Friday, May 30, 2014

Desmond Tutu to Speak at a Conference on Canadian Treaty Rights and Resource Development

A conference on treaty rights and resource development brings South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the heart of Alberta’s oil sands region this weekend.

The gathering, “As Long as the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in our Time,” features Archbishop Tutu as a keynote speaker and takes place on May 31 and June 1 in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The archbishop is known for his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and his support for divestment of fossil fuels in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Anglican Church of Canada recognizes that one in every 54 jobs in Canada is in mining and more than 20,000 people are employed directly in the oil sands. The international reach of Canada’s mining industry is also strong – as of 2010 over one thousand Canadian mining companies comprising 60 per cent of mining and exploration companies operating globally, held assets in more than one hundred countries.

Our church is also aware that extraction and transport of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) affect the health of land, water and air, and the wellbeing of persons and communities often in ways that only become evident over time.

These operations also often cross the traditional territories of Indigenous people without their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), a right enshrined in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is a signatory.

The global reality is that the impact of resource extraction and climate stress fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable. Through our commitment to the Marks of Mission – “To seek to transform the unjust structures of society…” and “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation…” – Anglicans are drawn into this conversation worldwide.

Anglicans in Canada represent many and diverse experiences and perspectives with respect to resource extraction. Together, we are finding creative ways to engage questions brought up by resource extraction. These expressions include:

Justice Camp 2014:

Land, in August the Diocese of Athabasca will receive immersion session participants who will visit oil sands sites, First Nations communities and residents of the city of Fort McMurray in this program coordinated by the Diocese of Edmonton.

A study of the divestment of fossil fuels by churches Participation in ecumenical and interfaith conversations about climate change.

In a 2013 Joint Declaration, the Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada spoke of “responsible resource extraction.” Our two churches affirmed that “responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.”

The Joint Declaration calls the whole church:

To learn about issues of resource extraction and the effects on environment, health, Indigenous peoples, communities, and economies and to raise awareness within our communities and with policy shapers and decision makers to act in support of our partners in defining their own development goals, including supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and overseas in exercising their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent; and to act to embed enforceable legal obligations based on FPIC in Canadian policies and practices with respect to resource extraction to advocate for responsible and ethical investment and actions by individuals, faith communities, corporations, and governments both in Canada and around the world to pray for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely and responsibly.

Our church commends the UN effort to reach a global treaty in 2015 to secure a global agreement on a net zero emissions goal. Seventy-nine percent of Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2011 were from carbon dioxide, mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels.

We recognize that these are long-term challenges that will require collaboration among all the stakeholders. This work is urgent and requires our patience at the same time. Through it all we pray for wisdom and the courage of our convictions.

To read the full text of the Joint Declaration, please click here. To learn more about resource extraction in Canada and abroad, please visit Anglican ecumenical partner KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. To learn more about ecumenical responses to climate change, please visit The Canadian Council of Churches.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Submissions to the Commission on the Marriage Canon

In seeking to fulfill its mandate to demonstrate a “broad consultation,” the Commission on the Marriage Canon has invited submissions from members of the Anglican Church of Canada. The commission’s terms of reference also specifically state: “In order to ensure the credibility of the commission and the transparency of its work, all submissions to the commission will be posted on the national church’s website.”

As submissions are received and reviewed, they will be posted in the order in which they were received.

Questions can be directed to the commission at


Related Articles
Invitation for Submission to the Commission on the Marriage Canon
Christianity Anglicanism and Sexual Orientation: Bridging the Divide Through Love and Respect

Friday, May 23, 2014

Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue meets in England

The fifth meeting of the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue takes place in Coventry, England from May 22 to 25, 2014. The Consultation brings together Anglican bishops from Africa and North America in hopes of building common understanding and respect.

Beginning in 2010, a rotating group of approximately two-dozen bishops from Canada, the United States, and a number of African countries, have met annually at locales around the world. Their gatherings facilitate learning about each other’s contexts and finding pathways for healing and reconciliation. Their time together in Coventry focuses specifically on “Reconciliation in the Anglican Communion.”

This intentional dialogue was developed in response to theological controversies that strained relationships across the Anglican Communion in the early 2000s. These included issues relating to human sexuality and the blessing of same-sex marriages. In the face of pain and division arising from these controversies, Archbishop Colin Johnson of the Diocese of Toronto and the Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, now Africa Relations Coordinator, spearheaded this important dialogue.

The bishops report this time together as one of powerful transformation and reconciliation. Kawuki Mukasa says that many at the table have grown tired of the tone of past discourse and that there is sincere interest in carving a new, respectful way forward. “There’s growing appetite for conciliatory voices in the Anglican Communion,” he says. There is also deepening appreciation that all who form this unique group carry out their lives and ministries as faithfully as they can in their contexts.

