The following is the text from a letter to the church from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson:
Dear friends in Christ,
Grace to you and peace in the name of Christ our Saviour!
I am writing to encourage you to participate in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The TRC is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement with a mandate to understand the truth and inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools (IRS). On June 16-19, 2010, the TRC will host in Winnipeg the first of seven national events to promote awareness and public education about the IRS system and its impacts. In the coming years, the other six events will be held in different regions across Canada. The TRC will document the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the IRS experience, and hopes to “guide and inspire Aboriginal peoples and Canadians in a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships that are based on mutual understanding and respect.”
Even though our church was not involved in the operation of residential schools, it is important that we participate in this process. It is important to support the healing process for survivors. It is important for us to participate so that we can support our sister churches, including our full communion partner, the Anglican Church of Canada, as they work towards healing and reconciliation. It is important for all Canadians to be honest about our history and to be renewed in relationship. And our participation will help us, as the ELCIC, to enrich and expand our relationship with Aboriginal peoples.
We will be looking at this more closely at the 2011 ELCIC National Convention which will be held in Saskatchewan, the province with the largest Aboriginal population in Canada. The theme of that convention will be “Covenant People: In Mission for Others.” It will be an opportunity to explore how our Baptismal covenant is at the root of our call to be In Mission for Others. In addition, the word “treaty” is a synonym for “covenant,” so the theme “Covenant People: In Mission for Others” gives us the opportunity to explore how we as a church and as Canadians are treaty people.
You can find more information about the TRC process at their website, www.trc-cvr.ca. The Anglican Church of Canada website also has information on IRS and the apology process: www.anglican.ca/rs. If you are in Winnipeg on June 16-19, I encourage you to attend at least a part of the event. If you are from a different part of the country I encourage you to watch for future events, and to take part in any local opportunity to engage the TRC process.
May God continue to bless you as we strive together to be a church In Mission for Others.
Yours in Christ,
ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson
A pdf version of the letter is available at the following link: https://www.elcic.ca/Documents/PastoralletterMay2010.pdf
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
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