Lambeth honours 3 Canadians; Macdonald’s prize revoked

L-R: National Indigenous Archbishop Mark MacDonald, Suzanne Lawson and Bishop (ret'd) Philip Poole were all honoured at the 2022 Lambeth Awards, presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Images: Contributed
By on March 31, 2022
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Note: This article was updated on May 16, 2022 with new content.

Former National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop Mark MacDonald was among three Canadian Anglicans honoured by the archbishop of Canterbury with a prestigious award this March, but MacDonald’s award was revoked following the Anglican Church of Canada’s announcement that he had acknowledged sexual misconduct. (See “National Indigenous archbishop resigns after sexual misconduct allegations”.)

On March 7, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced the 37 recipients of the 2022 Lambeth Awards, which recognize contributions to community service, worship, evangelism, education and ecumenical and interfaith cooperation. Recipients came from four continents—the Americas, Europe and Africa—and included three lay and ordained leaders from the Anglican Church of Canada. MacDonald received the Cross of St. Augustine for Services to the Anglican Communion, “for outstanding service to support the Communion’s role in creation care and climate justice, including the voice of Indigenous peoples.”

Lambeth Palace confirmed to the Anglican Journal, however, that in light of the church’s announcement this award was withdrawn.

Announcing the awards in March, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office cited MacDonald’s nurturing of Indigenous ministry leadership as a bishop of The Episcopal Church in the diocese of Alaska, a post he held from 1997-2007; his selection as the first national Indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada; and his guiding role in the emergence of the self-determining Indigenous church.

“It is an honour to receive the Cross of St. Augustine,” MacDonald said at the time. “The greatest part of the honour is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has affirmed the work of our Sacred Circle and the elders of the Sacred Circle, who have absolutely guided every aspect of my work and who, each of them, deserve this award.”

Philip Poole, retired area bishop of York-Credit Valley in the diocese of Toronto, and Suzanne Lawson, who has held leadership positions at various levels of the church also received Lambeth Awards. Poole received the Cross of St. Augustine “for outstanding leadership and support of the Compass Rose Society, Princess Basma Centre, Jerusalem, and St. George’s College, Jerusalem.” A longtime member of the Compass Rose Society (CRS)—which supports programs and ministries of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Consultative Council by networking, raising funds and designating contributions for mission projects—Poole became its general secretary in 2021, served for a decade as its international president and was founding president of the Canadian CRS until 2019.

As a parish priest, Poole helped build two new churches and launched education, outreach and pastoral care programs. He served as area bishop for York-Credit Valley in the diocese of Toronto from 2005 until his retirement in 2017. He described himself as “stunned and humbled” upon hearing he had received the Cross of St. Augustine.

“To be given an award of this stature for doing something I love really seems unnecessary,” he said. “There are so many others [involved in] my work who do as much or more. I’m of course thrilled and very grateful.”

Lawson received the Langton Award for Community Service for “outstanding lay leadership at every level of Anglican life and non-profit community service and volunteer administration.” She has served at the national level in the Anglican Church of Canada as a consultant and executive director of program for the Department of Philanthropy (now known as Resources for Mission), as well as on various committees for General Synod and Council of General Synod.

At the international level, Lawson chaired the diocese of Toronto’s Indaba group for fostering communication across the Communion, meeting with Anglicans from Jamaica and Hong Kong. At the local level, she has supported parishes, dioceses and religious orders with managing volunteers, organizational planning and Christian education. Lawson said she felt humbled to receive the Langton Award.

“What delights me is that my ministry in the church as a lay person and my ministry in the community as both a staff leader and volunteer in the non-profit sector are all brought together in this particular award,” she said.

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  • Matthew Puddister (aka Matt Gardner) is a staff writer for the Anglican Journal. Most recently, Puddister worked as corporate communicator for the Anglican Church of Canada, a position he held since Dec. 1, 2014. He previously served as a city reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald. A former resident of Kingston, Ont., Puddister has a degree in English literature from Queen’s University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. He will continue to support corporate communications efforts during his time at the Journal.