The diocese of Moosonee has developed a theological program aimed at training church leaders, both lay and ordained, in First Nations communities in the James Bay region of Ontario and Quebec.
The diocese hopes that the training program, entitled Mahmow Kiskinohamahsotaw (“let us learn together”) will encourage vocations to the ordained ministry from the Cree people and develop indigenous lay leadership.
“Since it is not culturally practical for First Nations people to leave their Cree communities to travel to the south for training, and since southern training programs are not specifically relevant to ministry in the northern diocese, as an alternative, the Mahmow program will train tutors to offer courses within the Cree communities,” the diocese said in a statement.
The program will emphasize healing and “creating renewed relationships” between aboriginal and non-aboriginal members of the diocese.
The diocese has appointed Canon Clifford Dee as co-ordinator of the program. Fluent in Cree, he will also serve halftime as rector of the parish of Waskaganish, Que. He will facilitate healing gatherings of aboriginal people in which participants from the southern parishes of the diocese will also have an opportunity to participate.
The diocese said the program was a response to its “commitment to healing, renewal and reconciliation arising from the residential school issue.”