In June 2017, thirty-three members of The Presbyterian Church in Canada visited Winnipeg Inner City Missions, the Kenora Fellowship Centre, Mistawasis Memorial Presbyterian Church and Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry; four of the ministries with Indigenous people supported by Presbyterians Sharing. They also visited the sites of Presbyterian-run Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School (Kenora, ON and Shoal Lake, ON) and Birtle Residential School (Birtle, MB).
Throughout the tour, participants deepened their understanding of the history and legacy of colonization and the church’s role running residential schools. Tour participants have stayed in touch with one another through emails to share what they are doing in their communities to promote reconciliation.
- Participants including Jean Kim (Thornhill PC, ON) and Ada Mallory (St. Andrew’s PC, Kingston, ON) have written articles for their congregational newsletters, Presbyterian Connection and the Healing and Reconciliation e-Newsletter.
- Women’s Missionary Society participants including Sarah Kim (St. Timothy PC, Toronto, ON), Janet Brewer (Runnymede PC, Toronto, ON) and Joan Smith (St. Paul’s PC, Port Hope, ON) are encouraging Presbyterians to raise funds for the Kenora Fellowship Centre as a Together We Can! project.
- People are sharing stories. For example, Stephen Pozios (Dixie PC, Mississauga, ON) spoke to youth in the Presbytery of Brampton. Susan McLennan spoke at the Sarnia Women’s Missionary Society Presbyterial, with Presbyterians in Scotsburn, NS and with her home congregation, Knox PC in Woodstock, ON.
- Anne Phillips (St. Andrew’s-Chalmers, Uxbridge, ON) convened events on September 29 and 30 to commemorate Orange Shirt Day, an annual day to raise awareness about residential schools. The local high school and Music Hall participated. The weekend included the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, a banquet and presentations from Eugene Arcand (member of Governing Circle of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation).
- The Rev. Clive Simpson helped to organize a five-week Lenten study series about reconciliation for his congregation, Thornhill PC, ON.
- The Rev. Mark Tremblay (Knox PC, Calgary, AB) has been researching the Doctrine of Discovery and prepared worship resources for Mission Awareness Sunday (April 29).
There are many more stories about how the Healing and Reconciliation Tour has inspired Presbyterians to get more involved in reconciliation in their communities. If you are interested in connecting with a tour participant about speaking engagements, contact Carragh Erhardt (1-800-619-7301 ext. 278).