“Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.”
( ― Gerard Manley Hopkins )
Friends in Justice,
As we move through this season of Lent towards Holy Week and Easter, I often find myself reflecting on Gerard Manley Hopkin’s evocative use of the term “easter” as a verb. In this usage, Easter isn’t only a holy holiday, a remembrance of the crucifixion and resurrection at the centre of Christian faith, it is a way of living, a way of being that we are called to, all year round. From a social justice perspective, it is a reminder that we are called to speak the truth in the face of systemic inequality, to listen to the voices of those at margins, and to see and welcome those in society who are often rejected or invisible. To see “easter” as a verb is to see that life emerges in the face of brokenness, and that some of the most powerful acts of resurrection happen to the least likely people; that we are the people of resurrection and hope, called to live passionately and compassionately with others, to forgive and seek forgiveness, to bring others into community, to challenge the abuses of power in our society.
— Jane Dawson (she/her)
This Friday, March 31st is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV)! What is TODV? It’s a day to show support for the Two-spirit, transgender, and gender diverse communities. Each year on March 31, we raise awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, but we also celebrate their contributions to society! Today, when trans people face violence and political attacks on their rights, celebrating and honouring them has become incredibly important.
PIE Day’s theme for 2023? The Year of Intention
- What would a year of intention look like and feel like for your community?
- What is an area of your Affirming journey that you want to put intention towards this year, and how could you reflect on this as a faith community?
- We encourage you to have these conversations with your faith community and to be open to what you can do in the year ahead!
We want your Pride photos!
With an eye towards updating the Affirming Ministry section of the Pacific Mountain Region’s Justice Ministry site, we’d like to encourage you to submit photos celebrating Pride and Affirmation from your Community of Faith!
Additionally, if you attended the 2022 AGM & Affirming Celebration in Prince George, we’d especially love any photos you have!
Send them to Alexandra (she/her), at firstname.lastname@example.org
First United Church Social Housing Society has transferred ownership to Sch’eyk Housing Society, operated by Lu’ma Native Housing Society
“We’re so pleased to be able to partner with Lu’ma Native Housing Society on this important shift in organizational leadership. We know they have the expertise, resources, and vision to successfully manage these properties and improve conditions for residents. At the heart of this decision was choosing how to best serve residents, and we know that this is the best choice for that.” – Amanda Burrows, Interim Executive Director, FIRST UNITED
Today we are sharing that First United Church Social Housing Society (FUCSHS) has transferred ownership to Sch’eyk Housing Society, operated by Lu’ma Native Housing Society. The decision for Lu’ma to operate the Housing Society came after careful consideration and negotiation between FUCSHS Board and staff leadership of FUCSHS, and leadership from Lu’ma Native Housing Society. FUCSHS will no longer exist, and the shift of ownership to Sch’eyk Housing Society operated by Lu’ma will provide increased access to resources, capacity, and building upgrades that will improve the overall experience for residents. MORE HERE!
As we approach the Season of Lent, First United Spiritual Care Team focuses on truth-telling in our Truth & Reconciliation journey.The attached Lenten Calendar 2023 will guide you during Lent, focusing on Call to Action #60. Some days have more than one link for you to click. On some Sundays, the link encourages you to share your story with First United. Some days are more difficult than others. But all of the days help us focus on Truth & Reconciliation.
Establishing an Autonomous National Indigenous Organization
In 2022, at General Council 44, the National Indigenous Council proposed that the church identify and remove any structural barriers that would prevent the development and sustaining of an autonomous National Indigenous Organization within The United Church of Canada. When any requested change in church structure will alter the Basis of Union of The Manual, as this will, a Category 3 Remit is required.
The remit requires a vote by every regional council and each pastoral charge’s governing body. MORE HERE.
March 21 was the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The United Church continues to mark this day as one way to focus on dismantling racism in all of its forms. The struggle against racism, however, is not limited to one day alone! It is an ongoing, continuous, and faithful journey that can engage all of us.
Canada, Stand Up For Palestinian Children’s Rights
Twenty people from across Canada make up the planning team for this campaign. The planning team come from a variety of faith backgrounds, including several different church denominations. The campaign is open to anyone who wants to take action for the rights of Palestinian children.
Current actions you can take are found HERE.
Rev. Barry Morris of Longhouse Ministry has lawn signs and bumper stickers available – these can be picked up from the Longhouse Ministry (604 254-4531 / 2595 Franklin St., V5K 1X5) almost any time and any day.
While this past week’s vigils have passed, the work towards GLI continues!
Contact your local MP, write letters, show your support and more! Details on these actions here.
Greening Sacred Spaces Certification Program
Developed in 2011, the Greening Sacred Spaces Certification program motivates, recognizes, and celebrates those faith communities that demonstrate commitment to caring for the environment through action. There are 3 levels to aim for and complete: Light Green, Medium Green and Deep Green. Each certification level has a corresponding checklist of possible actions in 8 categories such as Community, Energy, and Water.
