Canada: Walking the dream of an indigenous church

By Diana Swift
Posted Jul 8, 2013
Bishop Mark MacDonald leads the singing with the ACIP members during their presentation. Photo: Art Babych

Bishop Mark MacDonald leads the singing with the ACIP members during their presentation. Photo: Art Babych

[Anglican Journal] With Archdeacon Sid Black at the helm, the presentation by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples kicked off with a couple of rousing Gospel-style tunes sung and played by Bishop Mark MacDonald, NIGP (“national indigenous guitar player”).

The audience joined enthusiastically as Bishop Mark, in clerical collar and fringed buckskin jacket, led them in “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” and “I am Satisfied with Jesus.”

Spirits were particularly high in view of the synod’s vote just minutes earlier in favour of the creation of a new indigenous diocese in the northern part of the current diocese of Keewatin. “This has been a glorious, wonderful day, all about dreaming and a vision and fidelity,” said Black.

The Rev. Ginny Doctor, the church’s  indigenous ministries co-ordinator, introduced a Church House video production capturing the spirit of the seventh Sacred Circle gathering, “Walking the Dream,” held at Pinawa, Man., in August 2012.

Indigenous people have been seeking to create a sovereign, self-determining identity within the Anglican church. “The dream begins at Sacred Circle. There it is put forth, it is explained, it is nurtured and it has grown,” Doctor said, adding that the 2012 circle attracted more than 200 intergeneration people, both indigenous and non-indigenous.

The presentation featured a second video on Sacred Circle and indigenous spiritual values, which was produced by indigenous youth in two short days. Hoping that the video sends a clear message, co-producer Sheba McKay said, “We all had the same dream. Sometimes our voices may not be heard, but we have a voice.”

In his reflection on past injustices, Bishop MacDonald said that we should not forget the past, but “use the past as a stepping stone to a better tomorrow, to create a better way of life for the church and for the nation.”


Comments (2)

  1. Elizabeth Maupin says:

    Bishop MacDonald is on the right track. We need to remember the past without polishing it up. We need to remember it as truly as we can in order to learn from it. And then, with God’s help, we can set a truer course and enter more and more into the reign of God for which we daily pray.

  2. Nicholas James Irwin Hunt says:

    Good on you! I’m glad to see you’re having fun. Here in New Zealand we have three groupings within the one Anglican Church. In some ways it gives people independence and status but in some ways it separates us. People have to work on it. I try to go to a Tikanga Maori service once a month to keep touch but it is hard to get others to join in the experience. The liturgy is printed out with Maori on the left page and English on the right so you know where you are, except that there are variations and not an exact translation.

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