As you know, a year ago, the national task group on Living into Right Relations (LIRR) came to the end of its mandate, but the Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools and the Aboriginal Ministries Council are still fully engaged in the work of encouraging the church to live out its apologies, truth-telling and reconciliation; and nurturing this LIRR network.
While I get the sense that these periodic digests pointing to pertinent articles and relevant resources are appreciated, and we have good traffic on the Facebook page, there is a desire for more exchange and sharing amongst the LIRR network members themselves about what you are doing, what’s working or not, your discomfort and insights, etc. To that end I have been having some conversation with the folks at EDGE: Network for Ministry Development who are proficient at offering webinars, facilitating online conversations, etc. They are enthusiastic about assisting us to develop and nurture the LIRR network .
Could you please provide me with some feedback within the next week on the following ideas:
- A webinar with a panel of 3 people who have been part of 3 or more successful endeavours to bring Indigenous and non-indigenous people together to learn, to have fun, to celebrate, to take action… Questions from the viewing audience would be welcomed. If this interests you, is there a project you would like to hear more about? What time of day would suit you?
This webinar could be recorded so that others could have access at their convenience.
- A webinar on a particular issue: e.g. Doctrine of Discovery, First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, Northern Gateway pipeline,
- Facilitated online conversations between 6-10 network members that could be regionally based, or thematic. They could be follow-up conversations with any of the webinar presenters.
Some themes I have thought about are a) canoe trips or walks b) development of congregational or presbytery Reconciliation Action Plans c) camps or Vacation Bible School curriculum on LIRR d) missing and murdered Aboriginal women e) Circle and Cross dialogues f) anti-racism workshops. Would you like to participate in such conversations? On what basis?
Do you have other ideas? I welcome your thoughts as to what would be most helpful to you in carrying forward the ministry of reconciliation, and building friendships.
BEING ‘UNSETTLED’ – SPIRITUALITY OF RESTLESSNESS
Several of you wrote about identifying with the notion of ‘unsettling the settler within’ and therein lies the hope for transformation (see Dec.2, 2014 digest). Subsequently, I read an article by Johnny Sears on “Merton and the Spirituality of Restlessness” (Weavings|xxx:1) which seemed to resonate with this notion as well. Sears writes “restlessness has continued to break out when the systems and structures of religion or society have become too rigid and the answers too easy…. Spiritual restlessness is a gift that wakens us to an inner discontent with the self-delusions and cultural illusions that prevent us from realizing the fullness of our humanity as beings created in the image of God.” In this season of Advent, we are called to be awake and to contemplate in the manner of Mary: “Her model tells us that Christ comes when we accept the invitation to carry, sit with, and labor through the things we can’t fully understand or explain instead of exchanging them for a more comfortable illusion of the way we thing things ought to be. It’s a slow and messy process – one over which we have very limited control. “
NEW AFN NATIONAL CHIEF PERRY BELLEGARDE
A 2-minute clip by APTN of opening day at the AFN Special Assembly gives an overview of some of the issues and dynamics facing the AFN. http://aptn.ca/news/2014/12/09/video-opening-day-afn-national-chief-election/
The AFN leadership is clear that the relationship between the federal government and First Nations must evolve and it is the First Nations who will make the rules governing their people in the future. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/perry-bellegarde-named-new-afn-national-chief-1.2866977?cid=
On APTN “Face to Face”, Peter Dinsdale, CEO of the Assembly of First Nations discusses the cutbacks in AFN core and project funding, reducing their power to do research, develop positions, and lobby on behalf of First Nations. http://aptn.ca/news/2014/12/09/assembly-first-nations-ceo-talks-budget-cuts-national-first-nation-lobby-group/
For a fact sheet on First Nations chiefs salaries, go to http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/14-12-04_2013-14_fnta_fact_sheet_fe.pdf
VISIT TO LONDON on the 250th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION OF 1763
Thanks to Steve Heinrichs with Indigenous Relations of the Mennonite Church in Canada for sharing this video. What if Canada honoured her covenants with Indigenous Nations?
Check out this video made when many Chiefs (e.g. Ovide Mercredi, Wilton Littlechild, Shawn Atleo, Perry Bellegarde) visited Buckingham palace October 2013 to honor the 250th anniversary of the Proclamation of 1763, in which the Crown recognized sovereign nations … www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/2173
With prayers that we embrace the restlessness and the risk of truly living, so that we might bring joy to a hurting world, and all say with Mary “Let it be unto me.”
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)