Indigenous Day of Prayer

-Tony Snow, Coordinator Community Care

PHOTO: Tony Snow with United Church of Canada Moderator Rev. Jordan Cantwell.

PHOTO: Tony Snow with United Church of Canada Moderator Rev. Jordan Cantwell.

This year we are planning a number of events to coincide with Indigenous Sunday (June 17, 2018). The Indigenous Day of Prayer is developed by Aboriginal Ministries and Indigenous Justice with the United Church of Canada’s General Council Office. 

The origin of Canada’s Aboriginal Day that we know today, comes from Morley, Alberta, with the Indian Ecumenical Gathering that was held from 1973-1983. During that time the Elders and Ceremonialists gathered from across North and Central America to work with clergy from the United Church, Anglican Church and others to establish a dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. 

The central tenets that Elders recommended in 1980 were a day of prayer and a recognition of governance and outreach/education for Canadians. The day of prayer became Aboriginal Day; the recognition of governance became Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada; and the outreach/education became the Native Friendship Centres that sprung up around the country in urban centres. 

The day of prayer was meant to memorialize the relationship and work toward reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This year we will help the United Church observe this sacred day. 

McDougall United Church, along with our partners at Acadia Place and The City Of Calgary through Viviana Reinberg, will bring families together to make powwow dancing outfits for kids to celebrate Indigenous Sunday. We will hold a powwow in Hospitality Hall to initiate the children into the powwow circle. By doing this, McDougall is providing a space where Indigenous people can connect with their culture in a celebration of awareness and identity for families living in the city who want to connect with their communities and culture. 

This is an important type of reconciliation event that acknowledges the beauty of Indigenous culture and the importance of education, understanding and visibility of our Indigenous neighbours living in Acadia. We will have representatives from the Morley community join in the service, and a fundraising lunch is being planned by members of Acadia Place. 

This programming is made possible through two City of Calgary sponsorships. The Calgary Foundation Neighbourhood Grant is providing $5000 while the Strong Neighbourhood Initiative is contributing $600.  

Being faithful at a time of great change

Faithfulness during great change was the theme of the 2018 Celebration of Ministry Service at the last Alberta and Northwest Conference meeting at Sherwood Park on May 13, 2018. 

Our Moderator, The Right Reverend Jordan Cantwell, reflected upon Matthew 9:35-38, and the optimism in Jesus’ show of compassion for the crowds that gathered in need because they were harassed and helpless. Rather than become overwhelmed by the crowds, he stated: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers few. Ask the Lord to the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field.”

At this time of change within the United Church, Moderator Cantwell encouraged  the members of Alberta and Northwest Conference in this call to innovate and inspire, and take up the challenges the new changes will bring forth.

She encouraged clergy and conference personnel to read the Indigenous Ministries Consultation report detailing the Calls to the Church by the “Caretakers of Our Indigenous Circle.” It “sets out a framework for how we will come together as a United Church” in the future.