Saturday, March 16, 2013

Anglican Church in Canada confesses and asks forgiveness for secretly selling Japanese Canadian church buildings

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 14

Japanese-Canadian presentation

Archdeacon Jim Boyles, former General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, introduced speakers representing the Japanese-Canadian Vancouver Consultative Council: Joy Kogawa, Lynne Shozawa, and Greg Tatchell.
The speakers shared the story of how two Vancouver Japanese-Canadian churches-Holy Cross and the Church of the Ascension-were sold by the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster after World War II.
In 1942, 22,000 Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps. On April 1, 1949, they were allowed to return. The church sold Church of the Ascension in 1945 and Holy Cross Church was sold just months after Japanese Canadians were allowed to return to Vancouver.
JC-VCC researchers have spent years piecing together the stories of these properties and were finally able to prove the story in 2009.
Bishop Michael Ingham, Diocese of New Westminster, apologized for these actions in 2010.
"Racism is and has been part of our church," read Bishop Ingham's apology, "and we should acknowledge and repent of it."
COGS adopted the following resolution from the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice Committee:
1. Acknowledges the injustices experienced by Japanese Canadian Anglicans at the hands of our Church during and after WW II; and confesses the error of our ways.
2. Expresses its gratitude for the activities of the Japanese Canadian Vancouver Consultative Council (JC-VCC) and the Diocese of New Westminster, which since 2008 have braved to tell the truth about a long, hidden story of racism at numerous levels of our Church, including the naming of the 1,500 Japanese Canadian Anglicans who were exiled in 1942.
3. Supports the 2010 apology made by Bishop Michael Ingham for the sale of Japanese Congregation Churches in the Diocese of New Westminster in 1949.
4. Recognizes that deep-seated historic racism continues as a source of pain to Japanese  Canadian Anglicans across Canada, and commends every effort in the interests of healing and reconciliation.
5. Recommends that the Council of General Synod study the Episcopal Church's Asiamerica Ministries to explore ways of our participation in it.
6. Encourages the dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada to be mindful of the growing multi-cultural membership of our Church, to celebrate that diversity, and to enhance partnerships in common ministry.
The Primate spoke to the resolution. "I want to express gratitude to those who came to tell this story," he said.
"This is a sign to the whole church to acknowledge sins of the past and expresses a desire to be continually reconciled."
JC-VCC members gave the Primate a plaque that tells the story of their churches.

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