News & Events
Here you'll find information about the latest happenings at St. John's, Ida.
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Dear Friends in Christ,
Shocked, dismayed, heartbroken, but sadly not surprised.
That was my feeling, shared I’m sure by many of you, as news broke of the discovery of 215 unmarked graves – graves of small children – on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Shocked, dismayed and heartbroken because the sheer number of bodies speaks to the extent of the atrocities in the Indian Residential Schools system, a volume of horror that we have only begun to catalogue. Even the survivors of the schools – those who carry tragic personal stories of neglect, abuse and violence – may not yet realise the full extent of the crimes that were perpetrated across the entire country.
But, sadly not surprised. We in the Church have been aware of these outrageous injustices for generations, although it has only been very recently that we have started to acknowledge them, to repent, grieve and make our first feeble attempts at reconciliation with the First Nations. The dreadfulness of the Indian Residential School System, of which the Anglican Church of Canada was a willing partner, points conclusively towards a systemic intentional genocide. The foundational principles of the residential schools, borne from a toxic bias of colonial assumptions and racist white supremacy, perpetrated abuses of unchecked power. We in the Church weaponized our faith, inflicting indignities upon the First Peoples of this land, justifying our racist attitudes with a perversion of Christian evangelism and outreach. Physical, mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse followed. As Archbishop Michael Peers historically declared in our Church’s “Apology to Native People” in 1993: “I accept and I confess before God and you, our failures in the residential schools. We failed you. We failed ourselves. We failed God.”
Let there be tears for what you have done.
Let there be sorrow and deep grief.
Let there be sadness instead of laughter,
and gloom instead of joy. James 4.9
These little children cry out for our collective lament. Every Child Matters. I ask your prayers for the repose of the 215 souls in Kamloops, and all those who are yet to be found and identified – for surely there will be more – who had their lives tragically cut short. I ask your prayers for the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia, who in losing these children lost a part of their future. I ask your prayers for all of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, as these fresh revelations raise renewed grief and anger at the attempted annihilation and enforced assimilation that settlers inflicted upon them.
The Rev. Leigh Kern, our Right Relations Coordinator in the Diocese of Toronto, has compiled a list of resources and I invite you to use them in this month of June when we are called to observe National Indigenous History Month, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Day and National Indigenous Day of Prayer on June 21. Let’s uphold our Indigenous communities in prayer during this time of grief and mourning. Additional liturgical resources will also become available soon to support parish efforts in listening and education going forward.
Following this time of lament and learning, there must then be a time of action. Regret and remorse are necessary, but are not sufficient. I call on the Church for a renewed commitment to establishing right relations with the First Nations of this land where we are privileged to reside. We must insist that the Government of Canada adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and immediately prioritizes the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. We must lobby for and work together in providing basic necessities of life in Indigenous communities, including clean drinking water, stable housing, appropriate medical services and local schools.
A deep healing is required, one that will involve painful honesty, a complete re-evaluation of our shared history, and an intense examination of how we want to be in relationship with each other going forward. We need to engage in this work with humility and an earnest desire for renewal.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to do nothing less.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto
A Step in the Long Journey to Reconciliation
faithful action for justice
This week marks an important moment which will be remembered as a good day in the struggle to uphold and recognize Indigenous Rights in Canada.
With its passage in the Senate, Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is now on its way to becoming law.
KAIROS Canada’s long-standing endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) included a massive Roll with the Declaration event on Parliament Hill on June 20, 2011 that involved the display of hundreds of banners with supportive messages from across the country.
When Romeo Saganash’s private Member’s Bill C-262, the UNDRIP bill – on which Bill C-15 is based – was blocked from a final vote in the Senate, many paused and reflected on ways in which to raise their hopes.
Through action, our member churches and ecumenical organizations called on people across Canada, most recently through the Faith in the Declaration Coalition, of which KAIROS is a member. We joined countless other Canadian advocates who submitted expressions of support for Bill C-15 to the Pre-Study of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples of The Senate of Canada on Bill C-15.
KAIROS Canada will continue to learn ways to role model actions as allies and center the voices of our Indigenous members, by continuing to unlearn in times of discomfort and by continuing to offer support to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.
We honour those who fought before us, and those who continue to fight for the equitable and just society we believe Canada has the potential to be.
The KAIROS Team
While Covid 19 has interrupted much of our congregation’s normal activities, there are some continuing Outreach happenings. We have good news to share about a few of the Outreach initiatives St. John's is continuing to support. Thank you for your generous donations to St. John's Outreach ministry!
Pikangikum Water Project
Since 2014, St. John's has partnered with The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) in support of the Pikangikum Water Project. Below is a powerpoint presentation from PWRDF detailing some of the most recent work with Pikangikum, and which includes a variety of pictures.
On #WorldWaterDay, and every day, Water First collaborates with Indigenous communities, because everyone has the right to safe, clean water. It is reflected in their work with community partners toward sustainable solutions to local water challenges. St. John's provides support for this ongoing ministry with donations received from the "Advent Conspiracy" where financial contributions towards providing this life-giving and life-sustaining "gift" is encourged in lieu of excess consumerism.
Eric Vautour, now a graduate of the Water First Drinking Water Internship, shared his experience of participating in a water ceremony on World Water Day. Click on the image below and watch Eric’s story to see how your support continues to provide life-changing training and allows Water First to reach more communities each year.
Mosaic Middle East
Mosaic Middle East is the working name of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East., a charitable organization committed to improving the lives of thousands of vulnerable and persecuted people in Iraq and Jordan. Through the generous donations of St. John's and other community and international partners, Mosaic Middle East provides vital emergency relief, but also helps people to help themselves through sustainable development and centres of empowerment. Below is an encouraging video that shows the difference Mosaic Middle East made in 2020.
Works of faith
Our Challenge for 2021!
FaithWorks has issued challenges to parishes to meet a $100,000 matching gift for any INCREASE in a parish total donation to FaithWorks, and to increase parish donations by 1% of total parish receipts for 2020. For St. John's, that has been calculated to be $1300. You can make your donation(s) payable to St. John's or Christ Church, and they will be forwarded.
What if our response to poverty went beyond charity?
What if we grew intentional friendships with neighbours living in poverty?
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