Late last week we learned of the death of Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 1986 to 2004. Our deepest condolences are extended to his wife, Dorothy, and his extended family.
Although +Michael retired as primate nearly twenty years ago, the legacy of his leadership continues in so many aspects of our life as a church. He often told the story of how he came to be a member of the church as a non-church attending young adult through the simple invitation of someone else. ‘Come and see’ was the invitation that brought him into the doors where he found, in faith, what he was seeking. He reminded us not to underestimate the power of invitation!
As our primate, +Michael will be remembered for the powerful apology he offered in 1993 to the gathering of Indigenous elders and residential school survivors at Minaki Lodge. Written overnight in response to the stories and pain he had heard, he offered an apology on behalf of the church for our participation in residential schools and the destruction of Indigenous dignity. That apology—in its honesty and humility—is the icon of the ongoing reconciliation work we continue to do. It is a part of our history that every Anglican should see and hear (watch/listen here).
+Michael also had a heart for ecumenical relationships—and especially with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. He rejoiced when the full communion agreement was celebrated in 2001 with delight that spilled over into dancing! We continue to live into all that the full communion agreement envisioned, another legacy of +Michael’s leadership and vision.
I am grateful for leadership modelled by +Michael. He led our church with courage, humility and grace tempered with humour and a deep compassion. His legacy lives in the work we continue today in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the dignity of every human being and our relationships as family with all Christians. May we honour that legacy through our work to live into these gospel commitments.
We will celebrate his life and ministry on Thursday, August 24th, at St. James Cathedral, Toronto at 11am. All are welcome.
May +Michael rest in peace – and rise in glory – a faithful servant of God!
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
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