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  • Revised Common Lectionary: Spirited Reflections

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    Compassionate Justice Update

    As the ELCIC begins 2015 and continue with a new year in the Revised Common Lectionary, KAIROS will continue to provide its series of weekly lectionary-based theological reflections on a series of justice topics. You can read perspectives on the biblical call to ecological justice, right relationship, and other justice issues from across the country and across the ecumenical spectrum. Check out Spirited Reflections at http://www.kairoscanada.org/reflections-worship/spirited-reflections/.  KAIROS is looking for new authors, too – if you would like to contribute, please contact Jim Davis at jdavis@kairoscanada.org.

     

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  • Follow the Canadian Youth Delegation to Peru!

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    Greetings

    In just over a week, representatives from nations around the world will gather in Lima, Peru for the twentieth session of the United Nations climate change negotiations, also known as COP 20. This will be an important step towards providing the foundation for COP 21 in Paris next December, where governments around the world have agreed to form and ratify a new global climate agreement. Despite continued pressure from citizens and nations around the world, the Canadian Government has continued to stall – or even block – the development of the ambitious, just, and binding climate deal that we so desperately need.

    This year, the CYCC is once again sending the Canadian Youth Delegation to participate in COP 20. Made up of seven young women from across Canada, we will travel to Lima to hold the Canadian Government accountable for their climate inaction, and we will share our stories with you along the way.

    For the duration of COP 20, from December 1st to 12th, we will produce a daily email post outlining key news items, updates, and stories from COP 20, with a particular focus on the role of the Canadian Government. We hope you will follow us on our journey. Sign up to receives these daily updates here:

    You can also help support our work in Lima by making a donation.

    Your generous donation will help equip us with the resources and materials we need to participate in these important negotiations, and let the Canadian Government know that we deserve better.

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our blog on rabble.ca.

    Thank you for your support!

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  • Lutherans, Anglicans call for public reciting of “Our Solemn Promise”

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    “Our Solemn Promise”; Lutherans, Anglicans called to public reciting of the promise to “never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women”

    November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is followed by the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which ends on 10 December, United Nations Human Rights Day. Statistics continue to reveal the awful truth that no country rich or poor, dictatorship or democracy has come close to eradicating gender based violence. It is a global issue.

    This year the world has witnessed horrific atrocities in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Gaza and Sudan. It is well documented that the majority of innocent victims of war are women and children. By far the greatest number of human beings trafficked for the sex trade are women and girls.

    The Lutheran World Federation has launched the theme for the 500th anniversary commemorating the Lutheran Reformation in 1517 – “Liberated by God’s Grace”. Three sub-themes for the commemoration focus on Salvation–not for sale, Creation–not for sale and Human Beings–not for sale. The Lutheran churches invite all churches to participate in this resolve in addressing human trafficking.

    The Anglican Communion Office has recently launched an initiative “Anglicans Ending Gender Based Violence”. It urges the churches “to not remain silent about this tragedy but to speak up and take action in addressing it”. It calls us “to provide safe space for victims of violence”, and “to promote and model safe, equal, respectful relationships between men, women, girls and boys”. It calls the churches “to teach young men and women to honour themselves and each other as human beings cherished equally by God.”

    As Canadians, many of us were horrified by the November 7th beating of Rinelle Harper, a 16 year old Grade 11 student in Winnipeg. Viciously beaten and thrown into the Assiniboine River, she managed to crawl out of the river upstream, only to be beaten again and left unconscious. Thankfully she was found, hospitalized and is recovering. She came so very close to being numbered among the more than 1000 missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada, but she survived.

    Her beating is a stark reminder of the brutality suffered by so many aboriginal women and girls. According to the Federal Government Report “Invisible Women: A Call to Action” (March 2014), aboriginal women and girls are two times more likely to be victims of domestic abuse and three times more likely to be the target of a violent attack. The report calls for action through all levels of government in increasing police and emergency measures services, and in increasing the number of shelters, safe houses, and second stage housing for those escaping violence. It also addresses the need in Canadian society at large to break the silence about gender based violence.

