A New Resource – to foster understanding of our culture and encourage living in right relationship across cultures
Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry
Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together
Quotes from the book jacket:
How can North Americans come to terms with the lamentable clash between Indigenous and settler cultures, spiritualities, and attitudes toward creation? Showcasing a variety of voices—both traditional and Christian, Native and non-Native—Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry offers up alternative histories, radical theologies, and subversive memories that can unsettle our souls and work toward reconciliation.
“Superb! For centuries our misunderstandings and conflicts have accumulated . . . In this book the issues are opened, offering information, insights, and resolutions that amaze our usual thinking. Read it carefully; with a prayer for understanding.”
—Rudy Wiebe, novelist, co-author with Yvonne Johnson of Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman
“This invaluable collection calls us to decolonize theology and interrogate how the logics of settler colonialism have infused Christianity. At the same time, it refuses the temptation to replace one metanarrative with another.”
—Andrea Smith, author of Native Americans and the Christian Right
“Steve Heinrichs has edited a courageous and urgent book. The voices that speak here sound from outside the theopolitical, social-economic domination system of our society. The book is an invitation to rethink both policy and attitude. Attention must be paid!”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminarycontinue reading
Skills-building clubs are helping girls living in the Dadaab refugee camp go to school, build confidence and help their peers. Three hundred girls in six CLWR-supported clubs participate in peer counselling, peer mentorship and poetry writing.
As a result girls have started speaking out on violence. For example, girls participating in the clubs helped a hearing-impaired girl who was sexually assaulted seek support from a teacher, who subsequently reported the crime to the authorities.
“We are happy that we have learned so much from the girls clubs,” says Fatuma Abdi Sheikh, the chairlady of the Central Primary School girls club. “We are able to speak out on issues that affect girls. My friends and I participated in a media campaign through Dadaab FM, where we encouraged parents to take our colleagues who are not in school to school.”
Read the full story at http://clwr.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/girls-speak-up-in-the-dadaab-refugee-camp/.
Photo: Girls’ club members from Iftin Primary School after a life-skills discussion session. Lutheran World Federation-Kenya-Djibouti Programcontinue reading
Ali Symons, General Synod Senior Editor, Anglican Church of Canada
February 1, 2013 – Housing continues to be a joint priority for Anglicans and Lutherans as they support Bill C-400, a private member’s bill calling on the government to develop a national housing strategy. Anglican and Lutheran staff leaders engaged in this issue invite local church members to connect with MPs about the bill before it goes before Parliament, Feb. 13.
An estimated 400,000 Canadians do not have healthy homes. The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing has observed that “Canada is one of the few countries in the world without a national housing strategy.”
Bill C-400 recognizes housing as a human right. It would commit the government to work with non-profits, the private sector, Aboriginal communities, and all levels of government in developing a national housing strategy. With set timelines and goals, the strategy would then address the root causes of homelessness and set a plan to provide housing for all.
Church members are encouraged to write to or meet with their MPs about Bill C-400 as soon as possible. Resources are available through Dignity for All, a campaign co-founded by long-time ecumenical partner Citizens for Public Justice.
This advocacy push is one example of housing work Christians do on a daily basis across Canada.
In Victoria, Evangelical Lutheran churches network with other non-profits to ensure adequate housing for all levels of poverty: those who live on government subsidies, the working poor, and the lower middle class.
In Winnipeg, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church is converting its property to 25 units of affordable housing for limited income families, a neighbourhood resource centre, and a dedicated worship space.
Many more examples exist across the country, including at a regional level.
On a national level, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are developing a shared resolution on housing and homelessness to be presented at Joint Assembly, to be held July 2013 in Ottawa. The resolution will commit both churches to continued local action and government advocacy.
To support Bill C-400, consult these Dignity for All resources:
- Read the backgrounder on Bill C-400
- Use this template letter to write to your MP
- Use these talking points when meeting with your MP
- Access all resources on the Dignity for All website. Many resources are also available in French.
For more information about this work, email Henriette Thompson, public witness coordinator for social justice (ACC) or the Rev. Paul Gehrs, assistant to the bishop, justice and leadership (ELCIC).continue reading
“Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God”.continue reading
(Isaiah 40: 1)
As I sit down to write my Christmas message during this Advent season, there are no words that touch me more deeply than these words from Isaiah chapter 40, “Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God.” During this time I have been moved by the emotions associated with the beginning of life and the end of life, of birth and death. And I am very much aware that life begins and ends with a need for comfort. And in between, there is enough pain and suffering to go around, for people to cry out, “We are all like grass that withers, and flowers that fade.”
