This article can be found in the February 2019 issue of Anglican Life:
Article by Dr. David Morgan
Member of the Society & Justice Committee, Anglican East NL
Though an incredibly difficult figure to define and calculate, that’s the total number of international migrant workers in the world in 2013, based on a 2015 report of the International Labour Organization. That’s roughly 4 times the population of Canada, and roughly 300 times the population of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Most readers of Anglican Life have at least a small sense of what the migrant worker life is like. You might have a brother, daughter, or friend who was travelling “up to Alberta” on rotation. Or, you might have done it yourself. 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. 3 weeks on, 1 week off. Get up early, catch a plan, fly across the continent, live in a trailer, eat camp food, punch a long day of work, exercise in the evening, catch another plane and have a bit of time home before doing it all again. Constantly putting your life on hold—missing birthday parties and never tucking the kids into bed.
You know what…these Alberta-bound friends and family aren’t even counted in the 150 million because they are working in the same country in which they are citizens. Not to suggest that the Alberta commuting life is an easy one, but it’s the same language, same currency, and more-or-less the same climate, food, and culture. All the same Canadian rights and freedoms apply, your healthcare is (for the most part) still covered, and your mobile phone probably works fine.
So, let’s change it up a bit. Remember that friend who was catching a plane for Alberta? They’re now catching a plane to Dhaka. It’s way hotter there than it was back home in Pouch Cove. Hardly anyone speaks any English and the food is totally different (your friend had to travel with a bag of hard bread and a pack of Mt. Scio savoury “just in case”, but there was a long period of questioning by Bangladeshi Customs officers over the savoury and the treats from home were eventually confiscated).
Your friend lives in a basement apartment with four other people who also only speak a bit of Bengali. Every day involves an hour-long bus ride to and from work for a 12-hour shift (but not on every second Saturday, because that is their day off). Calling home is hard, because by the time your friend gets off work and back to the apartment, it’s the middle of the night back home.
Oh, and your friend isn’t gone for 2 weeks—they are gone for 8 months. But, it’s not like they could come home earlier anyways because they aren’t making much money and are sending whatever they can back home.
Last week your friend had stomach cramps and had to visit a doctor. The doctor and medicine cost a small fortune, and they weren’t totally sure they were given the right medicine anyways (they couldn’t explain their symptoms in the local language, they didn’t really have any friends that they could ask to go with them, and they can’t understand what the medicine bottle says). To cap it all off, on the way home from the doctor, someone cursed on them and told them that they should go back home because they were stealing jobs from Bangladeshis. When your friend called that evening to tell you about their horrible day, they cried on the phone for nearly 5 minutes. You told your friend to imagine that you were wrapping your arms around them in a big hug and that you were never going to let go; when the call was over, you cried too, and then your spouse gave you a hug for real.
The above photograph is showing migrant workers in a field in Ontario, May 23, 2018.
photo © intuit from http://www.shutterstock.com
This “reverse” tale of international migrant work might have upset you—for that, I am sorry. And, if you are one of the readers of Anglican Life for whom this story is a little too close to your reality here in Canada, then I am especially sorry if I have upset you; if you see me around and ever want to talk, please introduce yourself—we can have a chat (I’ll buy coffee, but I am not much of a hugger).
Nobody should be fooled into thinking that the hard realities of international migrant work can’t be found in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are plenty of international migrant workers in this province. In fact, the Government of Canada reports that, on December 31, 2013, there were 1236 people with permits to work in NL under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (that’s just one program—there are others). Some of these workers might have picked up a copy of Anglican Life around town, while others might be reading a copy while sitting a pew. When you see someone in your community who seems lost or alone, perhaps they are far from family and home – it only takes a second to offer a prayer or say “hello.”
