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From Our Bishops

Archbishop’s statement on Residential Schools Settlement

To the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Toronto,

The Globe & Mail published an article on April 27, 2016, about the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and United churches’ financial obligations under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Our national church has responded with a statement that I encourage you to read.

While the Diocese of Toronto itself had no residential schools within its borders, we contributed $5 million to the settlement. As a result of fundraising shortfalls by the Roman Catholic Church, some funds that had been held on behalf of the entities that contributed them were released back to them in December 2015. The Diocese of Toronto’s portion of this was about $500,000. We have put this money into a trust fund under the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation called The Robert Falby Fund for Indigenous Ministries, which will help fund ministry in the Diocese for healing and reconciliation work, as well as for direct ministry to urban Indigenous people.

In addition to our financial contributions, the Diocese of Toronto continues to support the work of reconciliation in our communities. With the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada, we helped to establish the Toronto Urban Native Ministry in 2008 to provide spiritual and pastoral care for urban Indigenous peoples and to facilitate reconciliation. Many of our parishes also actively promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through activities such as local education campaigns, support for the Pikangikum water project and relationship-building trips. In 2016, parishes throughout the Diocese passed vestry motions committing themselves to working to implement the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We have also appointed Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Many of you will recall that in 1993, Primate Michael Peers acknowledged the Anglican Church’s role in the residential school system and apologized at the National Native Convocation held in Minaki, Ontario. The full text of that apology is available on the national church’s website.

I want to assure you that our Church and Diocese will continue to uphold and support our Indigenous brothers and sisters as we fulfill our mandate to be agents of healing and reconciliation.

Yours faithfully,

The Most Rev’d Colin R. Johnson
Archbishop of Toronto