Dear Members and Friends of Grace,
Hearing the horrible news about the remains of the 215 children that were uncovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, has stirred in all of us all kinds of emotions. Of all the emotions that I felt this past week, the two dominant ones are anger and deep sadness. When I heard that some of the remains are those of three-year-old children, it hit very close to home. As I sit and write this, I am listening to my three-year-old playing happily and loudly in the other room. Any minute now, I am sure that my child will call out to me because he needs or wants something, or he will do something inappropriate that will require my gentle yet firm corrective guidance. Uprooting Indigenous children from their culture, language, and family was devastating. We have heard the reports of abuse that children faced while at the residential schools. The news reports from this past week, demonstrate to us that what the children experienced was more than anyone could have ever imagined.
Each of these 215 children was a child of God and loved by God. The Church, as the Body of Christ in the world, is called to both practice and proclaim the gospel. At this residential school, and countless others, it is evident that people connected to the Church were not doing the Lord’s work. The governments, that were elected to maintain order and keep people safe, turned a blind eye to the abuses that took place at these schools. Even though each of these children had a name and was created by God, certain individuals connected to the Church did not value God’s creation and chose to not bury them in graves marked with their names.
Human sinfulness and evil are present in the world. As members of the Body of Christ, we are called, through our baptism, to identify evil and sinfulness when and where we see it. At the same time, we are also called to advocate for those things that support the wellbeing of God’s children.
The bishops of the ELCIC have written a letter, calling us to reengage in the work of reconciliation. In the letter, they ask us to encourage our elected government representative to follow through on recommendations that were made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). They also provide a list of resources.
We must pray for the families and communities in British Columbia and across Canada that have suffered and continue to suffer because of the residential school system. Please join in prayer with everyone in the ELCIC using the prayer that was written by the ELCIC bishops.
Peace in Christ,