At the close of their last meeting, Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director of Reconciliation, invited the bishops to Coventry for their fifth face-to-face gathering. The setting in Coventry is especially fitting for the theme of the 2014 meeting given the city’s growing reputation as a hub for peace and reconciliation work. This includes strong Anglican contributions. The leadership and community at Coventry Cathedral responded to the World War II destruction of their building with forgiveness and commitment to reconciliation. This commitment is now lived out through a number of ministries addressing reconciliation around the world.

The members of the Anglican Church of Canada are asked to pray for the leadership and staff gathered in Coventry this week as they seek to listen to and learn from each other.

To learn more about the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, please visit the Anglican Church of Canada website.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Interim Report of the Anglican Church of Canada-United Church of Canada Dialogue

“Great things are they that you have done, O Lord my God! How great your wonders and your plans for us!” Psalm 40:5a

The current phase of the theological dialogue between the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada resumed in January 2012 with a shared mandate to discern “whether God is calling us into a new stage in our common life.”

The 2010 General Synod of the Anglican Church specifically asked the dialogue to focus its work on “an examination of the doctrinal identities of the two churches and the implications of this for the lives of the churches, including understandings of sacraments and orders of ministry.”

Meeting once annually, the members of the dialogue have rediscovered the degree to which our two churches share a common faith, context, history, geography, and commitment to carrying out God’s mission in the world. We have spent considerable time examining the theological positions and practices related to orders of ministry, sacraments, and creeds.

In doing so we have noted our differences, particularly in the way our churches order their ministries. However, we are also cognisant that such differences have been successfully navigated in numerous Ecumenical Shared Ministries, which have been for decades served interchangeably by both United Church and Anglican clergy. We have also learned from similar ecumenical dialogues in other parts of the world how it is possible to move beyond differences to achieve mutual exchanges of ministries for the purposes of mission.

When the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada were negotiating a formal merger in the 1970s, it was for the sake of mission: “We desire that union should make possible more effective participation in God’s mission both in Canada and throughout the world.”

The context in which our two churches now live and work has changed in the past 40 years, and our churches themselves have changed also. We are learning to proclaim the gospel anew in an increasingly secular and pluralistic society, and to do so with fewer financial and human resources than we once had. But the missional conviction that drove the framers of the Plan of Union remains our conviction, too. Our two churches are called still to be effective partners in God’s mission in this land and beyond.

That mission is compromised by the scandal of Christian division. The Lund Principle, which both our churches have affirmed, exhorts us to “act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately.” Yet more often than not we do act separately, and our witness to the world is rendered less effective.


1. We propose to explore what steps can be taken to make a mutual exchange of ministries between our two churches normative. We would begin this process by studying the possible interchangeability between the order of priest in the Anglican Church of Canada and ordained ministers in the United Church of Canada.

2. Recognizing that this will represent a deepening of our conversation, we request the addition to our number of one representative from the United Church’s Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee and one representative from the Anglican Church’s House of Bishops.

3. We further request that this current iteration of the dialogue be allowed to continue its work on mutual recognition of ministries until we have sufficiently explored the question to determine whether there is real potential to move forward.

We are confident, based on our dialogue’s work to date, that there is real potential to achieve some form of interchangeability between our churches’ ministers of word and sacrament. The Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada are both in different places than when we last visited this question three decades ago. Anglicans have been enriched by a dozen years of full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). The United Church is exploring new models of unity with other churches.

We look forward to having the time and space to discern where the Spirit might be leading our churches, responding to Jesus’ desire that we may be one, for the sake of God’s mission in the world.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Interfaith Eco-Action Day in Montreal

The 4th Annual Interfaith Eco-Action Day Event that will take place this Monday, May 19th from 9:00 a.m. through noon at Sir Georges-Etienne Cartier Park in St Henri (Metro St. Henri), Montreal, Quebec. It is a great opportunity for people of faith to make a real difference in a neighborhood. Last year close to 100 people participated from a number of faiths and traditions.

These Eco-Action Events have been organized within local Montreal neighborhoods annually for the past three years and are sponsored by the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal, The Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, the Concordia Multi-faith Chaplaincy, and EcoQuartier Sud Ouest.

Interfaith EcoAction Days are an opportunity for people of different faiths to work together in expressing the common belief that we are all entrusted with the care of the Earth.

