The Reverend Paul, Susan Truman, Rene Inkster, Sam Green, Jan Openshaw, Jim Wilson, Margaret Blades, Molly Hawkins, and Sheila Barker.
Our Truth and Reconciliation Committee was invited to present what we are doing as part of the Diocesan Anti-Racism Unit’s report to the 2017 Synod. Rene Inkster and Jan Openshaw took this on and gave a well-received overview of T and R activities at All Saints. Below is a summary of what they said. Jan: Good morning. I would like to introduce us … this is Rene Inkster, Metis Elder and I am Jan Openshaw, an involved parent of a Cree Metis daughter. We attend All Saints Anglican Church in Mission. Our church bulletin acknowledges that we are on unceded Sto Lo territory. Rene and I are members of our church’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Rene: I am a Metis Elder. I’m the 7th generation Metis in my family…that is, of mixed blood. I was born on the Prairies to a half-breed father and an English mother. For clarification during our presentation, we are using the following descriptors: First Peoples, Native, Aboriginal and Indigenous. These each refer collectively to the Metis, the Inuit and the First Nations of Canada. Jan and I will refer to all the First Peoples in our presentation. Our Cree elder, Sam Green, who is unable to be here today, prays that your ears will be open to our words. Jan and Rene spoke alternately, but their comments are consolidated here: Jan: In our outreach, we are Forging stronger ties with the Mission Friendship Centre, having participated in the Canada wide bell ringing to remember the murdered and missing aboriginal women, in joint meals and visiting and supporting each other Walks - A few years ago we came into Vancouver for the Walk for Reconciliation. We were encouraged to continue on our path. Last year we joined the Langley churches, Kwantlan First Nation and Mission Friendship Centre elders on a T and R walk to Mission and the site of St. Mary’s Indian Residential School. This year Mission School District Drummers and Dancers will be involved with a traditional Stolo welcome. Mission School District Aboriginal Department (SiwalSi:wes) - connecting with this department has led our priest, the Reverend Paul Bowie to be invited by the Aboriginal School District Principal to take part in a video. Paul, along with Aboriginal Elders will give their opinions on whether Truth and Reconciliation is moving along. All Saints Scholarship Fund – we are very excited that an anonymous donor gave the T and R committee $1,000 for a scholarship to give to a deserving aboriginal student graduating from Mission Senior Secondary School. We hope to be able to continue this in years to come. Rene – In our in-reach, we are, In the process of adding First People’s visual images to our church spaces Planning, in consultation with the Indigenous community, workshops for our parishioners’ gentle introduction to a broader spectrum of attitudes and behaviours in relation to aboriginal people Promoting truth and reconciliation work through a library, ongoing information in our weekly bulletin and in our parish newsletter, “Saints Alive”. (Note: also on social media and the internet.) Including the Native voice in all decisions, and at special events such as National Aboriginal Day of Prayer and Canada Day. Rene also noted that our T &R committee is a subcommittee of our Outreach Committee and that All Saints website is a source of info for those who want to follow what we are doing. Jan closed with the following: “We believe Truth and Reconciliation is important because of the systemic racism that is part of our society and unfortunately, can still be part of our churches. We at All Saints are taking affirmative action in our church and community to bring about truth and reconciliation.”