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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. 

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.

No Carbon Tax and No Plan

In the hundreds of conversations I’ve had about climate change, hope, and stewardship, the talk inevitably turns to politics. Rightly so. There is a lot we can do in our own homes, but we also look for guidance and direction from our governments: local, provincial, and federal. Recycling and waste recovery programs tend to be local, whereas larger programs like green energy generation and carbon taxes are left to the provinces or the federal government.

Introducing...Cameron Kritikos!

Cameron is the newest member of the Office of Social Justice team. He joins our team this week as the Justice Mobilizing and Advocacy Fellow, a one year position with our office. Cameron comes to us from a background in international development after attending Calvin College in Michigan where he received a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies with minors in Spanish and Ministry Leadership. This past year, Cameron served as an Marketing and Resource Development Americorps VISTA volunteer for Latin United Community Housing Association in Chicago.

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Finding Hope in 2018

As we sat in the fireside room at A Rocha’s property, Sir Ghillean Prance, a small group of volunteers and I (a stay-at-home mom) we felt a sense of awe that this man, who had been knighted by the queen for his work as a botanist, was so down to earth and hope-filled. One thing he said has stuck with me. When asked what gave him hope over his long career –he knew about and was working towards combating climate change already 20 years ago – his answer was: “Christ’s resurrection and human ingenuity”. 

The Holy Privilege of being Christ's Hands and Feet

On April 10, Aung Ko, Nang, Jet and Joli boarded a plane in Malaysia. Catching three flights, this young family would fly half way around the world to flee poverty and danger to find safety in the United States. With Jet just two years old and Joli only 8 months, it took some desperation and courage for these young parents to fly 17 hours to an unknown place called Michigan.

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