Canada: Bishops issue statement on church’s commitment to confronting racism

Posted Jun 10, 2020

[Anglican Church of Canada] Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada have issued a statement to remind everyone of the church’s commitment to confronting racism in its own life and acknowledging the place of racism and colonialism in Canada. They have stated that “this commitment needs to be renewed daily”.

The full statement in English follows.

The Anglican Church of Canada has committed itself to confronting racism in its own life and to acknowledging the place of racism and colonialism in our own nation. That commitment needs to be renewed daily.

We have been horrified by the public murder of George Floyd. We are deeply distressed and profoundly disturbed by the images, rhetoric, violence, division, and chaos that has followed. We offer our prayerful support and solidarity with our sister church, the Episcopal Church, as it prays and guides its people while it simultaneously repents of, and protests the sin of racism.

Our own house is not in order. Systemic racism exists in every part of Canada.

The words of the Anglican Church of Canada’s 2004 Charter for Justice remind us:

“The assumption of racial difference and inequality was the basis of much of Canada’s social legislation. For example, as a result of the Indian Act, First Nations people were confined to their reserves and their lands, and made susceptible to exploitation and take over. Immigration policies restricted Black, Asian and Jewish immigrants. Canadians of Japanese and Ukrainian descent were rounded up and interned during World War Two. Labour legislation dictated who could and couldn’t work for whom, and who could do what kind of work.”

We repent of our complicity in the continuing structures of racism and oppression in our church and in our culture, for racism is not of Christ. It is sin.

Every human being reflects the dignity of the very image of God. At baptism we commit to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being”. It is the centre of the ministry and message of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Marks of Mission, to which we are committed as a Communion, remind us that we are called to “seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation”.

The Anglican Church of Canada has been wrestling with racism and our complicity in systems of injustice for decades. It is a matter of public record that The Anglican Church of Canada has been committed to and learning about a new path to reconciliation with Indigenous Anglicans. We recommit ourselves today to that path.

The legacy of racism, colonialism, and the residential schools they spawned as well as the open wound of the plight of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls continues to call out for healing. This season in particular is the anniversary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) and the Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) (2019).

As teachers of the gospel, we remind the world that Christ himself was crucified in part because of the threat he represented in standing with those who were marginalized. (Luke 6:20-28). We re-commit ourselves and our Dioceses to confront the sin of racism in all its forms and the patterns of silence and self-congratulation, which have silenced the experiences of people of colour, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples of this land.

Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate
Archbishop Mark Macdonald, National Anglican Indigenous Archbishop
Archbishop Anne Germond, Diocese of Algoma / Moosonee & Metropolitan of Ontario
Bishop Joey Royal, Diocese of the Arctic
Bishop Annie Ittoshat, Diocese of the Arctic
Bishop Lucy Netser, Diocese of the Arctic
Bishop David Greenwood, Diocese of Athabasca
Bishop William Cliff, Diocese of Brandon
The Ven. Ansley Tucker, Administrator, Diocese of British Columbia
Bishop David Lehmann, Diocese of Caledonia
Archbishop Greg Kerr-Wilson, Diocese of Calgary & Metropolitan of Rupert’s Land
Bishop John Watton, Diocese of C. Newfoundland
Bishop Geoff Peddle, Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador
Bishop Jane Alexander, Diocese of Edmonton
Bishop David Edwards, Diocese of Fredericton
Bishop Todd Townsend, Diocese of Huron
Bishop Lynne McNaughton, Diocese of Kootenay
Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, Diocese of Mishamikoweesh
Bishop Larry Beardy, Diocese of Mishamikoweesh
Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson, Diocese of Montreal
Archbishop Melissa Skelton, Diocese of New Westminster & Metropolitan of B.C. and Yukon
Bishop Susan Bell, Diocese of Niagara
Archbishop Ron Cutler, Diocese of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island & Metropolitan of Canada
Bishop Michael Oulton, Diocese of Ontario
Bishop Shane Parker, Diocese of Ottawa
Bishop Rob Hardwick, Diocese of Qu’Appelle
Bishop Bruce Myers, Diocese of Quebec
Bishop Geoff Woodcroft, Diocese of Rupert’s Land
Bishop Michael Hawkins, Diocese of Saskatchewan
Bishop Adam Halkett, Diocese of Saskatchewan
Bishop Chris Harper, Diocese of Saskatoon
Bishop-elect Lincoln McKoen, Diocese of the Territory of the People
Bishop Andrew Asbil, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop Peter Fenty, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop Riscylla Shaw, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop Kevin Robertson, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop Jenny Andison, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop John Organ, Diocese of Western Newfoundland
Bishop Lesley Wheeler-Dame, Diocese of Yukon
Bishop Nigel Shaw, Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces
Bishop Philip Poole, Chaplain to the House of Bishops