Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “reconciliation”

Bye, Bye 2016! Hello 2017!

A lot can happen in a year as we all know. 2016 for me has been all about the recovery. Recovery from cancer treatment and then recovery from the depression caused by having cancer. Seeing my hair grow and finally being able to get it cut and then needing another cut and getting a colour! The two pictures above were essentially taken a year apart. I am so grateful to have made it through all the cancer rigamarole and to mostly be feeling more myself.

There has been much that was good about last year and I don’t want to forget that as we say farewell to this past year.

I am grateful for all the family time the dear one and I got in this year. Time with his folks, time with my folks, time with our adult lovelies, time to take an extra special holiday to the west coast with two nieces and a nephew. How much fun did we all have on our adventures each day! We celebrated his parents 60th wedding anniversary – have to admit that is a life goal of mine. We got almost three weeks with our younger daughter before she headed off on her big adventure overseas.

I am also grateful that this year has been a good one as far as my ministry within the church. I have met many fine folk in this diocese who are committed to the work of reconciliation between Indigenous and settler in Canada and in particular our part of Canada. They want to educate themselves, they want to build up relationships, they want the church to become part of that story. This work keeps me energized in so many important ways.

The dear one and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this year and that really is a high point for both of us. We have been through so much together – both good, bad, silly, humdrum, fantastic and boring. We still look at each other and are amazed by the others love and are ever so grateful.

Here’s the tough stuff. No one warns, or at least not in my hearing, cancer survivors of the high rate of depression following treatment. I mean, really, you don’t think that someone’s emotional and mental health are as important as their physical health. I have to say that throughout this I am extremely grateful to the dear one for supporting me through that and for my family doctor and my therapist – they both got me through the worst. So a shout out to all of you dealing with cancer and its treatment, make sure that you get the help you need to deal with the mental and emotional bits as well as the physical bits.

The rest of the tough stuff is the part of the world I have no control over. The state of politics in the world, the rise of racist, right wing ideologies that just freak me out! The state of our environment – if you are a climate change denier please do some honest to goodness research and let’s all work together to leave a better planet for future generations. The state of so many women’s lives – please hear this men, feminism is not out to destroy you, it’s out to make the world a better place for all of us. I honestly think we can all do better in this regard.

Here are some of my goals for 2017:

  1. To write here more often – it does me good to write and so I am going to commit to at least two posts a month. Oh my goodness, I just put that out there.
  2. To move more – generally this means walking for me, but I also need to get in the water more. I have to get over my ‘they will be looking at me’ fear and just move more.
  3. To drink different beers – so many good beers out there.
  4. To laugh as loudly and as often as I can.
  5. To support those dealing with cancer. It is those of us who have gone through it that can be the best supporters for those going through it.
  6. To pray each day – I know right, you’d think a Christian woman living out her faith would already do this- but you know I really need to dig down into this.
  7. Find a way to deal with my chronic pain that doesn’t spoil every bit of my life – those of you who live with chronic pain will know what I am talking about.
  8. Have more people over for meals, drinks, whatever and spread the hospitality around – it is good for me when I can do this.
  9. I am going to work hard at speaking my truth, standing up for justice, reminding others that reconciliation is necessary and possible, that a healthy environment is our gift to the future.
  10. To find beauty wherever I can – because my goodness this is a beautiful world and there are so many creative people out there, it won’t be hard to find – for me a big part of that will be found in my garden. Oh yes, I am already dreaming of spring.

Thanks dear readers for hanging in there with me. You have brought out the best in me and I appreciate that. Got any goals for 2017? I’d love to hear them. Going to leave you with some final thoughts from a hero of mine Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

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Happy New Year to one and all!!

 

 

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#AdventWord #Promise

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#AdventWord #Promise

Promises – I have made a lot of them over the years and I think I have kept most of them. I have had promises made to me and mostly those have been kept as well. I am grateful that my life is full of promises given and kept. It is not the case for the First Peoples of Canada. Promises were made in treaties and they were broken over and over again. As a country we have a long way to go towards reconciliation between Indigenous and Settler peoples.

The Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice of the Anglican Church of Canada wrote an open letter to the church that was released today. I realized while reading the letter that I have made a significant promise in my life of working in and for the church. A promise to be a bridge builder, to be one who helps to bring about reconciliation between Settler and Indigenous peoples. It is the reason why I do the work that I do for the Diocese of Edmonton.

