• In 1988 we gathered at Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., and heard about the many concerns facing First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples who came from local Anglican Church communities in Canada. (Video)
• In Minaki in 1993 we heard Archbishop Michael Peers give the Apology on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada for its role in administering the Indian Residential Schools. (Video)
• In Winnipeg in 1994 the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples gathered in consultation with other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Church leaders who together developed The Covenant, “calling our people into unity in a new, self-determining community with the Anglican Church of Canada….in partnership to help us build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada. The 1995 General Synod accepted The Covenant.
• In 1995 by act of General Synod in Ottawa they also resolved to “support and encourage the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples as it works at redefining the role of Indigenous Anglicans in the Church, and specifically encourages the exploration of:
a) the establishment of the office of a national Indigenous bishop who will work in partnership with the national church and dioceses;
b) the development of Indigenous forms of church government and decision making;
c) ways for the Indigenous congregations to move toward self-sufficiency,”
and work to change Anglican canons and constitution, as appropriate.
This was later re-affirmed in A New Agape, 2001 document at the General Synod held in Waterloo.
• In Winnipeg in 2003 the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples again gathered in consultation with other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal church leaders where they established the Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission to begin the exploration of the above 1995 General Synod resolution.
• In 2005 the Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission brought their study for discussion to the Sacred Circle gathering in Pinawa (Video). It was here, on the fourth day of the gathering that 41 elders, guided by the Holy Spirit, called on Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate, “to provide a national aboriginal bishop within one year. This bishop will have episcopal and pastoral responsibilities as well as full authority and jurisdiction for aboriginal communities across the country. This bishop will be fully recognized by the Anglican Church and be welcoming of aboriginal teachings, traditions, and ceremonies. The bishop will have spiritual support from the whole church and will be monetarily supported so the Indigenous Anglican Church stands strong and independent of any subordination. The provision of this bishop is a first step in a new era for the Indigenous Anglican Church.”
The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples was then authorized and commissioned to nominate to the Primate, a fit and qualified person to be appointed as the first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. The Primate and Bishops gathered at the Sacred Circle accepted the request and pledged to see the appointment within a year. The Primate explained that appointing a bishop with full authority and jurisdiction would take longer than a year because church canons would have to be changed. However, a bishop with pastoral oversight could be appointed within this time.
• On January 4, 2007, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada with the Co-Chairs of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, announced the appointment of Bishop Mark MacDonald to the position of the first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. He began his role in the spring of 2007 and was inducted during the 2007 General Synod in Winnipeg.
• On August 9 to 15, 2009, we gathered at The Canadian Auto Workers Family Education Centre, Port Elgin on the shore of Lake Huron for the sixth Sacred Circle: “The Mighty Winds of the Spirit…the new Beginnings.” Again we sat in Talking Circles to reflect on the Seven Traditional teachings: love, respect, humility, truth, honesty, courage, and wisdom. This kept us grounded as we pondered a new governance for Indigenous People in the Anglican Church of Canada. There is strength in our history and teachings and we need to keep them at the forefront as we move forward to proclaim the Gospel in an Indigenous context that becomes alive and touches hearts in our communities. (Video)