The Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) is sending the Canadian church a $250,000 US ($329,000 Cdn) gift “as a show of support” following the native residential schools crisis.
ECUSA’s Executive Council, its governing body between triennial General Conventions, approved the gift at its June meeting in Burlington , Vt. , said Bonnie Anderson, a council member.
Originally — as reported last year in the Journal — a figure of $1 million US was proposed, but Ms. Anderson, who headed a task force looking into the question of a gift to the Canadian church, noted that Executive Council considered “some of our other budget needs … We have way more askings than money to support ministries.”
Recently, Executive Council reduced the national church’s budget by four per cent, responding to reduced funds from some dioceses angered by the election and confirmation of gay bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire .
In early June, Ms. Anderson met in Toronto with the Canadian church’s general secretary, Archdeacon Jim Boyles and treasurer Jim Cullen, to advise them that “the amount realistically being considered was $250,000, and to assure them (the lower figure) was not a lack of a show of support.”
Archdeacon Helena-Rose Houldcroft, Anglican Church of Canada observer to the executive council, delivered a statement of thanks at the June meeting.
The gift, which has no restrictions, will be sent to the Canadian church’s national office. It will be deposited in a special Restoration Fund set up last year by then-primate Archbishop Michael Peers, said Mr. Boyles. Under the fund’s terms of reference, 30 per cent will go to the Indigenous Healing Fund, a church fund that supports counseling projects in aboriginal communities. The balance, said Mr. Boyles, will be distributed to General Synod (the church’s national office) and dioceses that incurred litigation costs relating to native residential schools in proportion to their share of those costs.
Until an agreement signed with the federal government in March, 2003, that limited the church’s liability, General Synod depleted such assets as its investment funds to pay litigation costs. Eleven dioceses also were sued by native Canadians alleging abuse suffered in a national boarding school system, or named as third parties by the federal government. The agreement limits the church’s liability to $25 million. All dioceses are contributing to it.