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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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.
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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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.
"Diocesan Bishop Peter Mason apologized to victims of sexual abuse and their families in the diocese of Ontario. He delivered the apology at an evening service of 'repentance, reconciliation and renewal'. ... Before the service, Bishop Mason read the apology to about 100 people outside St. George's Cathedral here. Many were former congregation members who have picketed the cathedral and refused to enter for more than a year".
That as soon as possible, the FMD Committee and Management Team devlop a budget narrative, which will clearly identify our commitment to healing and reconciliation and make it public as widely as possible. CARRIED #33-11-00
"Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, called on people of faith to pray for those affected by the fatal shooting of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous young man, and the subsequent trial and acquittal of Gerald Stanley, the Saskatchewan farmer accused of killing him. Hiltz also sought prayers for 'the needs for reform in the justice system'" (p. 1). "Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man, was fatally shot Aug. 9, 2016, after he and four others drove onto Stanley's cattle farm near Biggar, Sask. Stanley testified that the shot was accidental and possibly due to a malfunction known as a hang fire. On Feb. 9, 2018, a Saskatchewan jury found Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder" (p. 1, 9). "The acquittal has fuelled racial tensions in Saskatchewan, where some see the verdict as fair and others as racially biased. It also prompted protests and calls for justice reform across the country" (p. 9). "The primate's statement references Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci's 2013 report, 'First Nations Representation in Ontario Juries' which found that 'under-representation of First Nations People living on reserves was a symptom of a much larger crisis in the relationship between Ontario's Justice System and Indigenous Peoples', a finding that the primate's statement asserts 'is not unique to Ontario'" (p. 9). "When asked why it was important for Saskatchewan bishops to issue a statement, diocese of Saskatoon Bishop David Irving wrote in an email that 'over the last few years all of our churches in Saskatchewan have been working hard at 'Relationship Building and Trust Building'. He said that 'some of these efforts have been undermined' by Boushie's 'tragic death' and the trial of Stanley. 'Many of our communities are really hurting and racism has come to the surface', he said" (p. 9).
"Healing Fund co-ordinator Esther Wesley told CoGS that, as of June 22  Giving with Grace, the Anglican Church of Canada's annual fundraising campaign, had raised $26,000 in money directly designated for the fund, which supports Indigenous healing projects. Funds collected without any specific designation totalled $249,000, Wesley said. ... Thus a total of $275,000 has been raised for the fund by Giving with Grace to date in 2017. In 2015, Giving with Grace raised $515,000". "A key focus for the fund remains keeping Indigenous languages alive, as many of them reach a critical point in their existence". "Reconciliation was the theme of a number of sessions at the meeting of CoGS. On June 24 , Melanie Delva, named the church's reconciliation animator last April , gave a presentation introducing her role. Much of it, she said, would consist in 'forming, equipping and resourcing a national team to encourage and sustain local engagement in the work of reconciliation".
QUESNEL, Sunday, October 15, 2000 -- Barring a miracle, the Anglican Diocese of Cariboo will pass into history sometime in the next 12 months.
Faced with crippling lawsuits brought trial by Canada's Department of Justice, the diocesan synod has approved a resolution authorizing its bishop, James Cruickshank, and its executive council to formally wind up the affairs of the diocese during the next 12 months.
It has also asked for a binding arbitration procedure to determine what assets are owned by the diocese and available for settlement of the lawsuits.
Government lawyers have argued that all church properties in the diocese are subject to seizure. But the diocesan chancellor, Bud Smith, said the diocese may hold properties in trust for the parishes, and may not have the legal authority to surrender them.
Government officials, including the Minister of Indian Affairs, Robert Nault, the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Herb Gray, have said it is not the government's intention to force any church to bankruptcy. But the Department of Justice has launched 12 of 14 legal actions currently facing the diocese, and its legal costs, more than $350,000 to date, have drained all its assets.
"The land and the buildings are the only remaining assets in the diocese," Mr. Smith told the synod, "but before we can offer any of them in settlement, we have to be clear who owns them," The diocese has proposed that the question of ownership be resolved by a process of binding arbitration, but he has not yet had a response from the government.
If it is determined that the diocese owns the buildings, Mr. Smith said, they will be turned over to the government.
A third resolution was characterized by Archbishop David Crawley, the senior bishop of the church's western region, as "a kind of faint hope clause." It authorizes the bishop and executive committee to negotiate a settlement with the government, provided that any such settlement must be sustainable from resources within the Diocese of Cariboo and "must be deemed by the bishop and the executive, in consultation with victims of abuse and survivors of St. George's Residential School, to be of direct benefit to those victims and survivors."
The Diocese of Cariboo straddles the Thompson and Fraser Rivers in interior British Columbia and runs from the small community of Spuzzum, south of Lytton, north to Prince George. Its 17 parishes include only nine that are self-supporting. Many church buildings are small and relatively poorly equipped. Relatively few have washrooms, for example. Priests are paid a basic living expense, or stipend, of approximately $27,000 a year, plus a housing allowance.
It is a point of great pride in the diocese that it has steadily increased its self-reliance over the past nine years. There was spontaneous applause when the synod heard that this year, for the first time, parishes have contributed more money to ministry beyond their borders than the diocese has received in external grants from the national Anglican Church.
But finances remain a struggle. So the members of the synod reacted first with disbelief, then with laughter, when told that a government lawyer had demanded a list of the diocese's "paintings and jewellery." Later, one of the members suggested, to general hilarity, "Maybe we should ask the Sunday school kids to do a lot of paintings and send them in."
The synod had also expected to deal with a resolution allowing clergy in the diocese to bless same-sex marriages. In view of the likely dissolution of the diocese, that motion was withdrawn. Members said it would not be responsible to take such an action when they could not be sure they would be able to follow through on it.
Instead, the synod has requested its churches to "continue to secure open and full participation and membership to all seekers," and to "respond appropriately" to the pastoral and sacramental needs of gay and lesbian persons.
In other business, the synod acted to ensure support for four meetings of the diocese's Council of Indigenous People, and support their participation at the Lytton healing gathering in July next year.
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Indian residential schools - Anglican Church of Canada
St. George's Indian Residential School (Lytton, B.C.)
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