It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a church. But I was drawn to go this past Sunday, on National Aboriginal Day, by an invitation extended on the day of the release of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Whitehorse United Church invited everyone – residential school survivors and other community members – to a service of reconciliation and promised it as a chance to walk a new path together. The service proved to be this and more as we shared in story, song and humour drawn from the world’s different cultures.
I am very thankful to Sharon Shorty and Reverend Bev Brazier of the United Church and their committee members who had the courage to welcome all of us to come to speak and listen, to share and witness. To invite us to walk this path together even though we don’t know what exactly it looks like.
The battering of colonialism and residential schools that some have suffered, and that some are learning of from their suffering, gives us reason enough to want to walk together in hope and healing.
At the service, the phrase “my reconciliation is…” struck me as a very helpful way to approach the width and depth of the challenge to action that the TRC has laid out for all Canadians. If each of us who feels compassion but does not know where to begin were to take the step of one small, personal
action – volunteering at an event, reading a book, starting a conversation – the path will only become clearer before us.
Sunday’s service showed us the stories, the wisdom, the music, the laughter, the teachings, the respect, the regalia, the artistry, the craftwork, the strength of family that will so enrich our Canada for having found our way.
Gillian McKee Whitehorse