In a historic vote, the general synod of the Anglican Church of Canada bestowed the title of archbishop upon Mark MacDonald, president of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for North America.
Before the synod, MacDonald was bishop of the National Indigenous Anglican Church of Canada.
MacDonald was presented with a metropolitical cross decorated with four colours for the four peoples of the world, including blue symbolizing the colour of hope for indigenous peoples.
WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit extended his congratulations and appreciation to MacDonald. “Your patience and wisdom are a tremendous treasure to the ecumenical movement and to the Anglican Church of Canada, and we stand with you as you continue to express your values and your fine sense of justice,” said Tveit. “Your spiritual roots ground us all as we care for creation and for the dignity for all people.”
The process of becoming a self-determining indigenous church has been underway for several decades. The church plans to focus on the development and formation of disciples, working with existing resources and institutions to provide leadership and training, and incorporating traditional indigenous teachings and spiritual practices.
MacDonald said that the structure of the indigenous church would be “fluid” and would not exactly follow the model of an ecclesiastical province.
The general synod also passed a resolution to make Vision Keepers, a commission of indigenous elders and youth tasked with monitoring how well the Anglican Church of Canada enacts its commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a permanent forum.