We have once again experienced warfare and death with the eight-day war in southern Israel and Gaza. Though a ceasefire has now been announced, we still feel the burden of a war in which there are no winners, in which people on both sides suffer from physical and emotional wounds and are in need of comforting, a war in which the survivors themselves feel the pain of loss and need to be comforted. Even though we are at a distance in Jerusalem, we have all been shaken by the images of families running to bomb shelters afraid, images of the dead and wounded, images of the rubble. We are moved so much by such tragedy, that it would seem that the words of the Book of Lamentations prevail where there is “no one to comfort her” (Lamentations 1:9, 17, 21).
The reality that our people are facing is that “All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field” (Isaiah 40:6), and we shed our tears at the human condition. How can we feel optimistic in a world of such suffering? Anyone in their right mind would offer only a pessimistic prognosis and throw up their hands in a feeling of helplessness. Anyone in their right mind would question whether those scarred by the fresh wounds of war would relate to this word of comfort. Anyone in their right mind would ask if mere words will keep the refugees warm in the face of the cold winter rains. Yet we are reminded that this is not the only reality. “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever” (verse 8).
“Comfort, comfort you my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem that her warfare has ended, that she has received pardon.”
We need that word of comfort, offered by the prophet Second-Isaiah. We need to hear the assurance that our sins are pardoned, that there will be no more suffering, no more war, no more bloodshed. The word of comfort consoles us: Rahamu, Rahamu Ammi (Comfort, Comfort my people.) The promise that we are indeed God’s people and that God is in control. That God offers a word of mercy and grace. That this indeed is a word of comfort, and not merely an illusion.
“Speak to her that her warfare is ended,” says the prophet. Yet is this reality? How can this be reality when the politicians announced merely a ceasefire, and not an authentic end to violence, to bombing, to killing? How can this be a reality when all the analysts conclude that the only winners in the recent fighting have been the wielders of weapons and the belief that negotiations and diplomacy are no match for weapons when it comes to solving conflict? How can this be when both sides are busy once again building up their weapons arsenals? How can this be reality—this announcement that her warfare is ended—when there are threats that the killing will resume? We, in this country, are not in need of weapons, missiles, and Patriots. We are in need of justice and security. The real comfort will come into being when swords are turned into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks. “Comfort, Comfort my people,” we long to hear these words, yet how will our people listen, when the facts on the ground seem to speak of another reality?
The Middle East and the whole world was excited when on November 29 Palestine was accepted as a non-member state of the United Nations. This is a step in the right direction to keep the zeal for the two-state solution alive, and we hope that other constructive steps may be taken that security and justice would finally exist for Palestinians and Israelis.
We are now beginning the third year of the Arab Awakening, a movement which began as a quest for freedom, for human dignity, for the recognition of human rights including women’s rights. Many of us watched with interest as the awakening spread from one country to the next. Many cried out a word of encouragement, and also a word of comfort, concerned how these developments might proceed. Like the birth of a newborn child, it would seem such a movement would need the loving tender care, as it faced the challenges of this world and as it grew, like a child beginning to crawl and then to walk. In some places, the awakening saw signs of encouragement and progress. In others, it would seem that the movement has been hijacked by forces of the old order, of oppression and violence, of restrictions on human liberty and of a growth of extremism and intolerance. Once again Egypt is struggling to find its way, repeating some of the events of Tahrir Square from two years ago. “Comfort, comfort you, my people,” the prophet wants to shout.
And in Syria, the death toll has now reached over fifty thousand, and fear rules the day with escalating violence, and rumors of possible imminent use of chemical weapons. Like the exiles in Babylon addressed by Second Isaiah, now over a million persons are homeless, many seeking shelter in refugee camps like the one at Za’atri inside the border of Jordan. During my late September visit to the camp, along with the General Secretary of LWF, the Rev. Martin Junge, when seeing families with over half of the residents under the age of 18 years, when considering their loss and their struggle to survive, and when becoming aware of their vulnerability with the approaching cold winter rains, words failed me, except to say with Second Isaiah, “Comfort, Comfort, my people,” says our God.
