I’m working on a project for the United Church of Canada that would bring Indigenous people who had survived the Residential School System together with United Church Ministers, Students and Staff (leaders and future leaders). We would listen to Elders and Storykeepers, share a meal together, and then talk about how United Churches leaders can exemplify and promote an understanding of equity in our faith communities.
I’ve received good guidance and a great deal of encouragement for this project, which I hope we will offer in the Spring of 2020 at an Indigenous retreat centre. If it goes well it will be a pilot for similar programs offered across the country. This is a way for us to respond to the recommendations of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I ran into a glitch while applying for grants for this project. The grants would, in effect, come from agencies associated with the United Church General Council Office. And I listed the General Council Office as the sponsoring Organisation to receive the grants. Turns out that wasn’t a good idea, they aren’t quite enough at arms-length, but I found out 5 days before the grant application deadline.
My only other avenue was Forest Grove United Church. We are in the early stages of discovering what it means to be a congregation of settlers who are trying to establish right relations with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. And I have received encouragement for this project from those in the church with whom I have spoken. But asking them to be a sponsoring organisation (which means receiving and disbursing and being accountable for funds) was a step beyond. And I needed an answer from our Church Council asap.
I presented it as best I could, answered several questions, and then received overwhelming support.
I am not surprised, this is a gracious and just and forward-thinking faith community. I am thankful, however, to be a minister in the midst of such people.
Comments? Questions? email Cameron, email@example.com