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2 SUMMER 2022
 Being a Treaty People
by the minister, the Rev. Dr. Chris- tine Gladu and with preacher, the Rev. Darryl Macdonald, a letter of apology was read on behalf of the Rev. Dr. Dan Scott, Moderator of the 2021 General Assembly, to the former members of St. An- drew’s Presbyterian Church La- chine. It recognized the terrible harm that was done to them as well as to Darryl Macdonald when the General Assembly overturned their call to Darryl to be their min- ister, on the grounds that he was in a same-sex relationship. In the end, the congregation made the painful decision to leave the denomination rather than negate what they knew was a gospel call to Darryl. The words of the letter were powerful and told a truth that had been silenced for dec- ades. We had to come back to a shared understanding of who we were, God’s children and part of the body of Christ. It was a first step in telling the truth of what had happened.
However, the letter recognized, and it was clear in the conversa- tions that I had with former mem- bers following the service, that there was still much to be done. There are still stories that need to be heard and acknowledged. And we still need to work on a shared plan to move forward in address- ing harm done and ensuring that it does not continue.
This wisdom is rich and it can inform our lives in so many ways. It is important that we recognize this truth and return to those plac- es of shared belonging that they may be places of new beginnings in the midst of our brokenness and places where the Spirit can be at work in our journey together in our church and in our country.
dren were evacuated from the war zone and transported to Hungary, where they are safe. Hungary has received over 640,000 refugees since the beginning of the war.
In Canada, the Rev. Zoltan Vass leads the First Hungarian Church in East Toronto, and his congre- gation has raised funds for the Transcarpathian Church, and International Ministries added to the contributions. The deep faith of these partners is evident in the Psalmists words: “Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege” (Psalm 31:21).
   By the Rev. Dr. Bob Faris, Moderator of the 2022 General Assembly
In the months leading up to the General Assembly, I participated in two different gatherings of peo- ple that have intersected for me and which I want to bring together in this short reflection.
I was delighted to find out about a series of seminars being offered by the Rev. Ray Aldred, the Di- rector of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology. I had connected with Ray in the past when I worked with the annual Canadian Theo- logical Students’ Association in two conferences held at the Uni- versity of Winnipeg around theo- logical education and Indigenous spirituality and worldview. At that time, Ray and Terry LeBlanc were leading lights in the emerging NAIITS—North American Institute
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for Indigenous Theological Stud- ies—which I am happy to say has continued to grow and is now accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). NAIITS connects with people in churches across the ecclesiasti- cal spectrum but primarily with churches and groups who identi- fied within the Evangelical expres- sion of Christian faith.
It was good to find this oppor- tunity to sit with (virtually) and learn from Ray again. What is im- pressive about NAIITS and what is being attempted in the Indigenous Studies program at VST is that it is a program conceptualized, de- signed and brought to life by In- digenous people. The overall title of the series was, “Indigenizing Canada: Truth and Reconciliation and Next Steps in Canada.” That title and Ray’s name sold me! In my view, we have been impov- erished in our common life here by the wholesale dismissal of the value of the experience and wis- dom of Indigenous peoples in the colonial settler project. The histo- ry of our life together and our cur- rent experience would have been so different if those who came to Turtle Island had listened and engaged with those who knew this place. Rather, we who have come here have negated what was here, even pretended that it did not exist, and have tried to impose ourselves and our ways without regard for the land or the
people who were here long before us. This has been no less true in the life of the church.
The second seminar was enti- tled, “Indigenizing Canada: Rec- onciliation as Embracing a New Identity” and it focused on one of the Calls to Action in the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to reaffirm the treaty relationship between newcomers and First Nations. The descrip- tion stated, “It is through relation- ship with Indigenous people that newcomers can begin to take on a kind of Indigenous identity. An identity founded upon justice not colonization.” Ray emphasized that in treaties, the parties tell their creation story. To do this, of course, we need to know our cre- ation story, something that many people in Canada do not know. Treaties often emphasize the need to heal the harm done to the land and the right of all to access the land and to live in peaceful co- existence. He suggested that the treaties under which we all live could themselves be a “creation story for Canada” and enable newcomers to finally be able to
A forsythia at the home of Darryl Macdonald and Chris Maragouda- kis, grown from a clipping from the former St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Lachine, Que.
understand how we are related to the land and to be at peace. Com- ing back together to the treaties would be a form of restorative justice in which we: 1. Tell the truth; 2. Listen; and 3. Agree to a shared plan to move forward.
I thought about this during an- other gathering I attended at Sum- merlea United Church in Lachine, Que. At a service of worship led
As with many others, Krisztina is living in two worlds, between Transcarpathia Ukraine and Hun- gary, where her sons are now living. The church and their mem- bers want to remain in Transcar- pathia, but the future is increas- ingly bleak. Krisztina asks us to pray for their church and their members for God’s peace.
The Reformed Church in Tran- scarpathia assumed responsibil- ity for the needs of mothers and their children, who came from Central Ukraine, and provided ac- commodation and health care. A Home Care project operates in six areas, taking care of 200 elderly
people unable to leave due to ill- ness and isolation. Taking care of special needs children and their families has been important and appreciated.
Thanks to foreign partners and congregations they have main- tained support for the many refu- gees in need.
The Bishop of the Reformed Church and the Diaconal Coordi- nation Office received humanitar- ian supports from various organi- zations and private donors. These suppor ts go to places where refugees are residing. With the help of the Hungarian consulate, thousands of mothers and chil-

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