The Youth and Young Adult Committee (YAYA) is excited to introduce the Indigenous Reconciliation Action Fund (IRAF), a new funding program intended to support learning, relationship building, and justice work between Lutheran and Indigenous children, youth, and/or young adults under 30 years old. The IRAF fund aims to energize action regarding the conversations of reconciliation which have taken place within the Lutheran church over the past ten years.
Edgewood Camp and Conference Centre served for seven decades as a place for Lutherans, particularly children, youth, and young adults, to connect deeply with God’s creation by engaging in outdoor ministry. This education in loving the land took place on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron/Neutral people, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation within the Dish with One Spoon Covenant territory. As such, we acknowledge that the relationships built with Creation at Camp Edgewood were only possible because of the collective responsibility that Indigenous peoples showed historically and continue to provide in caring for the land. The seed funding of the IRAF fund comes from the proceeds of the sale of the Edgewood property. YAYA will commit to allocating an additional 10% of our annual discretionary funding from the investment income of the YAYA Endowment Fund to the Indigenous Reconciliation Action Fund with a minimum contribution of $5000 per year for the next five years. YAYA will also gratefully accept cash and in kind donations to the Indigenous Reconciliation Action Fund.
Indigenous communities have guided us to the path of reconciliation and provided the tools to renew the relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples. We have heard apologies from politicians and faith leaders that have promised changed behaviour. We know that there is no reconciliation and no justice without action. It is our responsibility to keep our promises and follow up on what has been asked of us to ensure that these conversations are translated into direct actions. It is especially important to center youth in these movements so that the future can look different than the past. We must honour the life-giving labour of indigenous elders and youth to date by pursuing meaningful change in our church and heart-based connections with our Indigenous neighbours.
Indigenous elders who are in relationship with the ELCIC have said that we need youth at the table to create meaningful and lasting change. As we think about the next seven generations of youth that are growing up in the church, we have the opportunity to reimagine what it looks like to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). This financial support of Reconciliation actions is a powerful way to continue to serve future generations of children, youth, and young adults by helping them to understand the relationship between the land, the church, and Indigenous neighbours. We trust our youth to guide our church to grow in faith and community while walking humbly with the Creator and our Indigenous neighbours down a path of reconciliation.
For more information regarding the Indigenous Reconciliation Action Fund and how to apply for funding for the 2019-2020 year, follow this link. https://www.easternsynod.org/resource/iraf-grant-application