    Throughout the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence” initiative, thousands of people will gather in vigil in public squares, at town halls, Band Council offices and provincial legislatures. We will light candles in memory of all victims of gender based violence. We will pray for all who remain in imprisoned in its vicious cycles, for all making an escape, and for all who counsel and empower them in reclaiming their dignity and their life itself. We will be invited to make the promise associated with these sixteen days, “I will never commit, condone or remain silent about violence again women”. A group of Canadian men wrote this promise in response to the horrific murder of fourteen young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989. Now it is made in more than sixty countries around the world.

    While the promise is particularly for men to make, it is in truth a promise all of us can and ought to make as people of faith –for in every respect it reflects our baptismal vow “to respect the dignity of every human being”.

    Accordingly we call the Church, on one of the Sundays within the sixteen days to a public reciting of this promise, “I will never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women”.

    Fred J. Hiltz
    Archbishop and Primate
    The Anglican Church of Canada

    Mark MacDonald
    National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
    The Anglican Church of Canada

    Susan C. Johnson
    National BishopEvangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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  • Create an Independent Extractive-sector Ombudsman

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    Canada, as home to the majority of the world’s mining and mineral exploration companies, has a duty to be a leader in corporate accountability in the extractive sector. Sadly, Canadian law has not kept pace with the globalization of the mining industry. Today Canadian mining companies operate in over 100 countries around the world. Yet when people in other countries are harmed by Canadian corporate activity, they cannot seek justice in Canada.

    Learn More

    KAIROS, its member churches and organizations, and the CNCA all have resources to help you learn more,  make your voice heard and take action! Visit:

    http://www.kairoscanada.org/take-action/open-for-justice/

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  • The Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians: Statement on the tragic events at parliament hill

    CCMTCCMT’s statement on the tragic events at parliament hill
    October 23, 2014
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    The Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians is horrified and grief-stricken by the tragic events that took place yesterday on Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

    Our collective thoughts and prayers are with the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and with all the brave men and women frontline offices protecting the nation’s capital.

    The CCMT unequivocally condemns the senseless acts of violence of the gunman, especially if made in the name of our faith.

    As religious leaders for Canadians of the Muslim faith, we assert the CCMT will undertake to continue to educate its affiliated Imams and congregations on detecting and countering radicalization and seek to increase their capacity to address individuals with mental health issues.
    The Muslim community has been striving for many years through its own initiatives and with law enforcement and other security agencies to understand the issues of radicalization and take steps to keep Canada safe for all of its citizens and protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy as a nation.

    As Imams we are committed to ensuring that the enshrined principles of safety and seccurity for all Canadians are followed and practiced by Imams who limit their religious instruction to basic, non-violent, non-political religious beliefs and practices.
    The Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians (CCMT), a federally registered Canadian non-profit body of Muslim Theologians, representing approximately 60 Imams across the Greater Toronto Area made the following statement on the the October 22nd attack on Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial.
    Contact:
    http://www.jucanada.org/

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  • Worship – Service KAIROS Advent Resource

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    KAIROS is pleased to announce the publication of our Advent resource for 2014, Revised Common Lectionary Year B.

    This year’s Advent resource focuses on what reconciliation will look like after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) finishes its mandate and releases its final report in June 2015. How will your church community approach reconciliation – with the land, in the waters, with Indigenous peoples, and across genders and generations?

    The resource contains prayers, sermon notes, information on how you can participate in KAIROS work in these areas, and a “Stones of Reconciliation” ritual to be used throughout Advent … and in preparation for national activities tio mark the end of the TRC in June.

    This is a FREE resource. You can download the entire resource at once, or Sunday by Sunday from our resources page.

    Click here to download KAIROS’ 2014 Advent Resource.

    For more information, please visit our website:
    www.kairoscanada.org

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  • Anglican and Lutheran leaders share pastoral message on climate change

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    A Pastoral Message on Climate Change from the heads of Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada published on September 19, 2014.

    We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbors and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures. Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. Glaciers are disappearing, the polar ice cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. Incidents of pollution- created dead zones in seas and the ocean and toxic algae growth in water supplies are occurring with greater frequency. Most disturbingly, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an unprecedented rate. At the same time we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste.

