Canada’s Indigenous Anglicans will gather on Friday, June 5 for a digital gospel jamboree, hosted by their archbishop, the Most Rev. Mark MacDonald. The event, “Gathering at the River,” will include live performances as well as pre-recorded video performances shared by Indigenous Anglicans across Canada, in a gesture aimed at lifting the spirits of the community, which has suffered disproportionately from COVID-19.
“I think people will see it as a sign of hope, and that’s exactly what we want it to be,” said Canon Ginny Doctor, the church’s Indigenous ministries coordinator. “We know there’s a lot of people who are feeling really anxious, and feeling almost depressed because we’re in this situation—particularly our young people.”
Archbishop MacDonald said that gospel jamborees are a tradition that go back nearly 200 years among Canada’s Indigenous Anglicans. Hymn singing is the central focus, but music is interspersed with times of prayer, testimony, and readings. The gatherings sometimes last until dawn. The jamborees are treasured in part because they allowed a space for preserving some traditional spiritual and cultural practices, unnoticed by colonial authorities.
“Gathering at the River” will be streamed this Friday, June 5 at 6 p.m. E.T. on the Anglican Church of Canada’s YouTube page, and on the Facebook page of the church’s Indigenous Ministries department.
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