The Prayers of the Right Reverend Carmen Lansdowne

Uplifting the prayers of the Right Reverend Carmen Lansdowne after the Phase One findings at the Alberni residential institution. (From her Facebook page)

A Prayer for Indigenous Peoples after the Phase 1 Results from Tseshaht First Nation
We sit in stillness, waiting for your healing touch
We sit in stillness, tears falling down our cheeks in grief
We sit in stillness, witnessing the ways our culture breaths life back into our people
Blowing gently as a balm to our spirits
We hear the voices and feel the presence of the Old Ones who witness this reclamation,
and know that it is good
We feel the presence of the souls of children, stolen from their families and communities,
waiting to return home, even if only in how they are remembered
We release into your arms the hurts and trauma that we carry, that our forebears carried, and that our children and their children will carry
So that we can hold a newborn in our arms and say, truly, never again
So that we can watch with pride as young ones speak our language and dance our dances
So that we can take the time we need to spend time with you in prayer and gratitude
So that we can continue to thrive as Indigenous peoples
So that we can live on our land, fully who we are as you intended us to be
We pray for the continued accountability of the churches and the governments for the harms they inflicted
We pray for reparations so that the oppressions that have always been imposed on our peoples may be reversed
We pray for justice, that it continues to be done and our rights asserted and our land returned
We pray for hearts changed and minds opened of Canadians still in denial about the atrocities that happened and continue to happen
We pray for our communities so that we may be gentle with ourselves and gentle with others
All this, we pray, will be done in a good way
Every child matters.
A Prayer for the Non-Indigenous Church after the Phase 1 Results from Tseshaht First Nation
You, in whom we live and move and have our being,
You created the universe and everything in it, in the fullness of your time, which is so vast it is difficult for us to comprehend.
We, your children, caught up in the busy-ness of life, often forget there is always space and time. Always.
We continue to be held to account for or the ongoing legacy of the United Church’s role in colonization and the operation of residential institutions – the so-called “schools”
Today we are held accountable specifically for our operation of the Alberni institution in the traditional territory of the Tseshaht (c̓išaaʔatḥ) First Nation, and that impacted so many other communities up and down the coast
This is difficult work – the messiness of repentance can be hard to do, and we may feel tempted to rush.
There is no rush – Only your time
Your healing
We ask for your peace that surpasses all human understanding
The peace required to sit with uncomfortable news
The peace required to let our emotions come to the surface
The peace required to own our own reactions and not to burden Indigenous peoples with them
The peace required to respond, in due time, with humility and accountability
The peace and space for Indigenous peoples, inside and outside of the church, to offer their prayers and seek healing in the ways that are most meaningful to them
We ask you for the grace to create breathing space
To center the reality that children lost are not statistics
To pray for affected family members and communities of the lost ones
To listen to Indigenous peoples, especially the Tseshaht (c̓išaaʔatḥ) First Nation and other communities affected by the Alberni residential institution
To, when asked, take their direction on what is the next right thing to address the deaths
To make amends when we make mistakes, and to know we will always make mistakes
To continue to be present to our history and committed to a future where we acknowledge the worth and dignity of all
To remember this is one step at the beginning of a journey – that the deaths confirmed and possible graves found is just one piece of information, and will not be the final numbers; we may never know the final numbers.
We ask for your healing touch
Fill our lungs with breath
Breath that grants your peace
Because every child matters.
In the name of the one who came to teach us to reconcile,
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