For more information click here to check out the Facebook page. All are welcome to attend this free event.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Primate issues statement on abduction of young women from Chibok, Nigeria

A statement on the abduction of two hundred young girls from Chibok, Nigeria from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

That’s the curdling cry of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters of the more than two hundred young girls abducted from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, three weeks ago. The abductions have traumatized families and outraged a nation. The group behind the schoolgirl kidnappings, Boko Haram, and its declared intention “to sell them in the market” is appalling. It is an abomination against internationally held human rights, and an absolute affront to the efforts of many nations to honour the Millennium Development Goals to empower women and young girls through a good education.

As this atrocity continues to unfold with the reports of yet more abductions for the same evil intentions, the world watches with horror.

I am asking Anglicans to offer prayers of special intent in the coming weeks with people of all faiths who are appalled by these crimes. Pray for these innocent girls and young women terrorized and trafficked at gunpoint under the cover of darkness into a future that is grim. Pray for their families who are desperate for information as to their whereabouts. Pray for those who seek a forum for negotiating their release. Pray for a change of heart on the part of these armed extremists. Pray for the safe return of the daughters of Nigeria.

Let’s remember these young women and their families not only in the context of the community gathered in liturgy, but also in a public way. Let’s plan community prayer vigils. Let’s light candles. Let’s bring into these moments of trauma for the daughters of Nigeria the very thing we do during the White Ribbon Campaign between December 6th, National Day of Action to End Violence against Women, to December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Let’s wear a white ribbon and let’s renew the promise associated with it.

“I will not commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.”

Let’s hang white ribbons on our church doors, and encourage other keepers of public buildings to hang ribbons as well.

As we hold before the mercy and justice of God these young women and their families, I commend for our use this prayer being offered by Anglicans worldwide:

Prayer for the kidnapped Nigerian girls, May 2014

O God, we cry out to you
for the lives and the freedom
of the 276 kidnapped girls in Nigeria.
In their time of danger and fear,
pour out your strong Spirit for them.
Make a way home for them in safety.
Make a way back for them
to the education that will lift them up.
Hold them in the knowledge
that they are not captive slaves,
they are not purchased brides,
but they are your beloved daughters,
and precious in your sight.
Change the hearts and minds of their kidnappers
and of all who choose violence against women and girls.
Cast down the mighty from their seat
and lift up the humble and meek,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Written by Elizabeth Smith Diocese of Perth, The Anglican Church of Australia

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Invitation for submissions to the Commission on the Marriage Canon

In 2013 the General Synod passed a resolution directing the drafting of a motion “to change Canon XXI on marriage to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples, and that this motion should include a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.” Such a motion will be considered by the 2016 General Synod.

The General Synod stipulated that the preparation of this motion should, among other things, demonstrate that a “broad consultation” has taken place. To that end, a Commission on the Marriage Canon was established, and an important part of its mandate includes inviting “signed written submissions on the matter of amending Canon XXI (“On Marriage in the Church”) so as to provide for same-sex marriage in our church from any member of the Anglican Church of Canada who wishes to make such a submission.”

As members of the Anglican Church of Canada, your input is vitally important as we enter this process of discernment together, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Submissions are welcome in both written and video form. Whatever the format, submissions should be as brief and concise as possible, and guided by some or all of the following questions:

•How do you interpret what scripture says about marriage?
•How do you understand the theological significance of gender difference in marriage?
•Is there a distinction between civil marriage and Christian marriage?

The marriage canon describes “the purposes of marriage” as mutual fellowship, support, and comfort; the procreation (if it may be) and nurture of children; and the creation of a relationship in which sexuality may serve personal fulfilment in a community of faithful love. What is the theological significance of:

◦companionship in marriage?
◦bearing and raising children?
◦the relationship between marriage and sexuality?
•What is the difference between marriage and the blessing of a relationship?
•How do you understand the sacramentality of marriage?

Submissions must be received by Tuesday, September 30, 2014, and must include the author’s name, parish or institution, diocese, and contact details.

Questions can be sent to and responses uploaded here. They may also be sent by post to:

Commission on the Marriage Canon Anglican Church of Canada 80 Hayden Street Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2

All of the commissioners will read or view each submission as they prepare their report. As stipulated by the Commission on the Marriage Canon’s terms of reference, “In order to ensure the credibility of the Commission and the transparency of its work, all submissions to the Commission will be posted on the national church’s website.”

All submissions will be reviewed prior to posting on the national church’s website. Submissions failing to conform to the Anglican Church of Canada’s existing code of conduct for online contributions will not be posted. Namely, submissions must not contain “language or media that is obscene, profane, sexually suggestive or abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, hateful, or that contains racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable content.” Those making such submissions will be contacted and invited to revise their content accordingly.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Friday, May 2, 2014

Quebec Anglican Priest, MP and Social Justice Crusader Dan Heap Dead at 88

We mourn the passing of Dan Heap, an Anglican priest and former NDP MP who was best known for his tireless work as a social justice activist. His life is reviewed in this Toronto Star article by Laurie Monsebraaten.