    Many have reacted to these changes with grief and anger. In their outrage some have understandably focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. However, an honest accounting requires a recognition that we all participate both as consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. In addition, as citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects. People who are already challenged by poverty and by dislocation resulting from civil war or famine have limited resources for adapting to climate change’s effects.

    While an accounting of climate change that has credibility and integrity must include our own repentance, we find our hope in the promise of God’s own faithfulness to the creation and humankind and in the liberation that comes from God’s promise.

    God, who made the creation and made it good, has not abandoned it. Daily the Spirit continues to renew the face of the earth. All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident that they are not pursuing a lost cause. We serve in concert with God’s own creative and renewing power.

    Moreover, we need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions — deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors. In Christ we have the promise of a life where God has reconciled the human community. In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavors where we find each other at our best.

    While the challenge may seem daunting, the Spirit’s abundant gifts for service empower us to find common cause with people who exercise countless insights and skills, embodied in hundreds of occupations and trades. We have good reason to hope in all the ways God’s grace is at work among us. We can commend ourselves to the work before us with confidence in God’s mercy.

    Opportunities to act imaginatively and courageously abound in all our individual callings. The Holy Spirit’s work in us leads us as faithful consumers and investors in a global economy to make responsible choices to reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and the wasteful consumption of water and other natural resources. As citizens, we have voices to use in educating children about the climate and in shaping public and corporate policies that affect the environment. The Spirit has also given us our voices to contribute our witness to public discussion of just and responsible use of natural resources.

    We also have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effect of climate change in the spirit of the seventh Millennium Development Goal, “to ensure environmental stability”. World leaders will meet this month in New York for a Climate Summit, and in December in Lima, Peru, to discuss global cooperation on climate change. Working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), participants in the UNFCCC’s negotiations hope for an agreement in 2015 that will move toward reduction of carbon emissions, development of low carbon technologies, and assistance to populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

    We encourage you to take the initiative to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life — in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life.
    We are not powerless to act and we are not alone. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope and courage.”i

    The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as faithful individuals and churches in solidarity with God’s good creation.

    Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
    Presiding Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz

    Primate
    Anglican Church of Canada

    The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
    Presiding Bishop and Primate
    The Episcopal Church

    Bishop Susan Johnson
    National Bishop
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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  • Project Ploughshares on “Islamic State”

    Project Ploughshares

    Short-term gain for long-term pain —
    Canada’s Challenge in responding to Islamic State

    The expressed desire by Canada to act forthrightly and without ambiguity in the face of Islamic State (IS) atrocities is understandable. But 13 years after the horrific assaults of 9/11 we have enough experience with military interventions intended to combat terrorism to give us pause. A military response to a non-state group using terror to achieve its goals, in the absence of a broader political strategy to achieve a sustainable peace in affected countries, can prolong the violence and lead to further harm.

    As the Government of Canada and Parliamentarians consider Canada’s response to the violent threat posed by IS in Iraq and Syria, it is important to remember that military action can produce short-term gains but add long-term pain for vulnerable civilians and targeted minorities already suffering in a conflict zone.

    Parliamentary consideration of Canada’s proposed military intervention is welcome. Timely public and parliamentary debate and full transparency by the government on its policy and its application are necessary in all phases of a military intervention – before, during, and after.

    The political evolution of Iraq

    IS did not suddenly appear out of thin air. Iraq and Syria are deeply troubled and fractious countries beset by violent conflict. Iraq has experienced military invasion and regime change. Syria is in the middle of a bloody civil war. Both require governments viewed as legitimate by their own people; governments that can compromise and address the grievances and demands of their various geographic parts and the many minorities being targeted by violence.

    How is it possible to strengthen the rule of law in Iraq and Syria, support civil society, and increase respect for human rights in areas controlled by IS in the midst of a violent conflict? As a priority Canada should contribute to programs that create and strengthen democratic processes in Iraq and Syria through assistance to civil society and, where possible, state structures. There is a strong case for first bolstering non-military support for the initiation of an inclusive political process.

