This Saturday, Aug. 30, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald will preach at the installation service of Victoria Matthews as diocesan bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand. Bishop MacDonald and Bishop Matthews are friends and former colleagues in the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Matthews served as bishop of Edmonton for ten years and was a candidate for Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada at General Synod 2007. She was named the eighth bishop of Christchurch in March 2008.
Indigenous culture and faith will be an important part of the Aug. 30 installation service, explained Bishop MacDonald in an email. The structure of the Anglican Church in New Zealand recognizes three “tikanga” (cultures or strands): the Maori, Pakeha (European) and Pasifika (Pacific). A formal Maori welcome will be extended to Bishop Matthews during the service.
While in New Zealand, Bishop MacDonald will meet with Indigenous groups to discuss how these ministries are developing in the New Zealand and Canadian churches.
“New Zealand is one of the key places for those of us in Indigenous ministry,” said Bishop MacDonald. “They have been prophetic in holding up Aboriginal identity as a key component of the development of a Christianity in a particular place. I am excited to be here and honoured, more than I can say, that Victoria asked me.”
Bishop MacDonald expects to field questions about his role as National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, a new position in the Anglican Church of Canada that he first undertook in January 2007. In this role, Bishop MacDonald provides pastoral support and leadership to Aboriginal communities across Canada.
The Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have a similar history of non-Aboriginals colonizing Aboriginals. Both of these churches participated in the missionary schooling of Indigenous peoples, and are now working towards reconciliation and improved relations.
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