The third Truth and Reconciliation Commission National Event will take place in Halifax, N.S., from Oct. 26 to 29. The theme is “Love: A national journey for healing, families and reconciliation.”
As happened in Inuvik, NT last June, and in Winnipeg the summer before, we will hear about the experiences of those who attended residential school as children. We will also hear the stories of their children and grandchildren who live with the intergenerational effects of residential schools on their families and communities.
Once again, we will hear church leaders acknowledge the role of the church in running residential schools. And while the Anglican Church of Canada did not operate residential schools in Atlantic Canada-Shubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia opened in 1922 and was run by the Roman Catholic Church-we continue to acknowledge our involvement in operating more than 30 residential schools across Canada.
When the TRC held its first community hearing in Fredericton, N.B. on Sept. 8, Archbishop Claude Miller, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Canada, was moved while listening to the stories of former students from Shubenacadie. Our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, and the Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Sue Moxley will participate in this week’s program in the Commissioners’ Welcome, the Circle of Reconciliation, and the Commissioners’ Sharing Panel. Staff will provide resources from church archives and KAIROS (of which the Anglican Church is an active member) plans to make a presentation to the Commissioners. Area high school students will be welcomed for “Education Day” on Thursday.
We anticipate learning about the culture and language recovery efforts of the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq peoples. We have worked with translators, Opolahsomuwehs and Joan Milliea, to translate the 1993 Anglican Apology into Maliseet and Mi’kmaq languages. Those translations have been validated by three grandmothers- Carmel Boucher and Betty McCoy (Maliseet), and Millie Milliea (Mi’kmaq).
On Sat. Oct. 29, a community feast and birthday celebration will take place for all those who missed celebrating childhood gatherings and feasts during residential school years. Local Anglicans and people from Roman Catholic, United and Presbyterian churches have coordinated their efforts around the birthday celebration and the provision of breakfasts throughout the National Event. The Atlantic Anglican coordinating team-Bishop Sue Moxley, the Rev. Cathy Lee Cunningham, Andy Sherin, and Ted Haslam-have ensured that we were actively represented in regional coordination around culture and program, and planning and logistics.
Above all, we invite the whole church to pray for the Atlantic National Event-that God’s Spirit will assist us all on a national journey of love-for healing, families and reconciliation-in more ways than we can ask or imagine.
Creator God, from you every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. You have rooted and grounded us in your covenant love, and empowered us by your Spirit to speak the truth in love, and to walk in your way towards justice and wholeness.
Mercifully grant that your people, journeying together in partnership, may be strengthened and guided to help one another grow into the full stature of Christ, who is our light and our life.
(A New Agape, The Anglican Indigenous Covenant Collect)
Henriëtte Thompson is coordinator of ecumenical, interfaith and government relations in the Office of the Primate, Anglican Church of Canada.