On the last Saturday in September, the congregation of St. George’s by the U of A was led by members of the Indigenous Ministry Initiative (IMI) in a Messy Reconciliation event and also as we marked Orange Shirt Day together the next day in our Sunday service. Their ministry was pure gift, and I would strongly encourage each congregation across the diocese to invite this team to work with them in their own reconciliation events.
The truth of our past as a church is hard to look at. Many parents I have talked to desire to teach their children the truth of our history, but struggle with what to say. How do we talk about our participation in residential schools and the spiritual harm and abuse suffered by Indigenous people, both children and adults, at our own hand? How do we have these hard conversations so we can change and live into reconciliation? How can our apologies be true, and not just empty words?
The members of the IMI teach the truth of our history with clarity so that children and adults alike can understand, and they teach with love and the hope of Christ for change in our church so that all those present know that a new way forward is possible. I am so glad the Diocese of Edmonton has invested in this important ministry. The insight, the grace and the hope for change that this team offers is what we need as we begin our process of reconciliation. As we learned this past weekend, seven generations of children suffered in residential schools. We have seven generations, at least, of work ahead of us to be the people of reconciliation Jesus has called us to be. May we begin today and keep going tomorrow.
Submitted by the Rev. Alex Meek, Rector, St. George’s by the U of A
Photos submitted by Fiona Brownlee, Aboriginal and Rural Communities Liaison
The Rev. Nick Trussell teaches about Treaty Six, the land upon which the city of Edmonton is built.
Participants in the Messy Reconciliation event plant heart messages under the choke-cherry tree at St. George’s.
Orange Shirt Day is celebrated September 30th and the nearest Sunday to it.