Two years ago, I was driving out of a town where one of our congregations was located. My younger son was in the back seat of the car. As we turned onto the highway leading out of the town my son raised an alarm. He noted that a Confederate flag was flying in the yard of someone in that town. Things changed for my son that day. This was the congregation he always liked attending and always wanted to come with me when I was going there.
A practiced curiosity about “what God is up to” has pointed EDGE to the huge creative energy welling up in the social enterprise sector in Canada. All well and good, but what does this have to do with church?
Not far from Pinawa, Manitoba there is a fascinating place where centuries ago, people arranged rocks into the shapes of turtles, snakes, fish, and humans. There is a sense of mystery, even of the sacred, as you walk among these ancient figures. God has spoken to people throughout history. God continues to speak to us today.
Last week, I wrote about truth-telling and took a walk back along some of the key moments of my recent truth-journey in relation to the legacy of residential schools. I mentioned that in conversation with a colleague I spoke about how there are other truths we need to know as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples journey forward.
"We don’t seem to hear much or speak much about truth any more." That’s what a colleague said to me on my second day at work in my new role as an Indigenous Justice and Reconciliation Animator for the United Church of Canada. We were speaking about truth-telling, healing and reconciliation in relation to the legacy of residential schools. I observed that in addition to the ongoing need to talk about residential schools there are many other truths yet to be told and understood as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples walk together towards reconciliation.
One year ago, Embracing the Spirit was officially launched at the 2016 Skylight Festival. Since then, more than 180 initiatives across Canada have received a total of $581,470 funding, with grant sizes ranging from $500 to $27,000. This funding allows congregations to try new and innovative forms of ministry. These efforts are not just gimmicks or one-time experiments — they are real and tangible new ways of “being church.”
At the invitation of the World Council of Churches, Moderator Jordan Cantwell recently travelled to Beit Sahour in the West Bank to take part in a consultation on “50 Years of Occupation and the Ecumenical Response.” She talked about that experience with Paul Russell.