With a new year beginning, the January Anglican Journal takes a look at the Anglican Church of Canada at the closing of an unusual and difficult 2020. One major impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been financial, and churches have been no exception. To see how the church has been coping, we reached out to dioceses from coast to coast to coast, and our lead story features financial highlights from those dioceses that were able to respond. Our financial coverage also includes a report on a November update by the Anglican Church of Canada’s treasurer to the Council of General Synod (CoGS).
Meanwhile, the national church’s Strategic Planning Working Group (SPWG) has, since the summer, been holding “listening groups,” gathering input from Anglicans across the land on how they’re doing. We fill you in on the highlights of SPWG’s findings, as reported in November to CoGS, and share a personal reflection on the strategic planning process by SPWG member the Rev. Monique Stone. We also include reflections on what it’s like to be involved in this process by some members of CoGS. And the issue updates you on other news from the fall meeting of CoGS: the opening address from the primate, who expresses concern about the mental exhaustion wrought by the pandemic; the appointment of an anti-racism task force; and work toward a possible full communion agreement with the Moravian church.
We also take a look at other Anglican news from across the country and around the world. We report on the recovery from COVID-19 of Saskatchewan bishops Michael Hawkins and Adam Halkett, and the response by one Edmonton church to a close brush with the coronavirus. The issue also includes an update on the ongoing life of an Orthodox school of theology at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College; a report on a program, funded partly by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) aimed at helping displaced Iraqi families return home; and a decision by the U.S.-based Episcopal Church to postpone its next General Convention from 2021 to 2022.
Theological reflection in this issue centres around the theme of knowing God. Guest columnists Naomi Beaver, of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Kingfisher Lake, Ont., and British Columbia writer Susan Alexander share their thoughts on communing with God through scripture and nature. Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, reflects on the importance of daily prayer in keeping us grounded in tumultuous times, and National Indigenous Archbishop Mark MacDonald writes about the Indigenous discipline of trying to see things from at least four directions, and how this might be applied to knowledge of God. On the same theme, the issue includes a portrait of medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen and her continuing influence on contemplative Christians.