The focus of “Giving with Grace,” the Anglican Church of Canada’s annual fundraising campaign, in 2017 will be to replenish the church’s fund for Indigenous healing, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, announced this week.
In a five-page pastoral letter to Canadian Anglicans on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, Hiltz first discusses the meaning of Epiphany, which, he notes, means literally a manifesting or showing forth, and is meant to suggest the glory of Jesus as it was revealed to the nations of the world.
In Epiphany, Hiltz says, we trace the steps of the Holy Child’s growth through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood. In these stages, he says, “we come to know the power of his love to heal and reconcile, to re-set our relations, one with another, in the wondrous grace of God.”
In 2017, Hiltz continues, Epiphany lasts until the end of February. In these two months, he says, “if we listen carefully we will hear his invitation to show forth that same gospel in the manner of our living, particularly through the vows of our baptism.”
Hiltz’s letter notes a slew of anniversaries that will be commemorated in 2017. One, he says, is the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. Citing the Prayer for the Nation in the Book of Alternative Services—“Make us who come from many nations with many different languages a united people”—Hiltz says there is now great hope that the contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people to the fabric of Canada will be recognized, “and that where that fabric has been torn, we will have more resolve than ever to mend it.”
The 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the legacy of the Indian residential schools, Hiltz says, declare what Canada needs to do as a country. He asks for Anglicans to pray that the prime minister, Parliament and churches of Canada respond adequately to these calls.
For its part, Hiltz says, the Anglican Church of Canada expects to appoint, in a few weeks, a full-time staff person who will be entirely dedicated to fostering reconciliation work between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
Hiltz also notes that both Giving with Grace (formerly known as the Anglican Appeal) and the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation—established to fund programs that promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans—will be 25 years old in 2017. This convergence of anniversaries, he says, presents an opportunity to the Anglican Church of Canada to renew its commitment to the fund by using money raised by Giving with Grace to replenish it.
“In 2017, the generosity of Canadian Anglicans will allow a renewal and continuation of that ministry,” says Hiltz.
The Healing Fund was founded in 1992. Since then, Hiltz says, it has made grants totalling more than $7 million to 654 projects—language and culture recovery and healing circles, for example—across Canada. Money for the fund was originally raised by Canadian Anglicans as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. But the fund is about to be depleted, because, according to the agreement, money allocated to it was to be spent before 2019.
In 2015, Giving with Grace raised $515,000 according to audited figures from The General Synod.
This year, Hiltz continues, will also mark the 10th anniversary of the installation of Mark MacDonald as National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. Citing the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, Hiltz says there is an “urgency” on the part of many Indigenous Anglicans in Canada to move ahead with building their own church, and that significant progress in this area is expected in 2017.
Hiltz also says he and MacDonald plan to host an Indigenous Ministries Consultation this June—a time for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the church to “celebrate some achievements, note disappointments and acknowledge failures” in the church’s partnership with Indigenous people. The consultation will also be a time for discerning next steps in the movement of Indigenous Anglicans toward self-determination, he says.
Hiltz then notes that the Anglican Foundation of Canada, which awards grants for ministry to dioceses, parishes and individuals across the country, will be marking its 60th anniversary this year.
Turning to the national church’s office of global relations, Hiltz mentions that 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of a resolution by General Synod to strengthen its ties with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, a member of the Anglican Communion, with parishes in Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
He notes that Suheil Dawani, archbishop of the diocese, and his wife will be making an extended visit through Canada this fall.
The primate writes that he is pleased that the Anglican Church of Canada has been able to rebuild relationships with a number of churches in Africa. He also praises work done by The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund in that continent, especially its efforts in maternal, newborn and child health.
An anniversary of significance in many countries, Hiltz says, will be the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation—an event, he adds, that Lutherans around the world have been careful to say they will be commemorating rather than celebrating, on account of the divisiveness the Reformation gave rise to. He notes that the three sub-themes of the commemoration—“Salvation not for sale, human beings not for sale, creation not for sale”—speak to contemporary issues such as religiously-motivated violence, human trafficking and climate change.
Fittingly, Hiltz adds, the World Council of Churches has asked the churches in Germany—birthplace of the Reformation—to prepare materials for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25), the theme of which will be “Reconciliation—the love of Christ compels us.”
The Anglican Church of Canada, he says, hopes soon to have appointed a new co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations. The position has been vacant since the last one to hold the position, Bruce Myers, was installed as coadjutor bishop of Quebec last spring.
Hiltz rounds out his list of anniversaries by mentioning some personal ones. This year, he says, will mark the 60th anniversary of his own baptism. It will also, he notes, be the 40th anniversary of his ordination as deacon, and the 10th anniversary of his installation as primate.
Hiltz finishes his epiphany message by praising the Community of St. Anselm, an intentional community of young people established in 2015 by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. He quotes a prayer from the namesake of the community, St. Anselm of Canterbury: “O God: may I know you, may I love you, so that I may rejoice in you…May my heart love that joy, may my mouth talk of it. May my soul hunger for it, may my flesh thirst for it, may my whole being desire it, until I enter into the joy of my Lord, God three and one, who is blessed for ever. Amen (Rom 1.25).”
Anselm’s words, concludes Hiltz, are “a fitting prayer for any and all of us who through our baptism endeavour to live more fully our life in Christ.”Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported that Giving with Grace raised $611,721 in 2015, according to unaudited figures from The General Synod. It has been changed to audited figures of $515,000.
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.
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