A year ago today, I was walking with thousands of others in the pouring rain in Vancouver on the “Walk for Reconciliation” at the conclusion of the Vancouver TRC national event.
Reconciliation Canada Community Action Toolkit
Let’s build on the inspirational leadership provided by Reconciliation Canada in leading the walk, and by the City of Vancouver in declaring a Year of Reconciliation which has just concluded with the proclamation of a Week of Reconciliation beginning today Sept. 22, 2014.
Reconciliation Canada is providing a Community Action Toolkit with four sets of guidelines and ideas on how to start the reconciliation conversation within your own circles of influence:
- Kitchen Table Dialogue Guide
- Young Leaders (e.g. post-secondary students)
- Young Adult Voices – Call to Action (senior high)
- Plan Your Own Event
You can also listen to a variety of voices sharing their thoughts on reconciliation, including Jeannette Stark from St.Andrew’s Wesley UC in Vancouver.
World Rivers Day Sept. 28
I attended the Anglican Justice Camp in August and am grateful for the experiences of “Teachings from the Land: Aboriginal Justice in Cree Ceremony.” A central message was how reconciliation with the land, Creator, and peoples, are all inextricably bound together.
This liturgical Season of Creation provides a wonderful opportunity to build on this theme, and particularly this coming Sunday which is World Rivers Day. I recommend to you the KAIROS resources “Discipleship in the Watershed” http://www.kairoscanada.org/order/watershed-discipleship-workshop/ and another website filled with wonderful ideas/resources from Danilea Castell for hosting a “Bank of Gratitude” for your nearest river http://www.thebankofgratitude.net/ . To listen to a 3-minute water musical meditation and blessing http://www.youtube.com/user/danieleacastell
Nathan Lodewyk also participated in the Justice Camp. He shares a ‘Spirited Reflection” on his experiences in Fort McMurray and the oil/tar sands on the banks of the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers, and leaves us with a couple of very tough questions to face. http://www.kairoscanada.org/sustainability/climate-justice/justice-camp-oiltarsands-by-nathan-lodewyk/
Orange Shirt Day Sept. 30
Get your Orange Shirt out to wear on Sept. 30. Orange Shirt Day started in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, BC, last year, inspired by a memory shared by Phyllis Webstad who attended St.Joseph Mission residential school, and supported by the AFN. Every Child Matters, and can use a boost to her or his self esteem. https://www.facebook.com/orangeshirtdayeverychildmatters
Oct 4 Remember Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women/Take Action
TAKE ACTION news release http://www.united-church.ca/communications/news/general/140912
For letter writing suggestions regarding a national inquiry, see http://www.united-church.ca/getinvolved/takeaction/140912
Plan now to join a vigil near you on Oct. 4 to remember missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Or join the virtual candlelight vigil http://www.october4th.ca/
See www.nwac.ca for community resources; and www.facebook.com/aboriginalcongregations for latest developments in the call for a public inquiry.
Canadians for a New Partnership
On Sept. 4, 2013, former prime ministers, aboriginal leaders, premiers, and many other leading citizens launched a new organization dedicated to fostering a new partnership between Canada and its Indigenous peoples. Among those signing the declaration that day in Ottawa to form “Canadians for a New Partnership” were United Church ministers Jamie Scott, and David MacDonald. You too can sign the Declaration of Canadians for a New Partnership at
http://www.cfnp.ca/declaration/. The partnership is to be based on the principles of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and equality; one that will be built by restoring trust and respecting Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Hon. Paul Martin and Hon. Joe Clark, Mary Simon, Ovide Mercredi, and Steven Kakfwi were among those on CBC to invite all Canadians to join them as they set out to write a new chapter in the evolution of our nation. http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Politics/ID/2507169811/
KAIROS Advent Resources “Building Reconciled Relationships”
It’s not too early to be thinking about resources for worship during Advent. Here is a link to wonderful materials prepared by KAIROS contributors on “Building Reconciled Relationships”. The resource is downloadable and free and anticipates the end of the TRC and the beginning of a decade? century? of reconciliation.
Witness Blanket Art Installation on Tour
A short video on the making of the Witness Blanket is available to view online and supporters can donate to the Witness Blanket Fundraising Campaign online at: http://bit.ly/witnessblanket. For more information, and to indicate your interest in having the Witness Blanket come to your community, go to www.witnessblanket.ca
Artifacts from a number of United Church operated residential schools are included among the over 800 pieces. Many thanks to Carey Newman for creating this incredibly moving art installation to stand witness to this important part of Canadian history.
The Witness Blanket installation will be on display at City of Victoria City Hall until September 26, as the first stop on the project’s cross-Canada tour before moving to Capilano University in North Vancouver Oct 7th – Nov 28th.
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Walk, pray, listen, speak, and write well in the days ahead,
Liaison Minister: Residential Schools
General Council Office: Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools
780-676-0562 (office cell)
780-675-7753 (Athabasca, AB home office)