From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3529 Canadian Primate delivers presentation to ECUSA

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Fri, 1 Aug 2003 05:30:05 +0100

ACNS 3529     |     USA / CANADA     |	   31 JULY 2003 

Canadian Primate delivers presentation to ECUSA bishops on residential

by Matthew Davies 

During the second day of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church,
USA, the Most Revd Michael Peers, Primate of Canada, delivered a
presentation to the House of Bishops which focused on two elements: the
national church's Aboriginal Healing Fund; and the restoration of funds
for mission. 

Archbishop Peers, who has attended five ECUSA General Conventions and is
due to retire next year, began his address by saying that his ministry
has been enormously enriched by his involvement in the Episcopal Church,

The Anglican Church in Canada administered 26 residential schools
between 1820 and 1969. Since 1969 it has worked to establish
partnerships with Aboriginal peoples and to support native justice
concerns. Since 1990 it has been actively involved in responding to
residential schools issues and contributing to reconciliation and

Talking about the alleged physical and sexual abuse at the residential
schools, Archbishop Peers said, "The imbalance of power, the cultural
isolation and disorientation of students, and the presence of predators
among the staff created a situation in which students were unusually
vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse." He added that sexual abuse has
created "a legacy of shame, grief and trauma" among many residential
school students. 

Archbishop Peers did emphasise, however, that the impact of the
residential schools was not absolutely negative. "Some students remember
their time in the schools with gratitude for what they experienced, and
for the education they received," he said. 

The Bishop of Keewatin, the Rt Revd David Ashdown, has previously
underscored that "it wasn't a good system with a few bad people in it,
but a bad system with many good people in it." 

After a decade of deliberations the negotiating team from the General
Synod of the Anglican Church in Canada reached an agreement - known as
the Settlement Fund - with the Government of Canada's negotiators in the
late autumn of 2002. "This 'Settlement Fund' will pay 30% of all
adjudicated claims in which an 'Anglican entity' is found at fault,"
said Archbishop Peers. Representatives of the Anglican Church in Canada
and the federal government formally signed the agreement on 11 March
2003 . 

"While the agreement was widely celebrated in the Anglican Church, two
key issues remain to be resolved in detail," said Archbishop Peers. "The
question of the form and nature of 'Alternative Dispute Resolution', as
well as the content and timing of the required release from further
claims that claimants will sign, remain unresolved, and negotiators from
church and government continue to consult." 

In October, the Primate, General Secretary and other officers of the
General Synod will meet with leaders from the Anglican Council of
Indigenous Peoples to take the next steps towards reconciliation in
their lives together as Anglicans. 

Towards the end of his address, Archbishop Peers expressed his gratitude
to those in ECUSA who have already made commitments to the work of
Healing and Restoration. "I am grateful for the history we share of
Anglican ministry on this continent, for the many events, persons, and
shared commitments that remind us of our communion in the Body of
Christ," he said. "And [I am grateful] for the signs of generous
response to our church's challenge that have emerged from various places
within the Episcopal Church."

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