“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.”
( ― St. Francis of Assisi )
Friends in Justice,
During these times of conflict and disruption, many people have been asking – what should we do about Ukraine, should we be doing more, and what about all the other conflicts and injustices in the world being overshadowed by the headlines? Leaders in the church – including PMRC’s President Blair Odney and Moderator Richard Bott – have shared their prayers of lament and wishes for peace, and have suggested ways we can reach out to support the Ukrainian community.
Prayer can often seem insufficient, in times like these. There is always that sense of urgency to do something, to do more. Yet, especially during this season of Lent when we are called to solemnity and self-reflection, perhaps St. Francis has something to tell us about the importance of cultivating peace within ourselves as an essential aspect of seeking peace in the world.
For further guidance in our prayers for peace, please check out this link from Project Ploughshares, the peace research institute of the Canadian Council of Churches.
Remembering the Very Reverend Bill Phipps
The United Church of Canada grieves the death of the Very Rev. Dr. William Phipps, the denomination’s 36th Moderator. Rev. Phipps died on March 4, 2022. Rev. Phipps was a fierce champion for social justice throughout his life. Among other actions during his time as Moderator, Rev. Phipps hosted a country-wide consultation on faith and the economy and was instrumental in apologizing, on behalf of the whole church, for the denomination’s role in Indian Residential Schools. After his time as Moderator, Rev. Phipps continued as a strong advocate for Indigenous rights, peace, justice, and ecological integrity. May his legacy live on as a source of inspiration for our continued call to be the instruments of God’s peace, love, and healing, challenging structures of discrimination and oppression.
Among his many activities for justice, Rev. Phipps was a co-Founder of Faith and the Common Good (FGC), a national, interfaith, charitable network dedicated to assisting and inspiring religious congregations and spiritual groups of all backgrounds to take collective action in creating more sustainable communities. One of their upcoming events is listed below:
Faith and the Common Good
Sacred Water: An Interfaith Conversation
Join us on World Water Day, March 22, for Sacred Water: An Interfaith Conversation to learn about what diverse faith and spiritual traditions have to teach us concerning the important of water and how we can deepen our connection with it.
Held Tuesday, March 2022, at 3 pm Pacific / 4 pm Mountain
Details at this link.
United Church Mission & Service partners are responding to the rapidly unfolding crisis in the Ukraine. To donate through the national church, check out this link.
Calls for a Guaranteed Livable Income continue to grow among political leaders and in forms of local action.
On February 28th, Senator Kim Pate and MP Leah Gazan issued a press release calling for a GLBI (Guaranteed Livable Basic Income) to address the rise of extremism:
“Millions of Canadians were struggling before COVID and almost two years after the pandemic began, many are finding life even harder,” said Gazan. “As I told my parliamentary colleagues last week, this suffering is leading to despair and fueling the rise of extremist movements. We need to replace despair with hope, and one way of doing that is with a GLBI.”
All United Church members (and friends!) in the Lower Mainland are invited to join two Vigils for the Silenced – calling for a “just recovery” from Covid-19, a “just transition” to a Green Economy, a “just resolution” to the political violence, and a “just livable income” for any and all struggling with income insecurities.
01. Saturday, March 12, 2022, 12pm Pacific / 1pm Mountain (East 1st and Commercial Drive)
02. Saturday, April 9, 2022, 12pm Pacific / 1pm Mountain (West Georgia and Burrard in front of Christ Church Cathedral)
The Ismaili Muslim Community is exploring the idea of engaging with a Christian based organization to collaborate and merge their annual Ramadan Food Drive and partnering around Easter/Lent and doing a joint food drive. They’re exploring the idea with their community’s Grade 5 students and would like to have their students and the Christian students engage in this activity together, with a tour of the respective spaces of worship. It would primarily take place in the Lower Mainland, specifically Richmond, Port Moody, Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, North and West Vancouver. If interested, please contact Farouq directly at email@example.com
Opportunities with the National Church
Ecumenical Accompanier – Palestine and Israel, 2022 & 2023
The United Church is looking for three people to serve as Ecumenical Accompaniers between November 2022 and December 2023, each for a period of three months. In this position, they accompany Palestinians and Israelis who work in nonviolent ways for peace, and people in Palestine and Israel navigating daily routines, often under duress.
