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News from the Pews

Read personal stories of changing attitudes, transforming hearts, and congregation members being moved to action. Learn how churches and individuals have responded when faced with injustice. 

Saying Yes to God’s Earth and God’s Exile

There is a man I know. More than a man – a friend and a prophet. He is Indigenous, tall, with small piercing eyes that bore into you with gentle kindness. He is a stranger longing for a heavenly country. His home on his back, he wanders deserts and back alleys. He lives in caves and parkades. Did I mention that he also has an amazing mullet?

Rise Again: The Hope of a Resurrected Christian

Emmanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor. – Charles H. Spurgeon

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The Hardest Injustice to See

The first few months of 2019 do not give much hope for reconciliation in Canada.

In January, members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in BC were arrested for blocking the construction of a natural gas pipeline through their territory.

Train Up a Child

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  Psalm 22:6 (NIV)

When we announced to our family, friends, colleagues, and the congregation we were serving at the time that we were moving to Italy to serve with the Reformed Church in America, the questions began. Good questions. Thoughtful questions. Caring questions.

What does reconciliation mean at Unis’tot’en? Two local perspectives

Last week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested peaceful participants of a blockade of a road on traditional Wet'suwet'en nation  territory, based on an injunction order that was issued last month to TransCanada Pipelines. The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs were blocking access to the land because they have not given their consent to the natural gas pipeline, or two other proposed pipelines coming through their lands. The land is unceded by the Wetsu’wet’en.

A Blessing for a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

 

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

 

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

The Truth about Mutuality

“Difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas; as in escaping old ones.” – John Maynard Keynes

There are many things in life as a person of color and faith that present great challenges. I vividly remember going to do some temporary work for a very prestigious company in downtown Chicago. Not long after starting there I was hired for a permanent position, with promises of promotion and other wonderful things that the higher-ups offer new talent. I was eager to gain new employment and willing to do what I must to aid my 3-person team.

A New Normal?

Have you seen one of those glamorous ads promoting a rail trip through the Canadian Rockies? We’ve been talking about planning such a rail vacation for several years and it came together for us this summer.

We had a wonderful time making stops to visit friends and relatives who lived in Canada. It also ended up being the subject for a documentary on climate change!

Re/Placing Ourselves

Have you ever seen a tree so large that as you walked towards it you could not see the top and all perspectives of height began to whirl within you?

We live in a land that was once covered in trees so expansive that you would have to make a concerted effort to walk around them. Trees that stood for generations. Trees that were nourished by salmon carcasses strewn about the forest by eagles, wolves, and bears. Trees that welcomed new life into the world, provided clothes and baskets, and then stood watch as lives waned and returned to the earth.

Polluted Lungs, Polluted Minds

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a learning tour with the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee, World Renew, and the CRC Office of Race Relations focusing on places of racism, resistance, resilience, and reconciliation within urban Indigenous communities in southwestern Ontario. One of the places we visited was Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located on the St. Clair River, within the Sarnia city limits.

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