Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Thoughts, feelings, and prayers from Indigenous leaders as Canada Day approaches.

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…

 

Ray Jones

Credit: The United Church of Canada

“One of our Gitxsan metaphors on life is ‘Dim amma gaadinqu mel.’ When your canoe runs aground or flips over, you have to right your canoe and continue the journey. The Canadian society has to right its societal canoe as a big step in reconciliation! Canada 150 is a good place to begin the journey together with us, the Aboriginals. Our churches have to blow the horn on reconciliation, just like Gabriel. This will go a long way in bringing down the walls of racism.”

—Ray Jones,

Hereditary Chief Niis Noolth of the Fireweed/Grouse clan in Gitsegukla, BC

 

Pastor Lawrence V. Sankey

Credit: Kelly Buehler

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for the 150 years you have given Canada… I pray that you continue to watch over and protect our land and to continue to unite the people of the lands so that they can flourish and grow as one nation in body and spirit throughout the land…”

—Pastor Lawrence V. Sankey

Co-chair, Aboriginal Ministries Council, The United Church of Canada

 

Martha Pedoniquotte

Credit: The United Church of Canada

“I would just like to include the words of the Ontario Regional Chief. It is a true sentiment of how I feel as a First Nations person on Canada’s 150 celebration:

AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, chair of the national Chiefs Committee on Health, stated: ‘Canada is celebrating the 150th year of Confederation but far too many of our children and youth cannot even celebrate their own lives. This National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits [held on March 17, 2017] is a reminder that much work needs to be done to end poverty and despair. When our youth are able to see hope for the future then all Canadians will be able to celebrate. This will be true reconciliation.’”

—Martha Pedoniquotte,

Chippewas of Nawash Band Councillor; member of United Church Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools

 

Maggie McLeod, Executive Minister, Aboriginal Ministries and Indigenous Justice, The United Church of Canada, offers some suggestions to the church:

Maggie McLeod

Credit: Richard C. Choe

“Reconciliation begins with recognizing the need to act in new and life-giving ways. Here are three ways in which your community of faith can recognize Canada’s 150th anniversary with the lens of reconciliation:

  • Recognize and give thanks for the abundance that come from this land and all of its peoples.

  • Recognize that Indigenous Peoples are the original peoples, and were the founding peoples of Canada; and that many cultures make up the fabric of the Canadian identity.

  • Recognize the need to reflect and make plans for how we will, over the course of the next 150 years, act to make this country a place of that honours the dignity and well-being of all.”

 

Finally, Adrian Jacobs, Ganosono, Turtle Clan, Cayuga Nation, Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Keeper of the Circle, Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, offers the following Twitter feed:

 

These are some thoughts, feelings, and prayers Indigenous friends and relations want our whole church to hear. As we mark Canada 150, we need to contemplate them, share them in our networks, and lift them up in worship on July 2, the Sunday closest to Canada Day. As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It takes two to speak the truth—one to speak and another to hear.”

—David Giuliano, Community Capacity Development Coordinator, Aboriginal Ministries, The United Church of Canada

 

The views contained within these blogs are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of The United Church of Canada.

Source: Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Gardening at TSP

Gardening at TSP

Susan Craig, Vera Callaghan and Carolyn Barber lead our intrepid TSP garden team in the distribution of 40 bags of sheep poop this spring. It was fun! You are welcome to join our team of pooper scoopers and weed pullers throughout the summer and will be rewarded with fresh cinnamon coated apples, courtesy of Susan Craig.
 
The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

 

Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.

 

She made the following points:

  • there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
  • local interfaith relations are key
  • there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
  • g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
  • Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
  • Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
  • Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global

 

What Can We Do

During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:

  • keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
  • Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
  • Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
  • Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
  • Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
  • Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
  • Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
  • Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
  • Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
  • Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.

 

Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP.  It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.

It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.

 

Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,

Betty Stone

 

Upcoming events from the Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group May 17-18

Upcoming events from the Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group May 17-18

The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group (IRSG) invites congregation members to the following events:

 

 

May 17th at 7:30pm
Discussion of “Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths” by Rupert Ross. (There are many copies in the library.) Darlene Varaleau will be hosting the discussion in her home.  Contact admin@trinitystpauls.ca for more details.

 

 

 
May 18th at 8pm (Sony Center)
Outside Looking In (http://www.olishow.com): Indigenous youth provide a transformative dancing extravaganza that will inspire and move you to tears. Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased at  www.ticketmaster.ca Members from TSP and the Redeemer will be attending.

https://www.facebook.com/events/111595482714796/

Posted in Faith
Book Launch – Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life

Book Launch – Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life

Anti-Racism Policy and Belief Statement

Anti-Racism Policy and Belief Statement

As we enter Black History Month, TSP remains committed to principles of anti-racism, and we hold victims of racism in our prayers.

