The United Church of Canada is seeking 10 individuals (7 Indigenous, 3 non-Indigenous) to be part of a dialogue process with the Uniting Church in Australia. Participants will visit Australia within the timeframe of March 11–27, 2018 (exact dates to be confirmed). This visit is a follow-up to dialogue initiated with an Australian visit to Canada in July 2017.
The dialogue, involving Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of both churches, as well as representatives from the United Church of Christ, will focus on our countries’ and churches’ shared yet very different experiences of colonization and reconciliation.
Participants in the trip should be prepared to learn about and engage in dialogue on the following issues:
- The experiences of colonization and reconciliation in our differing contexts
- The language of apology, reconciliation, and reparation
- The church’s role in affirming the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples
- Indigenous theologies
- Building community together as Indigenous church and non-Indigenous church
- Engaging with racism and White privilege
Participants should also be committed to education and advocacy on these issues within the United Church and Canadian society upon their return from Australia.
Through this dialogue process, we seek to understand more of each other’s experiences, to learn from them, and to work together to move forward our theology and praxis of reconciliation. While the United States has a related history of industrial/residential schools, the churches were less involved in that process. Nevertheless, as the United Church of Christ enters into its own journey of apology and reconciliation with peoples of African descent, it too has much to offer and learn from such an experience and dialogue.
This trip is an initiative of the Moderator, and will be facilitated by staff from the Aboriginal Ministries Circle and Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools.
March 11–27, 2018 (exact dates to be confirmed)
Individual contribution of $300. Balance of costs to be provided by General Council Office.
- 7 Indigenous participants: ideally 2 residential school survivors (or 1 survivor and 1 intergenerational survivor); 2 youth/young adults; 1 theology student or person in pastoral ministry; 1 community activist; 1 traditional knowledge-keeper. There may be cross-over in these identities.
- 3 non-Indigenous participants: ideally 1 theology student; 1 experienced member of the Living into Right Relations network; 1 youth/young adult. There may be cross-over in these identities.
- Good knowledge of Indigenous issues and reconciliation, and a willingness to learn more.
- Demonstrated engagement with The United Church of Canada (locally, regionally, and/or nationally), particularly Aboriginal Ministries, the Living into Right Relations Network, and the church’s commitment to reconciliation.
- Willingness to continue to be part of networks of education and faithful advocacy on Indigenous issues and reconciliation and to offer leadership to others on these issues.
- Commitment to speak to United Church and community groups about the experience and its impact on their faith journey.
- Holds a valid Canadian passport that does not expire before September 2018.
- Write or contribute to three brief (about 200 word) blogs/articles on the highlights of the experience for United Church publications, accompanied by four to six high-resolution photos.
- Speak to church and community groups about the experience and about Indigenous issues and reconciliation.
- Connect with United Church networks focusing on these issues.
- Offer leadership to local initiatives on reconciliation processes and related issues.