Under the Surface, a brilliantly symbolic painting by Sophia Beaton, a young aboriginal artist in British Columbia, provided the logo for the second meeting of Partnering for Prevention: Addressing Abuse in Our Communion & Our Communities.
The international Safe Church conference was held at the University of Victoria in late June. A silent auction at a barbecue banquet raised more than $700 to purchase the work for the Anglican Communion Office in London. “Conference participants wanted it to be visible to all visitors to the Communion headquarters,” said the Rev. Mary Louise Meadows, one of the conference’s organizers.
The deeply symbolic painting shows an orca whale fin–a symbol of strength-enclosed in a circle-a symbol of unity.
In her description of her work, Beaton wrote that the fin represents the whale’s determination and its ability to go deep under the surface and discover things unknown to humans. Orcas also work as teams to tip over and break up ice flows and clear paths for the pursuit of food. “Under the Surface is a representation all of the above,” wrote Beaton. “It is a continuation of strength in our communities. It is going deeply to rediscover ourselves. Lastly, it is working together with determination to heal our hurts.”
Conference attendees came from eight countries as far away as Uganda, each of which was represented by a different-coloured candle. The candles were ceremoniously lit at a Sunday service at Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral.
Featured conference speakers included Seattle-based Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, an expert on sexual exploitation by religious leaders; the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, Anglican indigenous bishop of Canada; the Rev. Dr. Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa, coordinator for dialogue, Anglican Church of Canada; and Dr. Patricia Vickers, a B.C.-based ethno-consultant and expert in conflict resolution. More than a dozen workshops explored topics ranging from pastoral ethics and professional supervision to domestic violence and human trafficking. Workshop leadership comprised lawyers, clergy, child-protection officers and abuse-prevention educators.
The first conference was held at Woking, U.K., in 2008.