Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop Welby apologises to Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools – and for the Church of England’s “grievous sins” against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Archbishop spent last weekend visiting Indigenous Canadian reserves, meeting with Indigenous leaders and Anglicans, and listening to residential school survivors, as part of a five-day visit to Canada.

Read the full Lambeth Palace press release here, and also Read Archbishop Justin’s apology to the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Scroll down to the end of the first link for some background information on the Anglican connection to Canadian residential schools.

Media reports from church and Canadian mainstream sources:

The Church Times: ‘We built hell and put your children in it’: Welby apologises to Indigenous Canadians.

The Anglican Journal: ‘Apologies are cheap … unless accompanied by action’: In Canada for 6 days, archbishop of Canterbury re-commits to reconciliation

The Globe and Mail: Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes to residential school survivors for Anglican Church’s role in ‘building hell’.

Reports from CBC News:

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Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
20 days ago

Senator Murray Sinclair is correct about missed opportunities around the visit of someone of the “magnitude” of Archbishop Welby. In fact it was a missed opprtunity for Welby not to have had a meeting with a person of the magnitude of Sinclair who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Canadian church seems very challenged on the communications front these days.

Frances James
Frances James
19 days ago

It’s so much easier to apologise for acts you didn’t do, in a place far away than it is to apologise for the sins committed closer to home.

We’ve got people committing suicide because of the Church of England’s bullying, covering up of abuse and arrogance today.

Until Welby publicly calls for, as a starting point, Steven Croft’s resignation, I will disregard anything he has to say. He can shove his sanctimonious platitudes.

Froghole
Froghole
19 days ago

It is now wholly clear why this is seen as a Church of England matter, rather than an ACC matter, and it makes sense only if the CofE functions as a lightning rod for the ACC, in order to reduce any contingent liabilities which may be imposed on the latter. The residential schools came into being in 1820 (or 1828). The first question is then: when did the Church of England metamorphose into the ACC? For me the answer is simple: 1854, which was the date on which the Church was disestablished and disendowed (via the abolition of the infamous… Read more »

Geoff M.
Geoff M.
Reply to  Froghole
18 days ago

1854 is an arbitrary date. Long v. Grey wasn’t ruled until almost a decade later, and even after that dioceses continued to be created by royal letters patent and the metropolitans continued to look to Cantuar as their primate. The conventional “birthdate” of the Anglican Church of Canada is generally given as 1893, when the provinces of Canada and Rupert’s Land joined to form general synod. But British Columbia, where many of the schools were located, stayed out of new body and remained under Cantuar’s direct metropolitical oversight until into the 20th century. The English Church Mission Society didn’t hand… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Geoff M.
18 days ago

Many thanks indeed for that. That is most helpful. Yes, I note that BC and Yukon joined the ACC in 1914. I also understand that in 1894-95 a Canadian Church Missionary Association was formed in order to act as a local proxy of the CMS; whether the effect of that was that the CCMA actually ran the residential schools formed under the 1876 Act on behalf (or with the CMS) is not yet clear to me. However, it seems that the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada was formed in 1902 (by the general synod), and then… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Froghole
Froghole
Froghole
19 days ago

I should add, as a qualification to my previous post, that Rupert’s Land (which covered Hudson’s Bay and much of what are now the prairie provinces), together with the North-Western Territories (as they then were, and including Yukon) were incorporated into Canada in 1870. Rupert’s Land was under the control of a chartered company, the Hudson’s Bay Company (which was closely connected to the British state), and the NWT was under the crown. In addition, the ‘British Arctic’, comprising most of the islands within the Arctic Circle, was not put into Canada until 1880. The question is then what was… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Froghole
Tim Chesterton
19 days ago

I appreciate Justin Welby’s intentions, but he needs to respect provincial jurisdiction. He does not represent the Anglican Church of Canada. Our primate was the first Canadian church leader to offer an official apology for the residential schools, back in the 1990s. Also, the millions that were paid out as compensation came largely from fund raising in every Diocese in the country. Each diocese was assigned a target amount, whether or not it had had a residential school within its borders. Just to say ‘The Anglican Church of Canada paid $15 million’ is misleading. Individual Anglicans raised this money because… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
19 days ago

Thank you for making this point. This, I assume, was another instance of the present archbishop’s pseudo-papal proclivities. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency (did it start with Graham Leonard’s 1988 intervention in Tulsa, Oklahoma?) for some bishops in the Church of England to forget that they do not have extra-diocesan jurisdiction, still less any authority west of the Irish Sea or the Bristol Channel. The point I have been making, perhaps clumsily, is that it might be possible to accord blame to the Church of England up to a certain point in time, after which the Anglican Church of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
18 days ago

Tim your info re compensation is of course correct. However with regard to jurisdiction +Welby was invited by our Primate in consultation with former National Indigenous Bp. Mark MacDonald. (See Anglican Journal Feb 10/22). I think the crisis around Mark’s resignation may perhaps have been a factor in the visit having a lower profile than one otherwise may have expected.

Geoff M.
Geoff M.
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
18 days ago

I have already sent a few stern corrections to news outlets that called him the “head of the Anglican church” and the like in headlines, but do you really mean that he should have refused the invitation of the Primate and the then-NIAB?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Geoff M.
18 days ago

I think the terms of that acceptance should have been defined more carefully. Archbishop Welby has obviously been seen by journalists and by indigenous leaders as having a similar position in the Anglican Communion to the Pope. Suggestions by indigenous leaders that he should have met with them in the company of the PM or the DPM all assume that he has authority to negotiate another financial settlement.

Personally, I think the invitation was a mistake and should never have been given. I recognize that once it was given, it would have been hard for Archbishop Welby to refuse.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
18 days ago

I agree with you on substance. There does not appear to have been enough prior negotiation with First Nations groups.

Geoff M.
Geoff M.
Reply to  Rod Gillis
16 days ago

That is true, and is the reason why he was not invited to the Six Nations territory.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Geoff M.
15 days ago

That is correct. For TA readers who may wish more background on the issue, including commitments from +Welby regarding compensation and the release of records, see links below.

https://theturtleislandnews.com/index.php/2022/04/20/archbishop-of-canterberry-will-not-be-visiting-the-former-mohawk-institute-residential-school/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/archbishop-canterbury-survivors-records-financial-support-1.6435416

Father Larry Wright
Father Larry Wright
18 days ago

In such fraught and divisive issues, is there a genuine place for gestures of compassion and consolation from senior clerics? Perhaps we should consider more carefully the responses of those whom received the apology alongside those who are sceptical as to its intention.

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