September 30th, 2021 marks the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. It coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots commemoration marked by the wearing of Orange Shirts for children forced to leave their families and attend residential schools.
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is an important step in the reconciliation process. It provides an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families and communities. This day also offers us an opportunity to live into the Action for Reconciliation statement that the Christian Reformed Church made at the TRC in 2015. This statement said in part, “We have been honoured to witness the expressions of truth in the TRC, and in them have seen a sacred momentum of reconciliation and hope. Because of this hope, and with the help of our Indigenous neighbours and Creator God, we are committed to turning from the systemic evils behind colonialism and living into a sacred call of unity and reconciliation.”
This September 30th, we ask that you join us in observing the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Join us in the fellowship hall at 7 p.m. as we reflect on the purpose of this day and pray to take on more and more of Christ’s ministry of reconciliation in our lives. We have also put together some further resources for your own personal reflection, which are listed below.
“Reconciliation is not a one-time event; it is a multi-generational journey that involves
- Wear an orange shirt. Beginning in 2013 as a grassroots program in Williams Lake, BC as part of a commemoration project and reunion event for survivors of St. Joseph’s Mission (SJM) Residential School. You can purchase an orange shirt at one of these retailers, including locally at London Drugs.
- Attend a local event:
- Skookum Surrey ceremony at Holland Park (13428 Old Yale Road) from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on September 30th, hosted by the Surrey Urban Indigenous Committee, in partnership with the City of Surrey and SFU Surrey.
- Every Child Matters - Orange Shirt Day beginning at 9:00 am on September 30th, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (1607 E Hastings Park)
All Canadians must take part in this process, which means that congregations need to work towards reconciling with our Aboriginal neighbours.
- Learn more about the history by reading a book. The Surrey Library has put together a list of books for Orange Shirt Day. The book "21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act" is also available at our church library.
- Visit the website for the National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation
- Attend a public lecture from King's University - "Residential Schools and the Continuing Work of Reconciliation" on November 1st, 6:00-7:00 pm PST on Zoom
- Know whose land you're on and more at native-land.ca. The church is on the territories of the Coast Salish Peoples; the Katzie, Tsawwassen, Sto:lo, Wsanec and Kwantlen.
- Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Read the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
- From 2015, when the Truth and Reconciliation Report was released, "Residential Schools are Our Story"
May we learn from our LORD and “exercise kindness, justice, and righteousness on
the Earth” as we seek pathways of reconciliation (Jeremiah 9:24).
Reflect and Engage
Listen to this podcast from the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and Office of Social Justice: "This reflection is designed to take approximately an hour and we recommend that you take space to listen and reflect. You will be guided through three calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with prayer and reflection prompts."
Read Gus Polman's blog post entitled "Justice and the Indian Act Injustice"
Additionally, from the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and Office of Social Justice: Five ways to embody and engage reconciliation
Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.
- Chief Dr. Robert Joseph
- You can also join us for evening prayer on September 30th at 7 p.m. at in the Fellowship Hall.
As our LORD has taught us, may we exercise kindness, justice, and righteousness on
the Earth as we each seek out and journey down pathways of reconciliation with our
Indigenous and non-Indigenous neighbours.
Donate and Support
- Our offering this week will be for CRCNA Indigenous Ministry. To learn more about their work, visit their website.
- Be kind and show consideration to Indigenous communities who are hurting and mourning as they reflect on their history.
- Support a local, indigenous owned business. Visit the Indigenous BC website, for indigenous owned restaurants, accommodations and cultural experiences in British Columbia.
We as a church community need to recognize that this history is our history. It shapes who we were, who we are, and who we will become. Let us take this opportunity to shape our future for the good.