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Keeping Eventbrite Open

Am I strange or have you also left a website open in your browser just because you couldn’t bear to close it?  For five months after the event ended, I kept the EventBrite page open and I smiled every time I saw it.  This open tab reminded me of the amazing time of preparation for and the celebration of the Broken Walls concert held on Sept. 30 (The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) in Belleville, On.

The dream to host the concert was born in May 2023 when members from the Christian Reformed Church in Canada came to Ottawa for the Canadian National Gathering.  Jonathan Maracle, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga and lead singer of Broken Walls, was invited to be one of the worship leaders for the gathering.  He promised the leaders of the CNG that he would have people up and dancing their praises to God and by the time the Sunday morning service was over, the line of people dancing to the sound of the drum was so long it went all around the room we met in, outside through a courtyard and back in again and the beginning dancers lapped the end of the line!  Jonathan spoke of his desire to reach out in his own home region of Quinte, a goal he had been unable to attain in all the years he had been ministering through music.  That sparked a desire in a group of people from Classis Quinte to bring Broken Walls to Jonathan’s home. 

God answered each one of those prayers in ways we could have never anticipated

Without the slightest idea of where to start or how we could raise $20,000 to pay for the musicians to come, a small group of people met from May to August and struggled to raise funds and interest.  Even though we did not reach the goals we set for ourselves, we stepped out in faith, with Jonathan’s encouragement, and set the date and the time for a Broken Walls Concert. 

Broken Walls band members Bill Pagaran and Josh Maus, who live in Alaska, booked airplane tickets, along with several dancers.  Our prayer was that Broken Walls would be honoured in Jonathan’s home region, that the people of Quinte would be exposed not only to amazing music but to the gospel story and the story of our First Nations people.  And God answered each one of those prayers in ways we could have never anticipated, as well as providing answers to prayers we hadn’t even thought to pray.  The concert was featured on the front page of the Kingston Whig on September 27, 2023.  

By the time September 30 came around, we had sold 50 tickets on EventBrite.  Because of the generous support of many people and area churches we were able to keep ticket prices low, and we weren’t worried about covering costs.  We prayed for settlers and Indigenous people to come to experience reconciliation through the music and through the words spoken.  And more than 200 people came through the doors that night to enjoy music, to listen to Chief Donald Maracle share, to hear about the love of Jesus, and to praise God together.

Well, we tried.  And we’re still trying.  Would we do it all again? 

Did everything go as we had hoped it would?  Absolutely not.  Did we encounter bumps along the way that were discouraging?  We sure did. Did we have to make adjustments to our expectations?  Oh yes. Did we have to learn again and again that we need to be working with and not for people, and that this was a shared experience?  Well, we tried.  And we’re still trying.  Would we do it all again?  The conversation about another Day of Truth and Reconciliation Concert has begun!  

The 2023 concert took place on September 30, and it took me till February to finally close the Event Brite tab on my phone.  Lord willing, there will be one to take its place by the summer time.  Mark September 28, 2024 on your calendar and come from wherever you are to join in the beauty of a small step in the reconciliation process.  

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