News Release

Anglican Cathedral Appoints Indigenous Teacher in Residence

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Albert Dumont, a well-known and respected Algonquin poet, artist, activist and spiritual guide, has been appointed by the Very Reverend Shane Parker, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral Ottawa, to be Algonquin Spiritual Teacher in Residence for a two-year term.

Mr. Dumont, whose spirit name is Oshki Nodin (South Wind), “has been deeply shaped by the spirituality of his ancestors throughout his life’s journey,” Dean Parker said.

Mr. Dumont said he is “truly humbled that my good friend has put his trust in me to share Indigenous ways of knowing with his community,” adding he hopes “we will learn from each other about the purpose of spirituality and of strong leadership.”

The residency is intended to help members of the Cathedral community and the Anglican Diocese, along with other faith leaders, to understand the distinctiveness of Indigenous spirituality. Dean Parker says he hopes this residency “will build a relationship between the Cathedral and the Algonquin Community as a whole, based on friendship and mutual respect, which Albert and I have come to enjoy and rely on.”

This is the first appointment of a non-Christian Indigenous teacher in residence in a cathedral of the Anglican Church of Canada and comes with the full support of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Chief Jean Guy Whiteduck, and Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Bishop John Chapman.

Bishop Urges Ottawa Voters to Make Housing a Priority

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The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa is urging the federal and Ontario governments to give increased priority to programs that help the most vulnerable in the community.

In a public statement the bishop, The Right Reverend John Chapman, calls on Ottawa voters to make homelessness and affordable housing an issue in the June 7 election campaign. He says the Diocese is committed to its Community Ministries which operate Cornerstone Housing for Women, Centre 454, St. Luke’s Table, and The Well drop-in centres. “We cannot resolve the issues of poverty and homelessness alone,” the bishop said. “They require major support from all levels of government.”

The bishop’s statement coincides with a submission by the Diocese encouraging the federal government to strengthen its proposals for a human rights-based approach to housing.

While the federal proposals are commendable, the submission says, they don’t actually provide for legislation that will protect Canada’s most vulnerable, including indigenous people and women.

“We are particularly concerned that women’s equal right to adequate housing be reflected in all aspects of the National Housing Strategy,” the submission says. It cites evidence from a national advisory committee that existing definitions of homelessness discriminate against women because of their unique needs.

Certification through legislation of a human rights-based approach is vital to the effectiveness of a national strategy, the submission says. Bishop Chapman joined last fall with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH), the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) and the United Nations Special Representative on the Right to Adequate Housing to call on Canada to meet its obligation as a signatory to the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Bishop Chapman said Ottawa, like most large Ontario cities, is facing a crisis of homelessness. Solutions require the support and cooperation of all orders of government.

“We look to the next Ontario government to support a portable National Housing Benefit in addition to, not in place of, existing provincial programs.”

Diocese dedicates sculpture that speaks on behalf of homeless

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A bronze sculpture depicting Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a park bench has been installed in front of Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa. “The sculpture represents the voice and presence of people who are homeless or street- engaged in our communities, and our belief that God is present wherever people suffer,” said Bishop John Chapman, of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.

Bishop Chapman will dedicate the sculpture at noon on Sunday, May 20, 2018 in the Cathedral forecourt, and hopes its prominent location will “remind those who enjoy abundance to have compassion, and to work toward safe and affordable housing for everyone.”

The life-sized piece was created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, after he had seen a homeless man huddled under a blanket on a bench and thought, “that is Jesus.” He was “moved spiritually by thinking about this sensitive human being that is looking like a lump on the street.”

The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa is extensively involved in ministry with those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the city, and runs Centre 454, The Well/La Source, Cornerstone/le PilierSt. Luke’s Table, and The Ottawa Pastoral Counselling Centre. The Diocese has set a target of creating 125 new units of affordable housing by 2021—the 125th anniversary of the Diocese.

The installation adds Ottawa to a growing list of international cities which feature the Homeless Jesus sculpture, including Rome, Washington, Dublin, Glasgow, Toronto, New York, Singapore, Antwerp, Manchester and Madrid.

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