In 1994, The Presbyterian Church in Canada adopted the Confession to God and to Aboriginal people for its role in the Indian Residential School System. The church is committed to walking with Indigenous people on a journey toward reconciliation and living out the spirit of its Confession.
The Healing and Reconciliation Program was established by General Assembly in 2006 to assist The Presbyterian Church in Canada in restoring right relations with Indigenous people. The program provides resources to raise awareness among Presbyterians about the impact of colonialism on Indigenous people and supports initiatives that build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Staff in Justice Ministries and members of the Healing and Reconciliation Advisory Committee work with Presbyterians at all levels of the church to foster leaders committed to promoting reconciliation efforts in their congregations and in their communities. The church works with ecumenical partners in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action including support for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Acknowledging Traditional Territory
A guide to assist congregations and courts of the church to incorporate an acknowledgment of traditional Indigenous territory into worship, meetings and other gatherings.
The Blanket Exercise
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise explores the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Blankets arranged on the floor represent the land. Participants begin to see the impact that colonization and loss of land has had on Indigenous people as the blankets are folded up and removed. The activity invites participants to consider how to begin to heal broken relationships and what their next steps toward reconciliation will be.
Healing & Reconciliation E-Newsletter
Sunday, September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a day for communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children's sense of self-esteem and well being, to hear stories of residential schools survivors and to imagine a better future.
Ideas for Youth
Here are some ideas for ways to encourage the youth in your congregation to get involved healing and reconciliation:
- Start small. Introduce them to the concept of acknowledging traditional territories at church events.
- Lead them in the Blanket Exercise or—better still—invite them to help you lead the Blanket Exercise in your congregation!
- Share the Healing & Reconciliation e-newsletter with them
- Invite Carragh Erhardt, Healing and Reconciliation Program Assistant, to meet your youth group in person or over Skype.
Liturgical resources, including suggested orders of service, sermon illustrations, church school activities, bible study, and prayers are available in two liturgical resources.
- A Time for Hope (2016) and Accompanying Slides
- We are One in the Spirit (2010)
- Healing & Reconciliation Liturgical Kit (2007)
Why Truth and Reconciliation Matters to Presbyterians
In 1994, The Presbyterian Church in Canada confessed its role in the tragic legacy of the Indian residential schools. The church is committed to walking with Indigenous people on a journey toward reconciliation, and living out the spirit of the confession. This video contains messages from Presbyterians from across Canada about why truth and reconciliation is important to them.