Minutes for Mission 2020 – National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering 2019

Minutes for Mission 2020 – National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering 2019


Indigenous members of
The United Church
of Canada from across the country travelled to Rama First Nation for the
National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering in August 2019. We came to honour the
long history of Indigenous peoples’ membership in the United Church and to
take the next step in our journey toward self-determination. After the
restructuring mandated at General Council 42, our 64 communities of faith in
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec said that we
needed to determine what our structures would be and how they would work. we
crafted a vision of a self-determining Indigenous church within The United
Church of Canada. This vision is rooted in Indigenous knowledge and spirituality
and framed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the
Spiritual Gathering we discuss what that vision will really mean in our
communities of faith and what we hope for in our relationships within the
United Church. These people here, these families,
are still waiting for a place to worship. We are gonna be heard
and we’re gonna have some say in what happens in our United Church of Canada. May God bless you all. The Spiritual Gathering established a
new National Indigenous Organization, a new council to lead it, and an Elders
Council for ongoing guidance. This new structure will carry forward the legacy
of the All Native Circle Conference, which has been the home of most United
Church Indigenous communities of faith for the past 30 years. As we look
toward the future we honour all that has come before by passing the ANCC
bundle on to the new Elders Council. We will also be led by new voices, as two
members of the Indigenous Ministries and Justice Youth and Young Adult program
were elected to counsel. The youth delegates enrich the gathering with
their presence and expertise. Cultural and land-based activities were an
integral part of the program. So was their presence and role in
decision-making. They challenged us and helped envision a church that they want
to be a part of, calling for the creation of the National Indigenous Youth Council. We are young, but we are tired of waiting. We need to get it done now. We are moving forward knowing that there
is still much work ahead. We have planted for the future–now is a time for nurture
and growth. As long as the Indigenous Church is feeling incomplete, or whatever
we’re to use as part of The United Canada of Canada, then The United Church of Canada isn’t
quite whole. This is the voice that we’ve been asking for, and because we’re only
at first light, it’s the body of work that’s going to come later. The Spiritual Gathering was not just
about the structure of the church. It was also a church gathering with many
meaningful moments and ceremony and worship. Every morning began with a
sunrise ceremony at the sacred fire. Students from the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual
Centre led worship to begin each day. It was also a time of community as we
gathered together to share stories, songs, and teachings. We also held our silent
auction to raise funds for the Mission & Service Fund. This year we raised
almost $2,500. This is a tradition we are eager to share with the wider
church. Why not try one of these in your region or community of faith? Indigenous
communities of faith and the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering are
supported by the Mission & Service Fund.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *