“One of our basic confessions as Christians is that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. This is a confession we have to make all the time, especially surrounded as we are with such despair and darkness and violence. This is not the same as optimism. Hope is different. Hope has a defiance to it. Hope is saying there’s something deeper, there’s something more powerful. And it will overcome the darkness.”
( — Nadia Bolz Weber )
Friends in Justice,
The darkness Nadia Bolz Weber is talking about comes in many forms. So does the light. In all the many ways we engage in work for social justice, let us do so in a spirit of defiant hope that lifts up the light and makes it shine even stronger.
On Tuesday, September 5, Pacific Mountain Region staff members gathered virtually with United Church colleagues across the country to take part in an online version of the Kairos Blanket Exercise. Guided by experienced Indigenous and Settler facilitators, using a variety of audio-visual resources, it was a powerful way of learning about First Nations, Metis and Inuit experience that most Canadians are never taught. In the talking circle that closed the Blanket Exercise, many participants identified new insights they had gained and shared feelings of grief, anger, and shame over Canada’s unjust settlement history, and the church’s complicit role. Yet, despite the darkness, there were many points of light in recognizing the importance of facing difficult truths and continuing to work towards healing and reconciliation. For anyone who would like to book a KAIROS Blanket Exercise for your Community of Faith, you can do so via their website, which is at this link.
The people of the Pacific Mountain Region of the United Church of Canada express our profound grief at the tragic events in James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon, Saskatchewan.
We express our words of prayer for the victims, survivors, families and communities most affected, coming together in mourning before our Creator.
In the words of Moderator Carmen Lansdowne “May God have mercy. In our grief, may we be blessed with God’s peace that surpasses our human understanding. Amen.”
Between September 13 and 27, 2022, everyone is invited to participate in one, two or all three of the Conversation topics we are offering! This is a free, online series and we are drawing from the ‘For the Love of Creation’ resources. The Conversations will be led by a team of facilitators from our regional Justice Network who have been working on climate issues. Come for a chance to connect with others in our region, and learn about ways to create safe and respectful conversations about climate change in your own neighbourhood and community of faith. For those interested in hosting conversations about climate and faith yourself, this series will be a great way to get to know the ‘For the Love of Creation’ resources! Full details and registration is at this link.
Have you been evicted or forced to move in British Columbia? First United’s legal advocacy program is asking people to share their experiences so we can understand:
- who is being evicted
- where they’re being evicted from
- the impacts of eviction on people and communities in B.C.
If you want to help tell the story of eviction in British Columbia, please go to this link. We want to use this information to advocate to make tenant protections stronger in BC.
On September 30, people all across Canada will wear orange shirts to remember and honour Indigenous children who were taken from their communities and families to residential institutions.United Church website for activities and events to mark this day. This includes a powerful new prayer for you to use in worship.This year, Indigenous communities across the country continue to share the truth they have always known: that many of the children who never returned home remain on the grounds of those institutions in unmarked burial sites. These communities are now seeking to honour the missing children. On Orange Shirt Day we also observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. For non-Indigenous Christians in particular, this is a time to reflect on their role in colonialism and the ongoing responsibility to make reparations. Check out the
Listen in as Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre’s Adrian Jacobs engages elders from across Turtle Island in conversation on today’s current events.
Details & access through this link.
Remembering Faithfully Forward: The Daily Niebuhr Family Meditation-Contemplation Readerthis link.Edited by United Church Minister Barry K. Morris, at Longhouse Council of Native Ministry, Vancouver, BC. Available for purchase at
Join us for the launch of David Kim-Cragg’s book, Water from Dragon’s Well: The History of a Korean-Canadian Church Relationship, on Monday, October 3 at 4pm Pacific.
The launch is online and free.
Kim-Cragg is both a sessional lecturer at Emmanuel College and minister at St. Matthew’s United Church in Richmond Hill. Register by clicking here.
Decolonizing climate action is the theme underscoring Kairos’ 4th annual Climate Action Month, which launched September 1 and coincides with the Season of Creation.
KAIROS has a variety of programming available for September, which can be found at this link.
