Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Newsletter

Item #1
A couple months ago the Truth and Reconciliation Committee released their report regarding Residential Schools. And now we as Canadians need to decide how we move forward into reconciliation. One of the ways to do that is to re-learn our history from a different point of view. With that in mind we have arranged for St. Paul's to host a “blanket exercise” with facilitators provided by KAIROS. The KAIROS folks describe the exercise this way:
Created in 1997 after the release of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the KAIROS Blanket Exercise is a one hour participatory workshop that will help participants understand how colonization of the land we now know as Canada has impacted the people who lived here long before settlers arrived. Through this exercise participants will explore the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, how this relationship has been damaged over the years, and how they can work toward reconciliation. The Blanket Exercise is KAIROS' most popular resource, and has over the years evolved from a humble workshop to a community and movement building teaching tool.
The exercise will be a one-hour experience and then a time of debriefing. Patty and I took part in a blanket exercise 14 years ago and both found it very moving. This will happen on October 17 at 1:00 in the Large/East Basement. Mark the date and spread the word!

For more about the Blanket exercise see this page:

Item #2
The General Council of the United Church had its 42nd meeting last month. General Council is the national body of the United Church. Retired minister Rev. David Shearman wrote this summary of what happened and has given us permission to reprint it:

Item #3
On May 26 2016 I will celebrate 15 years of Ordination. As a way to mark that anniversary I am going to take a Sabbatical from the Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day weekend, a period of 3 months and two weeks of combined Sabbatical and holiday time.

What ever will I do with all that time? (Actually a serious question—I get itchy by the end of a month of vacation time)

The United Church of Canada policy on Sabbatical suggests that there are 3 areas of focus for the time. One is rest and rejuvenation. One is some Spiritual development/growth. And one is some learning component. I would argue that there is often some overlap between the second and the third, and probably some overlap between the first and the second for that matter.

A large part of my time will be reading and, possibly, watching TED talks. In the near future I hope to choose a topic area or two to focus on and start collecting resources. There is also a good chance we will try to find something like a Naramata family camp to attend (it was going to be a Naramata week but with the closing of Naramata Center we have to look elsewhere. A third goal is to try and be intentional about getting in better shape. The M&P Committee has suggested that just being at ease with being not working for that period might be a growth goal in and of itself. And of course the reason we chose that period of time was not only because it is a slower period in the life of the church but also because it covers the summer when school is out which makes room for some intentional family time.

I know it is only September but May will come pretty quick. So we need to start planning. Over the next while the M&P and Worship Committees will be actively recruiting folks to cover Sunday worship. I know there are lots of people or groups of people in this congregation with the ability to lead worship. If this is of interest please talk to me or to Susan McKenzie. We will need to work out coverage for funerals. We will need to make a decision about wedding requests for next summer (hopefully soon because who knows when Carla will get a call). And we will need to talk about Pastoral Care coverage.

In our list of Committees we have a Pastoral Care Committee. It is a literary work at the moment. But I think we need to put some flesh on it. I think the Sabbatical gives us an opportunity. We start developing a team of people who visit (or contact by phone or some other form of support) on behalf of the congregation so that we cover those needs over next summer and then just keep it going. We need this team to maintain contact with each other. If you are interested in helping to rebuild this aspect of our shared life (I am told it used to exist) or if you know someone who would be a good member of such a team please drop me a note.

There will be more information about the Sabbatical as the months progress. And a year from now I will put together some sort of “What I did on my Sabbatical” report. It should be an interesting process. Oh and if you have a suggestion for a topic area of focus for my reading/viewing feel free to pass it on!

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