Whether you are just getting started or are ready for the next level of greening, the GSS Certification program is an excellent way to engage your faith community in stewardship right at your place or worship. It is an opportunity to showcase what you have accomplished together.
PMRC Indigenous Ally Toolkit Training Session for the Lenten Series: 40 Days of Reconciliation. Join us as we share insights and concerns about reconciliation, changes within the church and emerging issues as we walk with our Indigenous neighbours towards healing.
- Monday, April 3, 2023
- 7pm Pacific / 8pm Mountain
Register at this link.
Give it up for the Earth – Lent
As in past years, For the Love of Creation is partnering with Citizens for Public Justice on “Give it up for the Earth,” a Lenten initiative. This annual campaign runs from February 22 – April 8 (Easter), pledging personal actions and supporting FLC’s advocacy goals from COP 27. A webinar on Biodiversity and COP 15 will also be held in March. Sign up to CPJ’s newsletter for updates. Resources for Give it for the Earth 2022 are available.
Holding ground – Holding balance – Holding hope
Friday, March 31 11-1 Pacific / 12-2 Mountain on Zoom
This will be a virtual time away that supports members of the United Church of Canada’s anti-racism network to lament, find our balance and hold onto hope (when doing anti-racism work) in this Lenten season.
It can be disappointing or frustrating that the work of dismantling racism does not progress as quickly as we would like. We are still discerning our collective identity, and continue to learn how to be community in this COVID19 altered world. Many of us are tired.
We hope you will bring your own realities and experiences with you, whether they echo those above or not. Come to this gathering of the anti-racism network with a spirit of openness to listen for God, to self, and others. Leave with a renewed soul.
Niki Andre and Yvonne Terry will lead us with story, scripture, and music in a time of written & spoken reflections, embodied spirituality and small group conversations.
Lunch & Learn: “21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act”
Thursday, April 13, 2023
10am-2pm Pacific / 11am-3pm Mountain
In person at Trinity Memorial United Church in Abbotsford
Details & registration at this link.
Earth Week 2023 – Together for the Love of Creation
During the week of April 16 – 23, engage in a climate justice activity…praying, learning, acting.
Coming together for the love of creation is a way to connect, grow, listen, inspire hope and affect change. Your activity could be visibly joining a community-wide event or creating something new. This is a chance to reach out to other faith communities and neighbours in your climate justice initiatives.Read more, and put your event on the map!
Honouring Mother Earth at 15 MINUTES FOR PEACE
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
12:15-12:45pm Pacific / 1:15-1:45pm Mountain
In person at the International Friendship Garden in Abbotsford
Details & registration at this link.
Watershed discipleship is an emerging understanding in our life of faith. It invites us to connect with place in a deeper way – theologically, spiritually, physically, and morally. As a part of Earth Week 2023, you are invited to join the Pacific Mountain Region in an online learning opportunity to explore “our watershed moment” as a faithful response to the ecological crisis.
- Wednesday, April 19, 2023
- 1:00 – 2:30 pm PT / 2:00-3:30 MT / 4:00-5:30 ET
Register at this link.
Has your community of faith participated in The United Church of Canada’s Faithful Footprints program? Consider hosting a Faithful Footprints Retrofit Tour of your building this Earth Week to celebrate and showcase your building’s completed energy and decarbonization retrofit projects! This is an opportunity to inspire others by sharing your experience, lessons learned, as well as the carbon, energy, operational costs, and impact your community has experienced. Retrofit Tours must be hosted between April 16 and 23, 2023, and can be held in conjunction with other Earth Week events taking place throughout the week. Sign up to host a tour!
The John Albert Hall Lecture series happens May 4-6 (what a great weekend to be in Victoria!) Check out more details hereFeaturing:
- Carmen Lansdowne, Moderator of the United Church of Canada
- John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Professor of Religious Studies, Crandall Univ.
- Kathy Chan, UVic Law Professor and Acting Director of the CSRS
OPPORTUNITIES IN JUSTICE
Come and See Pilgrimage to Palestine and Israel – October 2023 Dates
Rev. Marianna Harris and George Bartlett (former Ecumenical Accompanier) invite you to come on a pilgrimage to see for yourself what is happening in Palestine and Israel. Visit key holy places while reflecting on God’s vision of peace and shalom. The program will be facilitated by the Sabeel Center in Jerusalem, a Mission & Service partner. Details here!
Ecumenical Accompanier, World Council of Churches – Palestine and Israel, 2023
The United Church of Canada is seeking two individuals to serve as Ecumenical Accompaniers between June 2023 and March 2024, each for a period of three months. Created in 2002 in response to an appeal from local church leaders, EAPPI(opens in a new tab) is an ecumenical response to create an international presence to contribute towards the realization of a just peace in Palestine and Israel. More here.
Anti-Racism Common Table
Seeking two members with experience in anti-racism and justice work to develop strategies, policies, and processes that will further the United Church’s Anti-Racism Action Plan. More details here.
If you’re interested in the work of the Justice Ministries, we would love to hear from you. Have you come across articles and events in our community that you’d love to share? Please get your suggestions in by Thursday at noon to ensure they make it in the newsletter.