Mission - Commissions - MISSIO

Appendix E

Apology and Convent Documents

Nippon Sei Ko Kai 49th Regular General Synod, 23 May 1996

(Excerpt from Minutes)

Resolution No. 34

Statement on War Responsibility of Nippon Sei Ko Kai

  1. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai, after 50 years since the end of World War II, admits its responsibility and confesses its sin for having supported and allowed, before and during the war, the colonial rule and the war of aggression by the State of Japan.

    In 1945, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai was at a historic turning point – the end of Japan’s invasion and colonial rule in the Asia-Pacific region.  At the special session of the 21st Genera synod held in the same year, Bishop Paul Shinji Sasaki expressed the church’s repentance for what it had done during the war period, and pointed out that the Church had chosen to comply with the government policy and had forgotten its mission.  At that moment, the General Synod, as well as the House of Bishops, the Dioceses and Parishes should also have deeply repented for not having fulfilled their prophetic role.  They should also have made a sincere apology to their neighbours whom Japan had invaded and ruled, and should have sought a truly reconciled relationship with them.

    Since establishment, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai has been making compromises with the idea of a Tenno (God in Heaven) ruled nation and militarism which go against the Gospel, and has not been able to resist strongly against, or refuse those principles.  The Nippon Sei Ko Kai was oppressed by the authorities, and some priests and lay people experienced the struggle of faith.  But despite these bitter experiences, our Church has not been able to stand beside those who are oppressed and suffering.  Despite its more recent internationalism, our Church has not been able to see Japan as an aggressor I the war.  In fact, using the ‘Special Prayer for the China Incident’ and ‘Special Prayer for the Greater East Asia War’ (WWII), our Church has justified Japan’s rule over other ethnic groups and supported the war under the name of Christianity.  We have been a closed Church close main concern is the expansion of the membership and the retention of the institution, this being unable to serve as the salt and for the earth as indicated in the Gospel.
  2. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai confesses to God and apologises to the people in Asia and the Pacific that we did not admit our fault immediately after the end of the war, were unaware of our responsibility for the past 50 years, and have not actively called for reconciliation and compensation until today.

    At the 22nd General Synod in 1947, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai officially adopted The Book of Common Prayer issued in 1938.  The Book included prayers for the Tenno and ‘Kigensetsu’, which regarded the Tenno and his officials.   During the Holy Communion, a priest prayed for God’s blessing for all who had sovereignty especially the Tenno.  In this way, even after the war, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai continued to use The Book of Common Prayer, which justified the Tenno system of government as God’s will.  These are the major issues to be questioned with regard to the war responsibility, but the Church has neglected to change its attitude.

    The Diocese of Okinawa has been telling the stories about massacres of Okinawan people and forced collective suicides among them, which occurred during the war as a result of the government policy to regard the people as subordinates of the Tenno.  They have also been pointing out the treats of the US Military bases in Okinawa throughout the post-war period.  Before its transfer to the Nippon Sei Ko Kai in 1972, the Diocese of Okinawa had asked the Nippon Sei Ko Kai to understand Okinawa’s history and its situation.  The Nippon Sei Ko Kai must repent that it has neglected to respond to that call until today.
  3. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai confesses that, even after the war, it has yet to get rid of discriminatory attitudes.  We pray that we will be changed to recognise our mission to do justice as the people of God, and, as the vessels of peace, to listen to the voices of the divisions, pains, cries and sufferings of the world.

    As a sign of repentance, we the people of The Nippon Sei Ko Kai will do the following:
    1. to share the confession of our war responsibilities among all of the parishes
    2. to convey an apology to the Churches in the countries which Japan had invaded
    3. to start and continue a programme in each Diocese and Parish, to review the historical facts and to deepen our understanding of the Gospel.

(Extracted from the minutes)
The Nipon Sei Ko Kai General Synod Secretary

Anglican Leader Apologizes to Aboriginal People for Residential Schools

My Brothers and Sisters:

Together here with you I have listened as you have told your stories of the residential schools. 

I have heard the voices that have spoken of pain and hurt experienced in the schools, and of the scars, which endure to this day. 

I have felt shame and humiliation as I have heard of suffering inflicted by my people, and as I think of the part our church played in that suffering. 
I am deeply conscious of the sacredness of the stories that you have told and I hold in the highest honour those who have told them. 

I have heard with admiration the stories of people and communities who have worked at healing, and I am aware of how much healing is needed. 

