The Anglican Church of Canada’s Indigenous Ministries department and Anglican Video (part of Communications and Information Resources) are teaming up to share important news for Indigenous Anglicans from this year’s General Synod.
Together they have produced A Spiritual Movement, a short video that continues “the relationship and tradition” between Indigenous Ministries and Anglican Video. This is the first time, however, that they have produced a video together in four languages: English, Plains Cree, Oji-Cree, and Inuktitut.
A Spiritual Movement covers three key developments at this year’s General Synod. One is the new and improved translation of the Bible into Inuktitut and its presentation to assembled Anglicans and Lutherans—the culmination of four decades of work and sacrifice.
A second is General Synod’s affirmation of the creation of a new Indigenous diocese in Northern Ontario, in what was possibly one of the most emotional and exciting moments for those gathered.
A third is the official adoption of Canon XXII (with amendments)—a process begun at the 2010 General Synod in Halifax and officially completed at this year’s meeting. Canon XXII constitutes the official incorporation of national Indigenous ministries into the church constitution, furthering the cause of Indigenous Anglican self-determination.
“Each one of them is important and significant. But we’re not speaking about them in terms of their significance institutionally, or as programs,” says National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald in the video’s introduction. “What we’re trying to display is something of … the spiritual movement that God is working among us.”
The relationship between the Anglican Indigenous community and Anglican Video goes back to the first Sacred Circle in 1988. Since then Anglican Video has covered six more Sacred Circles, and produced other work such as Topahdewin: The Gladys Cook Story. Topahdewin is the compelling story of one residential school survivor and her faith. It has been shown around the world, and is used in North American social work programs and police anti-racism training.
“These videos are extremely useful tools for Indigenous Ministries because they work well with oral tradition,” says Lisa Barry, senior producer for Anglican Video. “They are part of the history of Aboriginal Anglicans.”
The video opens with a reading from Jeremiah by the Rev. Canon Laverne Jacobs, elder of Walpole Island First Nation and former Indigenous Ministries coordinator. It features appearances by Bishop MacDonald, the Rev. Canon Jonas Allooloo—speaking about the Inuktitut Bible translation he helped to create; the Rt. Rev. Adam Halkett, Bishop of Missinippi—speaking on the amendments to Canon XXII; and the Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa—speaking about the new Indigenous diocese in Northern Ontario (named the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikweesh) which she will lead as its first bishop.
“We thought sharing this information was critical,’ says General Synod’s Indigenous Ministries coordinator, the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor.
“This shows that our dream of an Indigenous church is coming true. That’s why we think it’s important for people to see that the dream is still alive, and the dream is coming.”
Doctor’s thoughts are an echo Bishop MacDonald’s in the video’s conclusion. “It is our hope and prayer that this resource will give all people a sense of the vision and dream that is emerging as we come out of General Synod and move along,” says MacDonald.
Bishop MacDonald doesn’t see this as mere institutional change.
“[The dream] will become a reality in the way that we live our lives, in the way that we allow the living word of God to become real in our communities. This isn’t about institutions. It’s about a spiritual movement. It’s about transformation.”
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