This promise is going to mean that I have to keep the churches figurative toes to the fire. That we don’t forget our complicity in the Indian Residential Schools or that we have to become partners with the Indigenous church that is growing in our wider church. They have much to teach us if we are willing to listen. I am, I hope you are.

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#AdventWord #Promise

This day seemed to call for another image – as I was going upstairs at about 4 pm MST the sun was beginning to set. The orange glow just seemed to be God promising me another day and that there is hope in the world. So I stopped and enjoyed the beauty. I hope you do too.

#AdventWord #Listen

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#AdventWord #Listen

I work for the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton as part of the Indigenous Ministry team. Those of you who have seen a picture of me might think that is a bit odd. What is a white woman settler doing as part of that ministry team? It seems God wants me to be part of the reconciliation work of our diocese.

The biggest learning I have had as a settler in Canada is that I know or knew next to nothing about the Indigenous history of this country. I didn’t know anything about the treaties, I didn’t know how the doctrine of discovery had affected how European settlers dealt with the First Peoples of this land. I learned that I needed/need to listen.

To listen to survivors of Indian Residential Schools again, again and again. To listen to Indigenous friends share their stories of being affected by racism with me. To listen to Indigenous leaders tell me and others that their communities need to lead the way. To listen to God speaking through all of this, that this is part of the work of reconciliation, that is the work of the kingdom of God.

So I listen and I listen. I urge others to listen. As a country we need to listen. As a church we need to listen. For it is from listening that we will begin to understand the horror and the pain. For it is from listening that we will, all of us, Indigenous and settler, work on healing and move to reconciliation.

#AdventWord #Surprise

#AdventWord #Surprise

Yesterday I was gratefully surprised when the federal government here in Canada announced an inquiry into the Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women & Girls of our country  that has been at a crisis point for a number of years. This is something that I and many others of different faith traditions have been praying and lobbying for, for a number of years. The church I worship in, the church I work for, is actively engaged in reconciliation work. This work is hard, necessary and God driven. It is about repairing relationships between indigenous and settler peoples who share this land.

So I am grateful for this surprise, for our federal government following up on one of its promises made recently. I am grateful that prayer has been answered. I am grateful that they are going to listen to the families of the women and girls. I hope that this will mark a real shift in this country about how we deal with indigenous women and their struggle for equality. I am looking forward to more surprises.

P.S. Sorry about the crappy photo – taken with my iPhone of my computer screen while watching the news conference yesterday.

 

#AdventWord #Care

#AdventWord #Care

I am a little behind on this, so you may be getting a few blog posts from me today on Advent Word. The word for December 6th was care. To care for each other, for those we know well, for those who are our family is easy most of the time. To care for those we don’t know as well, that is harder, especially if it means stretching us beyond our normal comfort zones. The gospel, the good news of Jesus, calls those of us who follow his way to make that happen. We are called as disciples to love our neighbours as we have been loved by God our creator. That means all of our neighbours in this messy, painful, often violent world, all of them. We are called to care for the least of these most of all.

The dear one, as many of you know, is the rector of Immanuel, Wetaskiwin here in central Alberta. This past Sunday we remembered St. Nicholas – the bishop of Myra who cared for three young women who didn’t have enough. He made their lives bearable. Our parish has done some of that as well. We brought in gifts for children who wouldn’t likely get gifts this Christmas in our community, we brought in gifts of food for our local food bank to make sure that people in our community will have enough to eat. In other words we cared. We continue to care and hopefully share the love of God with those who are our neighbours, both near and far.

 

#AdventWord #Forgive

#AdventWord #Forgive

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Most of us know where those words come from, the Lord’s Prayer.  But do many of us know this prayer in another language? I don’t, sadly. I need to learn. The picture above is the Lord’s Prayer in Cree syllabics. You can hear it here.

Today’s Advent word got me thinking about forgiveness as it relates to the work on reconciliation I am doing as part of the Indigenous Ministry Initiative of the Diocese of Edmonton. I have been privileged enough to be at two Truth and Reconciliation events – one locally held and the other a national gathering. I have heard the stories of Residential School survivors and heard members of my church offer words of remorse and ask for forgiveness. I work as a settler person on assisting rural churches develop actions of neighbourly reconciliation with indigenous communities. It is hard work and often means seeking to forgive our church for its past and asking others who were hurt by those actions in the past to do the same. It is the work that God has called my church to do and called me to be a part of. It is how I make forgiveness real.

