Indigenous Anglicans told they will have their own bishop

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has told indigenous church members that he will do his best to see that a national native bishop is elected, if possible within a year.

Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, accompanied by six other Canadian bishops, as well as a bishop from Alaska and one from New Zealand, accepted in principle a proposal from the fifth Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle, meeting in Pinawa, Man., that such a bishop be elected for native communities in Canada.

The Sacred Circle, held from Aug. 8 to 13, was attended by about 150 First Nations and Metis leaders.

Native leaders were seeking the election of their own bishop as a first step in the creation of an Indigenous Anglican Church. This idea dates back to 1994 when native Anglicans and the Anglican Church of Canada signed a covenant agreeing to the eventual creation of “a new self-determining community within the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Members of the Sacred Circle last week approved a declaration calling for the national bishop who would “have spiritual support from the whole church and 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 proposal received the unanimous support of 41 native elders who were attending the Sacred Circle.

Archbishop Hutchison and the other bishops attending agreed that it should be possible to have an indigenous bishop elected within a year who would have pastoral oversight of native communities.

A statement from the Sacred Circle said that “an indigenous bishop who welcomed aboriginal teachings and ways as a manifestation of native Anglicanism would heal wounds and open the doors of the Anglican Church to indigenous youth.”

For more information, contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416 924 9199 EXT. 306;[email protected] or Gloria Moses, co-chair of the Anglican Council of Indigenous People, 250 378 8322.

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .