At gatherings of indigenous Anglicans across Canada, there is excitement. It really doesn’t matter what the gathering is for or where it might be held; this excitement comes from a growing recognition that this is a time of growth and fulfillment. There are some changes being proposed in structure and program—we’ll all hear about that at General Synod in June—but that isn’t the main reason or focus for the excitement. We are becoming a spiritual movement and people say they feel motivated and encouraged by that.
A spiritual movement is something distinct from a political action or an administrative decision. It grabs people emotionally and even physically, yet it is mysterious and not easy to explain. It feels like it comes from above, from below and from within. It is important to indigenous peoples that it is in concert with traditional values and ideals and places the spiritual above the material. It builds on other miracles and victories—the apology, the truth and reconciliation process, Sacred Circle—as it moves people forward. Leadership is developed in the process, but divine guidance, experienced by the whole group, through prayer and gospel-centred discernment, must get most of the attention and credit. A spiritual movement says, “Today belongs to God and, by the help of God, we are becoming what God intended us to be.”
This is what we’re hearing and seeing across indigenous Canada today. Elders often say, “It is a spiritual movement in the gospel.” It certainly isn’t confined to the Anglican church and it isn’t just for indigenous Christians. It is a call to everyone. God is calling us all, in the gospel, to something new, great and unimaginable. Gather a circle of love and prayer, engage the gospel and feel the love and guidance of Christ. That is the heart of a spiritual movement.
Bishop Mark MacDonald is the first national indigenous Anglican bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.