Since 2010, the Primate, after listening carefully to Indigenous members, invited Canada’s Anglican members to help him review the church’s policies and programs. The need was to see if they could discern the different gifts and potentials present among its members. In a Denomination known for its hierarchical style of functioning (from the top down), this decision was of major significance.
Indigenous members long ago recognized there was more than one way to think about leadership and decision-making in all aspects of life. With the permission of the National Church, they formed the Anglican Council of indigenous People (ACIP). The Council focused on finding ways to identify and implement traditions handed down from the generations.
In 2016 the Primate, appreciative of the efforts brought forward, appointed a Council of Elders and Youth. This group, reflecting the circular style of sharing, wanted to ensure that the church would abide by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Also, by functioning in this way, they went on to demonstrate the depth of their ways of doing things. The youth, for instance, are making outstanding contributions within the Council.
All of these initiatives have led to the way Indigenous members have now elected a bishop from among their own people. Also, with the blessing of the full church, that bishop will be given full rights within the Calgary Diocese among Indigenous and non-Indigenous parishes.
Archdeacon Sidney Black has served Treaty 7 (Blackfoot) churches with his own unique style of gentleness and grace. But now he has been called to the whole church. “I want to continue being a servant of the Church for our Indigenous communities, our Metis communities, our Inuit communities and for the whole church at large.”
May God bless Sid and Melva in their ministry.