A Message from the Executive Director
People around the globe are celebrating an historic event in 2022: the Platinum jubilee of when Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne, 70 years ago. And this year marks another jubilee, closer to home: 65 years since the birth of the Anglican Foundation of Canada. Wikipedia suggests that “Sapphire jubilee” was coined recently for just such an occasion (what happened to 45?); however, I would like to propose Amethyst for AFC. The colour matches better.
Jubilees call to mind a long biblical tradition: the sabbath day of rest, the sabbath year where fields lie fallow—and after the sabbath of sabbath years comes the jubilee every 50 years. You can read about it in Leviticus 25. It was a time to proclaim liberty throughout the land, for debts to be canceled, property restored to its original owner, and indentured servants to be freed. It is a celebration, to be sure, but one that comes from remission, reconciliation, restoration—not just about marking time.
The themes of remission and reconciliation carry forward into the Christian understanding of jubilees as well. Beginning in A.D. 1300 under Pope Boniface VIII, jubilees were celebrated every 50 years, then later every 25. There were also extraordinary jubilees that could be proclaimed in response to events, like plague or war. Jubilees were years of repentance, forgiveness, and a recommitment to Christian service with joy and hope. Pilgrims flocked to Rome to enter through the ceremonial doors of the major basilicas and receive the indulgence. Vendors hawked souvenirs. (Some things never change.) The traditions have continued and expanded into the 21st century.
So, where does that leave us on AFC’s 65th? I am writing this on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Another time for repentance—for a change in our behaviour—and for recommitment. How do we mark this jubilee, coming on the heels of such extraordinary circumstances: two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Europe on a scale not seen in decades, the ongoing discovery of unmarked graves on residential school sites….
May this jubilee year for AFC be a time of recommitment to our mission: to provide abundant resources for the Anglican Church of Canada. May it be a time of reconciliation—the work is urgent and ongoing. May it be a time of restoration, as we come alongside parishes and dioceses to raise funds for children and youth ministry through Say Yes! to Kids 2022. May it be a celebration as we look forward to the next 50, 65, 100 years, with hearts full of gratitude, and a generous capacity to imagine more.