As a part of KAIROS’ programming, on Tuesday, September 13, there will be an opportunity to meet the delegation for COP27. Each delegate has made a short video to introduce themselves and to explain a little bit about how they experience and work against climate change. The delegates will also call on participants for support, as allies, to address the injustices they or their communities are facing. Small group discussions will provide opportunities to deepen our learning and commitment.
Find out more, and get the registration link, here.
World Council of Churches’ World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel
The Week takes place from the 15th to the 22nd of September, and resources are available on the United Church of Canada worship page for this WCC week, and on WCC page.
FROM IDENTITY AND MISSION – GENERAL COUNCIL OFFICE
Take Action: Speak Out for Palestinian Human Rights DefendersEarly in the morning of August 18, 2022, around 5:55 a.m., Israeli forces broke into the offices of six Palestinian human rights organizations in the occupied West Bank, confiscating equipment and taking files containing records of the organizations’ human rights work. Defense for Children International-Palestine’s main office in Al-Bireh-Ramallah was among the offices broken into.
Please share the updates and sample email template posted on the Take Action page, and urge the Canadian government to intervene with the Israeli government.
Interested in the offerings of the Toronto Palestine Film Festival?
Many of them are available to watch at a low price online!
Details at this link.
40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism
Would you like to be part of a weekly online study group, focused on anti-racism? The groups will meet once a week for 1.5 hours each time.
These weekly study sessions offer an additional opportunity to participate in the United Church of Canada’s 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism, as part of a group. The 40 Days will be a time of rich learning, reflection and action.
Details & registration here.
Join us for Thursdays in Black: Working Together to End Gender-based Violence in Canada, an online conversation with spiritual justice advocate Danielle Strickland and Sage Lacerte and David Stevenson from the Moose Hide Campaign. We will discuss how gender-based violence is a critical issue affecting our communities and ways local action can work to stop violence against women in Canada. this link.Details at
On September 18 – one day before Canadian Parliament returns – people will gather in the thousands across the country to demand equal rights and permanent resident status for all undocumented people, migrant workers, students, families and refugees. A historic regularization program is on the horizon, but we need to take to the streets to ensure that no one is left behind.
Racial Justice Workshops One and Two
Fall Dates are available for Racial Justice Sessions Workshops One and Two:
- Racial Justice Workshop Session One and Two (for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) – September 24
- Racial Justice Workshop Session One (for White People) – October 1
- Racial Justice Workshop Session Two (for White People) – October 1
- Racial Justice Workshop Session One (for White People) – November 8
- Racial Justice Workshop Session Two (for White People) – November 10
Cultivating Transformative Reconciliation Conference: The Canadian TRC Experience in Dialogue with the South African and Nordic Cases
Translating reconciliation into social and political reality is vital to the TRC processes that have occurred or are occurring in South Africa, Canada and several Nordic countries. The conference is offering a new understandings of reconciliation as a transformative practice. September 21st, 2022 we will gather together to hear from respected leaders who have been walking the road of reconciliation specifically in Canada. Guest speakers from a variety of Indigenous nations will give instates that will help revitalize a theology on reconciliation, by offering new proposals in the intersections between pastoral, public, and political theology.
Details & registration link here.
What are your hopes for anti-racism in the United Church? Join us via Zoom for This Is My Anti-Racist Church, a speaker-led conversation on visions for an anti-racist denomination.
Thursday, September 22, 4pm – 5:30pm Pacific
Registration at this link.
This gathering is hosted by a national network of anti-racism supporters and leaders across The United Church of Canada. To join this network, please fill out this form.
The United Church of Canada’s Faithful Footprints program offers grants, tools and inspiration to help its congregations reduce their carbon footprint, offering up to $30,000 in grants towards energy conservation and renewable energy projects (conditions apply). To date, the program has engaged 300 congregations, camps, and buildings across the country.
SAVE THE DATE!
A PMRC Faithful Footprints event is coming soon: October 18, 6:30-7:30 Pacific
OPPORTUNITIES IN JUSTICE
Come and See Pilgrimage to Palestine & Israel
Rev. Marianna Harris and George Bartlett are organizing a Come and See for March 2023. 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.
Please contact them (Rev. Marianna Harris, email@example.com or George Bartlett, firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested and share this opportunity.
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.