Working Together for Reconciliation
Earlier this year, Shaughnessy Heights United Church began “Reconciliation Matters”, an initiative that we hope may be of interest to other congregations. We are willing to share our resources and experiences and to learn from others.
“Reconciliation Matters” aims to continue the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation event in Vancouver and the Reconciliation Canada Walks in September 2013.
As the United Church of Canada’s Comprehensive Review Task Force (2015) states: “The church place a high priority on building relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people based on mutuality, respect, and equity, and that the church continue to live out its apologies to Aboriginal people.”
On March 30-31, 2016, the United Church of Canada participated in an ecumenical community action to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation. Learn more here.
SHUC Outreach introduced Phase I of “Reconciliation Matters” in May 2015 with a sermon and “second hour” talk by Rev. Alf Dumont, currently elder in residence and advisor at BCIT. His topic was Aboriginal “Medicine Wheel” teachings and included a residential school film followed by discussion.
Opportunities were outlined for the congregation to gain a better understanding of past and recent histories, develop appreciation of what “reconciliation” means – to see, hear and feel and then reflect upon building right relationships. Our librarian put together a First Nations book display in a special area in our library and hall.
To assist the congregation in recording their experiences, two journals were developed – one for adults and one for children. Suggestions for what to reflect upon were included in the journals and children were encouraged to record this in drawings, words or photos.