TORONTO (Dec. 18, 2002) -- An agreement between the Anglican Church and the federal government over liability for Indian Residential Schools will allow the church to continue to serve society and to forge new bonds with native people, the Anglican Primate says.
In a letter to church members posted on the Anglican Church of Canada's Web site, Archbishop Michael Peers says he is "profoundly encouraged" by the way Canadian Anglicans and Anglican dioceses have responded to the agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, all 30 Anglican dioceses must ratify and agree to contribute $25 million to a settlement fund over a five-year period.
The agreement effectively ends the Anglican Church's involvement in costly litigation that was threatening the future of its national organization.
The text of Archbishop Peers' letter follows:
The past few weeks have marked a watershed in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. Beginning with the announcement of an agreement with the Government of Canada as to how validated claims of sexual and physical abuse in Indian Residential Schools would be apportioned, we are now in a period of discernment and decision together. In each diocese, a process is, or will be, in place to decide the diocesan response to our national responsibility.
Let me offer some background and interpretation for this time of discernment and decision in dioceses and congregations, and for your own reflection as an Anglican and a member of Christ's body.
From 1820 to 1969, the Anglican Church of Canada was involved in residential schools. In 1911, the first contracts were signed between the Government of Canada and a number of dioceses. In 1921, the Missionary Society of the Church in Canada began to assume those contracts. In the words of the Bishop of Keewatin [David Ashdown], a person with experience of the schools decades ago and a partner in dialogue with many former students, this was not a good system with a few bad people in it, but a deeply flawed system with many good people in it. In 1969 we abandoned participation in the schools, and began to forge a new relationship with aboriginal Canadians that would be rooted in justice, solidarity, and mutuality.
More than twenty years later, former students of the schools began to come forward, alleging abuse at the hands of those in authority in the schools. Those allegations have prompted our church to come to terms with two painful realities. First, our partnership with the government in seeking the assimilation of aboriginal Canadians was itself a profound error. Second, some within the schools used their power to take advantage of the vulnerability of children.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defines "remorse" as the discovery that we do not control the telling of our stories -- that we play unflattering and sometimes destructive roles in the stories of others. In the stories of aboriginal Canadians, we hear that our actions were not noble and our impact was not life-saving.
Remorse is hard for us. We did not intend to collaborate in undermining the well being of children. We did not intend to foster a climate in which predators could assault the vulnerable. We did not intend to contribute to a rift between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. Yet we did all those things.
In 1969, we embraced another way of understanding and telling the story of our relationship with indigenous peoples. Together with them, we began to look for a better way. In the past decades, signs of that better way have begun to emerge. For example, the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples identifies a unique and vital contribution that the churches can make: "Of all the non-governmental institutions in Canadian society, religious institutions have perhaps the greatest potential to foster awareness and understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people".
In November , the Anglican Church of Canada and the Government of Canada reached an agreement on a settlement of validated claims of sexual and physical abuse in schools administered by the Anglican Church. We are asking each diocese to consider the proposed agreement, and to make a financial commitment to the settlement fund. The proposed settlement with the Government of Canada allows us to proceed with integrity along "a better way". We have not evaded our responsibility within the legal structures and systems that our nation has established to deal with such claims. We have acknowledged both our part in the damage that was done and the many good and generous people who -- in a deeply flawed arrangement -- acted humanely. We are involved in significant explorations with the indigenous constituencies of the Anglican Church of Canada as to how we can, together, live up to the potential identified in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
It was "our people" -- people who share with us a faith, and a tradition -- who suffered in the residential schools. In the Anglican Church of Canada, there are whole dioceses in which the majority of our members are aboriginal Canadians. As we continue the hard work of fashioning a church that brings us all together for mission, we can bear witness to the possibility of reconciliation in a nation in which the divide between aboriginal persons and communities and the dominant culture seems to widen with each passing year.
This settlement is not about "getting out" of anything. It is instead a way of getting more deeply into the healing and reconciliation by which we can both strengthen our own common life and extend that life into mission in our own society.