As I sit in Jerusalem this Christmas season, I hear the drums of war sounding so much louder than the trumpets of peace.
I fear that people today are placing more faith in violence and weapons to solve the conflicts of the Middle East than peaceful, non-violent means.
I fear that hatred is proliferating and the urge for revenge and counter-revenge have made their way deep into the hearts of so many people.
I fear that extremist ideas are spreading as if they were a virtue.
I fear that the leaders of the world no longer hold the vision, the courage, and the resolve to seek solutions that will endure.
I ask myself, do these words of comfort continue to make sense in our world today? Do people see that the route that is taken—that the whole Middle East is taking us—is one of peril?
I am once again reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s warning, “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”
As a Church in the Middle East we say, That is not our way! Wake up, politicians! Wake up, leaders of the world! Listen again to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Our reliance on weapons and violence will only lead to more hatred and more tragedy. World leaders must assume responsibility to a non-violent preferential option. Now is still the time to find peaceful, non-violent solutions before it is too late. This is the reason that Jesus was incarnated in Bethlehem to bring true peace.
Our ELCJHL continues to commit itself to work for peace based on justice, and reconciliation based on forgiveness. Our ELCJHL continues to educate its youth in peace education and conflict resolution. Our ELCJHL continues to preach a word of hope. Even if we swim against those terrible waves, we announce to the world that our way will always be one of non-violence, that our way will always promote moderation, that our way will always teach respect for the other, that our way will always seek to see the image of the Babe in Manger in the other, that our ways will continue to raise up generations that seek peace.
Peace between Palestinians and Israelis is still possible and justice is still possible. History remembers those who work for peace, not those who merely talk about peace. Courageous and bold steps must be taken for the sake of humanity. This is the reason Jesus taught us, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
The season of Christmas takes us to Bethlehem where the word become flesh, where God bridges the gap between the two realities, offering hope in the place of optimism, offering the fulfilment of God’s promises, especially when we are let down by the world’s disappointing failures. We are drawn to the manger and the child sent by God to bring comfort to a world of suffering and pain, a world of tragedies and disasters, a world of loneliness and sorrow. And in the words of Jesus, grown to adulthood and on the eve of his own death, “I will pray to the father and he will send another Comforter. . . the Spirit of Truth.” (John 14:16-17) This spirit continues to work in messengers of comfort within our world today. This spirit continues to motivate us, the Arab Christians of the Middle East, to strive tirelessly on the path for peace. “Comfort, O comfort my people,” says our God.
Because of Christmas, the incarnation of the eternal Word of God, I am neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but I have hope. I have hope because Jesus was born in our broken world, in the midst of turmoil, similar to what we experience even though Jesus found a place to incarnate. Jürgen Moltmann, the theologian of hope, reminds us of the essence of hope: “I tried to present the Christian hope no longer as such an ‘opium of the beyond’ but rather as the divine power that makes us alive in this world.” This is none other than the Comforter described by Second Isaiah.
That Comforter makes our words of comfort come alive, as we act in our world to prepare the way of the Lord.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we bind up the wounds of the injured and hold the hand of those grieving.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we condemn all acts of violence and oppose every kind of extremism.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we provide shelter for the homeless and winter boots for refugee children.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we work for justice with one standard for the whole world.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we call on politicians to repent of their policies of self- interest and ask them to pursue the ways of peace.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we make education the highest priority that our children may learn respect for the other.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we uphold the human rights of all and defend the freedoms of speech, expression, and religion.
We prepare the way of the Lord when we give others a reason to hope.
And when we prepare the way of the Lord, we offer those words of consolation from Isaiah 40, “Comfort, comfort my people.”
We prepare the way of the Lord who becomes our Immanuel, God with us, so that we pray the prayer of St. Patrick:
Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
And restore me.
May this word of comfort speak to your hearts as you prepare the way of the Lord.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year in 2013
وكل عام وأنتم وعائلاتكم بألف خير
Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan
“For the mistakes of the past, Canadians need to hear and tell the truth.
With the promise of reconciliation, Canadians need to end the inequities of the present.”
