In the early 1980s discussions began on the development of a network of relationships among indigenous peoples. These discussions took place during the meeting of the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver in 1983 and in the context of setting procedures for the election of an Aborigine Bishop. From this discussion further meetings were held which included indigenous delegates from Australia , Canada , Hawai‘i, Aotearoa and the United States . But during the remainder of the 1980s the matter of a formal network never went beyond the discussion stage.
During the 1991 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Phoenix , Arizona the first step was taken toward forming a network of indigenous Anglicans. It was here that the Anglican observer to the United Nations, the Rt. Rev. Sir Paul Reeves, convened a meeting of indigenous Anglicans and/or their representatives: Dr. Owanah Anderson, the Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Bishop Steven Charleston and Dr. Carol Hampton of the Episcopal Council of Indian Ministries; Bishop Wakahuihui and Doris Vercoe from Aotearoa; the Rev. Charles G. K. Hopkins from Hawai‘i; Archbishop Michael Pierce representing native Canadians. The idea of an indigenous network to coincide with the United Nation's International Year of the World's Indigenous People was presented and the countries represented at the meeting agreed to participate in it. It was further decided that one person from each country meet as a steering committee with Sir Paul Reeves to develop a plan for networking among American Indians and Alaska Natives, Canadian Natives, Native Hawaiians and Maori. Father Hopkins' offer of his Mission , St. John’s By-the-Sea in Kahalu‘u, Hawai‘i, as the site and host of the meeting was accepted with appreciation.
The steering committee, consisting of Sir Paul Reeves, chair, Dr. Owanah Anderson, Mr. Charles Bellis, the Rev Laverne Jacobs, the Rev. Charles Hopkins, Professor Pua Hopkins, Bishop and Doris Vercoe, met on December 10 through 12 in Hawai‘i where each one expressed the concerns of their people and identified the areas of mutual concerns. They were:
The steering committee also adopted the following Statement of Consensus: This Anglican Indigenous Peoples' Network Steering Committee:
Native Hawaiians and American Indians who were in Aotearoa for the consecration of three Maori Bishops in Rotorua in March 1992 attended a Network meeting called by Bishop Vercoe at which a consensus was reached on the following matters:
Network delegations met at St. John's By-the-Sea in Kahalu‘u, Hawai‘i on November 12 - 15: Native Canadians Mr. Charles Bellis, Mr. Gordon Crow Child, the Rev. Laverne Jacobs, Ms. Vi Smith, Ms. Esther Wesley; Maori of Aotearoa Ms. Jenny Kaa, Professor Whatarangi Winiata, Ms. Francis Winiata, Ms. Doris Vercoe. Bishop Wakahuihui Vercoe; Native Americans Dr. Owanah Anderson, the Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Bishop Steve Charlston, Ms. Ginny Doctor, Bishop Steve Plummer; Native Hawaiians the Rev. Darrow Aiona, Mr. Malcolm Chun, the Rev. Charles Hopkins, Professor Pua Hopkins, Ms. Linda Sproat. At this meeting the Anglican Indigenous Network was adopted as the official title of the network along with the following Mission Statement:
We are indigenous minority peoples living in our own lands. We are committed to the Anglican tradition while affirming our traditional spirituality. We have discovered that we have many things in common: a common spirituality, common concerns, common gifts, and common hopes. We believe that God is leading the Church to a turning point in its history and that the full partnership of indigenous peoples is essential. Therefore we pledge to work together to exercise our leadership in contributing our vision and gifts to transform the life of the Christian community.
Presentations were heard and discussed on the mutual concerns of self determination, indigenous ministry, liturgy and worship, and development of resources which resulted in identifying goals and objectives for 1993-94. It was agreed that AIN would next meet in Aotearoa ( New Zealand ) in March 1994, that Bishop Reeves would represent AIN at the events of the UN International Year of the World's Indigenous People, and that an AIN report be made at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council at Cape Town in January 1993. A calendar of events in the four constituencies in 1993 was formulated for networking between meetings.
From February 28 through March 6, 1994 AIN met at St. John’s Theological College , Auckland , the home of Te Pihopatanga’s Te Rau Kahikatea and at St. Faith Parish in Rotorua. At this gathering an indigenous delegation of Aboriginal Anglicans from Australia was added to the Network which helped to make it the largest gathering (43) of delegates and observers: Aotearoa 19, Australia 5, Canada 5, Hawai‘i 8, Continental US 6.
After hearing comprehensive reports on the plight of Maori in their home land and in the Anglican Province of New Zealand, and in response to hearing of the same plight by other delegations, and after hearing reports on the development of indigenous training programs developed by the Commission On Native Hawaiian Ministry (CONHM) and by the Episcopal Council On Indian Ministry (ECIM), there was a shift in the AIN’s goals from formulating a sense of identity to building a viable interacting network. This was evident in the ideas from participants which were readily adopted: a proposal to increase membership in AIN by considering the inclusion of Latin Americans; the offer of scholarships and lectureships for other AIN constituencies at Te Rau Kahikatea; the production of a directory of human resources for their exchange within AIN; the production of a newsletter and video to interpret and promote AIN; the coordination of internal communications to keep constituencies linked; and a proposal to place women’s concerns on the agenda of each meeting.
Following an agreement on these steps toward a solid network, there was a discussion on the effect of rotating delegates on preserving continuity from one meeting to the next. As a result it was agreed that it is the responsibility of each constituency to update new delegates on the current status of AIN so that unnecessary backtracking can be avoided. Because of the loss of Bishop Reeves as convener, it was decided that the constituency responsible for the next meeting would act as coordinator for AIN until that meeting is held. The American Indian delegation offered to host the next meeting of AIN in September 1995 somewhere in the continental US.