I am profoundly encouraged by the way in which dioceses and their members have begun to address the challenge before us. Several dioceses have already ratified the agreement, and the others have a clear process in mind for coming to a decision. At least four of the dioceses that have ratified the agreement had no formal relationship with any of the schools, and therefore no legal liability. That we recognize both a common "moral liability" and a common vocation to ministry and mission in our society, whether or not we are directly and legally affected by the schools issue, is surely one of the strengths of this Anglican Church of Canada.
In the months and years ahead, I believe we can use that strength to serve our society and all its members. Because we bear witness not only to the deep flaws of our past, but also to the deep need for healing and reconciliation in our present, we are poised to contribute to a crucial process of discernment for a Canadian society in search of a humane future. Because we are entering more deeply into the spirit of partnership between aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons and communities within our church, we are poised to contribute to the emergence of a similar sense of partnership within Canadian society as a whole.
For reasons of our common life, and for reasons of our common mission within Canadian society, I profoundly hope that we will all be able not only to support and contribute to this settlement, but also to celebrate the possibilities it opens up for us all.
Yours faithfully, Michael G. Peers Archbishop and Primate
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Contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Acting Director Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Michael Thompson, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, email@example.com; www.anglican.ca
"Indigenous spirituality has a powerful new voice at Christ Church Cathedral Ottawa. In a historic appointment, local Indigenous spiritual leader Albert Dumont has been named Algonquin Spiritual Teacher in Residence for a two-year term at the cathedral. During his term, Dumont will help educate members of the cathedral community on traditional Indigenous spirituality, while deepening the relationship between the diocese of Ottawa and the Algonquin nation upon whose unceded territory most of the diocese sits" (p. 1). "'I see it as very important', Dumont said of his new role. 'To me, it's an opportunity for people to know something about the Algonquin Anishinaabe in unsurrendered land'" (p. 1). "'Albert is not a Christian', [Dean Shane] Parker said. 'He is an Algonquin man who has been shaped by his community, of his ancestors, throughout his life. I feel that having him in the cathedral will help us to understand Algonquin spirituality in particular, but [also] Indigenous spirituality in the context of a relationship, because I believe at the heart of reconciliation is developing a meaningful relationship between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people" (p. 2). "Dumont himself was a Christian until he was 12 years old. However, it was the racism of his teachers, fellow students and community at large that gradually pushed him away" (p. 2). "Over the course of his life, Dumont has lived with chronic pain, and overcome a struggle with alcohol" (p. 2). "In his new capacity at Christ Church Cathedral, Dumont will share his knowledge wherever it is needed. Potential areas may include spending time with Anglicans engaged in music ministry, meeting with Anglican clergy to teach Indigenous spirituality and helping the cathedral to reach out to ecumenical and interfaith leaders" (p. 2).
TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2003) -- The last of 30 dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada have now ratified an agreement with the federal government which caps the church's liability in residential schools litigation at $25-million.
Completing a process that began last November , the 30 dioceses have unanimously approved the agreement and unanimously agreed to contribute to the settlement fund it creates. Each diocese was required to sign on to the agreement before it could come into effect. At a series of special meetings and synods held since last December  all agreed to do so, many without a dissenting vote.
The last dioceses to vote were Fredericton and Calgary this past weekend. Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador had earlier approved the agreement in principle and confirmed the decision this weekend. Because of time zones, Calgary's officially became the final ratification vote.
The Canadian Anglican Church has also announced the formation of a separate corporation, called the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corp., which will administer the settlement fund under the terms of the agreement.
Under the agreement, 30 per cent of compensation will be paid from the settlement fund to former residential schools students who have proven claims of sexual or physical abuse. The remaining 70 per cent will be paid by the federal government.
If compensation for these claims eventually exceeds $25-million, the federal government will pay the rest, and should awards fall short of the amount, the money will be returned to the dioceses.
Canadian dioceses made individual decisions on how they would find the money to contribute their share to the settlement fund.
In the diocese of Toronto, for instance, Archbishop Terry Finlay asked each Anglican to contribute $100 in order to raise $5-million. Athabasca in Alberta is selling an archdeacon's residence to raise $125,000. Other dioceses dipped into reserves or decided to mount capital campaigns to cover both contributions to the settlement fund and other local projects.
Diocese were asked to contribute to the settlement fund according to a formula similar to the one used to determine their contributions to the national church.
