Each year at General Assembly, the Dr. E. H. Johnson Memorial Fund Committee makes an award recognizing a person or group for their work on the cutting edge of mission.
Download a brochure about the E. H. Johnson Memorial Fund.
2017 Award Recipient: Dr. Cindy Blackstock
Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
The Dr. E. H. Johnson Memorial Fund Committee is pleased to announce Dr. Cindy Blackstock as the recipient of the 2017 Dr. E. H. Johnson Memorial Fund Award.
Dr. Blackstock is Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Professor at McGill University School of Social Work. A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Blackstock has 25 years social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. She received a PhD in Social Work from the University of Toronto in 2009. Her doctoral thesis was on the inequality in Canada’s child welfare system.
In January 2016, at great personal cost, Blackstock, along with the Assembly of First Nations, won a landmark victory on behalf of Indigenous children. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that successive governments have racially discriminated against First Nations children by providing less funding for child welfare services on reserves than was provided for other children living in Canada.
Blackstock has addressed contemporary inequalities experienced by First Nations children and youth by engaging children and young people and other members of the public to implement evidence-informed solutions. This reconciliation-based approach has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, the Indigenous Bar Association, Frontline Defenders and many others.
An author of numerous articles and a widely sought after public speaker, Blackstock has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous Children. She currently serves as a Commissioner for the Pan American Health Organization’s study on Health Equity and Inequity.
Dr. Cindy Blackstock was a keynote speaker at the National Presbyterian Women’s Gathering, Rooted in Love, on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
It is the mandate of the Dr. E. H. Johnson Memorial Fund Committee to recognize work on “the cutting edge of mission.” In naming Blackstock as the 2017 recipient, the Committee recognizes her tireless, visionary and risk-taking work on behalf of First Nations children and families, and her ongoing advocacy on behalf of First Nations peoples.
The Dr. E. H. Johnson Award was established in honour of the leadership of Dr. E. H. (Ted) Johnson who worked with governments, organizations and partners in Manchuria, and then in Nigeria during the Biafran War, influencing church policy in the position of Secretary for World Mission for The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Over the past three decades both individuals and organizations, in Canada and in other countries, have been recognized.
In offering this Award to Blackstock, the Committee is mindful of the church’s complicity in the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and particularly in the legacy of residential schools. The Presbyterian church’s 1994 Confession to God and Indigenous peoples says, in part, “With God’s guidance our Church will seek opportunities to walk with Aboriginal peoples to find healing and wholeness.” The presentation of this Award affirms the church’s desire to honour this commitment. Blackstock accepted the Award in Kingston, Ontario, on Monday June 5, 2017 where she addressed the 2017 annual General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Dr. Cindy Blackstock’s Presentation to General Assembly 2017
The Dr. E.H. Johnson Memorial Fund was established in 1981 to continue The Rev. Dr. Edward “Ted” Hewlitt Johnson’s commitment to a global view of mission and to extend the horizons of that mission. He lived his view of and commitment to mission through service with his wife Kitty as missionaries of The Presbyterian Church in Canada in Manchuria and as Secretary for Overseas Missions. He also became involved in ecumenical agencies covering many aspects of mission. When Dr. Johnson was elected Moderator of the 95th General Assembly, mission in all its variety and aspects marked his service in that office.
The Dr. E.H. Johnson Memorial Fund Committee seeks to be faithful in its work to honour the work and spirit of this “man of mission.” We are grateful that we have as our responsibility the stewardship of the fund established by his family and friends and the Charles Johnson Charitable Fund. Each year the fund is augmented by donations from commissioners attending the E.H. Johnson Award Luncheon at General Assembly.
What is “Cutting-Edge Mission”?
Read more about “the cutting-edge of mission” in this Presbyterian Connection newspaper article (Fall 2017) by the Rev. Glynis Williams, Associate Secretary, International Missions.
For Service on the Cutting Edge of Mission
The primary way in which the committee has sought to respect and honour Dr. Johnson’s profound impact on our understanding of mission is the annual award which is presented “for recognized service on the cutting edge of mission.” In making the award, the committee desires to recognize both the person and the church or organization with whom the person works, with the understanding that God’s mission is incarnated in relationships with sisters and brothers.