The period between AIN gatherings in Aotearoa and Alaska was a time of mixed pain and gladness for the five constituencies. The bad news included the turmoil over financial matters in the Diocese of Hawai‘i and the Episcopal Church Center in New York . In Hawai‘i the diocesan budget was be scaled back sharply in order to pay the interest on a foreclosed $4,000,000 loan the Diocese had guaranteed. In an atmosphere of accusations and mistrust Bishop Hart, who had met with the Network in 1992, resigned. This financial turmoil seriously reduced CONHM’s funding and delayed the approval of its Native Hawaiian Ministry Study Program until December 1995.
While this was happening in Hawai‘i, the US delegates returned home to an ECIM meeting in San Jose, California where, in the spirit generated in Rotorua, they welcomed CONHM as a partner in the ECIM network and instructed the staff to invite the chair of the Commission On Native Hawaiian Ministry to the next ECIM meeting. This action was in response to CONHM’s request in July 1993 for a liaison relationship with the Council with voice, vote only on issues of mutual concern, funding for liaison travel if available and to be included in the Staff Officers' portfolio. But later on in 1994 internal conflicts moved the Executive Council to approve a restructuring of the Church Center that would eliminate ECIM along with the other ethnic commissions and have 3 persons from the constituencies of the four ethnic desks appointed by the Presiding Bishop to a single advisory committee. Later that summer at General Convention, Bishop Charleston's pleas for the restoration of ECIM resulted in a truncated ECIM, reduced from 13 members to 5, only one of whom was a re-appointment. Hawai‘i lost its seat after only two ECIM meetings in 1995.
Unfortunately that was not the only setback for Native American ministry. Out of a renewed sense of self determination at the 1995 Winter Talk there emerged a Statement of Self Determination as a Native effort towards cohesiveness and unity. The larger Church, in its upheaval over the discovery in May of the embezzlement of $2.2 million by the Church Center 's treasurer, regarded the statement as further separation and divisiveness in the Church family. With not much to smile about Ginny Doctor was quoted as saying, "But we have not given up."
On a happier note, there was gladness in AIN over the optimism just north of the US border and in the faraway South Pacific. The First Nation peoples of Canada returned home from Rotorua and took bold steps toward self-determination in April by calling for a new relationship with the Anglican Church in Canada , resulting in a public apology from Archbishop Peers for the past behavior of the Church, and the beginning of a process towards a real partnership. Bishop Charleston of Alaska went south to assist the USA 's Canadian AIN partners to the north with their initiative.
Reporting for AIN’s newest constituency, Australian Bishop Malcolm said that ideas from AIN had been put to use by Anglican Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders through the National Aboriginal Anglican Council (NAAC). As a result of this cross fertilization within AIN, they were looking forward with optimism to a synod after returning home from Alaska that could well provide an additional Aboriginal bishop in North Queensland, a new Native bishop for the Torres Strait Islands and the possibility of an all-indigenous theological college.
This mixed note prevailed at the AIN gathering from September 11-13 at Meier Lake Conference Center led by a “down-sized and down-cast” but not down-and- out American Indian and Alaska Native delegation. After delegates reported on the status of their constituencies, took care of old business and were treated to an Alaska Native Potlatch, the gathering took on a positive note cued by the personal statement of Bishop Charleston: “In the last few days I have begun to see again through the glass darkly; I have again felt the passion, and begun to recapture the vision I thought I had lost.”
Consequently, a second Statement of Consensus was adopted which renewed our pledge to support each other with specific references to the First Nation’s Covenant Statement of Self Determination adopted in Canada, the appointment of indigenous bishops in the Carpentaria and North Queensland Regions in Australia, the Statement of Self Determination adopted at the U.S. Natives’ Winter Talk in 1995, the development of an indigenous training center in North America and the newly established Native Hawaiian Community of Faith, Ka Papa Anaina Hawai‘i O Kristo. The Statement also reflected the desire to enlarge the AIN circle by inviting two new members. It included the adoption of the Anglican Consultative Council’s five-point Statement as AIN’s guiding principles. Finally, this Statement is to be distributed throughout the Anglican Communion, as high up as “ Canterbury , and even to the Queen, herself.”
On the campus of the University of Lethbridge , the Canadian delegation convened the 1997 assembly of AIN. After hearing a brief history of AIN, the five delegations reported at length on their ministries since the gathering in Alaska ; one of the items from the U.S.A. was the establishment of the Indigenous Theological Training Institute. The description of local developments and concerns set the agenda for the remaining sessions.
The apparent “second class” status of Bishop Malcolm in the Anglican Province of Australia raised the issue of a bishop's jurisdiction especially as it applies to indigenous bishops. Are the jurisdictions defined by geographical boundaries within a national church or by the location of indigenous people and the need for one of their own kind no matter where they are in the Anglican Communion? After a lengthy discussion and suggestions for the Australian situation, it was decided that a position paper was needed regarding the authority, jurisdiction and role of bishops in their episcopate among indigenous people. Mark MacDonald was given the responsibility for the position paper to be presented at the next AIN gathering.
Native Spirituality, one of the priority mutual concerns, was the next matter taken up by the assembly. Discussion centered on what native spirituality means in each delegation's constituency; beliefs and practices, authenticity, expressions, role in the Church, place in the lives of the young, etc. Delegations were asked to present a paper on their understanding of native spirituality at the next AIN gathering in Hawai‘i.
Other matters covered were:
Five delegations representing the People of the Land in Aotearoa (NZ), Australia, Canada, the continental United States, and Hawai‘i gathered on September 8, 1999 on Kaua‘i, fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, for the seventh meeting of AIN. After an opening Eucharist, the host delegation, the Commission On Native Hawaiian Ministry, convened the Network's three day formal meeting on the morning of September 9 at All Saints' parish in Kapa‘a where each delegation reported on the ministry of their constituency since the previous 1997 gathering in Canada. The afternoon session was given over to reports on matters carried over from 1997 which included reports from the working group of heads of native theological training institutions, the group working on the development of native theology and the bishops in the Network on the jurisdiction of indigenous bishops. This was followed by the presentation of papers on the native spirituality of the constituents of each delegation.
