TORONTO – (CANADIAN CHRISTIAN NEWS SERVICE) – From May 14 to 20, 2017, Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto will host the third annual Indigenous Leadership Week, a unique one-week program that gathers Christian Indigenous Leaders from across the country to learn and grow together. The theme of this year’s event will be “Healing: Ourselves, Our Communities, and the Land.”
Indigenous Leadership Week breaks the mold of Western-style learning, bringing together Indigenous teachers – including National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald and the Rev. Ray Aldred, Director, Indigenous Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology – with Wycliffe faculty members, and others. The focus is on meeting the needs of Indigenous people according to their cultural experiences and heritage.
“This is an opportunity for participants to interact with each other and also with the seminary,” says Bishop Mark MacDonald. “It’s a very unique and popular model, in which people of various ages and stages of ministry come together.”
Close to forty people from across Canada (more than twice the number of participants in previous years) – including representatives from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, from rural and urban communities – have registered to attend, making this the largest ever such event. “Classes each morning and afternoon will focus on healing,” adds MacDonald. “Not only on healing as something we do but as something we need in ministry, how we find healing ourselves even as we help others try to find healing.”
Indigenous Leadership Week offers opportunities for Indigenous ministry to develop. The goal is not the assimilation of Indigenous people into western Christianity; rather, it is a chance for Indigenous Christian faith to develop and grow on its own.
“This is a special week at Wycliffe,” says College Principal Stephen Andrews. “Through an investment made by Jim and Edna Claydon and with additional support from The Compass Rose Society this year, our faculty will continue to learn from participants and the participants will learn and recognize both what they already know, and what they have to offer to their own people and to the wider world.”
“There has been a robust Indigenous faith that has developed, contrary to the goals the government and church had for people,” explains MacDonald. “The Indigenous faith we are trying to bring out into the open now has its own logic and way of approaching issues.”
About Wycliffe College:
Wycliffe College is a graduate theological school, affiliated with the University of Toronto and Toronto School of Theology. Located at the centre of the University of Toronto in the heart of Canada’s most multicultural city, Wycliffe College is an evangelical seminary with roots in the Anglican tradition, educating and equipping students to thrive as future church and community leaders.
Founded in 1877, Wycliffe today is one of this country’s largest seminaries. It boasts a world-class teaching staff, fees among the most affordable in Canada, and a low student-to-faculty ratio. Known for an enduring commitment to intellectual rigour, evangelical vision, and practical action, Wycliffe College attracts more than 250 students from a broad range of denominations, backgrounds and nations each year.