation team has completed the 24-year task of translating the bible into Inuktitut. The group included: Canon Jonas Allooloo, Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk, Canon Benjamin Arreak and the Rev. Joshua Arreak, all from the Diocese of the Arctic. The Inuktitut Bible project began in 1978. "The new Bible will not be widely available until 2005, after final checks, proofreading, printing and the preparation of Inuktitut study guides are completed".
The Rev. Rebecca Osborn and her husband Jared and their two young children moved from Pittsburgh, Penn. to Iqaluit in the diocese of the Arctic in August 2015. She and Jared share the assistant priest position at St. Jude's Anglican Cathedral in Iqaluit, a city of some 7,000 people. "Osborn got a basis in Inuktitut by taking courses at a local language school, and still works on it every day. She now answers her office phone in Inuktitut, and is able to have basic conversations in the language ... She gave her first Inuktitut sermon this January, relying only on St. Jude's Dean Jonas Allooloo, a Native speaker, to look it over beforehand for anything that didn't make sense. Jared is also learning the language, Osborn says, but was not able to preach sermons, but he is able to celebrate Inuktitut Eucharists and do readings".