Anglican National Indigenous Bishop speaks in Georgeville
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.”