The summer of 2021 saw many changes, revelations and transformations affect the Anglican Church of Canada and Canadian society as a whole, which are reflected in the September issue of the Anglican Journal.
A series of discoveries of unmarked graves at residential school sites since May shocked many Canadians. The latest issue of the Journal includes responses to these revelations from a number of Anglicans.
Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, writes that these revelations reinforce “the church’s need for pruning”. National Indigenous Archbishop Mark MacDonald challenges Anglicans to “face what is before us today” and defend the voiceless through repentance. Early childhood educator Brenda Still, in this month’s Anglican Voices column, describes how today’s children need to hear adults in authority demonstrate their intent to value the lives of Indigenous children who died in residential schools. In her poem “Two Hundred and Fifteen”, Wendy Tamblin records thoughts from two days after the Kamloops Residential School graves were discovered. Meanwhile, a sidebar directs readers to the Journal website to read about the experiences of former staff members at an Anglican residential school.
Remembering the lost was a major theme of the 10th Indigenous Anglican Sacred Circle, this issue’s main cover story. But so too was “returning home”, as Sacred Circle delegates discussed two key documents that will determine the shape of the emerging self-determining Indigenous church: A Covenant and Our Way of Life. They also paid tribute to Indigenous Anglicans who have recently died, including Indigenous Ministries coordinator Ginny Doctor and Urban Aboriginal Ministry founder and gathering priest Vivian Seegers. Obituaries for Doctor and Seegers, along with late archbishop David Ashdown, are featured in this issue of the Journal.
Major staff turnovers affected various levels of the church over the summer months. Stephen London was elected bishop of Edmonton, while former Territory of the People bishop Lincoln McKoen resigned after sexual misconduct allegations. Hanna Goschy, who had served as treasurer and chief financial officer of General Synod since 2013, announced her retirement. The Journal itself in June saw the departure of editor Matthew Townsend and staff writer Joelle Kidd.
In tumultuous times, Anglicans continue to take stock of where the church is and where it is going. In this issue we introduce the first in a new seven-part series, Companions in Faith, which presents Anglican and Lutheran perspectives on different aspects of the full communion partnership between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). The first column in this series finds Archbishop Nicholls and National Bishop Susan Johnson of the ELCIC discussing how full communion fits into global ecumenism.