In total, Canadian dioceses were called on to contribute $22-million and that goal has been met. General Synod, the national embodiment of the church, will make up the remaining $3-million.
The agreement was intended to move litigation over residential schools out of the courts and into a form of alternate dispute resolution. The large number of lawsuits was taking a long time in the legal system and the process was costing vast amounts of money, to the point where the General Synod of the Anglican Church was facing bankruptcy.
The details of a process to keep claims out of the courts (alternative dispute resolution) have yet to be finalized. Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod and the chief Anglican negotiator with the federal government, said at the time the agreement was announced on Nov. 20  that it would allow the church to use its resources to do what it does best -- minister to people who were harmed in the schools and work at healing and reconciliation -- rather than use them up in legal fees.
After this weekend's finalization of the ratification process, Archdeacon Boyles said that he was "very pleased with the way dioceses have responded so quickly and so positively to the agreement. It shows the strength of the Anglican family in Canada".
With the last of the ratification votes, the formal documents will now be sent to the dioceses for signing, Archdeacon Boyles explained. Once the documents have been signed by the dioceses, representatives of the Anglican Church and the Government of Canada will formally sign the official agreement.
A tentative date of March 11  has been set for the formal signing by Archbishop Michael Peers, the Anglican Primate, and federal Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale, in charge of residential schools resolution. The signing will likely take place at the Anglican national office in Toronto.
The Anglican church was involved, with the federal government, in operating 26 of 80 residential schools from the mid-19th century until the 1970s when the church ended its involvement. In 1993, Archbishop Peers formally apologized to native people for the church's involvement in the schools.
Be it resolved that:
This Council of General Synod acknowledge receipt of the report “One Step on a Journey: The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Anglican Church of Canada – Lessons Learned” and its Executive Summary, commend it to General Synod, and encourage the Anglican Church of Canada at all levels to read them and take action on their recommendations for ongoing reconciliation work both within the Anglican Church and more broadly.
ADOPTED #CoGS 037-03-19
Ms. Melanie Delva, Reconciliation Animator, presented the report “One Step on a Journey: The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Anglican Church of Canada – Lessons Learned”, an exercise to reflect on the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).
Data was gathered by surveying national staff members and other national church leaders, convening a Survivors’ Circle, and conducting one-on-one interviews. Participation was fairly evenly representative of urban and rural, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, clergy and laity. In total, 42 individuals participated.
Ms. Delva reflected that the process was hard, some of what she learned was hard – it has changed how she views her work and how she views people with whom she works as Reconciliation Animator in the Anglican Church of Canada. Although a lengthy report, she encouraged Council members to read it.
Ms. Delva noted that aside from being presented to CoGS, the report was also submitted to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), the Vision Keepers, and the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation, and Justice. The report will be submitted to the House of Bishops (HoB) and presented, with a resolution, to General Synod 2019 in July.
In closing, Ms. Delva remarked that the Settlement Agreement did not necessarily heal the break in the relationship with the indigenous community and the rest of the Anglican Church.
Canadian Anglican bishops meeting this week in Saskatoon, Sask., have unanimously declared the Windsor Report of the Lambeth Commission on unity in the Anglican Communion to be an important document worthy of study by the whole church.
Without dissent, the bishops approved a motion that calls on Canadian Anglicans to respond to the report in time for a meeting of the Primates of the Communion that will be held in Belfast next February .
The bishops also voted unanimously to ask the Canadian Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, to write a pastoral letter to the Canadian Church asking Anglicans to consider the report and send their responses to him.
The Lambeth Commission was created by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams more than a year ago to consider how the world-wide Anglican Communion can preserve its unity in the face of controversies around issues such as the ordination of a gay bishop in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in a Canadian diocese.
The commission under the chairmanship of Archbishop Robin Eames of Armagh, submitted its report last month. The commission conducted an exhaustive study of Anglican unity and the stresses it faces and made several recommendations including issuing a call for "expressions of regret" on the part of some bishops and churches whose actions have distressed others in the communion. Bishops who have intervened in the affairs of dioceses other than their own are also asked to express regret and refrain from such interventions in the future.
The report also includes a model "covenant" to more closely bind provinces of the Anglican Communion.
