Through Ecumenical Advocates, Jennette Stark found her own way to apply her skills and to action reconciliation. The group is comprised of representatives from the four Settlement Churches which ran residential schools (Catholic, Anglican, United, Presbyterian), as well as from several evangelical groups including Mennonites, Alliance, Pentecostals and Baptists. Ecumenical Advocates have met for several years to support the TRC process and played a significant role in the establishment of Reconciliation Canada.
Taken aback by the “wonderful diversity” of the group, Jennette recognized that she had the skills necessary to make an impact by taking part in the Walk for Reconciliation. This participation presented the Church and the Christian community with an opportunity to reflect on their role in the residential school system and how to move forward together. Jennette describes the process as “a very tentative dance we have to do. A tentative, respectful, dignified dance”.
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church continues to be active in promoting reconciliation initiatives and inclusivity in their programming, “raising the consciousness within people” and bringing forward the notion that we all have a role to play in reconciliation.
On October 25, 2014, the church will be delivering the the Blanket Exercise, an initiative, developed by KAIROS, a Christian Ecumenical group, that explores the history of treaty-making and colonization in Canada. The exercise is designed as an interactive lesson and includes a script for adults and youths, and a script for younger teens and children.
To Jennette, groups like Ecumenical Advocates are particularly important. Across denominations, “we are more alike than we are different”.
“Through love, and love should be the predominant focused thing for all Christian faiths, we can get over some of our hangups about what makes us different. We can work together”.
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