    The United Nations and a legal framework for intervention
    There is no denying the complexity of this conflict, and the difficulty in sorting out with whom, and how, to find a negotiated means of ending the violence. Any international intervention–military, diplomatic, or humanitarian—must be embedded within a comprehensive, ethically defensible, and sustainable peace process.

    The proposed military contribution by Canada of special operations forces and CF-18 bombers to a multinational force in Iraq, and potentially Syria, is being debated in the absence of a credible
    international political framework to build sustainable peace in the region.

    In these circumstances experience tells us that the coercive use of force is far more likely to fuel
    conflict and the extremism underpinning it, rather than defeat it. Without doubt there will be delays
    and frustration in finding workable diplomatic solutions under the auspices of the United Nations, but
    Canada’s foreign policy must remain firmly grounded in the UN Charter and, more generally, in
    international law.

    This will require sustained diplomacy that engages Canada and its coalition partners in talks with
    Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and others in the region. To work, the commitment to diplomacy must equal
    or surpass the commitment to military options if the international community is to find its way beyond
    the violence currently being committed by IS.

    Intervention to protect the vulnerable

    If Canada chooses to participate further in an international military intervention, the primary goal
    should be the protection of vulnerable civilians, not the military defeat of IS or other insurgent groups.
    The goal is to protect civilians while a political process takes hold. This is in keeping with the
    principles of the responsibility to protect, although the invocation of responsibility to protect for this
    intervention is null and void in the absence of a UN mandate.

    Canada’s political and military decision-makers must keep foremost in their minds the acute
    limitations of, and risks inherent in, foreign military intervention. These limitations are particularly evident in the use of air power, which cannot secure the safety of civilians. Legitimate military targets for bombing are relatively few in areas now under the sway of IS. While an intensive air assault may initially suggest progress, it will likely leave IS, with its versatility and mobility, intact.

    Canada’s recent air support in the Libyan conflict provides and example of what does not work. While
    the air campaign was successful in the narrowest of terms–it led to the downfall of regime—it also
    resulted in a continuing civil war contributing to the destabilization of other parts of northern Africa
    such as Mali.

    By contributing CF-18 bombers to the military effort Canada will be aiding a remote-control strategy
    that serves mainly to lower the risks for its own troops. The Government of Canada’s current publicly
    stated justification for military intervention is that the threat posed by IS is a priority for Canada’s
    national security. Does this not logically lead to the conclusion that Canada should now commit fully
    and publicly to the deployment of Canadian Forces on the ground to protect vulnerable civilians? If so,
    then we also need to acknowledge and accept the risk that Canadian Forces will take casualties.

    Further, Canadian participation in an international military mission should be based to the maximum
    extent possible on a comprehensive understanding of the situation, including not only the geopolitical
    and security dimensions, but also socioeconomic and cultural aspects, and the root as well as
    proximate causes of the conflict. Deep respect for local culture, customs, and codes of conduct must
    guide Canadian participation, within the overarching framework of respect for international law. Is the
    Government of Canada confident it is now in this knowledgeable position?

    The battle of ideas
    Canada also should consider how its proposed combat mission might, in fact, further the goals of IS. It
    seems likely that videotaped beheadings were direct provocations by IS to draw the United States,
    Canada, and other coalition members directly into the fray. We need to ask what IS gains by our
    military response.

    As UK commentator Dr. Paul Rogers points out, military intervention by the United States and others
    could build support for IS—both at home and abroad. He challenges Canada and its allies to come to
    grips with radicalization in their own societies. To do so they must confront some of the grievous
    mistakes and wrong behaviour committed in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and
    elsewhere that are exploited by groups such as IS and al Qaeda.
    Arms supplies and diversion

    IS is now fighting with U.S. weapons acquired by overrunning Iraqi army bases. The irony should not
    be lost on us. Canada currently is providing airlift assistance to deliver military supplies to Iraqi and
    other security forces fighting IS. The Royal Canadian Air Force is reported to have delivered almost
    226,800 kilograms of donated military supplies to Iraqi security forces.

    What steps has Canada taken to ensure that these supplies are not diverted to IS or other groups in the
    future? This question also applies to Canada’s $10-million in non-lethal security assistance that
    includes helmets, body armour, and logistics support vehicles.

