Magazine article Anglican Journal

'Barriers' to Native Ministry Remain

Magazine article Anglican Journal

'Barriers' to Native Ministry Remain

Article excerpt

Indigenous Anglican leaders stated at a recent meeting of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) that they hope their most recent call for greater self-determination will be the last one needed.

"My hope is that this document will be the ultimate document that will help us to arrive where we need to be and where we want to be," said Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh."We hope that there will be no need for another statement to address our concerns, our needs."

The statement, titled "Where Are We Today: Twenty Years after the Covenant, an Indigenous Call to Church Leadership," was presented to Council of General Synod (CoGS) in November and has already led to some discussion among the council and at the House of Bishops. Feedback from those discussions has led to a second draft, which ACIP presented to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, during ACIP's annual meeting March 20 at the Six Nations territory in Ohsweken, Ont.

Hiltz joined the meeting for a day, as did the Rev. Laurette Glasgow, the Canadian church's special advisor for government relations.

Changes have been made in the language and tenor of the text, said National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald. "We know that some things we said got people's backs up."

The revised statement notes that ACIP has experienced "a significant level of co-operation and partnership" with the House of Bishops and CoGS."Many bishops and quite a few diocesan, provincial and national structures have adapted and are acting in a more circular manner, consulting with Indigenous people and leaders," said ACIP. "There are Indigenous bishops serving in a number of contexts, with some serving in traditional leadership roles in the larger church. We are very pleased to see these developments and encourage them to continue and increase." At the same time, ACIP said, it would like to see see ministries with leadership and organizational structures that are "reflective of an Indigenous way of life."

The statement cites other significant changes: Inuit leadership in the Arctic, the creation of the office of the National Indigenous Bishop, the establishment of an Indigenous area in Saskatchewan, the creation of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh and Council of the North ministries. But many of the members also spoke passionately to the primate of the barriers to self-determination that remain.

One of the key barriers, many ACIP members suggested, was the bishops. Freda Lepine, of the diocese of Brandon, noted that bishops were not consistently accommodating of Indigenous needs or co-operative with Indigenous leadership across the church. …

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