On the lovely sunny Sunday, May 27th Fiona Brownlee, our Aboriginal and Rural Churches Liaison, went off to St. Saviour's, Vermilion to preach and have conversation about neighbourly reconciliation. The reconciliation work of rural churches and their neighbours the First Nations communities around them. Fiona went at the invitation of the rector, the Rev. Elizabeth Metcalfe. Last fall Fiona had facilitated a Blanket Exercise in the parish and this was a follow up to that.
After worship there was a lively question and answer session in the church hall. Some wondered how long should the church continue to say sorry. Fiona's response was a long it is needed and that we can't forget the role the church had in residential schools. Some wondered if a parish with no First Nations in it should be involved in this ministry of reconciliation. Fiona said that the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada is involved in this ministry right from the smallest parishes to the largest. Some asked why the good stories of residential schools weren't highlighted and Fiona said that the majority of the stories that were heard at the Truth and Reconciliation commission were stories of hardship and abuse and it is these stories that need to be raised up in our conversations.
Neighbourly reconciliation begins with conversation and really listening to what First Nations people are telling us. It can be hard work, but it is the hard work that God is calling us all too.
If you are interested in having Fiona come to visit your parish please get in touch with her and she will see what can be worked out.