So Many Topics, So Little Space
Quite often as I sit down to write this weekly blurb I have difficulty knowing what to talk with you about. This week there are three topics that need mentioning. I can really only do justice to them one at a time. I will discuss one today and discuss the other two in the next two weeks.
Topic 1: June is “Pride Month.” There is too much to discuss in a paragraph. But rather than let the month slip away too far, please consult Harmony’s “Pride Month 2021 Activities” page. Pick a couple of activities that catch your interest and log on. And be sure to check out the “Resilient” t-shirt offer! I will come back to this topic in 2 weeks.
Topic 2: Muslim family run down in apparent hate crime in London, Ontario. Check your local newspapers for coverage of this horrific story. I will come back to this story next week.
Topic 3: Remains of 215 children found in unmarked and undocumented graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Here we go…
Indigenous lives matter. Just before the weekend of May 29, Canadians were shocked to learn that the lives of 215 children did not matter at the time they died while attending an Indian Residential School in Kamloops, BC. The remains were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former school. For just one of many media stories about this tragedy see: Remains of 215 children found (story includes text and short videos from CTV News). The school was operated by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969.
The discovery, while distressing to most Canadians, was sad confirmation to most First Nations persons of the family and community stories that had been shared among them over the past many decades. Stories that told of children taken away to residential schools but who never returned. Parents and other family members may not even have been told exactly what had happened to the children.
As members and friends of Community of Christ, what are we to do in response to this news? It is as difficult a question for us as it is for most Canadians. This adds another layer of complexity to the processes of reconciliation which, at some level, have been under way since the conclusion of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. As in most uncomfortable human situations, the first step is compassion, communication, and education, all of which can lead to greater understanding.
Let me suggest these actions as reasonable options:
For a bit of inspiration, I further recommend to you the story and the recording of how the First Nations country and folk singer, Don Amero, approached his task of singing “O Canada” before the Jets-Canadiens hockey game on Wednesday, June 2 in Winnipeg. In addition to singing a “stunning, mournful anti-anthem” rendition of the song, he was flanked by an elder holding tobacco and an eagle feather, and a woman cradling a pair of baby moccasins. Powerful stuff! If a professional hockey team can enable a touching and meaningful recognition of this tragic event, surely we can afford at least a moment of silence at a church service this weekend (if you have not already had one).
Reconciliation is one of those things that requires some large enabling actions on the part of national and First Nations governments. But the most meaningful part of reconciliation must occur “on the ground” between individuals and communities. I commend to you the challenge to find your way to contribute to this incredible national imperative.
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
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