Magazine article Anglican Journal

Parishes Pray by the Calendar

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Parishes Pray by the Calendar

Article excerpt

Two urban parishes, several time zones apart, are separately beginning to forge dialogue and perhaps relationships with aboriginal Anglicans, starting with two of the most basic forms of communication: prayers and letters.

Groups at the parishes of St. James (diocese of New Westminster), Vancouver, and St. Simon (diocese of Niagara) Oakville, Ont., are using the prayer calendar produced by the Indigenous Sacred Circle as a guide, praying for and sending a letter to the individual or group named for each day.

The calendar was released last June by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) to prepare the church for the Aug. 2-10, 2003 national Sacred Circle gathering in Brandon, Man. Beginning on Dec. 1, 2002, the first Sunday of Advent, the start of the church year, the calendar's first day seeks prayers for Canadian indigenous ministries "and those who serve and lead in them" as they prepare for the fifth national gathering of the Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle. In that particular case, there is nobody to whom a letter could be sent. However, the following day recommends prayer for an ACIP member from the diocese of Algoma; the following day for prayer for an indigenous congregation in Algoma.

Located on Vancouver's downtown east side, St. James was the first to begin the prayer project. The idea evolved out of the parish's education and formation committee. It had focused on indigenous issues in recent months, including the impact of missionaries on aboriginal communities, native spirituality and its relationship to the Christian faith.

Alex Currie, a driving force behind the project, describes it as "aboriginal education for our parish and friends, with the intent of developing some sort of outreach (not evangelization)."

The listings from the calendar are added to the parish newsletter, so Mr. Currie has no idea how many people are praying for those listed. He then sends a form letter to the individuals or congregations telling them that people in the congregation prayed for them.

In drafting the letter, Mr. Currie's group, made up of mostly lay members and a deacon, sought the assistance of people involved in indigenous ministry. They included Rev. John C. Mellis, director of the Native Ministries Consortium at the Vancouver School of Theology, Robert Joseph, executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Millie Poplar, co-ordinator of indigenous advocacy and Donna Bomberry, coordinator for indigenous ministries of General Synod, the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada Ms. …

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