Canada has recently spent a considerable amount of time as a nation owning its legacy of abuse of Canada’s native peoples. The Anglican Church of Canada and its constituent diocese have also been involved in the self reflection and reconciliation process. The Diocese of Cariboo closed down operations on 31 DEC 2001 because lawsuits brought against the diocese regarding child abuse at a diocesan residential school, St George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton BC, had bankrupted the diocese.
The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) is divided into 4 ecclesiastical provinces. One such province is the Province of British Columbia and the Yukon. The province encompassed 6 dioceses, 5 in British Columbia and one in the Yukon. Since the end of 2001, there have been 4 dioceses in BC and the former parishes of Dio Cariboo were gathered under the episcopal oversight of the province’s Metropolitan Archbishop. In 2004 a bishop suffragan was elected by the province to serve under the Metropolitan and take the episcopal responsibility for the former Cariboo parishes which had become jointly the Anglican Provinces of the Canadian Interior. The first bishop suffragan, the Rt Revd Gordon Light was incumbent from 2004 until 2008. In 2009 the Rt Revd Barbara Andrews was elected and consecrated bishop suffragan and serves to the present day.
One of +Barbara’s goal’s regarding the APCI was moving it forward to a return to diocesan status. The parishes had reorganized themselves soon after the default and Dio Cariboo had ceased operations. The parishes established a constituent assembly with equal representation from each parish and also 15 guaranteed positions in the assembly for indigenous members. During 2015 the APCI’s aim was to return to a diocesan status so that once again they could elect their own bishop diocesan and send representatives to the ACoC General Synod. The APCI assembly and the provincial synod had both approved the APCI’s regular status within the ACoC earlier this year. The final step was to receive the approval of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), the ACoC’s governing body between General Synods. After discussion of the proposal the CoGS gave its consent for the APCI to return to regular diocesan status last weekend 14 NOV 2015. This should allow the APCI to sent representatives to next years General Synod.
One question raised during the discussion by CoGS was why the APCI was making the request without proposing to be called a diocese. At this point both the APCI and the province were agreed that to create a new diocese and call it a diocese didn’t feel right because of the unfortunate history of Dio Cariboo. The canons of the province allow a territory with a diocesan status and there is recent precedent in the ACoC of a diocese that does not call itself a diocese, the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh created in 2014 in the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land. Bishop Barbara says that the ACPI plans to decide on a new name in the near future.
The information and photo in this story was gleaned from numerous articles at http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/