Join KAIROS as we work towards equity for Indigenous people in Canada. All of us share in the responsibility for making this an equitable country. For the mistakes of the past, Canadians need to hear and tell the truth. With the promise of reconciliation, Canadians need to end the inequities of the present. The integrity of Canada is at stake- it matters to all of us. This is the KAIROS campaign for 2011-12. Please join us. You can start by learning more about the campaign on the KAIROS website where there is an action, a flyer, and a worship service.
For more information please contact:
Education and Campaigns Coordinator for Dignity and Rights,
1.877.403.8933 x 233
Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator,
1.613.235.9956 x 221.
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives has produced a Truth, Reconciliation & Equity Video highlighting the June 20, 2011 Roll with the Declaration Banner action on Parliament Hill (it features lots of great shots of both Bishop Susan and Bishop Michael). See it at:continue reading
Is your congregation interested in refugee sponsorship? CLWR can help. Our new brochure answers questions about the process of welcoming a refugee to a new home in Canada. Topics covered include:
- Who are refugees?
- What does sponsorship involve?
- What are the benefits for my congregation?
- How do we get started?
- What have been the experiences of congregations and new arrivals involved with refugee sponsorship?
- How do we contact CLWR’s refugee program team?
The brochure can be read or downloaded online at http://www.clwr.org/How-You-Can-Help/Ministry-of-Welcoming-the-Stranger.cfm. Request hard copies at 1-800-661-2597 or firstname.lastname@example.org reading
A Moment of Truth:
A Word of Faith Hope and Love
from the heart of Palestinian Suffering
An Ecumenical 3-session study guide to the Kairos Palestine Document
from The Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries
Now Available for Purchase
$5.00 per copy
$2.50 per copy for orders of more than 10
Order from the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries www.ccforum.ca
United Church Resource Distribution
The Book Room (Presbyterian Church in Canada)
Anglican Book Centre
Augsburg Fortress Canada
A Moment of Truth: Kairos Palestine is “the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine.” It speaks to the reality on the ground for the Palestinian people as they experience it, and gives their prophetic Christian response and challenge.
This ecumenical study guide for Canadian faith communities offers the full text of the Kairos Palestine document background of the document and why should we study it the reality on the ground—maps and background information a three-session study guide.
For information about the study guide contact The Canadian Churches’ Forum for Global Ministries at 416-924-9351 or visit www.ccforum.ca
Jonathan Schmidt/Alice Schuda
Canadian Churches Forum
for Global Ministries
47 Queen’s Park Crescent
Toronto ON M5S 2C3
416-924-9351 416-978-7821 (fax)
That this convention commits this church to promoting right and renewed relationships between non-indigenous and Indigenous Peoples within Canada.
That the ELCIC affirms that we are all treaty people, and we will find ways to mature in our living together. This is assisted by remembering the rights, responsibilities and dignity that are bestowed by God and lived out with one another. We affirm that recognizing and implementing indigenous rights is essential to being the kind of society Canada strives to be.
That the ELCIC endorses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007; and adopts the declaration as a standard for our own practice. We commit to implementing the values and principles of the declaration within the work and structures of this church.
That this convention asks the National Bishop to write to the Prime Minister, encouraging the Government of Canada to work collaboratively with Indigenous Peoples on the full and effective implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to provide the Parliament of Canada with regular reports on how the Government will reform laws and policies in order to meet the UN Declaration’s standards.
That this church actively supports the work and goals of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Walking by faith and with the Spirit, we will listen to diverse voices, in order to deepen our understanding of history and of today’s challenges, injustices and opportunities. We will be part of dreaming, praying and working together for a reconciled and hopeful future. We recognize that immediate action and long-term commitment are required for healing to occur.
This convention calls on the synods, congregations, members and all expressions of this church to seek out opportunities to deepen understanding of indigenous rights, to participate in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process, and to renew relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in our varied contexts. We commend to members of this church the KAIROS resource In Peace and Friendship: A New Relationship with Aboriginal Peoples as one tool for living out our calling as a covenant people who are In Mission for Others.continue reading
NOTE: In addition to the resources in this blog, other resources (in pdf format) are posted with the “Links” on this page. Look for these links:
- Resource: Intro – Service of Repentance (An Introduction to the “Stewardship of Creation” Service)
- Resource: Service of Repentance – Stewardship of Creation (A Stewardship of Creation Service of Repentance)
- Resource: KAIROS-Grand River – Lenten Carbon Fast (A Lenten Energy Conservation Resource)