Send a Truth and Reconciliation Witness to a Networking Event Oct 25-26 Edmonton Area

By Mary Shearer

Over the past three years, many communities of faith have appointed one or two witnesses to witness by seeking truth, recognizing the need for healing and working toward reconciliation with Indigenous people. They have helped to build relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  The focus has been on educating themselves and others. They have been active in social justice ministry to raise awareness of the continuing mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada.

This ministry is a high priority of The United Church of Canada and needs to continue within the new structures. The United Church is committed to responding to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and implementing The United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Calls to the Church from the Caretakers of the Indigenous Circle. There are many resources to share and use, including the KAIROS Blanket Exercise and campaigns.  We are in the process of establishing a Network under the definition within the new church structures.  Whether your community of faith is in Northern Spirit Region or Chinook Winds Region; you can appoint witnesses and forward their names and contact information on the attached form to Kathy Jackson in the Northern Spirit office to join the developing network.

We encourage your community of faith to support someone to attend the following event. It may be a witness you have already appointed, someone who has expressed interest in learning more, or someone who simply wants to start the journey.  Download Registration Form HERE

The Event Schedule is below.

Friday, October 25   10 am – 5:30 pm at St. Albert United Church, St. Albert, AB

With the adoption of a new structure in the United Church, there is now an opportunity to establish a ‘network’ to carry out the ministry of reconciliation.  You are invited to shape how we move forward in living out the apologies of the United Church and responding to the Calls of Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Calls to the Church from the Caretakers of the Indigenous Circle.

With the help of elders and circle facilitators, we will

  1. Listen to Indigenous participants share their experiences and hopes within the United Church.
  2. Share why we agreed to be a witness and/or why we came to this gathering.
  3. Describe what steps if any we have taken in our communities of faith and why those particular steps were taken. What was most effective and why? If none, why?
  4. Describe what we need in order to take additional steps on the journey of reconciliation
  5. Discuss how we hope those needs might be met? Within the United Church? With other partners?  Could a network serve these purposes?
  6. [If we discern that we should establish a network for each region, or one network to serve both regions] Envision how that network might come to life – e.g. what leadership, format, finances, materials, staff assistance are needed and available?

Saturday, Oct 26   9am to noon at St. Albert United Church

You are invited to participate in a session with Dr. Pat Makokis and Dr. Davina Rousell on the theme of “Responsibilities of Settler Allies” and “Walking on Common Ground.” This session is wide open to any who wish to attend. 

As an introduction to the morning, please watch the video, Treaty Talk: Sharing the River of Life, The issues explored in this 50-minute film are local to Treaty 6 Territory, specifically Saddle Lake Cree Nation and St. Paul, Alberta, but they are familiar experiences and lessons that will resonate with many. The video features Dr. Pat Makokis and the late Vincent Steinhauer from Blue Quills University College. There is a study guide to accompany the video.

Saturday, October 26 – 1 to 3 pm

You are invited to discuss what you learned in the morning session, and how you/we might carry those insights forward in our communities.

The Living into Right Relations Trust Fund is able to cover some expenses of the two days, and we hope your community of faith will be able to offer one or more persons support to attend as well.  We are excited to come together again!

All My Relations,  Mary Shearer, Chair, Planning Committee on behalf of the Being Good Relations Circle

Ralph Connor Memorial United Church, Canmore or 403-609-0690.