In response to the heartbreaking news related to the Kamloops Residential School, VMC’s indigenous ministries affinity group is inviting leaders across our network to participate in a time of prayer, fasting and lament. Please read the invitation and supporting guide (linked google doc) and consider how you might use this time to consider what the Spirit is saying to the Church in Canada regarding indigenous matters.
Hope and Peace
To our fellow Christian leaders in VMC,
As a result of the discovery of an unmarked mass grave containing 215 children outside of Kamloops Residential School, indigenous issues have yet again been brought to our national attention. Those of us who work with indigenous people across our network are grieved by the discovery and the pain it has caused survivors of residential schools and their communities. At the same time, we are encouraged that many of our non-indigenous friends have expressed sympathy and asked how they can become more engaged with indigenous issues. Recognizing how difficult it is to start out on this journey, we have written a shared letter that offers some thoughts on how to do so. It is included below for your consideration.
Our primary encouragement is that right now is a good time to listen and learn, as expressed so well by Steve Bell:
On one hand, I feel I should say something. On the other, I feel that it’s not the time for someone like me to speak. Perhaps it’s best if I/we commit to deep listening and learning before attempting to say anything at all.
In order to facilitate this, we would like to draw your attention to one section of the letter, in particular:
We would like to invite all VMC churches to fast during the 10 days between National Indigenous People’s Day (June 21st) and Canada Day (July 1st). Our prayer is that we would take this time to listen in silence to what the Holy Spirit may be saying to us through Indigenous voices, and what we can learn through their stories, their experiences, and their tears. To assist our journey toward a greater understanding, you might also go through one of the teaching resources provided above each day, and spend time in prayer based on what you learned.
Whether you are already well informed or just beginning to learn about indigenous issues, we would love for you to join us in this time of fasting and prayer. The resources mentioned are on the second page of the letter. We are grateful to be part of such a geographically and ethnically diverse church network, and hope that this season can be one in which we all become better equipped to engage in our shared ministry of reconciliation.
In Christ, our great Reconciler,
The VMC Indigenous Ministries Affinity Group