Dan Heap’s lifetime crusade for peace and social justice live on in the people he touched and the policies he helped change, say family and friends.

The former Toronto alderman, NDP MP and social justice advocate died Friday. He was 88.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath remembered Heap as “a man of conviction who fiercely fought against injustice.

“He worked hard to make the city and country he loved a better place. He was a friend to many and a crusader for all,” she said in a statement.

Heap, who was known as “Don” to his friends and family, was born in Winnipeg and educated at Queen’s and McGill Universities. He began his career as an Anglican parish priest in western Quebec, but moved to Toronto in 1954 to work in a cardboard box factory to “bring socialism to the Canadian worker,” he told the Star in 2011.

“We knew him as an industrial worker who was absolutely committed to figuring out how the working class could find their rightful place in history,” his son Danny said Saturday. “You couldn’t untangle the Christianity piece from the socialist piece.”

After several failed attempts at public office, Heap was elected to Toronto city council in 1972. He jumped to federal politics in 1981 after winning a byelection for the NDP in the old riding of Spadina. He served in Ottawa for 12 years.

Throughout their lives, Heap and his wife Alice, who died in 2012, were fervent peace activists who fought for the rights of refugees and aboriginals and campaigned against poverty and homelessness.

The family’s Kensington Market home was a hotbed of student activism around the anti-war, anti-apartheid and social housing movements of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, said Danny, 57. Protest marches, sit-ins and picket lines were regular family outings that occasionally resulted in Heap’s arrest. However, Heap was only charged once.

In Oct. 1973, when Heap was an alderman, he joined a mass picket to support the mostly immigrant women workers at the Artistic Woodwork plant in North York where the company was bringing in replacement workers to crush a long and bitter strike. Heap was arrested during a scuffle and charged with assault and obstruction of police. He was acquitted when the judge found it was the police who were roughing up the pickets, Danny recalled.

“Don Heap was a heroic Canadian figure,” said street outreach worker Beric German. “Sometimes he led us, sometimes he was right beside us, and often in his older age he watched our back.”

In the early 1980s Heap helped found the Housing Not Hostels Coalition that resulted in the first provincial housing subsidies for homeless single people. In the late 1990s he co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee that prompted Ottawa to appoint its first minister responsible for fighting homelessness.

“There are many monuments to our local hero,” German said. “They often come in the form of people living a better and more dignified life.”

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, who worked in Heap’s federal constituency office in the early 1980s, mourned the loss of her “political mentor.”

“He was a man of faith, of God and justice and peace,” she said in an interview Saturday. “After seeing his example, I got inspired to think maybe I, too, can make a difference.” Chow was elected school trustee for the area in 1985 and then followed in Heap’s footsteps becoming city councillor and then MP.

A single mother whom Heap helped get daycare in the 1980s, left welfare and went on to teach nursing at George Brown College. As thanks, Nadira Fraser last year set up the “Dan and Alice Heap Bursary” to help single parents study nursing.

“I remember his act of help and kindness to me many years ago,” Fraser said. “In my personal and professional life teaching new nurses, and in my family, whose lives he shaped, I will always keep alive his values of compassion and social justice.”

When Heap retired from politics in 1993, he and his wife sold their Kensington Market home at a fraction of its market value to Homes First Society, an organization that provides housing for refugees.

Heap suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005.

After their health deteriorated, he and Alice had trouble accessing long-term care and were forced to move to a retirement home in 2009, where they paid up to $10,000 a month. After Heap reportedly wandered into another resident’s room in 2011, the retirement home called police and the couple faced eviction before the family agreed to provide 24-hour supervision. The Heaps moved into Kensington Gardens long-term care home less than a month later.

Heap’s family hired street nurse and longtime friend Cathy Crowe as his “political companion” after Alice died. She visited about three times a week to talk with him about the news and help him remember his work.

“It was quite an honour to be in that role,” Crowe said. “When I would remind him of some of his political crusades he would say: ‘Did I really do that?’”

The couple’s seven children were with Heap during his final days last week at Kensington Gardens where they shared stories and sang along to recordings of protest singers Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson, their father’s favourites, Danny said.

“Throughout his life he expressed his politics quite often through a sing-song,” he said. “That’s going to be definitely part of remembering him.”

Heap is also survived by 17 grandchildren.

A funeral mass and memorial service will be held Sun. May 4 at Church of the Holy Trinity at 2 pm, with a sing-song to follow.

Source: The Toronto Star