Yesterday Archbishop Fred Hiltz spent the day in Cedar, BC with the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of BC.
Archbishop Hiltz has been the Primate (top bishop) in the Anglican Church of Canada for the past nine years. In his capacity as Primate he has crisscrossed the country time and again visiting Dioceses, parishes and countless Anglicans. If anyone knows what is going on in the Anglican Church in Canada it should be Fred Hiltz.
For his major address to the clergy yesterday, Hiltz was asked to address the question:
Where do you see signs of life in the Anglican Church of Canada?
His answer ran for an hour followed by questions.
The culture of the church has changed dramatically in the last ten years.
I see lots of embracing in the church of the five Marks of Mission that serve as a framework used to describe and encourage ministry throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion.” http://www.anglican.ca/marks/about/
I like to speak of “the church national” rather than “the National Church” – the church national is not someone other than who we are.
1. I see a renewed focus throughout the church on the practice of discipleship that impacts every aspect of our lives. At the recent ACC meeting in May, I heard a call to discipleship that impacts every area of our lives.
I see in many parishes a wonderful renewed focus on discipleship.
The parish incarnating itself in the neighbourhood.
General Synod can gather the church from one coast to the other to the other.
2. A number of Dioceses are supporting the ministry of all the baptized by developing schools for ministry. We need to develop some sense of standards for these initiatives across the church.
I see we are doing really good work around competencies of ministry both lay, clergy, and episcopal. We take ministry seriously in our church and want to be sure the whole church is working towards excellence in ministry.
3. Healing and reconciliation – I am proud of our church’s support of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We were there because we are still living the spirit of Michael Peer’s (then Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada) apology made at the National Native Convocation in Minaki, Ont. on Friday, Aug. 6, 1993 for residential schools. It was the church’s apology. He apologized on behalf of the whole church.
At General Synod in 1995 Archbishop Peers spoke about having laid a few stones on the path to reconciliation. The church is called into this for the long haul.
Reconciliation takes time. Healing and reconciliation are going to take several generations.
The Healing Fund of the Church national is a $50 million being used to support projects that have local initiative that has been the source of new life for many.
When I look across this church I see that you in this Diocese are leading the church.
Reconciliation – that’s the gospel.
We have to be really careful about language. Two minutes is not adequate for a gesture of reconciliation. I like to speak about gestures towards reconciliation. The reception of an apology can’t be imposed, rushed, or anticipated.
Gestures in reconciliation are all the things we are trying to do now.
What does reconciliation require of us?
How do we know when reconciliation is beginning to emerge?
How do we declare it?
Reconciliation takes time and patience. Gestures of reconciliation can’t be fabricated. They have to be born of the Spirit and our intention to live differently.
We are beginning to learn the nature of reconciliation in other areas as well, like the discussion about same-sex marriage where the conversation and rhetoric show that there is still a lot to be done on reconciliation.
Ringing the bells in our communities to remember the missing and murdered aboriginal women in June 2015 brought us together. It drew people in. Parishioners would find in the grounds around their churches notes, prayers, bouquets, teddy bears left by someone who had lost someone. I think the tolling of the bells had an impact on the call to the National Government for an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Many of our Diocese are looking at the appointment of archdeacons or coordinators for indigenous ministry.
I see exciting relationships with aboriginal friendship centres.
There’s a lot going on but there’s a long way to go.
There is urgency in the church to move ahead with self-determination for indigenous Anglicans.
There will be a September 2017 National gathering around self-determination, gathering people together so we can hear stories.
Where are we? What have we done? What have we learned? Can we name opportunities?
The covenant of 1994 was among indigenous leaders. We need a covenant for the whole church.
In PWRDF there is a growing awareness of accompanying indigenous people in their need for justice.
The more we grapple with reconciliation, the more the church will be renewed.
The church’s response to the refugee crisis has brought renewal to much of the church. We have a deepening awareness of the trauma experienced.
4. Our full communion relationship with the Lutherans. Canada leads the way living into the Waterloo Declaration.
CLAY brought 22 people from this Diocese as part of 1,000 young people meeting in PEI last summer, mostly Lutherans engaging in community ministry projects.
There is going to be a 2018 national worship conference here in Victoria.
We are realizing afresh the importance of relationship in commitment to ecumenism.
There is a new kind of receptive ecumenism – what can we learn from each other? How can we receive gifts from each other? The ecumenism of common witness.
5. Interfaith relations – we have large common issues as people of faith.
We need to step up our engagement in interfaith dialogue.
I see life in a church with an eye and ear to the world, with a heart for the poor, and for turning the world right side up, willing to examine itself. A church that’s acquiring some grace to repent when necessary, to be humble enough to be challenged, a church not enclosed and trapped inside its own constitutional life, but open to the Holy Spirit, a church that sees itself in and for the world in that is the hope of renewal and our commitment as servants of God’s mission.
Questions and Answer:
Q: you talked about the life of the church in ministry training and the need for standards. One of my problems that I see is the number of educational institutions – how can we have the courage to reduce those numbers so we arne’t wasting dollars but can raise up leaders for local ministry training as well.
A: there are conversations among seminaries. There will be a February consultation next year around theological education to bring together folks from all around the country. There will be conversation around the question you asked.
In Canada theological colleges have such independence from the church. Who are the theological colleges accountable to? We need to move towards a sense of partnership with the Dioceses.
Q: Reconciliation – have you had feedback about how we can improve our decision-making processes?
A: We did a good thing in September at the House of Bishops. We gave everyone an opportunity to speak. Every bishop spoke; it took all morning.
Q/Comment: It would be wonderful to get all that you just shared with us today available for the whole church. It would be helpful to see it on the website.
Q: Is having votes the best way to make decisions for the church?
A: It’s an alive conversation. General Synod 2010 was not a time for a resolution. So we moved into a different process and issued a pastoral statement and confirmed our commitment to not walk apart. I don’t know what the answer for General Synod 2019 will be. Can we shift the ways we have conversations around contentious issues?
Q: Can you comment on the loss of the motion around the BCP prayer for the conversation of the Jews?
A: I regret that I didn’t leave the chair during that debate and go to the microphone. That matter is not done.
Q: What is happening about socially responsible investment?
A: A task force will be named.
Q: Pensions Plan – what can change in next two years if we don’t have enough money coming in, we won’t have enough money to go out. 50% income that depends on the market makes us vulnerable.
A: I am not the expert on this.