September 30th is now the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. Many have marked this day in recent years by wearing an Orange Shirt and walking and learning with others about the traumatic legacy of residential schools in this country.
This Thursday, September 30th, the church will be open from 11 am to 1 pm, to offer a quiet place to mark the day with our attentive silence. You are invited to drop in at any time during that time.
The church will be set up in a way that will allow you to meditate and mark the day as you feel led to. Please enter and leave by the main church doors. A pamphlet with the Seven Grandfather Teachings will be available if you'd like to use it. For contact tracing purposes, we will need to take your name at the door. You will be required to wear a mask while in the church.
There has long been a compassionate heart in this community towards our indigenous neighbours. Through various meetings and experiences, shared readings and learning together, some of us have made that journey of listening to the ways God's Spirit might be inviting us on that pathway of truth and reconciliation. This journey will not end in our lifetime.
As we continue to seek God's wisdom in how we might move forward, how we can truly love our neighbours and facilitate healing, we are once again starting to meet again, renewing those conversations. We are also committed to listening carefully and deeply.
A small group of us met this week to discuss ways to move forward. We talked about supporting clean water initiatives, facilitating learning about the Seven Grandfather Teachings, and how to invite Indigenous leaders to teach us. You will be hearing more in the weeks and year to come.
And I, as your priest, am seeking to listen deeply too. I am currently enrolled in a Master Class taught by The Reverend Dr. Ray Aldred of the Vancouver School of Theology called, "Indigenous Realities and the Canadian Church". I look forward to sharing with the parish some of my learnings and the resources that are shared.
Find ways to do your own deep listening.
Read a book. There are many to choose from. Books like "Five Little Indians" by Michelle Good help us to understand what indigenous children experienced at residential schools, which in turn helps us to understand the lingering pain and trauma in those communities.
Engage in a conversation. Find someone who is also learning and listening deeply and share your questions and learnings.
Watch relevant media. CBC Gem has many excellent documentaries available. "We Were Children", "In the Land of Dreamers", and "Spirit to Soar" are just a few.