Friends,

Like many of you, I was overwhelmed with emotion, from disbelief to horror when I heard that the remains of 215 Indigenous children, some as young as three, were found on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops BC. As the reality and gut turning impact began to sink deep within my heart, I found myself internally frozen wrestling with how best to respond. Should I write a post? Was a Facebook response needed? What could I do to show my support, love and sorrow for family and friends of those children (and the many more they represent)? Fortunately, we have leaders within our churches who serve daily within the Indigenous context. Their immediate counsel was to begin with quiet reflection and open ears. As we shared together, a pathway forward began to emerge. On June 17th (Thursday) from 6:00 – 8:00pm EST we invite you to an event we are simply calling “Listen & Lament”. In partnership with Derek Parenteau and John Johnstone we will gather several key Indigenous leaders (presently in the MB credentialing process) inviting them to share their experiences and their hearts. We are in store for a very rich evening. We hope that this posture will guide us to a fuller understanding of the past, teach us how to respond in the present, and inform us on how to move forward in authentic truth and reconciliation. A Zoom link invitation will be sent your way early next week.

In preparation for this event let me invite you to prayerfully ponder Psalm 43, a psalm of Lament. Read it through several times and in particular consider how our Indigenous sisters and brothers might read this psalm at this time. Pray for the Spirit to open your eyes to new insight.

Psalm 43

Vindicate me, my God,
and plead my cause
against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
deceitful and wicked.
You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

May the Spirit of God touch our hearts deeply.

Ed Willms, Executive Director – CCMBC Ontario

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