Introducing our Eco-Bishops- Bishop Mark Macdonald: “We need to hear the voices of indigenous people”


mark macdonaldHearing the voice of Indigenous People: We need to hear the voices of indigenous people in our theology in order to go forward in a more Earth-centred way.

The Right Rev. Mark MacDonald became the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop in 2007, after serving as bishop of Alaska for ten years.

Before his ordination as a bishop, MacDonald was Canon Missioner for training in the Diocese of Minnesota. He is the board chair for Church Innovations, Inc., and a third order Franciscan.

The Anglican Church of Canada have highlighted the intersection of the environment and Indigenous rights as a place of particular struggle, with resource extraction and deforestation adding to poverty and stress, and disrupting communities that have lived in tune with the forest and its ways for generations.

Bishop Mark says the following:

“We need to evaluate the impact of the globalizing culture of finance and technology on the Church – in our spirituality, theology, and cosmology; The increasing alienation of human culture from the rest of Creation is a cruel paradox of the incredible advances of our knowledge in a technocratic age – the more we seem to learn, the deeper our alienation from the rest of life. This has caused a profound, lasting, and distorted perception of Creation among many Christian groups”.


“For many modern observers, it appears that we must add something to our theology to go forward in an earth-friendly way.  I do not believe that this will solve the deep roots of our growing ecological alienation.  Although adding something is certainly in order, discovering what we have lost is urgent.  If I may say, Indigenous people, Christian and non-Christian, can help with this rediscovery.  Their difficulties in modern times are directly related to their refusal to abandon traditional cosmologies, even as they update them with modern knowledge.”

Among Bishop MacDonald’s published works are:

  • “Native American Youth Ministries,” co-authored with Dr. Carol Hampton and published in Resource Book for Ministries with Youth and Young Adults, the Episcopal Church Center, New York, NY, 1995
  • “It’s in the Font: Sacramental connections between faith and environment,” Soundings, July 6, 1994, Vol. 16, No. 5
  • A Strategy for Growth for the Episcopal Church: Joining Multiculturalism and Evangelism, Inter-Cultural Ministry Development, San José, Calif., 1994.

Bishop MacDonald has co-edited The Chant of Life: Inculturation and the People of the Land (Liturgical Studies IV), Church Publishing Company, 2003



Bishop Mark Macdonald with other indigenous leaders
Bishop Mark Macdonald with other indigenous leaders

Meeting our Eco-bishops: Bishop Ellinah, first woman bishop in Africa

Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland made history when she became the first Anglican Woman Bishop in Africa in 2012!

She has a history of serving in community offices and organizations, and holds a Master’s degree in Town and regional planning.
. She holds an undergraduate degree in Geography and African Languages at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. She and her husband Kenyan husband Okwaro Henry Wamukoya have four children and she is a proud grandmother!. She is starting further studies on the theme of Eucharist and the Environment.

Having long been active in the Anglican Church, she was ordained in 2005, and served as chaplain at the University of Swaziland. She has been a firm believer in developing lay ministry across the life of the church. ‘She is someone who will set a direction, both operational and spiritual, and develop a vision for the future’ said a friend, of her potential to provide leadership as a Bishop. ‘She is a restorer of hope, faith and love in the hearts of God’s followers, who has helped believers to connect to Christ, the church and their communities.’

The challenges faced by the Diocese of Swaziland are severe as surface temperature have risen significantly since the 1950s and the process has been progressively getting worse. Bishop Wamukoya knows climate change is a global problem, but she believes it is local action that makes a difference. Globally, climate change warns that in just a few decades, millions of people will go hungry, tens of millions will be flooded in their homes each year and billion people will suffer from drought.

Swaziland has major environmental problems that need to be addressed now before the cost of addressing them becomes astronomical and their negative impact become irreversible. For example, the problem of alien invasive plants is a big one, but financial resources are scarce and the strategies that are being used are not involving the communities. Increase in temperature also leads to a growth in pests which further reduces crop yield. Communities are not being challenged enough to reduce carbon dioxide, waste and other harmful substances.

The Diocese of Swaziland recently held its first Diocesan Environmental Conference. Following this they will be developing their Church Strategy and Action Plan supported by a Climate Change Structure.

Willie Lutes
Willie is an intern with the Anglican Communion Environmental Network. He is part of the Episcopal Church Young Adult Service Corps (YASC)


We trust that Holy Week is a time of renewal and perspective for you.

Thank for participating in the Lenten Carbon Fast. Be sure to have a look at the various tabs under Resources:

Here’s too continuing along the path less traveled. Please stay in touch: Send us any resources you think would be of use to share with the greater community of Green Anglicans. And let us know your thoughts (or criticism) of Carbon Fast 2014.

Peace be with you,

The Green Anglicans team




And so we come to the end of our 40-day journey. We hope that this has been a thought-provoking, yet light, experience. Please email us at let us know your thoughts, especially if you have ideas on how we can improve on the guide and this blog.


As a final action: Make today about Jesus and people, not stuff, work or money. A true Sabbath rest. Plan not to buy anything today. Spend time with family and friends instead. Think about making this a Sunday ritual.


We’re almost at the end of this year’s carbon fast. Will you continue after Palm Sunday?

Before we go, ponder this: Where does everything go? And what impact does it have on the planet and our health? The methane that leaks from landfills, the waste that is produced during the manufacturing of our new purchases… Can we make informed choices that are better for our health and the planet?

Well said, NY Times!

“There’s something ridiculous about the life of a two-handled plastic shopping bag. The 20 minutes it spends cradling your groceries home is bracketed by two vast gulfs of time. First, thousands of years beneath the earth, in a natural-gas deposit, and then, after its conversion to a disposable polyethylene product, a second eternity as all-but-indestructible trash.

Derelict bags flutter from tree branches and power lines; they float in the ocean; they foul beaches and roadsides. If they are not offending the eye they are endangering fish, clogging storm drains or, most likely, bulking up a landfill. Some find brief second lives through reuse, like picking up dog droppings, but those noble detours, too, are short and swift, and end most often in the trash.”

Read this article on Aljazeera America: Ocean garbage thwarts Flight MH370 search

“It’s like a toilet bowl that swirls but doesn’t flush.”

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 11.24.00 PM



Prevention is better than cure.

Don’t (only) recycle more, buy less

packaging and other disposable items. Choose products with little or no packaging, and ask a supermarket chain near you to reduce the amount of plastic they use. Choose glass over plastic and aluminum.


If you’re only buying one item of clothing, ask for no plastic bag… Or plan ahead and take a reusable bag with you when shopping not only for groceries, but other items too.

taking the path less travelled this lent