LIRR Digest – January 19, 2016

Greetings in mid-January,
We have barely entered Epiphany, and I am already sharing the good news about 3 webinars planned for Lent with two wonderful Indigenous theologians and teachers!
Also, please read to the end of the email, for how to obtain support to attend Returning to Spirit workshops for personal development and being on the path of reconciliation. 

A Lenten Series: Tuesdays, 8pm – 9:30 pm EST

February 16   Something Went Wrong
February 23   Restoring Spiritual Balance
March 1            Healing One – Healing All

Preachers, church lay leaders and educators are invited to:

  • encounter the gospel through the ears and eyes of Indigenous peoples
  • value their own story and how it is intertwined with the gospel for the sake of healing from colonization

Colonization and oppression are spiritual acts.   How do we open ourselves to the Creator’s transforming power in our relationships, and learn to live in the land a good way?
Our two Indigenous presenters believe that if the church wants to be on the journey of reconciliation, individuals must speak from the heart, and reflect on their own story and deal with the suffering and pain together. In this Lenten webinar series, they will take you on a ‘guided journey to your own heart.’  The gift of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is that survivors told their story from the heart.  Each of us needs to value our own story, and how it is intertwined with the gospel for the sake of healing.  This helps us to realize that we need each other.   Come prepared to learn other ways of looking at the world and the Biblical story.
You are encouraged to join the webinar with a group.  Each webinar will be recorded, so you can catch up at any point, if you happen to miss a session; or want to run the series at a different time.
Guest Presenters are:  Rev. Ray Aldred, Executive Director of Indigenous Studies Program at Vancouver School of Theology; and Dr.Patricia Vickers, teacher, artist, psychotherapist and spiritual director.

A Research Report Submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada April 2014 by Janet Bavelas, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. and James Gerwing, M.A. M.Ed.
In this year when the United Church marks the 30th anniversary of the 1986 apology, this research report gives us much grist for reflection:
“In our analysis of their statements, the churches have neither accepted responsibility for nor explicitly described what they did.”

Don’t miss this special edition of Context TV (Jan.8, 2016 – 28 minutes) focusing on the TRC Calls to Action that are directed to the churches with special guest Buffy Ste. Marie regarding faith, family, and reconciliation.  Check out her latest album “Power and the Blood.”
She says “The Doctrine of Discovery should really be called the Doctrine of Domination.”  Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald is further interviewed about the Doctrine.  Indigenous celebrity chef David Wolfman is also a guest making the connections of food and family, while preparing a salmon dish.  Also young adult Amber Gooden, working with Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council sharing intergenerational perspectives on reconciliation.

If you haven’t brought the Blanket Exercise to your congregation or community yet, plan to do it soon.   All the help you need (scripts, facilitator training, tips, etc) can be found at   As part of a new month-long awareness campaign, Indigenous students at Carleton University hosted a special event that uses blankets to teach about Canadian history from an Indigenous perspective.
The Blanket Exercise is being used in so many different places, and in June, we hope that there will be mass Blanket Exercises on legislative grounds across Canada as the “Winds of Change” Education campaign grows.   Check out the campaign at and the next update webinar on Feb.11.
The update webinar on Jan. 14 with Stephen Kakfwi with Canadians for a New Partnership; and Pamela Thomson was recorded – check the webpage for the link.

Norah McMurtry is recruiting for two jobs at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre in Beausejour, Manitoba.  As you know, the SSSC is a both a theological school and a retreat centre for Indigenous students and organizations.  The jobs are Keeper of the Learning Circle (working directly with adult students) and the Keeper of the Centre (business manager of the centre).
Applicants please send cover letter and curriculum vitae to:
Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre Search Committee,
Box 210 (29 Dugard Road)
Beausejour, MB R0E 0C0
Email: Fax: 204-268-4463

coming up in Winnipeg, Prince George
The Returning to Spirit (RTS) program offers Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people (particularly those involved with churches who operated residential schools) an opportunity to transform the divisive stories of our shared history.   Workshops are offered separately for Aboriginal people, and for non-Aboriginal people, and then everyone comes together in a Reconciliation Workshop.   To learn more, see  for video, schedule, newsletters, participant comments.   More than 70 people have been supported by the United Church to attend in past years, and we are happy to be able to renew our funding policy again.

The United Church through the Committee of Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools has allocated up to $10,000 in 2016 for up to 6 Aboriginal and 6 non-Aboriginal people;  to cover any registration fee, accommodation, and/or meals for the workshop.  All applicants are responsible to cover their travel costs by other means.

To apply for funding before you attend the event, simply send a copy of your completed RTS registration/application form, and a written request which clearly outlines the costs you wish to be covered, to Cecile Fausak Call 780-676-0562 with any questions.  Funds will be sent directly to the organization hosting the workshop, and not to the individual.  This is all on a first come, first serve basis.  This is meant for people who have limited access to personal development or healing funds from their employer, band, etc.

Workshop schedule as I know it today (from the website):

Feb 13, 2016 Feb 17, 2016 Reconciliation Winnipeg MB St. Paul’s College Jacques Lafrance 204-230-2725
Feb 15, 2016 Feb 19, 2016 Aboriginal Blueberry First Nation BC TBC Tammy Baskin 205-630-2181
Feb 22, 2016 Feb 25, 2016 Aboriginal Prince George BC Domano Renewal Centre Dianne Little 1-204-889-4579, ext. 103
Mar 09, 2016 Mar 12, 2016 Aboriginal Winnipeg MB Kateri Parish Hall, 548 Home Street Dennis Chartrand 204-889-4579, ext 109
Mar 11, 2016 Mar 14, 2016 Non-Aboriginal Winnipeg MB Kateri Hall, St. Boniface Pastoral Center Francois Paradis 204-889-4579, ext. 102
May 27, 2016 May 30, 2016 Non-Aboriginal Winnipeg TBC MB St. Boniface Pastoral Centre Olive Halpin

 In peace,
Cecile Fausak
Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator
General Council Office: Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools
780-676-0562 (office cell)
780-675-7753 (Athabasca, AB home office)


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