    Humanitarian support
    The Government of Canada’s 2014 provision of humanitarian aid and emergency supplies to civilians
    is welcome. Canada has committed more than $28-million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in
    Iraq, including $18.8-million for populations affected by civil unrest and $9.6-million for Syrian
    refugees. More is needed and should be offered.
    The immediate needs of displaced people are paramount. Canada should make further offers to those
    in need to provide at least temporary resettlement in Canada pending resolution of the conflict and
    their potential return.

    Strengthening the observance of human rights
    The Canadian “Faith Leaders Statement” on the situation in Mosul, Iraq on August 1, 2014 condemned
    IS for threatening members of ancient Christian communities and other religious minorities in Mosul.
    Freedom of conscience and religion are essential to open, peaceful, and democratic societies,
    particularly where different cultures and faiths come into daily contact. This is the reality throughout
    the Middle East.

    It is important that Canada lead in the protection of human rights for all people in the Middle East by
    working with both established and emerging state and community leaders, giving special attention to
    the rights of minorities, women, and children. This work can be further reinforced by Canada’s Office
    of Religious Freedom.

    Conclusion
    The outcome of Canada’s participation in a combat mission against IS is uncertain and may make the
    situation worse. The government and all parliamentarians should take the time necessary to consider
    whether the promised short-term gain from an air power focused combat mission outweighs the
    potential for increased pain and suffering for those who are experiencing the brunt of the current
    violence.
    John Siebert Tel (519) 888-6541 x24310
    Executive Director Cell (519) 591-3227
    Project Ploughshares

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  • Churches Week of Action on Food

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    Please make plans to mark – – –

     

    The week of action is from October 12-19 and includes the International Day for Rural Women (October 15), World Food Day (October 16) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).

    What can you do?
    Consider actions such as:
    o Set aside a church service October 16 to focus on the importance of resilience. The Churches Week of Action liturgy can be used in its entirety or adapted for your context.

    o Join hands with a community in another country to share your food story. Connect your church or community group with a group in another country to learn about each other’s issues and concerns for food and nutrition security. Getting started is easy!
     To express your interest and find a community to connect to, contact Christine Campeau, EAA Food Campaign Coordinator, at ccampeau@e-alliance.ch and give her the following information:
    1. Name of Your Church or Community Group:
    2. Location: City/County/Province and Country:
    3. Contact person name:
    4. Contact person email:
    5. What are some of the best ways for our group to communicate (e.g. email, Skype, social media, etc.):
    6. Language(s):
    7. Faith tradition, if any:
    8. Does your church or community group have a preference in connecting with a group in a particular location or from a particular faith tradition? If so, please indicate your preferences:
     Then discuss with your church or community group the questions in the Sister Communities Questionnaire to prepare for your exchanges.
    o Organize a church group to study agriculture and land references in the Bible, including II Corinthians 9:10. God who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. Other suggestions are available in EAA’s Sister Communities Questionnaire .
    o Invite a local farmer to share his story at a church or community lobbying event.
    o Use social media tools to get your seed story message out! For Twitter, we invite you to follow this year’s hashtag #AgroResilience. Share sayings,reflections, facts and stories that highlight what increasing resilience looks like in practice.

     Want more? Theological reflections on land grabbing, seed diversity, climate change’s impact on agriculture will be available next week.

     

    For more information on the issues and opportunities for food justice, plus ideas for action, see resources for the 2014 week and previous Churches’ Weeks of Action on Food at www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/food/food-week-of-action/

    The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is an international network of churches and church-related organizations committed to campaigning together on common concerns. Current campaigns focus on HIV and AIDS and food. PWRDF is a member of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.

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  • KAIROS: Watershed Discipleship Workshop

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    New Resource! Watershed Discipleship Workshop

     

    Want to take some time in your church or community to explore the call to Watershed Discipleship? Our new 3 hour workshop can help! It includes biblical and personal reflection, reflection on the issues facing your watershed, and the opportunity to connect those issues with other across Canada and around the world.

    You can view or download the PDF file. Please let us know how you intend to use it by contacting Sara Stratton at sstratton@kairoscanada.org

    Click here to go to website for download.

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