In the remaining sessions, the mode shifted to the future of AIN. Where do we go from here? What tasks do we need to undertake in the upcoming direction of AIN? It was agreed: 1) to appoint Whatarangi Winiata of Aotearoa as AIN’s voice at the upcoming ACC meeting in September 1999 [click to see ACC resolution] when AIN will seek recognition as an Anglican Indigenous Network with observer status and support in funding; 2) to the establishment of the following working groups: prayer and support, communications, youth participation, women's concerns; 3) to distribute Bishop Macdonald’s paper on the authority and jurisdiction of bishops for discussion in the constituencies and to appointment a working group to follow up; 4) to expand participation in the Network by inviting other minority indigenous people to participate as observers at the meeting in Cairns in 2001; 5) to have Bishop Vercoe coordinate AIN administration in collaboration with member constituencies until our next meeting in 2001; 6) to encourage each delegation to make contributions as their budgets allow to a special AIN account in Bishop Vercoe’s office to help with administrative expenses until 2001.
Under duress and the difficulty of international travel after the tragic events of 11 September in the United States of America, delegations from Canada, Aotearoa (New Zealand, Hawai‘i and Australia (including representative of the Torres Strait Islands) met in Cairns, Australia for gathering of the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN). The delegation from Hawai‘i was delayed for four days before they reached Cairns and the Canadian delegation comprised of two members, Donna Bomberry, staff officer and Todd Russell, Vice- Chair of the Indigenous Council. Greatly missed was the entire American delegation, although they were represented by proxy through Episcopal Council on Indigenous Ministry member, Malcolm Naea Chun, head of the Hawaiian delegation.
Before the meetings began, members who arrived early were able to witness the consecration of the new Aboriginal Bishop the Rt. Rev. James Leftwich at St. Albans in the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah, and the retirement of Bishop Arthur Malcolm. With the arrival of the Hawaiian delegation, the meeting began on Wednesday 19 September with cultural activities and fellowship that helped the delegations to recognize and appreciate the diversity of the Aboriginal tribes and the uniqueness of the Torres Strait Islanders.
With the arrivals of the delegation from Aotearoa (Maori) and Donna Bomberry of Canada their status reports since the 1999 AIN meeting in Hawai‘i were given. The Maori delegation reported on education and mission and Canadian focused upon the present situation regarding the Church/Crown litigation, impending bankruptcy of the National Church , a new document entitled ‘A New Agape’: a plan for justice, healing and reconciliation of our relationships. Also noted was the resignation of Bishop Beardy’s resignation as diocesan bishop, and a presentation of the video of Sacred Circle 2000 ‘Walking a New Vision’ which attended by Bishop Arthur Malcolm. This was all followed by discussion, questions and answers. Each delegation will be forwarded a copy of the video from Canada .
Official business was commenced on Thursday, 20 September at St. Alban’s Church in Yarrabah, the home community of Bishop Arthur Malcolm, retiring Aboriginal Bishop.
The original agenda hoped to focus upon particular issues such as youth, women's concerns, and land; however without full delegations to provide information and discussion, the venue was changed to an open plenary on the future of AIN.
Bishops Arthur Malcolm and Hui Vercoe, Bishop of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Malcolm Naea Chun each brought out the concerns for the continuation of AIN, its past history and accomplishments and challenges for AIN to be effective and viable in the near future. In particular the discussion focused upon reviewing AIN’s mission statement and the need for budget and financing.
Bishop Malcolm in his welcome to the delegations introduced the delegations to the Aboriginal spiritual concept of the dreamtime, “to be one with creation, the land and the people” so that all could bring the creativity to vision for the future of AIN and to help the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to become full partners in their own homelands and among the indigenous peoples of the world.
Bishop Vercoe set forth the new agenda calling for this AIN meeting to consider "Where are we going with our theological education centres? We need to pull together what those programmes really mean to us. We are caught up with the agenda of the national churches and we need to get away from that. The form and order that we talk of and use is way too dependent upon dominant culture and church. The process we use for work and ministry among youth is a process of the church that is still living in the past. We must enable and empower our laity to be an equal part of the leadership of the church, not just priests and bishops. They are the ones who elect or should elect their bishops.”
Aboriginal delegate, the Rev. Di Langham emphasized the need for constant and reciprocal communication among the members of AIN. This was supported by Hawaiian delegate Malcolm Naea Chun who called for better communication remembering that there are still places that have no access to electronic communication and hence the continued need and responsibility for “regional, local and person to person communication; in whatever form is necessary and appropriate be it a web site, emails, faxes, printed and recorded materials, and by voice.”
Canadian First Nations delegate Donna Bomberry reiterated the need for AIN as it had given tremendous support and inspiration for the indigenous peoples of Canada when they were in need for new thinking in the church. “AIN has supported for Canadian church. Maintaining who we are is terribly important for the indigenous people in Canada . We need the lifelines and linkages and communication with others sharing our common issues. This relationship has been very valuable to us and will remain high in our agenda.”
There were several other resolutions and actions taken to ensure the work of AIN by formalizing its operations.
Be it resolved that
The member host Aotearoa has asked each delegation to be prepared to have a delegation that can focus and work on specific issues and therefore each delegation should consist of a priesthood, woman, youth, educator, and elder. The gathering will involve small groups and plenary, and each delegation should be prepared to offer a form of liturgical worship for either morning and evening that is reflective of their traditions so members can experience the liturgical diversity and gifts that each has to offer the Church.
It was also agreed upon that at least two observers would be invited from other Anglican indigenous minorities such as Taiwan , Japan , Mexico , and Belize to attend the next AIN meeting. Each of these groups would be responsible for their air expenses and for providing their own translation services.