Anglican Primates from around the world are to bring their churches' responses to the Belfast meeting, and the Canadian Church has set up a process to gather those responses.
On another matter, the bishops also approved a document entitled "Shared Episcopal Oversight" which provides a model through which parishes and congregations that dissent from a decision on the blessing of same-sex unions made by their dioceses can be placed, temporarily, under the care of a bishop from outside the diocese.
The model described in "Shared Episcopal Oversight" also provides for a process of reconciliation where agreement between certain parishes or congregations and the diocese's bishop cannot be reached. In both cases, the diocesan bishop is involved in the process.
The document says that "shared Episcopal ministry" is based on a spirit of reconciliation, cooperation and good will.
The meeting of Anglican bishops is held twice a year and brings together bishops from each of the Canadian Anglican church's 30 dioceses from across the country.
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For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); firstname.lastname@example.org OR Paul Feheley, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, email@example.com
Four page insert (1-4) included with September 2020 issue of Anglican Journal. Colour insert with seven (7) individual articles indexed separately.
"The election of a new primate [the Most Rev. Linda Nicholls] and the establishment of a self-determining Indigenous Anglican church were only some of the highlights of the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, which met July 10-16 in Vancouver. In these seven days, General Synod took concrete steps in helping realize the dream of a fully self-determining Anglican Church of Canada and advance reconciliation. It affirmed the creation of the Jubilee Commission, tasked with finding 'just, sustainable and equitable' ways of funding the Indigenous church. Synod also approved the creation of a permanent committee to carry on the work of the Primate's Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, established in 2013. And, in a speech that brought many members of General Synod to their feet, outgoing Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz apologized, on behalf of the church, for the spiritual harm it had historically inflicted on Indigenous peoples". "A vote to replace the 'Book of Common Prayer's' existing prayer for the conversion of the Jews with a new prayer for reconciliation with them -- written in consultation with the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, and approved by the Prayer Book Society of Canada (PBSC) -- passed its first reading". "The same day, General Synod signed on to and endorsed 'A Common Word', a letter inviting Christians and Muslims to dialogue". A resolution of sorts was reached on the often painful discussion of same-sex marriage, with the House of Bishops recommending dioceses make their own decisions on the matter in the wake of a vote against changing the marriage canon. There were also votes urging the church to adopt new ecological practices, the approval of new liturgical texts, and much more -- all of it made possible by the donations of Anglicans like you".
1. Affirm the following goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:
- Prepare a comprehensive historical record on the policies and operations of Indian Residential Schools;
- Complete a publicly accessible report that will include recommendations to the Government of Canada concerning the Indian Residential School system and its legacy;
- Establish a research centre by the end of its mandate that will be a permanent resource for all Canadians;
- Host seven national events in different regions across Canada to promote awareness and public education about the Indian Residential School system and its impact;
- Support events designed by individual communities to meet their unique needs;
- Support a Commemoration Initiative that will provide funding for activities that honour and pay tribute in a permanent and lasting manner to former Indian Residential School students.
2. Request the General Secretary and the Council of General Synod to ensure adequate resources for the Anglican Church of Canada to support and participate fully in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada over the next five years (2010-2015).
3. Reaffirm the 3 goals for equipping leaders, taken from the 'Equipping Ambassadors of Reconciliation' conference hosted by the Anglican, United and Presbyterian Churches in Orillia, Ontario in November 2009:
- To provide training and resources to ensure that every church member has knowledge of the history of the Indian Residential Schools system, the mandate and purpose of the official Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), and the possible roles of ordinary citizens in the official processes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- To provide training and resources to ensure that former students of Indian Residential School are given the opportunity to tell the story of his or her experience in a safe and respectful manner. These may be former students of Indian Residential Schools who are or were church members or who reside in the same communities or urban friendship or ministry centres.
- To provide training and resources to encourage all Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal church members to work actively together to build right relationships with each other.
4. Recommend that the Anglican Church of Canada co-host at least two and up to three more events modeled after the first 'Equipping Ambassadors of Reconciliation' conference during the 2010-2013 triennium, if possible in Western, Eastern, and Northern Canada.
