Over 15 years ago, the Diocese, as part of the Anglican Church of Canada, participated in the Residential School’s Settlement Project. The Diocese met the challenge to pay our part of the settlement, assessed at $1.6 million, and Saint James was very much involved! In December, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report. The Anglican Church of Canada anticipated the report’s challenges and calls to action, and had already begun activities. The National Church set up a Healing Fund and continues to nurture reconciliation, anti-suicide programs, language revitalization and more.
Since then, the Indigenous church has also developed its autonomy within the Anglican Church of Canada. The recent General Synod saw the naming of the new National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop. The Primate also made an apology for spiritual harm to Indigenous communities. Part of that harm included a profound lack of respect for traditional spirituality.
Reconciliation and a new relationship with First Nation, Inuit and Métis people is clearly an Anglican Church of Canada priority, and the Diocese of Ottawa has been engaged for some time. For example, the Diocese developed, in partnership with the Diocese of the Arctic, an Inuit congregation in Vanier, and established an “All Our Relations Committee” to encourage us further. Congregations have responded, and it is a good thing for our parish to once again be involved. As such, pending the final approval by Parish Council in September, we are very excited to be starting a new ministry, the Indigenous Relations Circle.
Who are we?
- We are a core planning team of six parishioners at St James with a First Nations advisor.
- We are seeking participation from First Nation, Métis or Inuit members of the community or congregation and others interested in the topic of reconciliation.
- The Circle aims to support the priorities of the National Church, the new National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- We hope to advance Reconciliation as a Spiritual Practice with activities under four themes: Self-Awareness (Education), Acts of Healing, Social Justice and Self-determination.
When do we meet?
- On the fourth Saturday of the month from 12-2 p.m. (check the church calendar for changes).
If you are interested in joining the Indigenous Relations Circle, please contact Sharla through the Office.