The host for this gathering, The Rt. Rev. Whakahuihui Vercoe, in his sermon at Eucharist on the morning of the first day of business, called for the delegations to be “storytellers, value bearers, community builders and spiritual journeyers” whose voices and work more than ever needs to heard and seen in the Anglican Communion. He implored the delegates, “This is our heritage and to act on this heritage is our ministry. It is a ministry of listening, of healing, and of caring.”
Further words of encouragement and greetings came from the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson,
“As you reflect on how you are able to grow into the fullness of the purpose of your network, we, too, will be reflecting how we as a Communion can be more effective in our support of your ministry. Together might we be able to use our common gifts and our common spirituality ‘to transform’ the life of the Christian community.”
The Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Protestant Church of United States of American, The Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold, wrote, “A gift of our Anglican Communion is that we are able to come together to share in one another’s realities and contacts, and therefore have a better understanding of how Christ moved throughout the world." He further wrote, "I hope that the time you spend together is fruitful, and that you find a strengthening of faith through community. I pray that you will all grow in your awareness of the strengths that can be found by being attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This comes with my very good wishes and blessings for you all. Yours in Christ.”
Before the delegations broke out into their representative groups, they listened to a special guest, Archdeacon Taimalelagi Tuatagaloa Matalavea, the Anglican Observer to the United Nations. She reported on the nature of her office and work and stressed that indigenous minority issues at the United Nations are one of her priorities. She also pointed out the tenuous nature of the office due to the lack of funds, but also how important the office is by letting groups like AIN know of forthcoming world gatherings like the next meeting in late May of the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples, whose topic is children and youth.
Among eight resolutions passed by AIN, the most encompassing one called for: The “creation of a non-geographic Province of the Anglican Communion for the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Rim .” It was noted in the deliberations that unlike other Anglicans in the world who have sought to have their religious expression outside being in relationship and dialogue in the Communion, the membership of AIN continues to fulfill its mission statement in being “committed to the Anglican tradition while affirming our traditional spirituality. We believe that God is leading the Church to a turning point in its history and that the full partnership of indigenous peoples is essential. Therefore we pledge to work together to exercise our leadership in contributing our vision and gifts to transform the life of the Christian community.”
Each of the delegations also introduced resolutions of regional concerns for mutual support. These following resolutions were adopted:
It was also moved formally that: AIN supports the development of the Anglican Indigenous Youth Network to assist Anglican Indigenous Network in meeting and addressing the needs of the youth and young adults within the Anglican Church and our communities.
On a more informal level the groups representing woman, elders and indigenous theological educators will also continue to organize themselves and to meet before the next AIN gathering in 2005. The women and elders have indicated their interim gatherings to be in 2004 to be held in Hawaii . They also, following the call of the AIN Secretary General, found the need for dialogue between groups and this was initiated by the elders and youth with designated leaders. In this dialogue they began to explore the need for better interaction among the generations especially as means for church and community growth, with the youth calling to their elders to get more involved.
A special proposal for funding of AIN was presented by the Secretary-General for the establishment of a US$300,000 operating endowment fund set up under the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). It is hope that the fund will provide an annual budget of US$15,000. Members will be asked to explore individual donors and other sources to help establish this badly needed fund. This proposal is part of the ACCs “Endowment Fund Campaign for the Anglican Communion” to ensure that the Church’s programs have a secure future. Those wishing to contribute to this special fund should contact The Rev. Canon John Peterson, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
Continuing the rotation of hosting AIN gatherings, the next gathering will be held in the United States of American in early Spring of 2005.
The ninth gathering of the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) was held on the reservation of the Pala Indian Mission in Pala , California and was hosted by the Episcopal Council on Indigenous Ministry (ECIM) of the Episcopal Church of the United States , from 10-15 April, 2005.
This gathering was successful from the start having almost full delegations from all the members. This increased participation by the members signaled a revitalization and invigoration since the events of September 11, 2001. It also is the result of the changing leadership of all the members as none of the participating delegations had attended the initial meetings that created and established AIN.
The gathering began with a morning Eucharist service led by members of the host nation, ECIM. They represented the diversity of the indigenous peoples of the United States of each regional area: Alaska-Northwest, Northeast, Mid-west, Southeast, and Hawai‘i. Several indigenous traditional rites and symbols were interwoven into the service with many indigenous songs of praise, traditional and modern. The homily was given by Mr. Robert McGhee, Vice chair of ECIM and a member of the Poarch Creek Nation. The service was led by Native American bishops, the Rt. Revs Carol Gallagher (Southern Virginia), a member of the Cherokee Nation and Michael Smith ( North Dakota ), a member of the Potawatomi Nation.
The delegations and guest heard greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams who called upon the gathering as “an opportunity to affirm the role and gifts you have to offer the world-wide Anglican Communion, to give thanks and to celebrate all that you have achieved, and to plan and build for the future.” The Presiding Bishop and Primate of the United States , Frank Griswold also sent his greetings saying. “I support your mission wholeheartedly ‘that God is leading the Church to a turning point in its history and that the full partnership of indigenous peoples is essential.’ The whole Church looks forward to your partnership at this important moment for us all.” With these inspiring words, the delegations heard AIN’s Secretary General, Malcolm Naea Chun call upon all AIN members to use the time to determine the implementation of AIN’s programmes for elder & youth, women, theological education, and the development of a church without borders and an indigenous province.
All the member delegations turned in printed reports updating their own work and concerns and of particular note were the development of a covenant in Australia for indigenous peoples in the church and the collaborative efforts of the Native Americans and indigenous Canadians to define an indigenous church and develop one without political and geographic borders.
The gathering was also inspired by the presentation of a newly released video entitled, “Topahdewin: The Gladys Cook Story.” It is the real life story of an indigenous woman who uplifts herself from boarding school sexual abuse to using love and reconciliation to heal her and others.