The award is given to the recipient during the annual E.H. Johnson Award Luncheon held during General Assembly and consists of a suitably worded framed certificate and an inscribed medallion. The recipient delivers an address to commissioners and guests at the luncheon. The address is made available in print and is posted on the website. The recipient often makes time available for meetings with leaders in the wider church and secular society and with congregations.
Begun in 1983, the award recipients comprise a list of distinguished church leaders, both in Canada and countries around the world. Our award winners in the last several years have been Dr. Elsa Tamez, Dr. David Pandy-Szekeres, The Very Rev. Dr. John Dunlop, The Rev. Nangula E. Kathindi, The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, The Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, Ms. Karuna Roy, Dr. Ernie Regehr, Dr. Mercy Oduyoye and His Excellency Archbishop Elias Chacour.
E. H. Johnson Award Recipients
Dr. Cindy Blackstock
Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
Dr. Bernard Sabella
Executive Secretary of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) in Jerusalem
Canadian Council for Refugees Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés
Accepted by Loly Rico (President) and Janet Dench (Executive Director) on behalf of the organization
Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Accepted by Don Peters (Board Chair) and Jim Cornelius (Executive Director) on behalf of the organization
Rev. Dr. Abraham Berinyuu
Campaigner for Disability Rights; Champion for Ethnic Reconciliation
Sister Eun Sook Han
A Founder and Member of the Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea
Boarding Homes Ministry
Accepted by Rev. Rodger Hunter, Chaplain
Rev. Dr. Terry LeBlanc
Founder, North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies
Archbishop Elias Chacour
Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and all Galilee; Founder, Mar Elias Educational Institutions
Dr. Mercy Oduyoye
Founder, The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians
Dr. Ernie Regehr
Co-Founder, Project Ploughshares
Ms. Karuna Roy
Coordinator, HIV/AIDS Program, Church of North India
Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi
General Secretary, The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC)
Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick
Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Rev. Nangula E. Kathindi
General Secretary, Council of Churches in Namibia
The Very Rev. Dr. John Dunlop
Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; peace activist
Dr. David Pandy-Szekeres
General Director of Schools for the Hungarian Reformed Church of the sub-Carpathian Ukraine
Dr. Elsa Tamez
Professor of Biblical Theology, Seminario Biblico Latinoamericano, San-Jose, Costa Rica; women’s advocate
Rev. John Bell
Church of Scotland, on behalf of Iona Community; composer of hymns; inner-city youth worker
Rev. Héctor Méndez
Pastor of the First Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba; ecumenist
Rev. Dr. John Fife
Past Moderator, PCUSA; co-leader of Sanctuary Movement for Central American refugees
Rev. Dr. Daniel Szabo
Chief Curator, Hungarian Reformed Church
Rev. Dr. Timothy Njoya
Minister, Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Kenya
Rev. Dr. John McIntosh and Dr. Clarabeth McIntosh
Minority Rights leaders with The Korean Christian Church in Japan
Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
President of the All Africa Conference of Churches; Nobel Laureate
Rev. Russell Self
Presbyterian missionary; Bible Society leader
Rev. Glenda B. Hope
Inner City Minister in San Francisco
Rev. Barbel Wartenburg-Potter
Theologian; advocate against injustice; ecumenist
Ms. Barbara Jackman
Canadian advocate for refugee and immigration rights
Mr. Gabriel Habibe
General Secretary, Middle East Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. Byers Naude
General Secretary, South African Council of Churches; anti-apartheid activist
Rev. Dr. C.M. Kao
General Secretary, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
Most Reverend Edward Scott
Archbishop, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
Rev. Dr. In Ha Lee
Minister, The Korean Christian Church in Japan
Rev. Dr. Roy G. Neehall
General Secretary, Caribbean Conference of Churches
- Ms. Annemarie Klassen (convener), the Rev. Ruth Houtby, the Rev. Shahrzad Kandalaft, Ms. Janette McIntosh, Ms. Anne Saunders, the Rev. Gordon Timbers.
- Ex Officio: The Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary, Life and Mission Agency, the Rev. Stephen Kendall, Principal Clerk of the General Assembly, the Rev. Dr. Glynis Williams, Associate Secretary, International Ministries, Life and Mission Agency (secretary)