A fearless advocate for society’s most vulnerable, she is Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force to End Poverty and is a powerful voice for reconciliation and healing of relationships with aboriginal people.
“To me advocacy is about helping those without a voice to find their voice,” says Bishop Jane. “The church is always supposed to have an eye to those at the margins and to proclaim the Gospel through acts of healing and reconciliation.”
As leader of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, Bishop Jane signed the Interfaith Statement on Homelessness and Affordable Housing to address the plight of people trapped in the cycle of poverty. She also courageously led the diocese through study and conversation, culminating in approval for the blessing in the church of civilly marries same sex couples.
“Although it’s my name on this award, it’s actually not about me. It’s about the work of the church and people who are passionate about justice. The award belongs to the people of the diocese, to the members of the mayor’s task force and to the many agencies we work with to try to make a difference in this world.”
Bishop Jane says her resolute advocacy is sustained by her energizing faith. “Our faith is supposed to make us passionate people. We are not called to be passive observers. We are called to be active participants in the mission of God. As the church we can’t look at anyone and say ‘you are not as important as this person.’ That’s completely counter to the Gospel. We’ve got to decide as a community that we are prepared to change the way we live in order that all people, from children to seniors, are living better and healthier lives.”
Within the church, Bishop Jane has sensed a “renewed energy around speaking up and finding ways to be active out of our faith. After all, we proclaim a God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. It would be odd of us to believe ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,’ and think that God isn’t changing the world.” Photos: Charis St. Pierre