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Reconciliation

Integration Fatigue

I visited a young and energetic African American church located in south suburban Chicago last year. The church was once a failing white Reformed church who decided to take a gamble to reach a growing middle class African American community. Most of the white former members had left for other churches. With a vibrant African American pastoral couple, the church has transformed into a mostly African American congregation eager to reach others. This kind of church is rare in my circle. Could this be the start of something new in my denomination? I want more churches like this. 

Spark!

In November we held a conference here in Truro, Nova Scotia called “Spark!”. It was a new take on an old conference – we’ve held a Day of Encouragement event here every two years for a long time, providing an opportunity for the CRC churches in the Maritimes to gather for a day of learning and fellowship. When I was asked to write about it for Do Justice, my first thought was, “this wasn’t specifically a ‘justice’ conference…” But the more I reflect, the more I feel that the themes of justice and mission and the future of the church are all intertwined.

The “F” Word

The “F” word that I encounter regularly has a way deeper impact than the one you are probably thinking about. FEAR. 

"Forget Everything And Run” or “Face Everything And Rise. "

Climbing the Mountain of Reconciliation

I recently went on a trip to the Yukon, I’m not a big hiker so when my friend led me along the side of a steep slope on a mountain sheep trail I was well out of my comfort zone.  But I was also exhilarated, it was a new experience for me, on a perfect fall day. I was enjoying good conversation with my friend, and we could see our goal far up the hill.  

Grounded in Grace

“Grace is bad arithmetic”--famous words from my pastor Dave Vroege in a sermon just over a year ago. He continued, explaining how grace is nonsense.

“Grace is bad arithmetic.”

Nonsense! Why? Because it is given to us regardless of whether we want it or not.

I’ve always understood grace to be an action word. An invitation on how to behave and act. It’s the absence of anger and the presence of love and peacefulness.

Hard words to hold when one is full of rage.

Bringing Forth Fruit Worthy of Repentence

We noticed her standing just inside the front entrance looking up. While she was waiting to load her bus with the summer camp kids, she had stepped into the church foyer and saw the land acknowledgement: The Community Christian Reformed Church of Meadowvale is located on the Treaty Lands and Traditional Territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Finding My Place in Reconciliation

Ever since starting to study at Redeemer, I’ve become more familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and Canada’s history in the treatment of Indigenous people. Thanks to classes with William Postma and Naaman Wood, I’ve wanted to join the effort of reconciliation with Indigenous communities, but I didn’t really know what the process of reconciliation looked like practically. Maybe you’ve felt the same way.

Dear Tanya: A National Tragedy Hits Home

Dear Tanya, 
In 2009, you became a number that I wasn't counting. 
Your sister, Vanessa, was counting.
The hours, days and the years of this silence.
I heard during the hearing. 
I heard your story. 
I heard your human-ness. 
You are not dead to her.
You are not a number.
I'm counting. We're counting.
With Love, 
Priya

An (Un)Complicated Whiteness: Privilege, Repentance, and the Work of Justice

Most Thursdays, I spend my afternoons at a local halfway house and healing centre, created to prepare Indigenous men for the transition from federal prison to the street. I walk through two sets of glass doors, up a short flight of stairs, and into the sweet smell of sage grass and fried food. Indigenous parole officers, administrators, and parolees mill around a front desk, filling out paperwork and discussing their plans for the weekend. Of the dozen or so people around me, I am the only one with white skin. Brown skin is the norm here, and my whiteness makes me an outsider.

Learning Service from Freddie the Bus Driver

I believe that God has a plan for everyone, but sometimes that fact alone doesn’t feel very comforting. I came across the Youth Ambassador of Reconciliation Program when I was struggling with God and his plans for me. I had just graduated from university and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my degree, or if I wanted to work in my degree’s field at all. I had decided to just take a year off to “figure it out” when I heard about this opportunity to go live among the First Nations in Kitchenuhmayoosib Inninuwag (KI), a remote reserve in northern Ontario.

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