More than 200 historians, archivists and cultural observers from Canada, the United States and elsewhere met in Toronto in June to explore aspects of the transformation of Anglican traditions through New World cultures.
The triennial Anglican Episcopal Church History Conference came soon after the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). The SPG was the major sponsor of Anglican churches and clergy in the pre-Revolutionary American colonies, Canada and the West Indies.
The conference heard few explicit references to the current lawsuits by indigenous people against the Anglican church over decades of child abuse at church-run residential schools. But many papers suggested that the attitudes of “empire” that helped the church flourish in its first three centuries in North America also helped set the stage for the ill treatment of native people.
The event’s hosts were Trinity College and Wycliffe College of the University of Toronto. The conference was sponsored by the Canadian Church Historical Society, Episcopal Women’s History Project, Historical Society of the Episcopal Church USA, and National Episcopal Historians and Archivists.