I also know that I am in need of healing, and my own people are in need of healing, and our church is in need of healing.  Without that healing, we will continue the same attitudes that have done such damage in the past. 

I also know that healing takes a long time, both for people and for communities. 

I also know that it is God who heals, and that God can begin to heal when we open ourselves, our wounds, our failures and our shame to God.  I want to take one step along that path here and now.

I accept and I confess before God and you, our failures in the residential schools.  We failed you.  We failed ourselves.  We failed God. 

I am sorry, more than I can say, that we were part of a system, which took you and your children from home and family. 

I am sorry, more than I can say, that we tried to remake you in our image, taking from you your language and the signs of your identity. 

I am sorry, more than I can say, that in our schools so many were abused physically, sexually, culturally and emotionally. 

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada, I present our apology. 

I do this at the desire of those in the Church like the National Executive Council, who know some of your stories and have asked me to apologise. 

I do this in the name of many who do not know these stories. 

And I do this even though there are those in the church who cannot accept the fact that these things were done in our name. 

As soon as I am home, I shall tell all the bishops what I have said, and ask them to co-operate with me and with the National Executive Council in helping this healing at the local level. 

Some bishops have already begun this work. 

I know how often you have heard words which have been empty because they have not been accompanied by actions.  I pledge to you my best efforts, and the efforts of our church at the national level, to walk with you along the path of God's healing. 

The work of the Residential Schools Working Group, the video, the commitment and the effort of the Special Assistants to the Primate for this work, the grants available for healing conferences, are some signs of that pledge, and we shall work for others. 

This is Friday, the day of Jesus' suffering and death.   It is the anniversary of the first atomic bomb at Hiroshima, one of the most terrible injuries ever inflicted by one people on another. 

But even atomic bombs and Good Friday are not the last word.  God raised Jesus from the dead as a sign that life and wholeness are the everlasting and unquenchable purpose of God. 

Thank you for listening to me. 
+ Michael, Archbishop and Primate

Response to the Primate at the National Native Convocation Delivered by Vi Smith on behalf of the elders and participants Minaki, Ontario, Saturday, August 7, 1993

On behalf of this gathering, we acknowledge and accept the apology that the Primate has offered on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. 

It was offered from his heart with sincerity, sensitivity, compassion and humility.  We receive it in the same manner.  We offer praise and thanks to our Creator for his courage. 

We know it wasn't easy.  Let us keep him in our hearts and prayers, that God will continue to give him the strength and courage to continue with his tasks.)

Text of the Covenant Statement

We, representatives of the indigenous people of the Anglican Church of Canada, meeting in Winnipeg from the 23 to 26 of April, 1994, pledge ourselves to this covenant for the sake of our people and in trust of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ:

Under the guidance of God's Spirit, we agree to do all we can to call our people into unity in a new, self-determining community within the Anglican Church of Canada.

To this end, we extend the hand of partnership to all those who will help us build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada.

May God bless this new vision and give us grace to accomplish it.  Amen.

[21 signatures]

Background to Covenant

Our Journey of Spiritual Renewal

We, the indigenous partners in Canada of the Anglican Communion respectfully affirm our place in God's Creation and in God's Love, manifest through the Grace of Jesus Christ.  In specific, we address the Anglican Canadians with whom we are in direct Communion.

We have shared a journey of close to three centuries in which we have been: -  denied our place in God's Creation -  denied our right as Children of God -  treated as less than equal; and -  subjected to abuse, culturally, physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually.

The result, in our communities, homes and daily lives, has been and continues to be: -  broken homes and lives; -  sexual and family violence; -  high recidivism and incarceration rates; -  high chemical abuse; -  loss of spiritual fulfillment; -  loss of cultures, languages and traditions; and -  poor stewardship of Mother Earth.

Because the National Church's canons, structure and policies have not always responded to our needs nor heard our voice; we now claim our place and responsibility as equal partners in a new shared journey of healing moving towards wholeness and justice.

We acknowledge that God is calling us to a prayerful dialogue towards self-determination for us, the Indigenous People, within the Anglican Communion in Canada.  Through this new relationship we can better respond to the challenges facing us in a relevant and meaningful way.

As faithful people of God, guided by the Holy Spirit, we invite you, the Anglican Communion of Canada, to covenant with us, the Indigenous Anglicans of Canada, in our vision of a new and enriched journey.)