Stipend issue divides ACIP, bishops

Published November 1, 2004

Talks have collapsed between the house of bishops and the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP) after the two groups were unable to agree on issues around non-stipendiary, or unpaid, priests.

A joint task force of the house of bishops and the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP) announced that they disagreed on whether to limit discussion on compensation for non-stipendiary ministers to the 11 Council of the North member dioceses (rather than all 30 Canadian dioceses) and whether to embark on a five-year pilot project providing remuneration for clergy in Council dioceses.

(Many priests in poorer dioceses, a majority of them aboriginal, receive no stipend, or remuneration, for their work in the church, said the taskforce.)

“It was mutually agreed that an impasse had developed and that further discussion would be fruitless,” said a statement signed by task force co-chairs Eunice McMahon, representing ACIP, and Bishop David Ashdown of the diocese of Keewatin, representing the house of bishops at the end of their Oct. 2 meeting here.

The statement, read by Bishop Ashdown to members of the Council of the North, which met separately here Oct. 3-6, said that ACIP had rejected the house of bishops’ proposal to limit the participation to the member dioceses of the Council.

ACIP, through Donna Bomberry, who is indigenous ministries co-ordinator of the Anglican Church of Canada’s partnerships department, “insisted that it would have to include all dioceses with significant aboriginal populations such as Huron, Rupert’s Land, Qu’Appelle and Calgary,” read Bishop Ashdown. “The episcopal members of the joint task force (Bishop Ashdown and Bishop Caleb Lawrence of Moosonee) indicated that it was unlikely that the house of bishops would support such a wide distribution.”

ACIP also rejected a proposal for the five-year pilot project “focused on the provision of a just remuneration of clergy who are expected to minister beyond the expectations of a volunteer in the area by the member dioceses of the Council of the North.”

In an interview, Ms. Bomberry said while the proposal was “good because Keewatin (one of the Council dioceses) has the largest number of unpaid non-stipendiary (clergy) in Canada,” the pilot project should not be confined to dioceses that are members of the Council of the North. “We have significant native ministry in other dioceses and they don’t get assistance,” she said.


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