Support for Indigenous Youth

Canadian Anglicans Say Yes! to Sacred Beginnings

The Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) is pleased to announce that it will join the Anglican Church of Canada, the Indigenous Ministries Suicide Prevention Team, and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) in sponsoring the 2024 Sacred Beginnings gathering from May 6 to 13 at the Sandy Saulteaux Centre in Beauséjour Manitoba.

“The seeds for Sacred Beginnings were sown in 2018, when ACIP acted on a decision by Sacred Circle to begin to host a young adults sacred gathering,” says the Rev. Dixie Bird. “The first gathering occurred in May 2023 when some 30 young adults met in Beauséjour, Manitoba. There, they heard the apology for spiritual harm and learned more about the traditions lost to them—singing, drumming, the sweat lodge, traditional crafts, and more.”

Bird says that the 2024 Sacred Beginnings gathering—which has received a $15,000 grant from the national proceeds of AFC’s 2023 Say Yes! to Kids campaign—will build on last year’s gathering by encouraging young Indigenous adults “to continue to learn to integrate their traditions with their Christian faith, through Gospel Based Discipleship study.” Bird explains that with support and guidance from Indigenous elders, the hope is for participants to be transformed by their experience, and “gain the confidence needed to move forward in hope.”

Bird says that as the youth council that develops from Sacred Beginnings continues to grow, it will report to ACIP ahead of the National Sacred Circle to bring concerns and ideas to shape the journey to healing and reconciliation. The council will organize Sacred Beginnings gatherings across the land, bringing healing and reconciliation to Indigenous young adults who are struggling with identity, addictions, suicide, crime, and violence.

“When these youth gather, they network and share teachings and songs, laugh, and grow in faith and Identity,” says the Most Rev. Chris Harper, National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, and Presiding Elder of Sacred Circle. “Sacred Beginnings is about growing in community and as Individuals in God’s wide and beautiful creation.”

This is the second significant grant to a national Indigenous youth initiative from Say Yes! to Kids. “When combined with the $25,000 grant from the 2022 campaign to sponsor Indigenous youth to attend CLAY 2023, Say Yes! to Kids has provided $40,000 in funding for national Indigenous youth programs,” says Dr. Scott Brubacher, Executive Director, AFC. “It is certainly our hope that the 2024 campaign will prove similarly impactful, and that AFC’s national youth-centred campaign can continue to support the priorities of Indigenous youth within the Anglican Church of Canada.”

According to Archbishop Harper, the CLAY 2023 gathering in Waterloo “revealed new experiences, challenges and blessings,” to those who attended “By their participation in CLAY the church also was given insight into the Indigenous experience and reality. So, on many levels it was a win-win.”

Archbishop Harper says he is grateful for the financial support and encouragement that grants from the Say Yes! to Kids program have given to Indigenous youth. “These events have opened the doors for our Indigenous youth to participate in wider faith programs where they might have never been able to join and celebrate with other youth of their age groups.”

Those AFC members and donors who wish to support the 2024 Say Yes! to Kids campaign can use the donor card and business reply envelope included in this newsletter. Donations can be made online at or you can contact Michelle Hauser, AFC’s Development & Communications Officer, at 613-354-6387.