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A Canadian’s Awareness of Racial Injustice
  The Rev. Walter McLean was a minister in Waterloo, Ont. He was also a Member of Parliament from 1979 to 1993, sitting for the Waterloo area under the Progressive Conservative Party. This photo from the 1960s shows Walter during his time as a missionary to Nigeria with E.U. Okon, chief conservator of forests for Eastern Nigeria. PHOTO CREDIT: THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ARCHIVES
By the Rev. Walter McLean, retired minister and former Member of Parliament for Waterloo, Ont.
As an honorary Canadian citizen, Nelson Mandela’s 100th birth- day was marked across Canada in 2018. His life represents “the struggle” against apartheid—the theory of white supremacy over Blacks.
The struggle of racial injustice was brought to my attention in 1960, when I was president of the student council of the University of Toronto, and the African Student Association asked the council to petition the Canadian government to condemn apartheid. In 1961, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker persuaded Common- wealth leaders to expel South Af- rica from the Commonwealth.
During my missionary years in Nigeria West Africa (1962–1967) with my wife, Barbara, and as Cuso Director (Canadian Univer- sity Service Overseas), we were reminded that apartheid was not just a South African concern but also a pan-African issue. In 1964, Mandela was tried for treason and sentenced to life. Africans under- stood what this meant!
Through the 1970s, while min- ister at Knox Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, Ont., I chaired the
World Concerns Committee of the Canadian Council of Churches. Anglican Archbishop Ted Scott worked with Bishop Desmond Tutu to encourage white nations to support the ending of apartheid. The white apartheid South African government designated the Coun- cil of Churches as communists. From 1987 through 1994, I was a parliamentary delegate to the United Nations. There, with Am- bassador Stephen Lewis, we met with liberation movement leaders from South Africa and Namibia, worked with the U.N. Committee Against Apartheid, supported the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Committee Against Apartheid. The issue of racial injustice was front and centre because of the campaign to end apartheid.
On February 16, 1990, I was in South Africa when Mandela was released from prison after 26 years.
On March 21, 1990, South Af- rica’s neighbouring country Na- mibia marked Independence. I had the honour to represent the Ca- nadian government at the event. I was seated at a special table when South African President de Klerk arrived with the newly released Nelson Mandela to honour the ending of apar theid in Namibia.
South Africa ended the white
apartheid rule with the election in 1994 of Nelson Mandela as Presi- dent of South Africa. I was Elec- tion Monitoring at Port Shepstone (south of the city of Durban). Just before the election, I worshipped with a mostly white congregation, who were terrified at the prospect of a Black majority government. The Sunday after the election, I worshipped in Alexandra town- ship (near Johannesburg), where the Black community prayed for reconciliation between the races.
On June 18, 1990, I was pleased to join Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and members in Canada’s Parliament when Man- dela was honoured by the Canadi- an government. Mandela thanked Canadians for supporting the offi- cial end of apartheid and the fight against racial injustice.
In September 1998, 45,000 students from across Southern Ontario gathered in the Sky Dome (now the Rogers Centre) for a “class lesson” from Nelson Man- dela—an event of the century!
To me, and to millions of people around the world, Nelson Man- dela stands as no other figure in our lifetime has. He stood for the triumph of dignity and hope over despair and hatred, of self-disci- pline and love over persecution and evil.
sians 3:12–14). Paul pushes this angle further in other passages, talking about clothing ourselves, not just with virtue, but with Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27). Paul wants us to fit ourselves into that mold of Jesus (squeeze ourselves into his skinny jeans, so to speak), so we are formed and reshaped into his likeness.
A fashion model in the film Zoo- lander asks: “Do you think there’s more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking?” We love our clothing because it presents our best image. Clothing can also carry desirable messages about youth and relevance and our own par ticular spirituality. You might enjoy wearing plaid/flannel. You probably look good in it. It can project your own spirituality while keeping you warm.
But whatever you wear, don’t get too caught up in what is mes- saged by all the wrapping. It may be cliché, but in the end, it is what’s inside that counts.
  The Spirituality of What You Wear
 By the Rev. Steve Filyk, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kamloops, B.C.
I was at the Kamloops Ministe- rial (a gathering of local pastors) just before Christmas. Surveying the room, I realized that at least four pastors were wearing shirts that were flannel or plaid. When I got home, I started browsing the websites of local churches. You guessed it. The cool pastors are all wearing plaid.
A generation ago, the dress would have been more formal. You would have even seen a cleri- cal collar or two. But nowadays most pastors tend to dress more informally—business casual. At its best, this sort of dress signals approachability—the pastor is an “everyday” sort of guy or gal.
What is deemed appropriate has changed over time. This is, in part, a reflection of changing tides in Christian spirituality.
Some churches emphasize the
transcendence of God. They focus on the “otherness” of God. The God who speaks to Moses from a burning bush and tells him to kick off his sandals. Wearing vestments (for clergy) and suits/dresses (for lay people) signals to them the im- por tance of the occasion: worship is an encounter with the Divine.
Other churches emphasize the “nearness” of God. They focus on the God who walks and talks with Adam and Eve in the garden. Whether it is jeans and a T-shirt or business casual, their clothing at church signals to themselves and to others that God meets them in their everyday, and that there is no one you need to impress.
How we dress is influenced by changing tides in spirituality. While flannel/plaid is popular with the min- isterial, it may one day be replaced by joggers or three-piece suits. Word to the wise: If you haven’t been to church for a while and are preparing for a visit, you might want to check out their website to get a
sense of appropriate dress.
But is there anything that all Christians should keep in mind de-
spite changes in church fashion? A few things do stand out. There is an encouragement
to dress modestly (see Timothy 2:9). The Kamloops school board recently adopted an interim dress code. Modesty isn’t mentioned. The reality is that modesty is hard to define. At the minimum, it means acknowledging that other people are in the room and that what you wear should take their
presence into account.
The Bible also warns us about
getting too invested in things that are temporal (see Matthew 6:19- 20). I love my new Outdoor Re- search puffy jacket. It is lighter and warmer than any jacket I’ve owned. But despite the technical design and impressive material quality, it won’t last forever. And there is more value to be found in spending time with my daughters than in pouring over OR’s new product offerings.
The Bible does speak explicitly about clothing. But frequently cloth- ing is a metaphor for inner adorn- ment. In his letter to the church at Colossae, the Apostle Paul reminds us: “Clothe yourselves with com- passion, kindness, humility, gentle- ness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord for- gave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colos-

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