"When Geronimo Henry stood up to speak at a May 3  meeting between Indigenous community leaders, residential school survivors and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Toronto, he told the story of his 11 years in the Mohawk Institute residential school near Brantford, Ont." (p. 1). "We;by stressed that there was nothing that would make up for the harm, but repeated a promise he had made at several other stops on his April 28 to May 3  visit to Canada. While his power over the international Anglican Communion was limited, he said, he would do everything in his power to lead the church to advance the cause of reconciliation. That would begin, he said, with carrying what he had heard in hours of testimony from dozens of survivors in Toronto, in James Smith Cree Nation and Prince Albert in Saskatchewan back to this summer's  Lambeth Conference in England, where the rights of Indigenous peoples are a central theme on the agenda. 'Apologies are cheap, is not offensive unless accompanied by action', said Welby in a similar speech in Prince Albert" (p. 8). "Throughout his visit to Canada, Welby had been careful with the promises he had made, he said at a speech in Prince Albert .... 'Because the history is one of over-promising and under-delivering, I want to under-promise and over-deliver'. One concrete promise Welby did make was to release any records on residential schools in the church's possession to survivors and to push for the New England Company, the society that originally ran the Mohawk Institute, to do the same. Welby was originally scheduled to make a stop at the Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont., on his tour of Canada to hear from survivors and offer an apology there also. But the Survivors' Secretariat, a Six Nations organization representing the survivors of the Mohawk Institute, had asked him not to come unless he was ready to discuss financial support for programs to teach the Indigenous languages that residential school banned their students from speaking and to help the secretariat get access to the school records" (p. 8) Kimberly Murray, is the executive lead for the Survivors' Secretariat. Dawn Hill, a member of the Survivors' Secretariat and survivor of the Mohawk Institute told "a story about the contrast between Jesus' teachings and the residential school staff" (p. 8). "After his speech in Toronto, the 'Journal' asked Welby what had made him commit to getting school records for the survivors. 'I think that's a promise I can probably keep, and I don't want to promise what I can't do', he replied. He said funding for language programs was not for him to promise, as it was within the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Canada'" (p. 8).
"Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit Canada from April 29 to May 3 , accepting an invitation from Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and National Indigenous Archbishop Mark MacDonald" (p. 1). He will meet with "Indigenous leaders in three communities: Prince Albert, Sask., Six Nations of the Grand River and Toronto. During his visit, Welby will hear from residential school survivors, visit Indigenous communities and share in the Anglican Church of Canada's work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples" (p. 8). "Nicholls said the invitation to Welby emerged out of conversations between herself and the national Indigenous archbishop regarding the role of Anglican missionaries and clergy in forging relationships with Indigenous people prior to the setting up of colonial government in Canada" (p. 8). "MacDonald said that to this day, many Indigenous people look to the Crown, the Church of England and in particular the Archbishop of Canterbury 'as a guarantor of the treaties and of their ongoing rights in the Canadian project'" (p. 8). "Welby previously visited Canada in 2018 for a meeting of primates from North and South America, and in 2014 to discuss issues such as reconciliation and same-sex marriage with then-primate Fred Hiltz" (p. 8).
A discussion between Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Rev. Matthew Anderson, a Lutheran and affiliate professor of theological studies at Concordia University. Anderson said "the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is dominated by a non-Indigenous or 'settler' perspective. .... While Lutherans were involved in the colonial project ... we weren't important enough to have residential schools or to be co-opted by the government in the same way. Through full communion, Anderson says, the ELCIC has learned much from Indigenous Anglicans. Non-Indigenous Lutherans also feel solidarity with non-Indigenous Anglicans in that 'we're settlers struggling to figure out how to respond to a destruction of a sense of who we are as Canadians'" (p. 8). MacDonald highlights the value of Lutheran theology, particularly its view of baptism. Lutherans, he says, have emphasized, especially in the modern era, the graceful transformation associated with baptism -- and this has implications for reconciliation. .... The archbishop points out that children found in unmarked graves on residential school sites were all baptized. Yet for school authorities, baptism 'didn't make them human enough to even get put in a register', he says. 'This is the basis of genocide'" (p. 10).
"This is the second in a series of seven in which Matt Gardner, Anglican Journal staff writer, presents Anglican and Lutheran perspectives about matters of mutual importance".