TSP Anti-Racism Belief Statement

We believe that:
• all persons are equal before God.
• the miracle of God’s creation is manifested through our many differences.
• racism is a sin and violates God’s desire for humanity.
• racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
• racism is present in church and society, including TSP, and that throughout time racism has manifested itself in many forms in varying degrees.
• racism is a violation of human rights. It robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as justification for economic, social, political and spiritual exploitation.
• change is possible through a process of truth-telling, repentance, and justice-making which leads to transformation.
• work for justice is central to our Christian faith and practice.
• just relationships must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures, and practices of both church and society.

The United Church’s Anti-racism Policy.

We believe we are all equal before God.

We believe racism is a sin and violates God’s desire for humanity.

We believe racism is present in our society and in our church, and throughout time has manifested itself in many forms in varying degrees.

We believe that the struggle against racism is a continuous effort. Therefore our anti-racism policy statement is only a first step. It provides the basis for the creation of a church where all are welcome, where all feel welcome, and where diversity is as natural as breathing.

We believe change is possible. We believe in forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation and the potential to learn from stories and experiences.

We believe we are all called to work against racism and for a society in which the words of the Gospel are realized among us.

We believe in a vision of society in which these words of the Gospel are realized:

“It is through faith that all of you are God’s [people] in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ… So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26–28)

 

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Join the Middle East Working Group on January 29 in hearing an informal presentation from Zoe Godfrey-Davies, who spent three months living in the occupied Palestinian territories and working as a human rights observer as part of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment program in 2014 and 2015. Zoe will be sharing stories and photos from her experience.
There will also be light refreshments.
Highlights from Carols by Candlelight 2016

Highlights from Carols by Candlelight 2016

 

We had a very successful Carols by Candlelight service on Sunday, December 18 at 7pm.  This was an evening filled with song and worship.  The TSP choir, alongside VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto’s Everyone Can Sing choir and Six Week Singers did a fantastic job.

 

You can view a selection of highlights from the evening in the video below:

Na-Me-Res Christmas Collection

Na-Me-Res Christmas Collection

Back in March, John Olthuis suggested that one way that we could respond to ‘the original nations of this land that continue to cry out for justice‘ would be by ‘paying the rent’; an act of respect, a way of making contact through a concrete act of repentance.
The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group has been putting this idea into practice by forging a relationship with Na-Me-Res. This First Nations Agency has a men’s residence as well as programmes for individuals suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
We donated our ‘rent money,’ are working together on the Heart Garden, volunteered at their powwow and now collecting items for the men at Christmas.
After a wonderful pageant performed by the children, the gifts for the men were brought up to the alter.
As you can see from the photo, the response was overwhelming, such a sign of hope and generosity in a weary world.
na me res offering
Season for Commitment Senior’s Lunch

Season for Commitment Senior’s Lunch

– As reported in the TSP Times Advent 2016 issue –

Almost 50 Seniors and friends gathered for lunch in the Studio on November 6th as part of the Season for Commitment events. A delicious meal of corn chowder, apple cider, cheese, crudité, hummus and nuts along with Cobs-donated buns was enjoyed by all. Conversations flourished as the sun poured in. Between the main course and dessert, people were asked to share some “stewardship lessons” from their lives.

 

Tithing was a common lesson from our childhoods, giving 10 percent of our earnings. Discussion of whether this should include other charities we support and whether it was based on our earnings or our net worth, pushed the envelope for some. Many remembered the importance of putting an equal amount in both sides of the envelope, for local and mission givings. One lovely story shared was of a grandmother who as a minister’s wife in the prairies in the 1930s would collect used clothing, launder and mend, then invite folks for tea and send them off to “shop” in her front parlour – sharing with dignity.

 

Some remembered giving produce instead of money, helping to feed the minister’s family. Others, who had little money to spare, shared their hospitality by inviting those who were sometimes seen as “misfits” or “socially unpopular people” to their home.

 

Some remembered the tradition of giving a toy each year, others remembered the “loose change bottle” which was taken to church when full. Inviting foreign students to join them for Christmas was one family’s tradition, others remembered the expectation that their allowance would include giving an offering each Sunday in Sunday School. For some, volunteering was part of family life and they noticed that many women in their families took care of their neighbours who were sick or shut-in.
Some remembered the priest setting up a contest from Sunday to Sunday regarding which Mass had given the most. Some shared they were looking for guidance in what their financial and other commitments should be.

 

As stories from each table were shared, we also dug into apple crisp and tea as we wound up our time together in time to clean up and make room for the Sunday afternoon Salsa!! Judith led us in prayer and blessing before we departed. Thanks to all who pitched in to make this Senior’s lunch possible and delicious!