‘Dismantling Racism’ workshops spark hope, conversation
Thirty-two lay and clergy participants took part in “Dismantling Racism” workshops May 30-31 in Victoria and June 1-2 in Nanaimo, B.C.
Esther Wesley, Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation co-ordinator, and Archdeacon Michael Thompson, Anglican Church of Canada general secretary, led the workshops, which Archdeacon Lon Towstego, rector of the Anglican Parish of St. Peter and St. Paul, Victoria, described as a “challenging and courageous conversation.”
Discussion at the workshops revolved around confronting one’s own racism and colour-blindness. The focus of the conversation was how to break down the attitudes and behaviours that have evolved over many years, and replace them with the love of the gospels.
Participants reflected on the ways they have practiced, experienced and listened quietly to racism in their day-to-day lives. The aim of the workshop was to find ways to dismantle racism through respect and treating others well.
A grant from the diocese of British Columbia’s Diocesan Vision Fund helped to make the events possible.
Among those who took part in the workshops were diocese of British Columbia Bishop Logan McMenamie and Executive Officer Stephen Martin.
The diocese plans to organize a “Train the Trainers” event late this year or in early 2018 to help spread the content of the workshops throughout the diocese. The goal is to have full parish participation.
Huron Anglicans protest against anti-Islam rally
Clergy and laity from the diocese of Huron, led by Bishop Linda Nicholls, joined 500 counter-protesters in London, Ont., August 26, in response to an anti-Islamic rally led by the Patriots of Canada Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida), a group that says it opposes “the Islamization of the West.”
The collective Anglican response was organized within a day’s notice as word spread of the counter-demonstration. Nicholls led the group of 40 Anglicans from the parking lot at Huron Church House, where they prayed, to London’s City Hall.
Pegida members, who numbered about 20, arrived at city hall at noon, and were met by the counter-demonstrators.
Those involved in the counter-rally carried signs, listened to speeches and sang 1960s protest songs.
The counter-protest ended with a march, led by drummers, around nearby Victoria Park.
–Huron Church News
Kootenay School of Ministry to take sabbatical
The Kootenay School of Ministry has announced that it will take a sabbatical year in order for the ministry committee to evaluate what has been accomplished, explore new directions for the school and engage in a serious discussion with other dioceses about the future of local training in western Canada.
The Archbishop’s Committee on Ministry decided on this course of action at its meeting in June.
The Kootenay School of Ministry was established after the recommendations of the task force on ministry were adopted at the diocese of Kootenay’s 2009 synod. The curriculum was designed for those who have been called to ministry as locally-trained deacons and priests, and included courses for other lay ministries and topics of interest for all adult Christians. There are nine core courses for those on a path to ordination and six optional courses.
The school was modelled on a vision of a “dis-seminary,” with no physical buildings except for local congregations where courses have been held. In this model, qualified instructors travel to where the students live. The support of hosting congregations has helped to keep costs to students at a minimum.
In the seven years of the school’s operation, intensive courses have been held in eight parishes in four of the five regions of the diocese. There have been 16 instructors from across Canada and 82 students have participated in courses.
During the sabbatical year, the school will experiment with online course delivery. The school is also entering into discussions with 10 other dioceses across the country and may enter into a co-operative venture with other regions to provide Christian education beyond Kootenay.
–The High Way
Ministry supports migrant workers in Ontario
The diocese of Toronto has launched a new ministry aimed at improving the conditions of migrant fieldworkers in Ontario.
In collaboration with the Durham Region Migrant Workers Network (DRMWN), the Rev. Augusto Nunez, Canon Red McCollum and the Rev. Kit Greaves are leading an outreach to foreign workers with a goal to meet workers’ physical and spiritual needs.
Worship services in Spanish and English, psychological counselling, medical and dental care, free haircuts and pickup soccer games are among the programs being offered by this ministry. The group has hosted a health fair, which included consultations with doctors and nutritional advice, stressing the importance of a healthy diet.
It is also networking to connect workers with English as an Additional Language classes. “Knowing English can help workers get ahead in their positions and maybe become supervisors,” Nunez says.
Peruvian-born Nunez, who is the priest-in-charge at St. Saviour’s, Orono, Ont., has developed strong relationships with the workers through his ministry. “I came to Canada at age 12, and I can relate to living in a strange land and culture and leaving everything you know,” he says. “You need support.”
A Ministry Allocation Fund grant from the diocese allows him to split his time between serving at St. Saviour’s and conducting this itinerant ministry across the communities of Northumberland County.
Canon Ted McCollum, who started a small program at St. Paul’s, Beaverton, in 2009, says he is gratified to see the expansion of this work, and to see other parishes contribute to this ministry. He hopes to see Nunez’s ministry become full-time.
Anglicans join Ottawa Pride parade
Nearly 50 clergy and laity took to the streets of Ottawa August 27, to voice support for the city’s LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning) community.
A large, colourful crowd participated in the annual parade that is part of Ottawa’s Pride festivities. Among the celebrants were representatives from more than 10 parishes across the Anglican diocese of Ottawa.
Parishioners carried signs and banners identifying their home churches. Many of the clergy wore their clerical collars, and some wore their stoles.
Along with the diocese’s contingent were groups representing different faiths and denominations.
Steve Zytveld, a member of the diocese, has taken part in the annual Pride festivities for more than 20 years with his wife, Cathy. In an article for Crosstalk, the newspaper of the diocese of Ottawa, he said he has participated “out of a sense of ministry to our friends and neighbours who do not always feel welcome in communities of fellowship and faith.”
Alberta parish solves bee problem and saves bees
The rural parish of St. Matthew’s in Viking, Alta., diocese of Edmonton, has found a way to solve a bothersome bee problem while saving the hive of these essential insects.
The bee infestation in the parish was discovered in mid-July, when long-time parishioner Frances Gotobed opened the church to discover a number of honeybees flying about inside. She also found a number of dead bees throughout the church.
Due to the honeybee’s status as an important, yet threatened, part of the world’s ecosystem, St. Matthew’s parishioners stressed the importance of saving the bees while removing them from the parish.
Bee populations have been in steady decline since the 1990s, with unusually high rates of decline in honeybee colonies. As pollinators, bees play a vital role in the environment, and as much as one-third of the world’s food depends on this pollination to flourish. If honeybees were to go extinct, physicist Albert Einstein predicted that humans would not survive their disappearance for more than five years.
With this in mind, Gotobed sought help from her son, Darren, who is a beekeeper. He was able to locate the hive and determine the bees’ point of entry into the church. In early August, Darren uncovered the beehive between the exterior and interior walls of the church’s narthex, and relocated the bees to a new hive.