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Truth and Reconciliation -- Letter to Canadian Churches

Dear churches of the Christian Reformed Church in Canada,

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will be drawing to a close in Ottawa at the start of June. As the TRC has journeyed across the country hearing the stories of the survivors of residential schools for the past six years, the Christian Reformed Church in Canada has also been on a journey. We want to mark this historic moment with tangible actions, actions that move us closer into relationship as people sharing this land. Will you mark this milestone with us?

Over the past 6 years, we listened to the stories of Indigenous children who were taken from their parents and communities and taught that to be acceptable to God and "Christian society" they had to become more like white Europeans...and we wept. We listened to stories of abuse...and we marvelled at the strength and courage of those who are telling their stories and healing. We listened...and we began to repent of our own racism and complicity, and lamented how we have all been impoverished by denying the gifts of Indigenous People given by the Creator.

We listened...and we learned more about what it means to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God, in this time and this place, together as Indigenous people and descendants of immigrants.

As Reformed Christians, we know that sin is a series of broken relationships--with God, with our neighbour, with creation. And as we know from the pages of history, whenever we become blind to the image of God in our neighbour, it is not long before our actions toward our neighbours become less than loving. 

While a relationship that has been broken and breaking for generations will not be healed with one commission, we have seen the Spirit move over the last 6 years. Praise be to the Lord!  

Maybe you saw the beautiful paintings of the reForming Relationships tour, which has been hosted by more than 25 churches across the country, and met an Indigenous neighbour. Perhaps you participated in a Blanket Exercise and learned about the broken history of the relationship between our peoples on this land. Maybe you attended a TRC event and witnessed firsthand the resilience of Indigenous peoples and their cultures.

In a couple short months, the TRC will draw to a close in Ottawa (May 31-June 3).

We invite you to mark this historic milestone with us. On May 31st, we will celebrate Reconciliation Sunday, an opportunity to celebrate the reconciling work of the Spirit and commit to continued faithfulness to Jesus’ call to be reconciled to our brothers and sisters (Matthew 5:23-24). We are developing worship resources to celebrate reconciliation on May 31, so you’ll be hearing more from us in the coming months. In the meantime, we suggest the following CRC resources as great ways to prepare your families and congregations:

Living the 8th Fire small group series 

A seven-part small group series based on the CBC's 8th Fire documentary series.

Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee toolkit

Worship resources, books, movies, speaker suggestions, CRC statements, etc.

Milestones Project

A participatory artistic presentation of our “milestone moments” on the road of reconciliation between our peoples. When did you feel the reconciling movement of the Spirit? Join us!

Doctrine of Discovery task force web page

A resource page about the work of the Doctrine of Discovery task force, which will report to Synod 2015.

In Christ, who is reconciling all things to Himself,

Darren Roorda (Canadian Ministries Director, Christian Reformed Church)

Mike Hogeterp (Director, Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue)

Shannon Perez (Justice and Reconciliation Mobilizer, Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee (CRC))


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