The Right Reverend Riscylla Shaw, Bishop of the
Anglican Diocese of Toronto, (Trent Durham area)
during her installation at St. John the Evangelist
Church in Peterborough on January 21, 2017.
(Picture courtesy of Anglican Diocese of Toronto)
Click here for larger picture.

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen and daughter of Honourary MNO Senator Ruth Wagner Riscylla Shaw was recently installed as a Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Shaw is one of the first Métis to achieve this high position in any Christian Church in Canada. Bishop Shaw was among three Anglican clergy who were consecrated as bishops in a ceremony at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Toronto on January 7, 2017. MNO President Froh and MNO Executive Senator Joseph Poitras and their spouses attended the consecration. Bishop Shaw was installed as a Bishop within the Diocese of Toronto responsible for the Trent Durham area in a ceremony at St. John the Evangelist Church in Peterborough on January 21, 2017.

Bishop Shaw grew up with her three siblings on a farm in a small community north of Bracebridge, Ontario. “As farmers, we were connected to the land in dynamic and life-bringing ways, developing valuable knowledge in methods of caring for the earth, learning about crops and animals, and our natural cycles in relationship to abundance, scarcity and resource allocation,” she recalled.

After completing high school in Bracebridge, Bishop Shaw attended the University of Toronto where she completed undergraduate studies in French and the Humanities. She then received three years of intensive and comprehensive ministry training at Wycliffe College in Toronto in 1999. Following a few years of youth ministry, she was ordained a priest in 2001 and lived and served in the Parishes of Maple, Minden-Kinmount and most recently the Parish of Bolton, all in the Diocese of Toronto.

When asked about the importance of her Métis heritage, Bishop Shaw commented: “I am so proud to be the daughter of MNO Honourary Senator Ruth Wagner. She, along with my late Métis Grandfather, Oliver Chick, taught me to wear my faith out loud – as a strong believer in equal opportunities and equal treatment of each and all. As a result, I bring with me deep respect and humility in working to build bridges between diverse cultures and communities.”

“Being Métis, I have a built-in cross-cultural perspective. Now, as a newly ordained Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada, I am attuned to looking for the mysterious beauty and reconciling love of our Creator, as revealed in the mundane and in the miraculous of every day,” she continued.

“As Métis, as a Bishop my goals are intertwined. I am motivated to advocate for, be present to, and work with the marginalized – the Indigenous, the LGBTQ, the downtrodden, the poor, the lonely, the oppressed, the broken. My life’s work is about networking, broadening relationships and community building. Being Métis informs my worldview, in building inter-cultural bridges, valuing diversity and practising radical inclusion,” she added.

Over the past six years Bishop Shaw has served as a witness and an Ambassador for the Anglican Church for Canada’s National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

“It was very important for me to be there [at the TRC Commission] both personally and professionally – for my Métis and Canadian heritage, to understand the history of my church, my country and my people. I am proud to be in a church that makes reconciliation and justice for marginalized peoples a priority. Inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa’s TRC, I am working to interpret the findings of the TRC to the church and the broader community by building bridges,” she explained.

“That is part of carrying the weight of the clergy collar, walking in two worlds – when sometimes, the institution and the Gospel have not been in harmony with one another. Now it is my responsibility and my joy to help bring forward Reconciliation in the church, in our families, in our communities, in my work with national church officials and with our First Nations, Inuit and Métis sisters and brothers. Making connections from coast to coast to coast and teaching others to look at and deal with the hard stuff with respect and courage,” she concluded.

Posted: February 7, 2017