Interviewed by the Episcopal News Service, Secretary General was quoted, “Cook's story resonates for everyone in this room. It was a very heavy and challenging day. Some of us have been kept silent for a long time. It reminded us that, beyond the celebratory things, beyond the rejoicing and coming together, that we struggle yet both within and without the church."
Delegates included representatives of the Maori people of New Zealand , Torres Strait Islanders from Australia , native Hawaiians, Native Americans from the continental United States , as well as Canada . A frequent theme discussed was incorporating traditional rites into worship services and cultivating indigenous male and female clergy and leaders. “There are many people who can’t worship the way they would like to worship,” Chun said. “They don’t have priests who look like them, who talk like them. As a result, the church loses people.”
After several days and evenings of deliberation in the programme working groups, the following resolutions were adopted by all delegations.
Indigenous Urban Ministry
Acknowledging that the urban migration of indigenous peoples often results in their disconnection from their home lands, people and traditions resulting in the consequent need for ministry and outreach among indigenous peoples living in urban areas;
We at AIN PALA 2005 urge our respective Provinces and Dioceses to help encourage and resource urban ministry and outreach among indigenous peoples.
Archbishop of Canterbury
Acknowledging the role of Rowan, the Archbishop of Canterbury for appointing an indigenous person, Dr. Jenny Te Paa of Aotearoa, to serve on the Lambeth Commission on Communion, we express our desire to remain members of the Anglican Communion and to work in unity for the advancement of indigenous mission and ministries.
We at AIN PALA 2005 commend the Windsor Report as a way forward together, despite our differences of opinion over matters of justice and morality.
Indigenous Ministry and an Indigenous Province
Acknowledging the need to enable mission and ministry to the indigenous peoples, and that the AIN Rotorua 2003 resolution called for the establishment of an Indigenous Province in the Pacific basin, and the vision of our AIN elders calls for a “Church without Borders;”
We at AIN PALA 2005 wish to develop an enablement plan for indigenous world mission and ministry in the Pacific basin. We intend to exercise our right to self-determination, by considering stories, structures, processes, visions, mission and values appropriate for indigenous peoples, and we will appoint a working group to begin work on developing a plan, and who will report back to the AIN 2007 gathering in Canada.
Acknowledging that indigenous ministry has a mission not just to itself, but to the whole world, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's letter inherently encourages the AIN to share its gifts, and Bishop Carol Gallagher’s recommendation of sending an indigenous evangelism mission to England during the 2007 commemoration of the Jamestown Covenant as “the roots of our Faith stories;”
We at AIN PALA 2005 wish to send a team to England in 2009 comprising from all of the AIN membership, and we will appoint a working group to finalize a draft mission plan for discussion at the AIN 2007 gathering in Canada .
Acknowledging the need for appropriate forms of healing ministry among colonized indigenous peoples;
We wish to develop appropriate forms of indigenous ministry for prayer, the sharing of healing stories, reconciliation and restorative justice seeking wholeness, and a working group will be formed to develop and to implement this ministry.
Gwich‘in Nation and the Arctic Drilling
Acknowledging the sacred connection of Land, Language and Culture is a gift from God, receiving its authority from God; that authority has been recognized by churches and nations for centuries, most recently in the United Nations Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the threat of the development of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a treat to the Aboriginal usage, right, and life of our brothers and sisters in Christ, of the Gwich‘in Nation; AIN affirms our aboriginal rights rooted in the truth of God and in the inherent rights of all people; in the God ordained living connection of the peoples of Mother Earth, our environments; and the living connection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and the Gwich‘in Nation;
We support the Gwich‘in Nation of North America in their opposition to oil development in the Arctic National Refuge, and urges the churches and nations of this earth to protect us all by looking to protect the Refuge.
Youth Ministry and Concerns
Acknowledging that indigenous youth have an active voice at all levels, such as the development and practice of liturgies and programs, that meaningful relationships with elders include mentoring through the sharing of stories to provide guidance support and growth so to develop a meaningful dialogue through sharing and listening;
We support and provide resources, particularly funding, for an annual indigenous youth gathering of United States Youth and the AIN youth delegates to maintain a continuity of youth participation;
We reaffirm the resolutions and reports of the pervious AIN Youth meeting in ROTORUA 2003.
Concerns of Indigenous Elders
The Elder group of AIN PALA 2005 calls for the support of meaning full dialogue and programs with indigenous youth of AIN, to put forth an action plan for change, ministry and growth which includes funding and logistical support for an annual gathering of both the United States indigenous youth and the youth delegates of AIN, and that the progress of this plan will be supported and monitored by AIN Elder Delegates Frank Oberly and Gloria Moses for a report to the AIN 2007 gathering in Canada.
Church without Borders
We acknowledge that AIN has for several years held intense discussion concerning the concept of a “church without borders” as a means of brining the message of reconciliation and forgiveness, of unity and hope, and a future for indigenous members of the churches of Canada and the United States of America, we have witnessed recent events in both our churches that call out for this concept to be seriously considered and discussed on greater and deeper levels of our churches for all people and members of our churches;
We call upon the House of Bishops of the churches in Canada and the United States of America to recognize this concept of a church without borders as a viable means of bringing reconciliation, forgiveness, unity and hope for a future for the indigenous peoples and all members of our churches, and will expand the depth of discussion of this concept at the national and diocesan levels of the churches in Canada and the United States.
