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Aug 26, 2015 | André Forget

Canadian Anglicans Provide Free Laptops to Improve Communication in Indigenous Parishes


[Anglican Journal] The Anglican Church of Canada’s Indigenous ministries department has highlighted the importance of ongoing conversation by giving laptop computers to nine community leaders in order to strengthen communications among Indigenous Anglicans.


The Acer Notebooks were distributed on the final night of the eighth National Anglican Sacred Circle, held August 16-22 in Port Elgin, Ont.


The money for the computers came from a donation from an individual, who wished to remain anonymous and wanted to help Indigenous ministries “use the Internet more effectively,” said the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, Indigenous ministries co-ordinator.


“We realized that in order for many of our folks to use the Internet, they have to have computers,” said Doctor. “They may have an Internet connection, because a lot of the bands have Wi-Fi and other means of [using] the Internet, but they don’t have computers, or they have very old computers.”


Doctor said this was one step toward improving communications, noting that “even with putting on Sacred Circle, we had so many miscommunications.” She added, “We have to really try harder to make sure that people are getting the word.”


Interested parties were encouraged to attend a workshop on how to most effectively use a computer, which was led by General Synod web manager Brian Bukowski. Recipients were chosen based on the following criteria: they had to know how to use a computer and have access to the Internet, but personally have either no computer at all or an old computer.


Charon Spinks, who lives in Lytton, B.C., in the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, was one such recipient. “I do use a computer,” she said, “but I don’t have one in my house. I go to the employment centre to get into a computer.”


Spinks is very involved in the life of her parish, St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s Anglican Church, in Lytton, B.C., and looks forward to using her computer to keep in touch with her bishop, Barbara Andrews, as well as the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. An elder from the Interior Coast Salish, Spinks hopes it will help her in teaching her language, Nlaka'pamuctsin, to children in the nearby communities of Boston Bar, Spence’s Bridge and Merritt.


I really appreciate teaching my language, because it’s good for the little children, and they’re doing magnificent in the language, but the computer will help me get organized,” she said.


The other computer recipients were Isabel Dube, of the diocese of Moosonee; Frida Lepine, of the diocese of Brandon; Ron Hutchison, of the diocese of British Columbia, Canon Grace Delaney, of the diocese of Moosonee; Marjorie Mark, of the diocese of Moosonee; Melanie Wesley, of the diocese of Moosonee; the Rev. Martha Spence, of the diocese of Quebec; and Yolanda Bird, of the diocese of Saskatchewan.