The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) has scheduled the sixth Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle to be held on Aug. 9 to 15, 2009, at Port Elgin, Ont.Earlier, ACIP postponed the Sacred Circle, originally scheduled this past summer at the Vancouver School of Theology, after determining that the location was not suitable to the needs of the gathering.
Last spring, ACIP leaders toured the VST grounds and realized the venue was not ideal for the mostly outdoor gathering because of construction work at the university. “It would not be pleasant for discussion because of all the noise,” said Donna Bomberry, General Synod co-ordinator of indigenous ministries. She added that the needs of elders were also considered and a university setting would involve a lot of walking.
The sixth Sacred Circle, a national native gathering, will include discussions on “the next steps in self-determination” for aboriginal Anglicans, as defined in A New Agape, a work plan and vision for partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadian Anglicans, saidBomberry.
One of the strategies that A New Agape identified to meet this goal of self-determination was the establishment of the office of a national indigenous bishop, which was realized with the appointment of Bishop Mark MacDonald in 2007. A New Agape states that the national Anglican indigenous bishop will work with the national church and the dioceses to develop “indigenous forms of church government and decision-making,” as well as “ways for the indigenous congregations to move toward self-sufficiency.”
Ms. Bomberry indicated that, with the rising fuel prices, registration fees will increase. About one-third of the funding for the sacred circle, which has a budget of $350,000, comes from delegates’ registration and ACIP’s own fundraising. General Synod currently contributes $50,000 a year for the meeting, which is held every three years.