On this 31st day of May, a Monday, as I mentally go through my closet to see what I have to wear that is orange, wondering where the shirt is that I used to compose the photo below on the day Sackville United Church marked its status as Affirming Ministry, I realized that it was likely in the same place that I’d find three of my hoodies, in the closet of one or the other of the girls who are still at home…
And then I was floored by the thought of one of them, of one of my six children being taken away, never to return again, with no word of where their body had been buried. It is incomprehensible. But it happened. And it is still happening. Genocide.
Last evening, I received word of a group in Southeast New Brunswick that is working to raise funds to settle an LGBT refugee in the Maritimes. This individual is currently in hiding in a Middle Eastern country. They are hiding because their family has given permission for a local militia to kill the person should they find them. This group, on their Crowdfund page highlights the danger for LGBT persons in the region, sharing a link to a story of the recent murder of a gay man in the region who was trying to leave their country as a refugee. If you wish to support their efforts in assisting this individual you can follow this link to their Crowdfund page. The Executive of Sackville United Church will at its next business meeting consider other ways we might support this effort.
Genocide. Rooted in fear of the other. Rooted in a belief that one is superior.
Some of us will wear orange today. Flags will be lowered for 215 hours. All appropriate symbolic gestures – but they are just that: symbolic gestures. Action must follow.
Corporate action: Demand an independent investigation. Question the theology that such actions were grounded in. Call upon that the Federal Government to make reparations – and be prepared to accept the cost.
In 2016 the government of Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and finally, in December of 2020 introduced bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in the House of Commons. This bill is presently at its Third Reading and is before the Senate.
It is past time that this bill be adopted and the Declaration be implemented within Canadian governance.
PS – the shirt was found and I am wearing it today – and I will wear it again each time more bodies of Indigenous children are found in unmarked graves. I was going to write that I would wear it each time Indigenous fishers ere threatened with violence, each time there are stories of Indigenous persons experiencing racism and each time there is a report of a murdered or missing Indigenous woman… but I fear I’d never get to take it off…
Today I am in the office and will be Zooming for much of the day with six meeting scheduled over the course of the day followed by some more screen time as I watch the Leafs and Habs battle it out in Game 7. Go Leafs Go!
On Tuesday morning I will begin working on the liturgy for Sunday and at 10:30am I will meet with the Preacher’s Help Group where we will look at the text for this coming Sunday. On Tuesday afternoon I will gather with my Preaching Cohort for our weekly session after which I’d be off to the hospital to visit there.
On Wednesday afternoon you will find me at the Drew visiting the residents there after which I will participate in my monthly Spiritual Journey group which will be followed by the Virtual Community Supper and a Grounding Meeting with the SUC Executive.
Thursday will be a work from home day as I put the final touches on the service for Sunday and write a sermon.
Friday and Saturday will be days off and on Sunday I look forward to gathering with you again at 11am at Sackville United Church and on Facebook Live. The next gathering at Upper Sackville will take place on Sunday June 20th. This will be my last service as the minister to that congregation as it begins its journey as a congregation apart from the Sackville Pastoral Charge.