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Watch this week’s service on YouTube by clicking:

June 23 Worship Service Video

 

 

Join us for Worship Sunday at 10:00 AM followed by fellowship and refreshments in the He/SheBrews Café

 

  • We were saddened to learn of the death of our friend and member David Cross, husband of Diane Cross. A private service of remembrance is being planned for later this summer. Please remember Diane and her family in your prayers this week.

 

  • For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work

 

  • Did you know you can support this ministry by e-transfer, automatic withdrawal (PAR), and gifted securities, in addition to weekly or monthly cheques? For Offering Information please visit: https://charleswoodunited.org/support/  We have begun to receive donations for this summer’s Roofing Project which will be held separate from Operations and Mission & Service. Thank you for your generous support.

 

 

Dear Friends

Welcome to worship for Sunday, June 23, 2024.

For a few years now, our online service has begun with a greeting followed by a land acknowledgement. The exact same words are printed in the bulletin every week. For me it is an opportunity to say that we are aware of the land on which we gather and worship. We know that this land has a history, and that history is, in part, difficult.

The words that we use at Charleswood United Church were written by me but are patterned on an acknowledgement I heard given by Justice Murray Sinclair in a speech at the University of Manitoba while he was Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It is designed to be explicit about the specific treaty of the land on which the church rests. It is also specific about the nations with whom that particular treaty was signed and then names the other nations who shared the land but were not signatories of Treaty 1. The final sentence uses language of the TRC (Reconciliation) as well as that of the United Church of Canada (Right Relations). The land acknowledgment we use is intentionally brief as humility should be a central value for non-Indigenous communities participating in this ongoing conversation.

Land acknowledgements are seemingly everywhere people gather now. I listen closely when they are presented because, as a person offering one, I am interested in the conversation that is implied by this recent public ritual. Some I find sincere and genuine. Some I find overly long or perfunctory. It is a difficult balance to achieve.

The most important thing about land acknowledgements to me is that they do not stand alone. If anyone is going to offer an acknowledgment that they are aware of the need for Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada then there should be actions that follow. As the TRC report said, “Together, Canadians must do more than just talk about reconciliation; we must learn how to practise reconciliation in our everyday lives”. For the last 10 years we have sought to do that in a variety of ways, many of them educational, some of them service oriented. I won’t list them here because the point is not to say we have accomplished something, the point is to remain part of the conversation and work together towards a new future. Reconciliation will take many generations so being patient in the present is essential.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Though it is connected to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, an article in the Free Press last year asked us to be aware of the profound differences between the two. National Indigenous Peoples Day is a celebration. It is time of thanksgiving for everything that First Peoples have shared, and continue to share with everyone who lives in this remarkable country that is Canada. It is not enough for Indigenous people to celebrate one day and non-Indigenous to celebrate another day. We live together. We share together. We celebrate together.

Recently I was at a university convocation which began with a land acknowledgment and a blessing from an Anishinabek Elder named Barbara Dumont Hill. I thought it was particularly beautiful in its expression of gratitude. She took the time to be grateful for the Creator, Sun, and Moon, but also the earth, air and water; the winged, the four-legged, the swimmers, and the crawlers; the plants, the roots, and the medicines; the ancestors, the descendants, and all human beings. It wasn’t particularly long but neither was it rushed. Ms. Dumont Hill was extensive in her blessing and her grace.

 

Surely this is an example of the future to which God is leading us.

 

Grace and peace,

Michael

 

 

  • Through the United Church of Canada’s membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, an appeal for donations has been issued for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East. For more information and to donate please visit:  Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East Appeal