Aboriginal elders at the installation of Primate Andrew Hutchison who presented a robe were Willard Martine (left) of Greenville, BC, and the Rev. Arthur Anderson of the Diocese of Qu’Appelle (Anglican Journal photo)

Newly-elected Primate Andrew Hutchison has written Anglicans in the diocese commending progress to date in the Honouring Our Commitment campaign. Goal of the New Westminster campaign is to raise $1.6 million over three years as the diocese's contribution to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Fund.

Text of the Primate’s letter follows:

The Primate’s Office
The Anglican Church of Canada
L’Église anglicane du Canada
80 Hayden Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 3G2
Phone: 416-924-9199

Email: primate@national.anglican.ca

To Anglicans in the Diocese of New Westminster

Dear Friends,

I have learned of the work you have done with your Honouring Our Commitment
campaign, and commend you for the progress you have made so far. Yours was
one of the first dioceses to join wholeheartedly our national effort to
establish and fund the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Fund. In the
past year, the Fund has paid the validated claims of many of our Aboriginal
neighbours who, as children, were taken from their families and robbed of the
benefits of their culture, and even their language. Within the system there
were many who suffered abuse – both physical and sexual.

Our experience with residential schools reminds us that the best-motivated
and well-intentioned initiatives, considered virtuous and even generous at
the time, can have tragic effect. The Settlement Fund allows us, as a church,
together to work to bring the healing and new life that comes from
recognition of our responsibility and our continuing need for forgiveness.
You are participating with the whole Canadian church to address an historic
legacy, fulfill an obligation, and most importantly enable a deepening
relationship with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters.

My predecessor, Archbishop Michael Peers, exercised courageous leadership in
being the first to offer a public apology to native peoples across the land
for the church’s responsibility in this matter. And the national church
exercised leadership in establishing and funding major healing and
reconciliation ministries in native communities under native leadership, and
agreeing to establish the Settlement Fund. This is as it should be, for St.
Paul proclaims, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself / And
has entrusted to us this ministry of reconciliation.”

The Honouring Our Commitment campaign in the Diocese of New Westminster is
off to a very good start. May Christ be with you as you continue the effort!

Yours faithfully,

Archbishop Andrew S. Hutchison