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National Indigenous Peoples Day in Saskatoon
8 FALL 2021
  Dylon Nippi, Executive Director of Saska- toon Native Circle Ministry, with the socks donated by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Saskatoon, Sask.
By Laura Van Loon, Pastoral Care Nurse, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Saskatoon, Sask.
“As we gather, we are mindful of the fact that we meet on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Treaty Six First Nations. We are grate- ful for the hospitality we have received as settlers in this place and recommit ourselves to the work of reconciliation and building good relations with the First Peoples of this land.” The Rev. Rober to DeSandoli introduced this land acknowledgement statement at the beginning of our worship service on National Indigenous Peoples Day.
On June 20, 2021, the St. An- drew’s Presbyterian Church in Sas- katoon, Sask., Outreach Commit-
tee and Pastoral Care Committee planned the service that focused on National Indigenous Peoples Day. This has been an annual service for many years in our church when we recognize and celebrate Indigenous peoples through prayer, music and speakers.
This year has once again been an- other exceptional experience.
Dylon Nippi, Executive Director of Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry (SCNM), began his virtual sermon with a scripture reading from John 21:15–19 by the Rev. Dr. Stewart Folster, former Executive Director of SCNM. Dylon’s own arrangement of drumming in the background was ef- fective and poignant as the beat and rhythm brought the scripture to life.
As he introduced his two-year-old daughter, Dylon remarked that the date was a “special Sunday for me, being Father’s Day.” By explaining his hopes for his daughter’s future, I found his life story helped me to better understand his sadness from not knowing his Native language, heritage or identity. He spoke about being “lost” through dark, unspeak- able times in his life and then shared how God had found him. His pro- found sermon and original music can be heard on our church’s website at
During this service, the Rev. De- Sandoli announced the results of our Sock Drive for Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry. The Outreach Com- mittee members are aware of many
persistent needs of folk who visit the Mission. They decided on a particular campaign to raise money for socks. In the past, our church members’ of- ferings have been socks during our Maundy Thursday service for SCNM, but we have been unable to do so due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Instead, money was raised through generous donations—enough to buy 660 pairs of socks at a cost of $10 per pair.
We have other programs to sup- port SCNM: the sandwich program, art program, and blanket and cloth- ing campaigns. I find it uplifting to read about other churches’ happen- ings and good ideas, so I share these thoughts from St. Andrew’s, Saska- toon, as we strive to bring the Lord’s grace and mercy to all.
and Curiosity
about Jesus
Cornerstone Ministries Makes Meaningful Connections During COVID-19
Submissions to the Bible-themed colouring contest by Cornerstone Ministries at Knox Presbyterian Church in Dunnville, Ont.
 By Emily Hill, Education Program Coordinator, Canadian Ministries
Before the pandemic happened, the Rev. Nicole Reid would have never believed that a colouring contest would become an important part of her ministry, but that is exactly what took place at the beginning of the pandemic. Cornerstone Ministries, which started in a pregnancy centre but has since moved to Knox Pres- byterian Church in Dunnville, Ont., primarily serves a community of marginalized women and their fami- lies. Before COVID-19, they were meeting in person for bi-weekly, kid- friendly, come-as-you-are worship gatherings, where questions were welcome, fun was encouraged and the gospel was shared in an accessi- ble way. While moving online worked
for a few people, it did not provide the connection and support that the women and children had come to ap- preciate. While Nicole was wonder- ing what to do next, God already had a plan.
“It was never an issue for God,” the Rev. Nicole Reid explained as she talked about the shifts that Cor- nerstone Ministry has had to make because of COVID-19. “God pro- vided me new and creative ways of connecting.” One of those ways was through a colouring contest. Each Saturday, Nicole would deliver dif- ferent Bible-themed colouring sheets to the families. Then, the kids would colour the pictures, take a photo of them and send them to Nicole. Nicole would then put the names of those who submitted into a hat and draw one person’s name to receive
a prize. This simple and creative way of engaging the children of Corner- stone had many fringe benefits. “It gave me an excuse to show up on the women’s doorsteps, which led to meaningful porch conversations,” Nicole said. “I also became known as the ‘colouring contest lady’ that fami- lies looked forward to seeing.” Some of the moms even started submitting coloured pictures for the contest—a sign that the contest was fulfilling a need for creativity and connection for more than just the children!
The colouring contest character- izes the values that are at the heart of Cornerstone: supportive relation- ships, curious and creative engage- ment with faith, and practicing Jesus- style love. Other initiatives that Nicole started during the pandemic include a teaching series made up entirely
of Facebook posts, a weekly video series for kids, outdoor campfire gatherings and a private Facebook group for the women to discuss faith questions. These initiatives were also successful at keeping the community connected during a difficult time.
“The women, many of whom are single moms, needed support and adult conversation,” Nicole said. “We were able to provide that along with opportunities to get to know Jesus better.”
One of Nicole’s main goals in starting Cornerstone was to create a community where people who might feel uncomfor table in a tra- ditional church setting could get to know Jesus. As Nicole described, “We are not a church plant in the traditional sense, but worshipping God is an impor tant par t of what we
do together.”
When The Presbyterian Church
in Canada started Cyclical PCC— a church-planting support initia- tive—Nicole joined the first cohort of starters. As part of Cyclical, Nicole receives individual coaching and gathers for monthly online calls with other Presbyterians who are form- ing new worshipping communities. She is grateful that The Presbyterian Church in Canada is gathering inno- vators from the denomination togeth- er, especially as ministry landscapes continue to shift with the pandemic. The adaptability, creativity and pas- sion for sharing the gospel that exists amongst Cyclical PCC participants is a gift at any time, but especially during times such as this when peo- ple need the peace and joy of Jesus more than ever.

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