Diocese of Keewatin Ratifies Residential Schools Agreement

Diocese of Keewatin

December 2, 2002
for immediate release

Diocese of Keewatin Ratifies Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

Kenora, o­ntario

- The Diocese of Keewatin through its Diocesan Council, meeting at St. Alban’s Cathedral o­n Friday, November 29, was the first of 29 Anglican dioceses to ratify the agreement between General Synod and the Federal Government in respect to a settlement fund. The fund is being created to pay settlements to victims of sexual and physical abuse in the Indian Residential Schools administered by Anglican entities o­n behalf of the Federal Government.

"This settlement will allow us to be the church again and focus our ministry and resources to healing. It enables us to continue to walk in partnership as brothers and sisters." commented the Rt. Rev. David Ashdown, Bishop of Keewatin.

Members of the Council expressed concern that the fund will not be able to address cultural issues such as loss of language and will not be available to Anglican students who attended schools operated by other denominations. There is a commitment within the Diocese to continue to address the cultural issues through programs and to develop a pastoral response to aid the former students of other schools.

Archdeacon of Keewatin, the Ven. Larry Beardy, a former residential school student, told a story," When I attended the residential school I was not able to use my language. I lost my language. When I returned to my community, I could no longer speak to my parents and my people. It was by going to church, that I regained my language. The church has kept our languages alive."

By ratifying the agreement the Diocese has committed to raising its share of the 25 million dollar settlement fund. That share will be approximately $175,000 over five years. The Diocese has no available assets from which to make its contribution to the fund. There is no money in the bank for this purpose, no money set aside that can be used. The Council meeting also accepted an operating budget for 2003 that will require fund-raising of approximately $50,000. in addition to securing the resources needed for ministry projects.

"Many of our parishes are small, but the Anglicans in this Diocese are dedicated. I believe that we will meet this challenge together. Raising funds for the settlement is morally the right thing to do. Raising funds to do ministry is a part of who we are as Christians. " stated Diocesan Treasurer, the Rev. Susan Barclay.


for further information contact the Diocese of Keewatin Synod office 807 547-3353


Diocese of Keewatin The Mission of the Diocese of Keewatin

To proclaim the Gospel of Christ;
To nurture unity;
To celebrate diversity;
To uphold Anglican culture;
To promote the servant-hood of all after the example of Our Lord.

The Diocese of Keewatin Profile

The Anglican Diocese of Keewatin covers nearly 650,000 square kilometres. It includes much of northwestern o­ntario and northeastern Manitoba. Most of the 46 communities have populations between a few hundred and a few thousand.

Five language groups are represented in the Diocese: Oji-Cree, English, Cree, Ojibway, and Dene. Many of the communities in Keewatin are isolated villages accessible o­nly by air, rail, or winter road. There are three Regions in the Diocese. The Northern Manitoba Region includes both European and Cree populations and a small Dene village. The Northern o­ntario Region has Oji-Cree, Cree and Ojibway communities, and the Southern Region is largely European with a sizeable Ojibway community. The Southern Region also serves o­ne American parish.

In 2000, three Regional meetings and the Diocesan Synod adopted four operating principles. They reflect the nature of the Diocese as well as its future. These principles shape ministry and leadership in the Diocese.

1) Each Region is self-determining, but we walk together for strength.
2) The Diocese is consciously cross-cultural with shared leadership.
3) Our priorities are healing and reconciliation.
4) Ministry is most effective at the local level.(For the Diocese to survive, the parishes must thrive.)

Because of the Diocese's diversity, most ministries and programs are culturally appropriate. They are usually innovative, "on the ground" ministries that directly affect people. Most of the 96 clergy are aboriginal, including three of the four archdeacons. Keewatin is a recognized leader in indigenous ministry. In 1996 Keewatin elected the first aboriginal Diocesan bishop in Canada.

A significant, but declining, portion of the Diocese's budget comes from the national church. For many years Diocesan Council was forced to reduce ministry and programming due to financial constraints. Parishes as well as individuals felt these cutbacks. However, in 2002 the Diocese made a decision with far-reaching implications. It was decided that Keewatin would begin to liquidate and spend down its available assets. By taking this direction Keewatin was able to expand ministry in all areas of the Diocese. These assets are now depleted.

Ministry and programming in the Diocese are not imposed from the top. They are responses to identified needs. All projects and programs are informed by input from those for whom these ministries are intended. Partnership and shared leadership are not just ideals, but realities that form the foundation of our corporate life.

All parish gifts to the Diocese, donations from individuals, and any grants received are dedicated to ministry and program. In early 2003 the Diocese will implement a strategic plan to carry us into the future. A major aspect of the plan will be the development of a year-round stewardship program in conjunction with the parishes.

The Diocese publishes a monthly newspaper, The Keewatin, and a weekly newsletter called the Kee Wee. As well, quarterly editions of The Keewatin Update are sent to parishes and friends around the country. The "Updates" describe the ministries that are taking place in the Diocese.

Synod Office
Diocese of Keewatin
916 Ottawa Street
Box 567
Keewatin, O­ntario
P0X 1C0
Bishop: The Rt. Rev. David Ashdown
phone 807 547-3353
fax 807 547-3356
email dioceseofkeewatin@gokenora.com
web site:  www.gokenora.com/~dioceseofkeewatin/