Indigenous Theological Issues and Concerns
We acknowledge our belief that the following will enrich our traditions and relationship with the Trinitarian aspects of a ‘Living God’ who was, and is, always among us;
We need to develop a living pedagogical model that will enable indigenous communities to articulate the diverse theologies that are grounded within those communities; develop these tools and or models that enable indigenous communities to create liturgies that express their unique spiritualities; develop a “gospel lens” that is appropriate to each of our indigenous languages, cultures and life experiences; strongly urge the non-indigenous church to also develop a “gospel lens;” develop through the text and traditions of the Anglican communion a post-colonial and post-modern critique, that transforms the colonial legacy that has been imposed upon us; to believe that we have a responsibility and obligation to the future, to those generations who are children now and those yet to be born, not to repeat the destruction, damage and cultural genocide of our colonial past; to assist the wider church to be sensitive of the pressures upon indigenous leaders, both lay and ordained, who walk the path between the two worlds, i.e., the world of the church and their own respective worlds; to urge the Anglican Church, in all of its Anglican ministry units throughout the world, to establish clearly defined and accessible resource, including finance from national churches, to undertake effective professional and curriculum development and to enable appropriate exchanges of indigenous educators and students within the Anglican Communion, and to urge the Anglican Communion to honestly and seriously engage in cross-cultural exchange with their respective indigenous communities.
In Support of Mr. Michael Tamihere, Youth Representative to the Anglican Consultative Council
We acknowledge the appointment of Mr. Michael Tamihere from the Province of New Zealand and a member of the Pihopatanga o Aoteroa as a youth representative to the Anglican Consultative Council; and we congratulate, recognize and support Mr. Michael Tamihere as voice for indigenous youth at the Anglican Consultative Council and as a liaison for the Anglican Indigenous Network.
The next AIN gathering is planned for Canada in 2007.
Teach, nurture, baptism, care, transform unjust structure, and protect creation – Goals of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.
My Aunt had a certain way of teaching the young. If you asked her something she might not answer you right away. She might give you an answer a week later and not in the way you would think she would have answered you. But this is the way she thought you would best remember it, or this was the way she thought it should be learned but young people do not have the time to listen today. They want it now and they may not learn it at. So if we believe it is important for them to know we better respond different. – Mr. Frank Oberly, Elder Consultant , USA.
The second Elders and Youth Consultation was convened by the Secretary-General, Malcolm Naea Chun at the Pala Resort in Southern California to further the dialogue of these two groups as the next AIN membership gathering approaches in May 2007. Consultants from the member groups of USA , Hawaii and Aotearoa ( New Zealand ) were able to attend. They were: Mr. Frank Oberly, The Rev. Robert Two Bulls, and Mr Brandon Mauai from the USA , Mr. & Mrs. David and Linda Sproat and Mrs. Thelma Chun from Hawai'i , and The Rev. Hirini Kaa, Mr. Ryamond Hina, Mrs. Winifred Ehau and Mrs. Helen Gray of Aotearoa.
A day and a half was spent listening to existing and new programmes from their respective regions, reading and discussing national visions and goals, and the presentation of statistical data concerning the church membership and contemporary society. A point raised from the Maori participants was the desire to go beyond recommendations and to develop an actual working programme. It was also raised by the American participants of the need for the recognition of roles that each group has in congregational growth and development.
Through this discussion it was realised that both groups had complementary interests and goals that can be summarized in the Episcopal Church’s vision called 20/20:
It is our dream that, when 2020 arrives, as many as 25% of our congregations will be less than 20 years old and that, while our worshipping numbers will have doubled from our present 830,000 each Sunday, the median age of our parishes will be considerably younger. It is also our fervent hp that those who are Episcopalians in 2020 will socially and ethnically “look more like America ” as a whole than we do today.
In this regard the rest of the consultation looked at the implementation of some of the 20/20 goals: leadership/leadership training, the new generation, worship or prayer and more importantly what they could do about it now.
Episcopal Council executive members Oberly and Chun proposed to the consultants that if funding could be secured what could they do this year and for the next two years to further native youth ministry an the stated objectives like the 20/20 document. While the younger adult consultants hammered out a working programme, the elders gathered to discuss what role elders had in this “new” church vision.
The elders were able to come to a meeting of the minds that there was a strategic role for native elders: Elders have a role to guide, to be witnesses, and to support, nurture, and young people in their ministry. Elders have a role to ensure that the culture and traditions are passed down that they are considered to be important for the substance of the people to the next generation. How this is done is up to the next generation. Elders have a role to prepare the community and congregation for changes in ministry styles and direction that complement the ordained leadership.
It was agreed upon that native youth ministry needs to be recognize on its own merits and style which can be very different from that of traditional church worship and ministry. Young adults in the process or ordination and those already ordained need to determine and develop the training for this ministry in consultation with elders and adults. A liturgy of prayers and worship needs to reflect the life of youth and young adults which can be used daily beyond the communal Sunday worship. The encouragement and development of new music and liturgical expression needs to shared and offered as a gift of native youth ministry. The implementation of this challenges need to be properly funded and also to five the direction to national youth gatherings so they can be productive beyond social gatherings.
Before the consultation ended a working programme in these areas of leadership, network development, communication, and theology was produced that would:
Immediately open up the established youth web site in Aotearoa to the registration of other native young people in AIN and to link up with the Ain web site; put together the materials and contributions for a Journal publication as part of the First Peoples Theology Journal series and to compile a prayer calendar for native young people; begin the visitation and network building of young adults to the respective areas: North Dakota, California, Hawai‘i and Aotearoa this year through projects such as the Red Shirt Project developed by the Diocese of Los Angeles. Native young adults will travel, live and be part of the community life of these areas throughout this summer and their reflections and learnings will be documented to the web site and journal, and to establish an internship programme for theological study at the respective indigenous schools and education programmes; and to prepare for the AIN Vancouver 2007 gathering by further developing a plan of action for native youth ministry throughout the membership.
A proposal for initial funding was taken to an executive meeting of the Episcopal Council on Indigenous Ministries for $20,000.00 and it was approved. The funds are to be dispersed by ITTI (Indigenous Theological Training Institute). It is anticipated that this new program will be sustained for the next three years as it grow and develops and that the other members who could not attend will soon be active participants.
