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Prayer Book Society visits Stanley Mission

The Prayer Book Society of Canada held its Annual General Meeting in Holy Trinity Church on the mainland in Stanley Mission. 

In his address to the meeting Bishop Hawkins spoke of  Mamuwe Isi Miywachimowin, Together in the Gospel.  He spoke of the spiritual movement of renewed Christian faith, confidence and leadership among First Nations in the North of Canada.  Part of this movement includes a call for greater self determination for First Nations within the Anglican Church. 

In the Diocese of Saskatchewan it has been extremely moving to see how God has moved us from talking about self-determination to Mamuwe Isi Miywachimowin, from language that sounds political to language that is decidedly spiritual, from language that sounds like separation to language that speaks of our being together and finally from English to Cree.

 He went on to say that in Canada the Church ran Government Schools whose explicit purpose was assimilation and in which there were instances of horrific sexual and physical abuse, as well as instances of real compassionate and missionary work and of positive experiences and relationships.  But there is also in our missionary history a strain of open minded and sensitive work including the early ordination of indigenous clergy, the translation of the Bible, Prayer Book and Hymn Book into Cree and its dialects and the consecration of the first aboriginal Bishop in Canada, Charles Arthurson. 

We have a history as people of Saskatchewan and as Anglicans, aboriginal and white, which is full of pain and betrayal of racism and hatred, but which is also full of stories and accounts of respect and cooperation, of a recognition of God-given and Christ-redeemed equality and dignity.

The story of Archdeacon Mackay, who was born in 1838 in Moose Factory, to parents of mixed ancestry,  is one of those good stories.  In 1864, he was transferred to Stanley Mission. It was here that he began his work in translating, Scriptures, the Prayer Book and Hymns.   He left in 1879 to take up work in Battleford and at Emmanuel College in Prince Albert.  Mr. McKay was made Archdeacon of Saskatchewan in 1884.  He is credited with choosing the town site for La Ronge.  He died November 28, 1923 and at his funeral Edward Ahenakew preached that " He has placed the Cree Bible in the hands of the Indians, also the Prayer Book, the Hymn Book and others.”

As we celebrate this year the 350th Anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer of England, we need to remember the great work of translation of that 1662 Book which took place in this country as part of its missionary endeavours.  Mackay’s work is still used and the chapel in Hall Lake, part of the LLRIB is named in his honour. 

After the meeting everyone went on a boat ride to Holy Trinity Church across the water for Evening Prayer and a fish fry organized by Joe Roberts and the people of Stanley Mission . 

The church was full for the Evening Prayer service with the Rev. Richard Custer playing the keyboard while the congregation sang  Amazing Grace in Cree, translated by the late Rev. James Settee.  Archdeacon Adam Halkett preached in Cree and English.

Following the service everyone enjoyed a delicious meal of fried walleye, potatoes, beans and of course bannock.  There is nothing like fresh fish and bannock to end a wonderful day.

Pictured in the photo at the top of the page are some of the executive and members of the Prayer Book Society who attended the Annual General Meeting of the National Prayer Book Society hosted by the Diocese of Saskatchewan on May 5 in Stanley Mission. From left to right Heather Herbison, B.C., the Rev. Gordon Maitland, Ronald Bently, Diana Verseghy, from Ontario John Matthews, Alberta and Brian Munro, Brantford, Ontario.

Also attending the meeting were the Rev. Quenton Little, from Saskatoon, Tracy Loftus, Karen Price Jones, Allen Langlois and the Rev. Patricia Langlois from the parish of All Saints, Melfort, Amelia Beatty Hunt, from Holy Trinity in Prince Albert, the Ven Adam Halkett, from St. Joseph’s Montreal Lake, Mary Brown from St. Martin’s Briarlea, the Rev. Lloyd and Gwenda Young, from Cumberland House Jim and Beverly Miller, from Christopher Lake and Bishop Hawkins.

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