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UPDATE: TRC Proposal + June 6th Congregations Meeting

Hello Church Family,

In the past weeks, we have been receiving considerable feedback, in various forms, on the proposal sent out earlier this month. Part of that feedback was a meeting on Zoom this past Sunday (May 30) to continue to listen together. Council has been trying to listen well and discern a way forward from the diverse perspectives that we have.

First of all, I do apologize that this has not been a clear enough process and has caused confusion and misunderstanding. What I love about our church is also a challenge, in that we have many diverse perspectives, yet want to live out our faith in Jesus in order to make a real difference on important issues. I have always said to ‘trust the church’ as God leads us by his Spirit together, and am continuing to trust in that way.

Through our listening, we have heard a strong desire to develop more understanding and build relationships with Indigenous people in a way that does not compromise our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus, but is also humble, collaborative and respectful.

We have also heard that this proposal has felt sudden or rushed for many, and that the timing (with Covid restrictions and fatigue) has made this a challenging time to discern together. Even with the explanations given, there was a disconnect and contradiction to saying that we want to lead with relationship, but then asking to approve significant money at the front end of the process. We have heard the need for a clear framework to guide the work of a future task force, as well as the need to start with building new Indigenous relationships and enhancing the ones we have. In that way, we will have a clearer understanding of ‘who’ this relationship is with.

The intent of this proposal is to help us as a church live out our faith and hope in Jesus in a way that can make a tangible difference in relationship with Indigenous people. We want to do so considering the painful stories and difficult history that is expressed through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process in our country. The tragic news of the Kamloops Residential School and the 215 unidentified children has heightened the awareness, the need, and also the intensity of this discernment.

Council has received the report and recommendations from the previous working group and now, after hearing feedback from diverse voices from our three congregations, are wanting to proceed in the following modified way. Council will ask for affirmation from our members at the June 6th Zoom congregations meeting at 7pm. Progress on this work is to be presented to the fall 2021 congregations meeting.

MOTION #1 (two parts): to affirm the following guiding principles in our ministry with Indigenous people:

  • we want to lead with/through relationship
  • root collective action and responses in submission to Jesus and His call to justice and,
  • develop initiatives together with respect and humility

    That council will facilitate the development of a framework, terms of reference, including decision making processes by appointing a task force, consisting of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, to continue the work.

MOTION #2: to approve $20,000 from the IRR (Green Space Funds) to be set aside for access to education initiatives and relationship building to be accessed through the Lead Team and approved by council.

Thank you for your engagement in this process,

Bruce Enns