The implementation of this action plan should be part of the direction to see that national visions like the 20/20 document go beyond being a “dream” to a living reality in our churches.
Revelation 22: 12&13
“See I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”.
2007 is the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Virginia and the birthplace of the Episcopal Church of the USA. There was Anglican worship in 1579 in California but establishment was in Virginia.
In 2014 on Christmas day the Anglican Church will celebrate the arrival of the gospel in Aotearoa. Aotearoa “land of the long white cloud” is the indigenous name for NZ. Christmas Day 1814 marks the birth of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa/NZ. The constitution of the Church was written by Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in 1857 when 90% of the adherents were Maori - but none were present when it was signed. Lack of literacy was not the problem.
Voltaire the French philosopher wrote – “to the living we owe respect – to the dead we owe the truth.” Chief Ken Adams of Virginia recently spoke truth to Jamestown by sharing the story of his people and their eventual decimation at the hands of the English settlers. He spoke to a gathering of Indigenous people who came to hear each others stories and in what some have described as “the ripples of discovery”. After hearing what had happened to his people in Virginia it seems they had been hit not by a ripple but by a tsunami or tidal wave. It can be suppose hearing of the “ripples of discovery” sounds better than talking of the “ravages of colonisation
Australian, Hawaiian, and Canadian indigenous peoples have similar stories of colonisation. They are all without exception painful - for both the vanquished and the conquerors. For the vanquished it is the pain of having to reclaim an inherent right to be different and the right to reparation for the wrongs that they have suffered.
For the victors it is the pain of digging within their collective soul to find the path to redemption and reconciliation. Our hosts, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, have asked the Church in Canada to do two things: -repudiate the “doctrine of discovery” and develop a new agape (a new way of loving).
These actions apply to all nations where Indigenous peoples have suffered under this doctrine. Built into that doctrine was the right to subjugate, to assimilate and in many instances obliterate a people and a culture.
On the other side of the coin - for the vanquished it is to shift from a deep, bitter abiding resentment and anger to forgiveness. To forgive is not to forget but to transform all that has happened into something positive – to not do so is only to bring more suffering for both vanquished and conqueror. The Good News of the crucified, risen and ascended Christ compels us to find that path and to make it happen.
Jamestown, Virginia, 2007 promised reconciliation and celebration. Others have said should it be Commiseration and Redemption. How can you celebrate where there has been so much pain and bloodshed? And you cannot have Reconciliation without Redemption. Zacchaeus provides us with the model of what that might look like. (Luke 19:5-10)
5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." 8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." 9 Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."
It is obvious that when Jesus does come he brings hope to those who have been sinned against and opportunity for redemption to those who have sinned. Zacchaeus had his opportunity and he made the most of it. He recognised his sin and redeemed himself with a tangible and visible action.
Aotearoa/NZ has provided a model for this process in action, finding new ways to work and relate together. The church of Aotearoa/NZ began by recognising that the indigenous people are the first people of the land. Upon reaching that point the Maori and the majority white members of the Anglican Church revisited the constitution of 1857 and have rewritten it to give equal power to its minority indigenous partner. Each partner has to agree before any changes are made especially in relation to how we govern ourselves as a church. Right relationships are critical in order for this to work. They tell us:
“We have not got it totally right yet but it is as they say a work in progress – albeit after ten years of work. It involves sharing power and resources not because we want to but because we have to - because the gospel demands we do so. We are in a process of righting historic wrongs mindful of the fact that we cannot change our history but we can redeem it and transform our relationships with each other.
It involved changing our perceptions of how we minister to each other and how to let go of people that some diocesan bishops considered to be theirs. It also meant getting people from within our own indigenous communities to trust that their leadership was doing the right thing. Their yearning for autonomy and support of the Maori Church was in constant conflict with their sense of loyalty to the white diocesan bishop and their behaviour was dependent upon who was present at any debate or conversation about autonomy. This kind of behaviour Paolo Freire describes as:
The duality of the oppressed: they are contradictory, divided beings, shaped by and existing in a concrete situation of oppression and violence.
They got over that but not without some pain on both sides. They had one Maori bishop for a long time with the first being ordained in 1928 and the third in 1981. In 1992 after carefully developing our constitution we now have five Maori Diocesan bishops each with full canonical authority and jurisdiction. They sit alongside of white diocesans. They are the Episcopal presence of the church in their own indigenous communities. It has not been an easy road to travel as we have lost adherents along the way who either could not or did not want to see the journey through.
Australia followed in their wake but they are a long way from where we are in terms sharing of power and resources. Canada has begun the journey with the appointment of Mark MacDonald as the National Indigenous Bishop. It is the first step in a long journey but it is an important step. We the sisters and brothers gathered at the tenth meeting of the Anglican Indigenous Network wish you well because as with us you too will find that loyalties will be put to the test. Your majority partners will struggle to come to terms with a new way of understanding not just what has to happen but also with how they have relate to you. When you are used to being in control with unfettered power it is difficult to let go and let God act.
We have gathered this week at the Vancouver School of Theology as representatives of the Anglican Indigenous Network with our common stories. We came not to wallow in self-pity nor to seek means for revenge for past wrongs but to discover how we might encourage each other to retain our distinct identities and to claim our right to be heard and taken seriously as the people of the land of each of our nations – within this Anglican Communion. We want to draw the attention of this Communion of Anglicans into becoming advocates for justice and peace with its cultural and ethnic minorities.
The prayer of Jesus in our gospel text for Sunday worship is instructive for us all: As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Living the gospel is not about personal salvation it is about working towards the salvation of a community.