More details about the position of Ecumenical Accompanier, as well as the application process, can be found at this link.
Anti-Racism Common Table
The Anti-Racism Common Table coordinates and develops strategic directions and policy proposals for The United Church of Canada’s anti-racism work. Seeking people who have experience with anti-racism work, intercultural engagement, or Indigenous justice, whether through volunteering, employment, education, and/or lived experience.
More details about the Anti-Racism Common Table and the application can be found at this link.
Korea Peace Encounter with Young Adults from Korea, United States and Canada
The national church is looking for young adults aged 18-30 to participate in the Korea-US-Canada Young Adult Peace-Making Workshops. More details about this opportunity here.
One week ago, the United Church of Canada launched its Korea Peace Appeal Ten Thousand Signature Campaign, declaring that “70 years is enough. It’s time to end the Korean War.” The Appeal is a global campaign calling for a peace treaty that would bring a formal end to the Korean War. The campaign, supported by some 370 civil society organizations in Korea and beyond, seeks to collect 100 million signatures by 2023.
With Jane Dawson, PMRC Regional Minister for Justice
Thursday, March 17th (and subsequent 3rd Thursdays of the month)
10am Pacific / 11am Mountain
Online via Zoom
More details here, register at this link.
Sponsored by the Urban Indigenous Circle, Chinook Winds Region and Pacific Mountain Region
This year we examine Lent through the lens of our Indigenous Elders. 50 years ago the Elders of the Indian Ecumenical Conference gathered from across Turtle Island, including many from the US, Central America and beyond. During this time, Traditional Spiritual Leaders, Wisdom Keepers, Elders, Indigenous Clergy and our ecumenical partners in the United Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Canada, Catholic Church and others attended to understand and demystify traditional Indigenous spiritual practices. The sharing of these Elders and Knowledge Keepers helped shape Indigenous advocacy, outreach and visions for reconciliation. We delve into their teachings to understand their vision for our current time.
Tuesdays through Lent, taking place at 6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain
Register at this link, Zoom details to follow.
Gibimishkaadimin – Youth Reconciliation Project
This is wonderful opportunity for Indigenous youth ages 16-18 to participate in a leadership and educational exchange. Gibimishkaadimin will bring Indigenous youth from across the country together with non-Indigenous youth from the Shining Waters region for a summer canoe trip in Lake Temagami, followed by reconciliation projects in their communities, and a winter reunion of the group. Any costs for the Indigenous youth will be paid for by the Gibimishkaadimin Project.
The trip will take place from August 22nd to 30th, and there are 12 spots for Indigenous youth. The deadline for applications is March 31st, 2022.
National Affirming Day / PIE Day
With Affirm United
Why PIE? PIE = Public. Intentional. Explicit.
We use the acronym PIE because it’s easy to remember and those words set the standard for an affirming welcome of LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit people. PIE represents three ways for us to test just how real our Affirmation and celebration of gender or sexual diversity is.
This year’s theme is “Everyone Gets A Slice!”
Looking at the 2SLGBTQAiP+ acronym, which represents an endless diversity of identities and expressions, we acknowledge that some of the people who are represented by these letters often tend to get left out or underserved. We are invited to consider which folks we may not have included in our Affirming programming and educational efforts and take strides to remedy that.
Curious about PIE day, and what your congregation can do to celebrate 2SLGBTQAiP+ people? Check out this video, featuring UCC Moderator Richard Bott!
United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, 2022 Gathering
Location and speaker details, as well as registration, can be found at this link.
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.