Indigenous gathering ponders links between tradition and spirituality

What does it mean to be committed to the Anglican tradition, but also affirm Indigenous spirituality? The Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) brings together Indigenous peoples to answer this question, most recently at its 11th network gathering, April 23 to 27, in Hawaii.

Five Canadian representatives elected by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) attended:

-The Rev. Gloria Moses, ACIP co-chair (Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior)

-Freda Lepine (Diocese of Brandon)

-The Ven. Lydia Mamakwa (Diocese of Keewatin)

-National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald

-Donna Bomberry, Indigenous Ministries coordinator

In a quiet, scenic corner of Volcano National Park, this group met with other Indigenous Anglicans from Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and the United States. Delegates represented elders, youth, clergy, women, and those involved in theological education. All worshipped together, watched cultural presentations, and shared news from their communities.

The Canadian group had much to share. Members reported on how the principles of Indigenous self-determination are being lived out. Some steps include the hiring of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald in 2007, and progress towards area ministries in the northern parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.

Canadians have long been involved with AIN, which is a network within the Anglican Communion. Representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada were among the founding members and Canada has hosted the gathering twice, in Lethbridge, Alta. in 1997, and in Vancouver, B.C. in 2007.

The AIN started as an informal network of like-minded people who met at the 1983 General Assembly of the World Council of Churches. After years of keeping in touch, the group hosted its first gathering in Hawai’i in 1991.

The AIN will report on this network gathering and other developments at the Anglican Consultative Council, which meets May 1 to 13 in Kingston, Jamaica.

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