God our refuge, you share the journey with migrants and refugees, lightening their footsteps with hope. For you, Lord, are close to the broken-hearted. Pour out your Spirit upon world leaders. May they see the tragedies of our human family, and be moved to respond with wisdom, compassion and courage. Open our eyes and hearts to the God-given dignity of all your people. Move us to welcome our neighbours, and so bear witness to your love. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. – Rachel McCarthy, Catholic Agency for Oversees Development
For more information and resources on social justice, check out http://www.anglican.ca/publicwitness/ And for more on local social justice efforts, check out http://www.parishoftheascension.ca/society.php and http://www.facebook.com/Anglican-East-NL-Society-Justice-Committee-500337617113660
Have you ever noticed that some people keep their Christmas lights up well past January 6th? That’s because they’re celebrating the season of Epiphany which lasts until the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) on February 2nd. This season can be understood as a continuation of the Christmas season, making it last for 40 days. There are three main events in Christ’s life which are focused on during the Epiphany season: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ miracle at the wedding at Cana.
The first of these is very familiar to many as the visit of the three wisemen to Jesus, bringing the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We know this one from our childhood Bible stories and from most nativity scenes. We usually celebrate this on or near January 6th; in Newfoundland, this sometimes called “Old Christmas Day.”
The second, the baptism of Jesus Christ, is often considered by scholars of as one of the two events in his life that have a certain degree of historical certainty about them (the other being his crucifixion). He was baptized by his cousin, John, and this began the formal years of Jesus’ ministry which led to his death on the cross. This is typically celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany Sunday.
Finally we have the miracle at the wedding in Cana. This is the first miracle we read about the Gospel of John, and is of course the one at which Jesus turns water into wine. This is the first sign that we have of Jesus’ divine nature. It was just celebrated last weekend in our Anglican Church of Canada, and the Gospel reading was the telling of this miracle.
But it’s not over yet! In these winter days when the sun is still going down early in the evening, keep your lights on, and continue to celebrate during this season of Epiphany; we still have another week and a half to go!
On January 17th, we remember St. Anthony the Great. Known as the “Father of all monks,” he was one of the Desert Fathers, a group of hermit monks who lived mainly in the Egyptian desert of Scetes around the third century AD. The majority of what we know about St. Anthony comes from a work written by Athanasius of Alexandria called “Life of Anthony.” It became a very famous book after being translated into Latin (from the original Greek), and was well known throughout the Middle Ages. His life’s example helped to spread the idea of Christian monasticism, and there are accounts of him enduring supernatural temptation which his readers found most inspiring. His followers credited him with being able to cure them of diseases, most especially of ergotism which became known as “St. Anthony’s Fire.”
In the March issue of Anglican Life, you’ll find more about the Christmas plays that took place in the Parishes of Flower’s Cove and Green Island in the Diocese of Western Newfoundland..
Their rector, the Rev’d Omar Reyes, says that “It was a blessed time and was very very edifying to the whole church.”
As the Editor of Anglican Life, I just had lunch with members of The Anglican Foundation. Do you know about their great work within our Anglican Church of Canada?
From their mission statement:
“The Anglican Foundation of Canada seeks to foster Anglican presence by providing abundant resources for innovative ministry and diverse infrastructure projects and theological formation throughout the Canadian church.”
For more detailed information, visit their website at: https://www.anglicanfoundation.org
Left to right: The Rev’d Amanda Taylor, Emily Rowe, Kevin Smith, Heather Skanes, Debbie Collins, The Rev’d Dr. Alex Faseruk (also note that we had Hope Bear join us)
Here are some of the wonderful things that the Anglican Foundation has helped our three dioceses with over the last few years:
William Laud was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 until his execution in 1645. Born at Reading on 7 October 1573, Laud went to Oxford University and eventually became a fellow of his own college, St. John’s College. In the year 1601, he was ordained first as a deacon, and then as a priest. Throughout his ordained career, William Laud enforced a very strict adherence to the Book of Common Prayer, to traditional practices such as bowing at the name of Jesus, and to the placement of the altar at the east end of the church (rather than having a table in the middle), amongst other things. He also strongly opposed the Puritans and their less catholic practices.
Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury and religious advisor to King Charles I of England. By 1640, there were lots of protests against Laud and his persecution of the Puritans. He was thrown into jail (at the Tower of London), and with the country descending into the English Civil Wars that ended the reign of Charles I, Laud went to trial. When a verdict failed to be reached, Parliament passed a bill of attainder under which he was beheaded on 10 January 1645.