“The central vision of world history in the Bible is that all of creation is one, every creature in community with every other, living in harmony and security toward the joy and well-being of every other creature….Expressed in the word shalom, this dream of God resists all our tendencies to division, hostility, fear, drivenness and misery. Shalom is the substance of the biblical vision of one community embracing all creation.”
( ― Randy S. Woodley )
Friends in Justice,
Coming together for the love of creation is a way to connect, grow, listen, inspire hope and affect change in the spirit of shalom as Randy Woodley describes it. During Earth Week 2023, from April 16 – 23, faith communities and neighbours across the country are invited to connect and share ways they are engaging in climate justice activities – praying, learning, acting and more. Check the links in the newsletter below to find out what is happening in our region and across the country and to add your activity to the interactive map. Now is the time for our communities to come together to share plans, stories, actions, prayers and hopes to fulfill our call, as expressed in the New Creed, “to live with respect in creation.”
— Jane Dawson (she/her)
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 email@example.com
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!
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!
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) has been a program of KAIROS for 25 years. Originating as a wing of the United Church of Canada, KAIROS is now restructuring to become a standalone organization with its own charitable status. This includes the development of a new KBE Framework. More details here.
Also! KAIROS has released the COP27 Delegation Report. Check it out here.
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.
Photos from GLI actions held across the country, as shared by Lori Neale:
1. East Vancouver, at the office of MP Jenny Kwan, 2. Toronto, with City Councillor Alejandra Bravo, led by Tina Conlon & Bread and Bricks with many others from UCC churches and ministries, 3. North Vancouver, at the office of Federal Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, led by Judith Hardcastle and St. Andrew’s United Church, 4. Sudbury, at the office of MP Viviane Lapointe, led by Torrin Maag, with St. Andrew’s United Church, 5. Vancouver City Hall, calling on City Council endorse the GLI.
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.
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.
Justice work in the church can often feel lonely and discouraging, working for change that doesn’t come easily, if it comes at all. Just Conversations is a monthly online gathering for anyone in PMRC wanting to connect with others involved with justice work around the region. It will be a chance to deepen your justice work in your faith, share stories about what is happening around the region and develop strategies for working together to support each other in “being the change.”
Just Conversations will take place on the third Thursday of every month, from 10am Pacific / 11am Mountain.
- April 20, 2023
- Just Conversations is free and drop-in style
- Open to ministry personnel and congregation members · Registration is required for the Zoom access.
- Facilitated by the PMRC’s Ministry for Justice (contact Jane Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information).
Cloudwalker Storytelling Event
In honour of Earth Week, STARs (Seeking Truth, Anti-Racism & Reconciliation), Oak Bay United, and Fairfield United present an all-ages community storytelling & art event!
Renowned storyteller Lucky Budd will recount the story of Cloudwalker, an Indigenous creation story about three Northern BC waterways. The story will be told at 2 pm at Oak Bay United Church. Afterwards, all are invited to the downstairs community hall for refreshments, story-inspired art, and discussion.
- Saturday, April 22, 2023
- 2-4pm Pacific / 3-5pm Mountain
The event is free, but advance registration by April 17th is requested. Register online at this link or register by phone at the Oak Bay Office: 250-598-5021
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!
Placing Ourselves in Colonialism
4-part series from April 24 – September 25, 2023
A workshop for settlers and newcomers to explore our histories and stories, with some time in the middle for you to learn and share about your own family history too. Where do we connect with the forces of colonization? What are our responsibilities to the places where we have “settled” and the people whose lives that has impacted? Where does this lead us in our discipleship?
This series, which includes a panel discussion, a book study, and your own research (we’ll help!) and sharing, is inspired by the work of Elaine Enns and Ched Myers (authors of Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization). It will also feature Chinook Winds Indigenous Minister Rev. Tony Snow, United Church of Canada Anti-Racism and Equity Lead Adele Halliday, and United Church of Canada Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Sara Stratton.
While there is one registration form for the the full series, you may choose to attend only some of the individual sessions. LEARN MORE HERE.
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
Moose Hide Campaign Day is a day of ceremony where all Canadians are called to join together to take a stand against violence towards women and children and to take practical steps for our collective journey of reconciliation.
Learn more and find resources here!
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.