Angli­can Na­tional In­dige­nous Bishop speaks in Ge­orgeville

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL NEWS - By Gor­don Lam­bie

Angli­can Bishop Mark MacDon­ald, the Na­tional In­dige­nous Bishop for the Angli­can Church of Canada, made a stop in Ge­orgeville last week­end to give a pre­sen­ta­tion on the gospels as they re­late to in­dige­nous is­sues in Canada today and to en­gage in a ques­tion and an­swer pe­riod with those in at­ten­dance. The event was or­ga­nized as a col­lab­o­ra­tion of the Angli­can Dio­cese of Mon­treal and Que­bec, and was held in Ge­orgeville in recog­ni­tion of the 150th an­niver­sary of that commu- nity’s lo­cal Angli­can con­gre­ga­tion.

“I cre­ated an in­dige­nous con­text and then be­gan to talk about the re­la­tion­ship of in­dige­nous peo­ple to the church and to the larger Canadian So­ci­ety” MacDon­ald ex­plained to the Record. “I tried to give a pos­i­tive out­look on what the fu­ture holds.”

Macdon­ald, as Bishop, is charged with the spir­i­tual over­sight of 225 in­dige­nous con­gre­ga­tions across Canada, which also means serv­ing as the voice of those com­mu­ni­ties in ad­dress­ing the church. Re­flect­ing on the his­tor­i­cal role of

churches in Canada as sup­pres­sors of in­dige­nous cul­tures, he said that while there is some ten­sion in his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, he sees a lot of pos­i­tive growth.

“(The in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties) are of­ten strong and en­thu­si­as­tic mem­bers of the church,” MacDon­ald said, “but they’re en­thu­si­as­tic about the mes­sage rather than the in­sti­tu­tion.”

Lynn Ross, who helped to co­or­di­nate the Bishop’s visit, said that he was very pleased with the re­sult, both in terms of the pre­sen­ta­tion of­fered by Macdon­ald and the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Dio­cese. He made par­tic­u­lar note of the work of Ju­dith Ball of Saint Paul’s Angli­can Church in Man­sonville in mak­ing the whole thing hap­pen

“It want very, very well,” said Ross said, shar­ing that the ques­tion and an­swer pe­riod fol­low­ing MacDon­ald’s four part pre­sen­ta­tion was lively. “The in­dige­nous peo­ples are en­gag­ing the church in new and in­ter­est­ing ways.”

Macdon­ald said that he also found the gath­er­ing in Ge­orgeville to be very re­cep­tive and pos­i­tive over­all.

“(The mes­sage) was re­ceived very well, they were very en­thu­si­as­tic and very gen­er­ous.“The Bishop said. “There’s a much greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of and sen­si­tiv­ity to in­dige­nous peo­ple and their unique rights in the church today. I think that there is a pro­gres­sive amount of sup­port in the church for in­dige­nous peo­ple and their unique role in Canadian so­ci­ety.”

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