The Truth and Reconciliation Commission made a powerful impact on our nation over a four-year period by bringing to public attention the stories of thousands of Native Canadians who suffered in the nation’s residential schools. When the Commission wrapped up two years ago, they urged Canadians to continue the healing work they had begun.
A committee of our church has been meeting to discuss how we at Bethel can build on the good work of this commission. Our classis (regional body) would like us to host an evening to hear the story of someone personally impacted by the residential school system. We think this is a good idea, but we believe some work needs to be done to set the stage for such an evening.
We are a church with very few Native Canadian members. It is possible that many Bethel members do not have a close relationship with someone of aboriginal descent. Many Canadians have heard about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission but haven’t personally explored the important issues that gave rise to it.
The plan of our team is to share information over the course of the next several months. We want to create the context that will make sense of an evening for “Truth and Reconciliation.” Our hope is that the congregation will be able to approach the evening with understanding and with the conviction that we are responding to God’s Spirit. We want the meeting to be as effective as possible in building relationships, bringing healing where there is hurt and in making Bethel a place of welcome for all nations—including First Nations.
Did you know that there are more people of aboriginal origin living within five kilometers of our church than anywhere else in the city? Did you know there is a significantly higher number of Metis in Bannerman than in most other parts of the city? Maybe God is opening a door for more significant ministry and greater impact than we can now imagine.
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