Recently I have shared two stories (here and here) about the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia. ANZ&P is a church representing three cultural streams, the indigenous Maori of Aotearoa, the European settlers of New Zealand and the island nations of Polynesia. Each of the cultural streams is organized as an interdependent Anglican Church with it own episcopal units/dioceses, parishes and a primate.
During August, the 8th National Anglican Sacred Circle of the Anglican Church of Canada has been meeting in Port Elgin ON. The Sacred Circle is the Indigenous Anglican Church in Canada. During one of the first keynote addresses, the Revd Canon Robert Kereopa, a priest of the Maori Anglican Church in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia stated that it was important for indigenous churches to have healthy partnership models as they moved towards self-determination. He held up his church as such a model and encouraged the indigenous Anglicans of Canada to move towards healthy interdependence with the European settler Anglicans of Canada.
A second keynote speaker to the Sacred Circle was Kaisa Huuva, representing the indigenous Sami of northern Europe, she is the liaison from the indigenous Sami Christians in Sweden to the Church of Sweden. Kaisa compared the common experience of the Sami with that of indigenous Canadians and the indigenous populations throughout the world, “a pastoral people who lived on the land for generations have had their spirituality stripped from them and their traditional territories taken away by a colonizing power, and their descendants are now trying to recover a sense of identity and political agency in the face of strong resistance from the dominant society.” Like the indigenous of Canada, the Sami children were ripped from their homes and forced into residential schools. Although the Sami have lived in the north of Europe in areas now part of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, they do not own their own lands. It was taken from them and belongs to the state and sometimes also the church. Kaisa looked forward to the day that the Sami of northern Europe could gather in Sacred Circle as they seek to become an equal partner with the Christian settlers of northern Europe.
Finally on 25 AUG, Sol Sanderson, from the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, read a draft document from the Commission that was a proposal for a fifth ecclesiastical province for the Anglican Church of Canada. The fifth province would overlay the ACoC and would be composed of the Anglican indigenous ministries of the church. The fifth province would be the indigenous Anglican church in Canada. It would have an indigenous primate. It would have regional bishops and area mission bishops, guiding ministry at the community level. It was exciting and a bit scary. It meant that the indigenous Anglicans would have to be serious about taking their own future in their own hands. After careful consideration the Sacred Circle came to a consensus on the proposal and endorsed sending it to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.