Indigenous Anglicans grin for a group shot at Sacred Circle 2009 in Port Elgin, Ont.

Historic Indigenous documentaries online

General Synod has released six documentaries of national Indigenous Sacred Circles for general viewing online. Since 1988, six Sacred Circle meetings have brought together hundreds of Indigenous Anglicans from across Canada to share experiences, celebrate the work of the spirit, and take steps toward self-determination.

Indigenous Anglicans grin for a group shot at Sacred Circle 2009 in Port Elgin, Ont.
Indigenous Anglicans grin for a group shot at Sacred Circle 2009 in Port Elgin, Ont.

Historic moments are captured in each of the documentaries. The 1988 video includes powerful testimonies of former residential school students, some of who were sharing their stories in public for the first time. In the 1993 video, Archbishop Michael Peers, then Primate, apologizes for residential schools on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. In the most recent video, from 2009, Indigenous Anglicans chart a path for alternative governance structures.

“The Sacred Circle videos have become an important part of the Indigenous spiritual movement that is now moving across Canada,” said National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.

“The videos were meant to document the Sacred Circle gatherings—which they do well—but they do quite a bit more,” he said. “They have become a way of continuing the spirit of the gathering, a way of standing with the elders who gathered and joining hands with the generations to come. They come to us as a prophetic vehicle of our past, pointing to God’s future for us.”

Bishop MacDonald’s own position was developed out of a proposal that emerged at the 2005 Sacred Circle. Before taking up his post, he watched all six Sacred Circle videos in sequence—a practice he recommends to anyone interested in Indigenous ministry.

All documentaries were produced by Anglican Video, led by Senior Producer Lisa Barry. She worked in close consultation with Indigenous Ministries staff and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, which hosts the gatherings. Each video was distributed to circle participants, all dioceses and synods, and made available for sale through the Anglican Book Centre.

“They were developed for sharing with the rest of the church,” said Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Donna Bomberry. “Our people are an oral culture so the best way of telling the story has been through Anglican Video.”

The next Sacred Circle will be held in 2013. DVDS of all videos are available for purchase by contacting Teresa Mandricks, program associate for Indigenous Ministries by email or phone: (416) 924-9199 ext. 247.

Watch Sacred Circles online:

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