 

Lent as Reconciliation

I have been pondering reconciliation a lot lately. It has something to do with the work I do, it has something to do with some personal relationships, it has a lot to do with my relationship with God. I decided yesterday that the word I am going to keep in front of me this Lent is reconciliation, as it seems to be the word God wants me to pay attention to. Over this holy season I am going to pray about reconciliation, write about reconciliation, work on reconciliation. I want this word and all its meanings to seep deep into my soul and become part of my being.

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Tonight like other Christians I will be going to church for the Imposition of Ashes. I have been getting a cross put on my forehead in this way for most of my life. It is a way for me to mark the beginning of this season. It will be a way for me to mark my reconciliation as a child of God, as a follower of Jesus. I will repeat the words over and over again today, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” as my prayer. I will remember how I have turned away from God and that God’s mercy and love is ever present even when I don’t recognize it. I will embrace that love and mercy and claim it as my own. I will remember that I am dust and to dust I shall return.

I want to be about the work of God’s reconciliation in the world and to do that I need first of all to make space for God in my life, to sit in silence (something I am not always good at), to let the words of Scripture be present and work through me, to hear the voice of Jesus through the voices of others.

This Lent I am going to hold these words from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians in front of me:

 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

(2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

Have a holy Lent. May you find God’s reconciling acts of love and mercy wherever you go. May you be Jesus’ ministers of reconciliation. May the Holy Spirit guide you in acts of reconciliation with others. Have a holy Lent.

 

 

 

#Ask #AdventWord

We have been lighting the candles, Sunday by Sunday, in our home parish each week. We have been focusing on reconciliation. God’s reconciliation with us, ours with creation, reconciliation between First Nations and settlers within Canada, and reconciliation with the future generations. We are being deliberate and careful and working hard to honour the traditions of the people on whose land we live.

Today two women from our parish who are both First Nations lit the fourth candle. We all looked at each other at the end and realized what an important moment that had been. A year ago that wouldn’t have happened. A year ago it wouldn’t even have been thought of as being important. Our parish began a conversation a few months ago about how to live out reconciliation with our neighbours who are First Nations. This Advent our wreath has been a symbol of that work of reconciliation.

My heart filled with hope and joy. My heart is aware that God is doing something important in our midst.

#Ask #AdventWord

Ask for God’s signs of reconciliation and they will be given to you. We are going to keep on asking, working and hoping for reconciliation. It is where God is leading us.

#Expand #AdventWord

The dear one is the rector of lovely, small Anglican parish, Immanuel, Wetaskiwin. The people of this parish are working hard to expand their presence in our community and beyond. They are working hard at being a generous, sharing people. They are working hard at being a place of reconciliation. Today we saw some fruits of that work. It was such a joyful morning there today!

#Expand #AdventWord

Today was Food Bank Sunday, something we do once a month, and we had also decided that as part of our outreach in the community we would be part of the Secret Santa program our small city is doing. People brought in food, lots and lots of food and people brought in toys, lots and lots of toys. There was so much joy, so much love, people had expanded their hearts and became generous. They became agents of God’s reconciling love for the world.

My heart is full. The dear one’s heart is full. I think the whole community of Immanuel should be grateful that God has moved us in this way.

In what way is God asking you to expand and be open to love and generosity?

#Remember #AdventWord

Remember Advent wordToday’s word is #remember.

This year in my home parish of Immanuel, Wetaskiwin we are doing a different kind of Advent wreath. It is an Advent wreath of reconciliation by tearing down the walls of hostility. We are remembering our relationship with God’s creation, we are remembering our past, broken relationships with the indigenous peoples of Canada, we are remembering our call from God to work at righting those relationships and making a new way to be together, and finally we are remembering our call to God’s good future for all of creation by the saving work of our Saviour Jesus and that there will be transformation for all.

This picture is from the Advent 1. The eastern side of the wall was torn down and the first candle lit. You can just see its flame lit. So we remember that there is light in the darkness, there is hope here and God’s justice will be made known for all. We remember the promises that have been made to us by God for all God’s creation.

This is the prayer for the first Sunday:

Creator of all, We acknowledge that we live on sacred
land and drink of holy water, your creation. Light the
shadows made by walls of hostility. Help us to work
together for the healing and reconciliation of the land and
water. So may the light of your kingdom grow. Thank
you for listening. Amen.

 

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