APCI’s new identity a matter of reconciliation

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Bishop Barbara Andrews leads the recession following a eucharist service at Valemount Anglican United Church during the spring 2015 assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. Photo: André Forget
Bishop Barbara Andrews leads the recession following a eucharist service at Valemount Anglican United Church during the spring 2015 assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. Photo: André Forget

The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) has been officially recognized as a territory with the status of a diocese within the Anglican Church of Canada, but its bishop, Barbara Andrews, said this was more about legally acknowledging APCI’s position than it was about changing how it operates day to day.

“We have a unique governance model,” Andrews said, noting that the territory’s assembly has equal representation from each parish and 15 guaranteed places for Indigenous Anglicans. “So we’re in fact enshrining that unique governance model.”

At its fall meeting, Council of General Synod (CoGS) voted to recognize APCI as having the same status as a diocese, giving it the right to elect its own bishop. Andrews said she is “pleased with the affirmation we have received from CoGS to become a territory,” and noted that doing so allows it to “continue our journey to healing and reconciliation” with Indigenous Anglicans in the Central Interior.

APCI came into being after the diocese of Cariboo ceased to operate following bankruptcy that arose from lawsuits related to Indian residential schools. Cariboo was responsible for running St. George’s Residential School in Lytton, B.C.

Andrews says the decision to use the term “territory” rather than “diocese” is about more than just semantics.

“I think it’s important to come up with a name that reflects the new identity, the new way we’re walking together,” she said. “We have to repent, which means we have to turn around and not continue to do the same things, so this is our attempt to change and be a new entity honouring the difficulties of the past which led us into this.”

Andrews said the territory hasn’t formally settled on a new name, but hopes this will be done in time for General Synod 2016.

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André Forget
André Forget was a staff writer for the Anglican Journal from 2014 to 2017.

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