I am very much looking forward to the New Year and the two month long theme delving into the lessons of First Nations Spirituality. Since the Truth and Reconciliation Report was released in 2015, the challenge has been to weave the recommendations into the social fabric of this nation. The federal government has to do some things, the provincial governments has to do some things. Great. But the real fact is that more and more First Nations people live in our cities, and particularly here in Edmonton. That means our municipal government has a large role, for this is where services get delivered. And our mayor has said many times “We are all Treaty Six people.”
Everyone has a responsibility to uphold their part of the treaty, to work with our neighbours, to learn our history and obligation and to change ourselves and our perspectives when needed. The TRC report noted,
Reconciliation must become a way of life. It will take many years to repair damaged trust and relationships in Aboriginal communities and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. Reconciliation not only requires apologies, reparations, the relearning of Canada’s national history, and public commemoration, but also needs real social, political, and economic change. Ongoing public education and dialogue are essential to reconciliation. Governments, churches, educational institutions, and Canadians from all walks of life are responsible for taking action on reconciliation in concrete ways, working collaboratively with Aboriginal peoples. Reconciliation begins with each and every one of us.
These two months of Sundays are intended to be a small step towards reconciliation and constructing the genuinely inclusive and just community we must become.
We devoted the month of October, 2015 to the topic, but if this work is to truly bring the change we seek, we must keep going back. We have to keep looking at ourselves, our possibilities and, for these eight weeks, at the gifts we gain from studying the First Nations traditions.
Four services will explore the Seven Sacred Teachings. There will be a Sunday given over to a two hour moving and educational Blanket Exercise, two musical services from Chorealis and one more service devoted to…we the details for that February service aren’t quite fixed yet.
Hope we see you all in church for one or more of these!