Magazine article Anglican Journal

A Defining Moment

Magazine article Anglican Journal

A Defining Moment

Article excerpt

Mississauga, Ont.

A hush fell in the room as aboriginal bishops, clergy and elders wrapped a sunset-red Pendleton blanket around Archbishop Michael Peers, former primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and prayed over him.

Each iconic woollen blanket, traditionally made by the native people of Oregon, has a story, and that given to Peers concerns "The Evening Star" that helps his tribe.

The powerful moment was part of a commemoration, held Nov. 16, of the 20th anniversary of the Anglican Church of Canada's landmark apology to indigenous people for the role it played in the Indian residential schools system, which took native children from their homes as part of the government's policy of assimilation. The Anglican church operated about 30 of the federally funded schools.

Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Anglicans paid tribute to Peers, saying that his apology paved the way for healing and See of ACIP, said the apology delivered by Peers was "sincere, honest, humble [and] heartfelt." Black also offered an apology to Peers, saying, "If we have grievously hurt or disappointed you in any way, accept my apology." Peers, in response, smiled broadly at Black.

Peers's apology had consequences for him personally and for the church, including litigation. When former students, churches and the federal government arrived at a settlement agreement, ACIP urged Peers not to sign

it, saying it was flawed.

Peers, who arrived at the commemoration event with his spouse, Dorothy, recalled that when he spoke the words of apology, "I really had the confidence that the church would take the ball and run with it. …

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