Dear friends,

I am writing this in Vancouver where the crocuses and daffodils are blooming and the trees are warily thinking about blooming. I say this with (genuine) apologies to everyone else in the rest of Canada – but the point is – there is Hope! I don’t know about you, but the call to hope is a constant one for me in this work, where it is so easy to become overwhelmed and feel hopeless. National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, Mark MacDonald, once said, “to be relentlessly, vigilantly hopeful is a necessary component to battling evil”. I wrote it down and have carried it with me ever since. We are called to hope, even when the going is tough – or even feels impossible.

New and Exciting!

On Friday, March 8, Anglican Video, in Partnership with the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, launched “Stolen Land; Strong Hearts”. This full-length documentary features Indigenous leaders, legal scholars, a senator, historians, allies, and church leaders who help us to understand what the Doctrine of Discovery is, how it has historically impacted Indigenous peoples, and where we see it alive and well today. Key to understanding how we got to this place in our history and relationships, this is a must-see for folks working in reconciliation. It also has a study guide, which will be available online in the next couple of weeks at the latest. I will update you as soon as it goes online.
Watch now

Update: Bill C-262

It’s not over yet! The Senate is now sitting and will consider this Bill to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting this effort. KAIROS has produced a short video on the Bill. Please view it, share it widely, show it to your community and get the word out. If the Bill does not pass the Senate before they conclude their work in June, the bill will die completely. We cannot allow that to happen. Some of our National Church leadership will be meeting with key Senators in the coming weeks to encourage them to vote in favour of the Bill. Please keep up the efforts. We’re so close!

PWRDF Mapping Exercise – facilitator training event

PWRDF LogoHave you heard of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s (PWRDF) “Mapping the Ground We Stand On” workshop? The workshop offers non-Indigenous participants an opportunity to explore their historic and current place on a map of Canada and in relation to the historic and current place of Indigenous participants on that same map. It also offers opportunity for learning and reflection on the concepts of Terra Nullius (Empty Land) and the Doctrine of Discovery as foundational to colonialism (of which the establishment of Residential Schools was one aspect), and juxtaposes those concepts with an exploration of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.

The PWRDF is looking to get a network of facilitators set up, and are holding a training event in Winnipeg in June. PWRDF will cover the costs of participants’ travel, accommodation and meals for this event, led by Suzanne Rumsey, Esther Wesley and me. Click here for more information and to apply to attend. This is a great opportunity to learn one way of bringing people together for learning, and to prepare people to take the next step of reconciliation in your community.

UN Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – March 21

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination logoCreated as a response to the killing of 69 protesters at a peaceful anti-apartheid demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa in 1960, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has been observed around the world every year on March 21 since 1966. Data from 2017 by Stats Canada shows country-wide increases in police-reported hate crimes in 2017 – and this does not take into account the many, many hate crimes that go unreported due to fear of police.

Did you know that the Anglican Church of Canada has a Charter for Racial Justice? My experience is that as Anglicans, we are okay with talking about reconciliation, but often have a hard time naming and talking about the reality of racism in the Church. What would it look like for you to be involved in starting or continuing the conversation? Host a workshop? Plan a Bible Study? Organize or attend an anti-racism action or event? Let me know if I can help with this important conversation.

Lessons Learned Report

Lessons Learned Report coverLast November, I shared with you that I was working on a report on what we, as a Church, have learned from our involvement in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). I completed that report in January. Thank you to everyone who was involved in giving feedback. The report is long – 21 pages – and sometimes difficult to read, but would you take some time with it? I learned a lot of things that I did not know that impacted me greatly and will also change the way I do my work. These things may come as a surprise to you, as well. If you have time to read the whole report, you can find it here, or the 3 page summary is here. Please let me know what you think.

Coming Up

I was so incredibly grateful to get to spend 3 days with the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples at the end of February. This Council is such a wealth of wisdom and it was such an honour to be with them. I look forward to working with them more intentionally. The Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice will be holding its final meeting March 7-8, and the Council of General Synod will be meeting March 13-17. Both of these meetings are incredibly important to the future of reconciliation and justice work in the Anglican Church of Canada, so please keep us in your prayers. I will update you next month with news coming out of those meetings.
As always, please let me know what you are up to, and feel free to reach out if you need some help in getting started!

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