(Here are some updates from communities of faith involved in Being Good Relations, shared in the spirit of sparking your creative commitments and lifting your spirits. The Being Good Relations Network covers Northern Spirit and Chinook Winds Regional Councils, and focuses on living out the TRC Calls to Action, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Caretakers’ Calls to the United Church, and other commitments. We focus on accompanying each other, and our faith communities and wider communities, on that wider journey, working alongside each other as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and taking direction from Indigenous communities. New members are welcome! Want to join the email list for occasional updates? Have a story to share Email Julie at jgraham@united-church.ca)

Work at McKillop in Lethbridge, Johanna Pritchard

In September of 2022, the Justice Peace and Social Action committee of McKillop United Church in Lethbridge organised a Land Acknowledgement training for members of their faith community. We also invited members of all the other United Churches in Southwest Alberta. Reverend Tony Snow facilitated this event over zoom. This was a successful training in getting each attendee started on their personal Land Acknowledgement.

Our next step will be to have training on Calls to Action and we will include all of the United Churches in Southwest Alberta again. Our goal with this is to form a working group that can begin the work of reconciliation as a larger group of faith- based members.

Updates from Hillhurst United Church in Calgary: Building Capacity: Truth & Reconciliation

by Alyssa Lindsay

– Tony Snow is now working with Chinook Winds Regional Council and not based at Hillhurst, but continues to offer support and guidance to our work.

– 4th Tuesday of the month Right Relation circles will continue as a regional event

– Hillhurst leadership group to meet monthly to think about bringing Right Relations more through different aspects of the church, rather than focused on 4th Tuesday circle (less siloed)

Building towards having strong value and interest in Right Relations work by entire congregation by Spring Visioning sessions.

–  Building towards having strong value and interest in Right Relations work by entire congregation by Spring Visioning sessions.

Opportunities being explored/ideas for way forward

1) building connections with community – getting outside of the walls of the church – going to events, participating together

2) Bringing new members into understanding of Right Relations and why it is important – How to share/ use Ally toolkit and other resources

3) Fewer, more whole church events – connected with what’s happening – important dates and timing  – ie Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes workshop in November (see below).

3) Connecting with different aspects of the church, integrating right relations into what’s already happening – ie Hillhurst happenings newsletter, Sunday service, kids space etc.

4) Finding ways to support Indigenous community/contribute to what’s happening and needed.  Finding ways for leveraging our resources and strengths to do this in good ways.  ie Cheryle workshop recording?

5) Connecting with outreach work and recognizing Right Relations work connection/support.   Largely Indigenous community taking part.

Hillhurst is planning a workshop with Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes. Cheryle is a Traditional Knowledge Keeper and the Indigenous Project Facilitator who will direct a day-long workshop combining the Medicine Wheel Teachings presentation as an introductory guideline and basis for understanding, and then deliver a four-part PowerPoint Presentation “Building Capacity: Truth & Reconciliation, ending with a Sharing Circle and Q&A session.”

The plan is for a day-long workshop, “Building Capacity: Truth & Reconciliation”. This will include “a learning session to understand the Four Directions/Medicine Wheel analogy central to this project. This workshop is intent on replacing Indigenous racism, prejudice and misinformation by providing difficult “Truths” and accurate historical insight into Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples, seen through the eye of the Truth & Reconciliation Commissions’ “94 Calls to Action”.

Participants will become more familiar with Indigenous learnings, sharing of history and timeline review of legislation, and take a hard look at the ongoing effects of colonialism and capitalism in the shaping of Canada.  We will examine today’s issues and challenges, disparities and injustices, healings and successes.  We focus on our responsibilities as Canadians sharing Turtle Island, encouraged to shape our future with compassion and optimism, to empower ourselves ‘in a good way’ and commit to Reconcili’ACTION’ – for all our relations.”