Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Rev. Hannah Alexie, deacon at the diocese of the Arctic, during the opening Eucharist at the 6th Indigenous Sacred Circle.
Port Elgin, Ont.
Decisions emerging from the triennial Sacred Circle of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Anglicans being held here Aug. 9-14, “will be a watershed moment in the life of the church,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Decisions on aboriginal self-determination in the church will inform the work of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), and other church bodies as they prepare for General Synod in June 2010, he said in his opening homily, adding “…we pray that (our) work may be inspired by the mighty wind of the Spirit.”
Following a solemn sunrise ceremony, Archbishop Hiltz, who is attending the triennial gathering of native Anglicans for the first time, acknowledged the once turbulent relationship between indigenous Anglicans and the Anglican Church of Canada. Stories of pain and sorrow experienced by many former residential school students have led to a desire for healing from “dignity denied, language lost and cultures crushed,” he said.
In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers, then-primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, issued an apology at Sacred Circle for abuses committed in residential schools. This was followed by the 1994 Covenant which committed the church and native Anglicans to work in partnership to build an indigenous church. In 2007, Mark MacDonald was appointed national indigenous Anglican bishop. “Now we wait with anticipation for how Spirit will move us in this Sacred Circle,” said Archbishop Hiltz.