"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.
If First Nations people in Kenora, Ontario, ever need to be reminded of how their traditional land has been lost to make room for white settlers, they only need to look up at street signs. Many of these in Kenora are named after settler families, but one is a particularly striking reminder of an ugly past. That street sign reads: Colonization Road.
I took these pictures last August while visiting my mother’s relatives in the central part of Saskatchewan on the Muskoday First Nation. They capture some of the 825 dancers that participated in the 25th annual traditional Powwow.
Canada Day is coming. Canada 150 celebrations are intensifying. I wonder how Indigenous people are feeling about it all. I asked a few Indigenous friends and leaders in our church: “If someone from one of our non-Indigenous communities of faith asked you about the 150th year of Confederation, what would say? What thoughts or feelings or prayers would you want to share with us?” Here are their responses...