Dear United Church people across the Regional Council,
Some of us are sharply reminded that we live in racial, cultural and religious privilege when news breaks that stops us in our tracks, and calls us to cry out as General Secretary Rev Michael Blair posted this to his social media this morning, “As the reality of the news from BC and the 215 bodies of children found at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, I can’t help but cry out – Senzeni na? ‘What have we done?’.”
But that’s just some of us. For many, this news confirming the unjust, undocumented deaths of Indigenous Children is what generations of Indigenous Relations have known and endured.
Reconciliation Canada invites all to their immediate, responsive engagement:
“…This devastating discovery resulted in a wave of grief and trauma that has swept through our nations. We stand with the Secwépemc people, Indian Residential School Survivors, their families and their communities as they process this tragic loss. We call on all of you to join Reconciliation Canada as we host an online gathering designed to create understanding of the impacts of this discovery and support the long-term healing of those affected.”
At the time of writing, there are 3 sessions to join, and the video of the first session, Reconciliation Canada’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ReconciliationCanada
If you would like to donate to Reconciliation Canada and Indian Residential School Survivors Society, please do so here:https://www.irsss.ca/donatehttps://reconciliationcanada.ca/get-involved/donate/For mental health resources, please visit reconciliationcanada.ca/honouring215children/
Rev Murray Pruden, National Executive Minister for Indigenous Ministries & Justice in The United Church of Canada, offers prayer in his letter below.
You may share all of these resources and words.
The beaded Orange Shirt Day pin was made by Bethany L. Stewart @onebeadcloser
I do hope all are staying safe during this pandemic time. Hearing today’s news about finding the remains of 218 of our ancestors and relations in Kamloops, BC is devastating, painful and heavy to the heart and spirit. As we wait for more news and update on this tragedy, I call upon all of you, my sisters and brothers, to take the time to listen to Spirit, to reflect and to pray. Light your medicines, light your candles, connect to the land and find that place for prayer. Because prayer is needed at this time.
Open your hearts, minds and breath to unite as the good and loving people we are:
We give thanks for this day and each day you grant us life to walk on this great land, our Mother.
Give us the heart and strength to come together in prayer in time of mourning, reflection and peace.
The news we have heard these last few days of our relations, families, the children who have been physically taken away from us and have now been found.
And with this news, we grieve for their memory, for their struggle, for their spirit.
We pray for good understanding, guidance and love for all our families and communities who will need the direction and resolution at this time.
Creator be with us, allow us to be brave. Allow us to be strong. Allow us to be gentle to one another. Allow us to be humble. But most of all, allow us to be like the Creator’s love.
And we come together in prayer and ask for your light to guide us to be a part of that needed peace, support and resolve for everyone who is reacting to this great tragedy in our Indigenous Nations of this great land.
Rev. Murray Pruden
Peace be with us, we lift up our prayers to you. In love, trust and truth, peace be with us all. In Jesus name.