The Calls to the Church document articulates the Indigenous Church’s vision for the ongoing development of Indigenous Peoples’ mission and ministry and communities of faith within The United Church of Canada. It outlines pathways for the whole church to continue to walk in the Spirit of Christ toward justice, healing, and reconciliation.
Our “roots” as Indigenous peoples are what the Creator has made us to be. We are embracing who we are as Creator made us. The Indigenous church will be an instrument of healing our identity and a place of renewal of our cultures. Our roots have been broken by colonialism and we will restore them.
The Calls to the Church document recounts how Elder Alberta Billy, We Wai Kai First Nation, shared insights that Indigenous Peoples have “our own way of doing things.” It spells out concrete measures toward supporting vital ministry and Indigenous self-determination within the United Church, as an expression of the church’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These measures include
- an Indigenous Office within the Office of Vocation
- Indigenous oversight of Indigenous ministry students
- a National Elders’ Council
- a new National Indigenous Organization
The Calls to the Church emerged from a process of discernment by the Indigenous church as The United Church of Canada as a whole discerned a way forward, following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action as well as the church’s 2015 Comprehensive Review, which resulted in the Remit Implementation process.
Under the guidance of the Aboriginal Ministries Council (now the National Indigenous Council), the Caretakers of Our Indigenous Circle, a group of Indigenous leaders from across The United Church of Canada, gathered throughout 2016 and 2017 and gave oversight to consultations with Indigenous communities of faith during that same period. Calls to the Church was the result of these conversations.
The final document was reviewed by caucus groups at the July 2017 National Aboriginal Spiritual Gathering in Pinawa, Manitoba, and affirmed at that gathering through a process of consensus. The document was then presented by the Aboriginal Ministries Council to General Council in 2018 and approved.
- For more, see Empowerment, Discernment, and Community