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Five milestones for Indigenous ministry in Canada

The Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee is a CRCNA committee that cares deeply about the relationships between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Established in 2006, the committee has been leading the journey of reconciliation and providing resources for others on the path. In light of this, here’s five things you might not know:

  1. The committee was established in 2006, but the CRCNA in Canada has been grappling with the journey of reconciliation for much longer. A national committee started working in 1969 to establish urban Indigenous ministries. The Indigenous Family Center was established in Winnipeg in 1973 and the Indigenous Christian Fellowship (1978) and Edmonton Native Healing Center (1990) soon followed. The CRCNA developed further with statements such as the 1987 New Covenant Declaration and through participating in Truth and Reconciliation Commission events.
  2. The committee coordinated the “Reforming Relationships” art tour of the “Creator’s Sacrifice” art series that remains popular. The tour has gone as far east as Nova Scotia and as far west as Vancouver Island.
  3. Hearts Exchanged is inspired by a report written on a CRCNA cross-cultural ministry forum that took place in 2000, which encouraged regular church dialogue on racial reconciliation. That regular dialogue did not formally continue, so in 2020 Hearts Exchanged was relaunched as a learning and action journey designed to equip Reformed Christians for the spiritual path of reconciliation. This is an active process of decolonization that is unsettling, transformative and hopeful because it is drawing church members to lived expressions of respect and reciprocity with Indigenous people. This program is intended to ripple out and implement good statements into better actions.
  4. The committee has helped to coordinate KAIROS Blanket Exercises across Canada. The exercise has participants act out history in North America and can help participants to feel some of the emotions involved. In 2016, all of the delegates to synod participated in one of the biggest exercises hosted by the committee.
  5. Indigenous Ministry has just been approved to hire a Senior Leader for Indigenous Justice and Reconciliation in Canada. This will add important capacity to the work of reconciliation in Canada.

Reconciliation is a long journey. As Senator Murray Sinclair said at the release of the final Truth and Reconciliation Committee report, “Achieving reconciliation is like climbing a mountain – we must proceed a step at a time. It will not always be easy. . . we cannot allow ourselves to be daunted by the task because our goal is just and it is also necessary.” How can you join the journey?

This article is made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.

Author

  • Victoria Veenstra is the Justice Communications Team Coordinator for the CRC, working for the Centre for Public Dialogue, Office of Social Justice, and Canadian Indigenous Ministries Committee.

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