Reports and Recommendations of the AIN Programmes
Indigenous Theological Models
We are a living pedagogical model enabling indigenous communities to articulate the diverse theologies that are grounded within our many nations. Our models reflect indigenous values of hospitality, relationship, spirituality and incarnational theology based on narrative and mystical storytelling. This lens is the gift. This lens enables us to engage our tradition and culture with the tradition and culture brought to us in the Anglican Communion. In doing so, it is not our intention to repeat history but our prayer to build bridges of inclusion and understanding inviting us all into a cross-cultural exchange as a way to enlarge the living presence of God.
Our communal goals include
In full partnership with the church we are preparing and presenting curriculum at AIN 2009 to include Native American, Native Hawaiian, Maori, ACIP (Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples), and NATSIAC (National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islands Anglican Council). These gifts will be celebrated at AIN 2009.
Task: Via email to all members attending this conference as well as to other leaders in the AIN, locally and nationally. The women developed the concept of “Shegneuse” or “She News”. This is a newsletter or bulletin that each Indigenous community will create bi-monthly (due on or before the 30th of each month) and forward to all members of the AIN and into the wider community as well.
The following assignments were selected:
May – June Issue Women of New Zealand
July-Aug Women of Hawaii
Sept-Oct Women of Torres Strait
Nov-Dec Holiday Issue – Greetings from all
Jan – Feb Canada
Mar-Apr United States
This newsletter will be used as a tool to share information as to what is going on in each Indigenous community, church community and in the lives of the women. A tool to share ideas and suggestions that others may be able to use in their Indigenous communities. Share happy occasions, highlights of events and basically, to use as a way of communications to each other.
Guided cultural tours
Visit historical sites
Visit hospitals, elderly homes, children’s hospitals
Habitat for humanity
Elders and Youth Programme
Anglican Indigenous Network Website
We will develop an Anglican Indigenous Network youth website to promote ongoing communication to build fellowship. This is to be developed alongside current Anglican Indigenous Network website. Each youth delegate present here will constitute the editorial board.
We will encourage youth contributions to the next edition of the Indigenous Theology Journal, with the theme “God is Still Red [and Brown]”.
The youth feel that there is a requirement for sustained visioning to develop a long term future for the Network and for the individual member Churches. There is a need for fellowship amongst the youth, and the sharing of programmes and expertise.
In order to address this we will hold a summit of young indigenous Anglican leaders in Hawaii in September 2008 to develop our vision for youth ministry across the Network.
The delegations will be comprised of a range of experts in their fields possibly including: ministers (lay and ordained); musicians; educators and programme developers; theologians. Participants will be aged between 18 and 40 years. There would be around 6 members per delegation (30 participants)
To continue to develop meaningful relationships with elders through sharing of stories and provide guidance and support for our growth, an elder would accompany each delegation.
Communication will be an essential part of the summit. While the summit itself is inherently valuable, the hui will not be successful without communicating the life and outcomes across our Churches.
A Steering Group will be formed to coordinate the development and delivery of the programme. This will be comprised of:
Coordinator Hirini Kaa
Treasurer Cassandra Ambrym
Host Raquel U’i Chong
Communications Sheba McKay
Programme Cornelia Eaton
US$1000.00 per person
Including: accommodation, catering, resources
40 x $1000 US$40000.00
Canada CD$2000.00pp $10000
Aotearoa / NZ NZ$1700.00pp $8500
US mainland US$500.00pp $2500
Australia AU$1800.00pp $9000
Issue of Hawaiian Ordination Concerns
We resolve that in regard to the Hawaiian crisis of not having an indigenous ordained Priest or deacon we the Elders and Youth are recommending a new thrust to implement a programme to train and assist candidates to achieve ordination by:
Church Without Borders
Clergy Programme (pending receipt)
AIN urges the bishops present at AIN 2007 to work with those areas where potential leadership has not been realized so to pursue appropriate and urgent measures to provide leadership development and pastoral care of indigenous minorities.
A report will be given to AIN on progress of implementation.
An executive committee was established to support the Secretariat. It will consist of Mrs. Mrs. Louise Aloy, the Rev. Di Langham, The Rt. Right John Gray, Mrs. Becky Clark, Ms. Donna Bomberry.
AIN approves the continuance of the Secretariat under the leadership under the direction of Malcolm Naea Chun. A bi-annual budget was approved from the membership for US$20,000.00.
1. Nations means
3. Maori accessed the financial resources and established a secure foundation. TEC has cut their support of AIN.
The Eleventh Gathering of the Anglican Indigenous Network to be held from April 23-27, 2009 at the Kilauea Military Camp (a retreat site not an active military base) at the Volcano National Park on the island of Hawai‘i. I have received word that you have been selected to represent your member delegation, being either, elder, youth, clergy, women and theological education
The Commission on Native Hawaiian Ministry (CONHM) is hosting this event and will be subsiding delegates ground transportation, meals, and accommodations. Staff, if accompanying the member delegation, is responsible for their own cost. All official observers are also responsible for their own costs and must be approved by AIN to attend. CONHM and AIN will also be sponsoring invited guests to the gathering. ALL guests and observers must submit a request to the Secretary-General’s Office to attend AIN as CONHM has made a limited number of reservations at the Camp for AIN
There will be a con-current meeting of indigenous theological educators and I have scheduled the educators to work with the delegate educators’ programme group during the appropriate sessions. AIN will subsidize the housing and meals of that one educator to the delegation (but not airfare).
One of the agenda items will be the consideration of paragraph 62 of the Indaba report of the recent Lambeth Conference and the recent developments in Australia and Canada. AIN has been invited to give a presentation at the next ACC meeting in Jamaica in early May and also to submit appropriate resolutions to ACC. A plenary session will be turned over to CONHM so we may hear of their issues, concerns and needs.
Full report from the Hawai'i Meeting is available here
In May 2011, in spite of severe flooding that seriously affected New South Wales, the Anglican Indigenous Network gathered in Collaroy, Australia, hosted by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council. A report of the meeting is here.