The Council of the North has appointed veteran activist and community organizer Cynthia Patterson as the co-ordinator of new suicide prevention programs. The appointment was announced at the council’s Sept. 18 to 20 meeting at the Anglican Sorrento Centre in Sorrento, B.C.Suicide rates are four to five times higher than the national average in northern communities. A total of $94,000 for much-needed suicide prevention programs was made possible by Anglicans responding generously to the Amazing Grace project. An initiative of the communications and information resources committee at General Synod church office, Amazing Grace invited Anglican parishes and groups across Canada to sing the hymn last Nov. 23, videotape it, and send to General Synod church office in Toronto. Each participant was asked to donate least a toonie ($2) towards the work of the Council of the North.Ms. Patterson brings a broad range of experience in activism and advocacy to the job. As co-founder of Rural Dignity, she has worked for more than 20 years from her home region of the Gaspe, Que. to pressure governments and other organizations to maintain infrastructure such as postal service and railway service that are necessary for rural communities to have a sustainable future. She has also successfully fought for the protection of sea coast in the area. In 2003, she was named activist of the year by the Council of Canadians. Within the Anglican Church of Canada, she served on General Synod’s eco-justice committee for six years. She was also appointed to the Anglican Peace and Justice Network of the Anglican Communion. She is currently out of the country and unavailable for comment.At its meeting in Sorrento, the council also heard reports from participants of Sacred Circle, a national gathering of native people organized by the Anglican Council of Indigneous Peoples (ACIP) this summer in Port Elgin, Ont. “Clearly, ACIP and Council of the North are working more closely and co-operatively, finding many areas of mutual interest and support,” said National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, mentioning support for non-stipendiary ministries as one example.