The laws of attraction

Published June 4, 2010

Cynthia Patterson gives bannock slice to Jim Cullen. Photo: Art Babych

Bev Murphy, Circulation Manager at the Anglican Journal booth. Photo: Art Babych Fiona Brownlee serves freshly baked bannock. Photo: Art Babych

There’s an art to attracting people to gather and linger at your display and Fiona Brownlee, communications co-ordinator of the Council of the North, has it figured out.

Brownlee is a veteran of quite a few General Synods, the triennial gathering of the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, and she knows that the best way to a member’s heart is through his or her stomach.

And so, what better way to introduce the Council-a grouping of the church’s dioceses that minister to isolated communities in the North-than through freshly-baked bannock, a type of hearty bread prepared by many indigenous North Americans?

And so it was that on another particularly cold and breezy day here, Synod members and visitors seeking comfort food smelled their way to the Council’s booth, picked up a slice of bannock made by the local McKelvies Restaurant, and some brochures about the Council.

As if bannock wasn’t enough, Brownlee also invited them to enter their name to a daily draw for prizes that feature the best that Northern artists have to offer. Up for grabs are an Innu tea doll, a handmade soapstone sculpture of a walking bear by Cape Dorset artist Tim Pee, a handmade soapstone sculpture of a bear with a shaman by Mosesie Pootoogook, and tamarack geese by Cree artist Leonard Blackoldt.

“When the Innu traveled inland they had to travel lightly and everyone had to carry something, including the children, in this case, a doll,” said Brownlee. The doll is traditionally made from smoked and tanned caribou hide and has a unique scent. “Each doll was stuffed with loose tea and when supplies ran low, the doll was cut along a seam, the tea poured out and a caribou moss stuffing took its place,” she said.

Not to be outdone are 32 other displayers, who have found creative ways to introduce their ministries and companies to General Synod members – some of whom may not be aware of the broad range of services that are there to meet their personal as well as parish needs.

The Anglican diocese of the Arctic, which is in the midst of a fundraising campaign for the igloo-shaped St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit, has a booth with the theme, Rekindling a Northern Light, Rebuilding St. Jude’s. An arsonist’s fire destroyed the iconic Cathedral in 2005, and the diocese has been seeking contributions from Anglicans in Canada and around the world to re-build it.

Debra Gill, executive officer for the Arctic diocese, has a digital photo frame that loops a series of photos showing the Cathedral before and after the fire, as well as the initial stages of rebuilding that have taken place. And yes, like a few other displays, Gill has some of those nice pen giveaways.

At the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer booth, members and visitors are reminded that as they go about their work, there are people who are actively praying for them. There are at least four representatives from the Fellowship who are also around in case one needs some pastoral comfort and personal prayer.

Theological colleges are also well-represented in the display area – including the Atlantic School of Theology, University of King’s College and Dalhousie University Chaplaincy, Huron University College, Trinity College and Queen’s College faculty of theology.

Other displayers include:

· Canadian Forces Chaplaincy

· Education for Ministry Canada

· Tataskweyak Cree Nation

· Alpha Ministries Canada

· Royal Canadian College of Organists

· AON Reed Stenhouse, Inc.

· Ecclesiastical Insurance

· The Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas

· The Zaccheus Fellowship

· On Eagle’s Wings Ecumenical Ministries, Inc.

· Anglican Renewal Ministries

· Augsburg Fortress Canada and Anglican Book Centre

· Anglican Communion Alliance

· Integrity Canada

· The Prayer Book Society of Canada.

Various departments, committees, and separately incorporated bodies of General Synod also have their own displays, including the Anglican Journal, the Anglican Foundation of Canada, Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), Partners in Mission and Eco-justice Committee, the Department of Philanthropy, Faith, Worship and Ministry; and the Pension office.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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