The Centre for Christian Studies is pleased to announce that the 2016 Companion of the Centre Award will be presented to Jim Boyles and Stan McKay. Elizabeth Brain, chair of the CCS Awards working group, described both Stan and Jim as highly respected “giants” of the church, each of whom has humbly and quietly given of themselves for the good of humankind. They have been friends of CCS for a long time, and we are glad to be able to honour them.
James Boyles has served the Anglican Church for much of his life. He was Assistant to the General Secretary of General Synod; staffed the committee for Inter-church Relations and the committee for Union and Joint Mission; was Executive Director of the Diocese of Calgary; President of the Calgary Council of Churches; General Secretary of General Synod of the ACC: Ecumenical Officer of ACC; and Anglican representative to the World Council of Churches. One of those people writing in support of his nomination said, “In every position in which he served, his work extended into the wider community, the wider church, the wider world.”
Jim took responsibility on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada for the residential schools litigation process and actively guided the ACC in formulating church policies towards healing and reconciliation. He later continued to be involved through the Truth and Reconciliation process and was deeply affected by it.
Jim accompanied the Centre for Christian Studies through many “times of uncertainty,” including working with Edith Shore to preserve the school as a viable Anglican theological college, and in the difficult process of deciding to sell 77 Charles Street and to move the Centre to Winnipeg. As co-president in Gwyn Griffith’s time as principal he worked on strategic planning. He came back as Co-chair of Central Council in 2009 to participate in the search for a new principal..
To quote his primary nominator “Jim has shown throughout his ministry a generosity in sharing his gifts of administration, facilitation and reconciliation. He has done this without seeking attention or self-aggrandisement, but with an open heart and a deep desire to serve, to heal, to reconcile. He has acted with courage, integrity and compassion in the most challenging of times. He has sought to heal, create and foster right relationships between people, within communities, between and among denominations and between faith groups and within the wider world.”
Stanley McKay was born in Fisher River, Manitoba, where he received his early education before attending Birtle Indian Residential School and then Manitoba’s Teacher college. He was ordained as minister in the United Church of Canada and served at Norway House and Fisher River before working for the national UCC as National Coordinator of Native Ministry. Along with others from the National Native Council of the UCC he successfully advocated for that church’s apology in 1986 for its role in residential schools and the cultural oppression of indigenous peoples in Canada.
Stan was the first Indigenous person to lead the United Church as Moderator from 1992 – 1994.
Stan has been Co-director of the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Centre educating Indigenous candidates for ministry, including diaconal ministry. One of his letters of support says of Stan, “He has a great appreciation and sensitivity for the way people learn and for the influence of people’s history and context as a filter for theological understanding. He offered leadership with wisdom, humour, and gentleness.”
Stan has been a resource person and strong spiritual teacher to a number of learning circles at CCS. He offers challenges to students learning about colonial history and about the teachings and traditions of indigenous peoples. His gentle encouragement, sense of humour, use of story, and unwavering truth-telling have helped many to begin to acknowledge the errors of the past and move towards reconciliation.
Even in retirement he has worked to better the lives of First Nations and other indigenous peoples and to enlighten others to the often painful realities of their relationships past and present with “settler Canadians”. As an educator, lifelong learner, and advocate he has encouraged schools to include teachings on the treaties in their curriculum.
He has been a very good friend and companion of the Centre for Christian Studies, as well as to so many people in the Church and the world. One of his nominators said, “He has stood as an excellent example of the values we seek to incarnate.”
Jim and Stan will be recognized as Companions of the Centre at CCS’s Annual Service of Celebration on April 10, 2016.