Pastoral Letter for Ash Wednesday 2018

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

As we enter into the season of Lent, traditionally a season of introspection and penitence, we are aware of the attention of our nation on the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of Colton Boushie.

We would like to invite the United Church in BC, its members and its congregations, to be prayerful during this season about the ways in which racism is internalized in us, and in our institutions (including the church) in Canada. We repent of misuse of power. We repent of the outflow of colonialism and the harm it has done to our relationships. The journey of reconciliation takes more than just a few years, and it certainly takes more than words… though words do have power to heal or hurt.

As many of us mark our foreheads with ashes today, let us remember we are unified in our humanity… we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Let us truly repent of those choices we have made that lack courage, and as we follow Jesus during the wilderness season of Lent, let us ask for his grace and humility in our relationships with one another. We can learn from one another’s wisdom. We can reject violence in all its forms, and commit again to the just, loving and peaceful way of Jesus’ life on this earth.

Together, let us renounce racism and violence, in our actions and in our lives, as we continue to follow Jesus and his vision of the reign of God. Let us recommit to humble listening for the Spirit of God to guide us in our paths, and to respectful relationships with one another despite differences. We are one in Christ, and let us cling to that unity in this time of struggle for justice in our nation.

Grace and peace,

Ray Jones, Co-chair of the Native Ministries Council of BC Conference, and Cari Copeman-Haynes, President of BC Conference

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