Canada

Prayers for Peacemakers, January 13, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, January 13, 2016

Give thanks for the gift of water. Give thanks for the Indigenous peoples defending clean water around the world today. Pray that governments and corporations will abandon resource extraction projects that threaten watersheds.

January 17, 2016  Second Sunday in Epiphany
Anishinaabe Water Walkers
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalm 36:7-9
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 9, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 9, 2015

Give thanks that Canada is finally launching a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Pray for the inquiry to be fully equipped, empowered and lead by the families, and that it will bring Canada's legacy of colonial misogyny into the light.

*Epixel for Third Sunday in Advent, December 13, 2015

From a February 2014 March for Murdered and Missing Women and Girls.

 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflicts you: and I will save her who is lame,
and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land
 where they have been put to shame.

At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you:
for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth,
when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord.  Zephaniah 3:19-20 KJV (adapted)


*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 12, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 12, 2015

Please pray for the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team, who are part of an accompaniment of Haudenosaunee hunters conducting a deer harvest in the Short Hills Provincial Park near St Catharines ON. In the past, hunt protesters have used blatant racism and intimidation, so the team and their local allies aim to offer a positive presence, demonstrate support for treaty rights, and be prepared to de-escalate tensions. 

 *Epixel for Sunday, November 15, 2015 
 
 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds Hebrews 10:24 
 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

Last year's report 

CANADA: E-mail Prime Minister Trudeau; tell him to stop the bombing of Iraq.


On October 19, 2015 Canadians elected a Liberal majority government, led by Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister in the 1970s and early 1980s. Mr. Trudeau’s first public announcement (an election promise) was that he would immediately order an end to the bombing by six Canadian CF-18 warplanes of targets in Iraq and later Syria. About one year ago former Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the then Conservative government had decided to add Canada’s warplanes to the U.S. bombing mission in Iraq. A much belittled news headline said, “Trudeau accuses Harper government of ‘trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are’ in Iraq.”

But two weeks after this promise by the Prime Minister, the Canadian Forces are still ‘whipping out their CF-18s’ to get in as many killer bombing runs as possible. For the third day in a row since the new government swearing-in (November 4) Canadian bombers have been dropping their deadly load onto Iraqi human beings. There is nothing to prevent an immediate order for cessation of the bombings, which would harm nothing and no one. 

Please send a quick on-line message to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to live up to a commitment he made on his first day as Prime Minister-designate when he called President Obama and said he would be ending the mission. He has no excuses not to issue an immediate order to ground the warplanes and begin the process of ending the bombing campaign.

Go to this weblink (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm) and send a quick email to Mr. Trudeau to STOP THE BOMBING.

CANADA/IRAQI KURDISTAN: Political leaders stepping down graciously—and not.

 

The government workers (teachers, medical workers etc) have been 
 demonstrating since 3 October. They have not received salaries in 3 months. 
They have received their salaries very sporadically for two years.

Last Monday my country, Canada, had an election. Most of the people I know, with some exceptions, welcomed this event. We were tired of a leader who had created a Canada that we did not recognize anymore, one that removed protection from our rivers and lakes, who ignored indigenous peoples, made the process of immigrating to this country more onerous and oppressive etc. etc. We were hopeful that a new prime minister and cabinet would be better, even if they were not perfect.

In Canada, a prime minister can run and be re-elected as many times as the people say yes. Steven Harper could have continued to be the leader until he died if the voters had chosen him to continue. However, the voters had had enough and turned out in numbers that had not been seen in twenty-two years. We heard of some polling stations that ran out of ballots because so many people came to express their dissatisfaction and desire for change.

Two days after the election.  I was reading articles coming from Iraqi Kurdistan where I spend the other half of my life working with Christian Peacemaker Teams. In this region, Massoud Barzani is the president.  Iraqi Kurdistan has the rule that a president can stay in power for only two terms or eight years.  He was first elected as president in 2005. He was re-elected in 2009 with nearly 70% of the vote. Then in August 2013 the Kurdish parliament extended the term for another two years, bringing the end date to August 2015.

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 7, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 7, 2015

Pray that the nation of Canada will repent of its cruelty, and stop denying 169 First Nations communities access to clean drinking water.

*Epixel for Sunday, October 10, 2015 
 
 5:7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground!

5:10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.

5:11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.

5:12 For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins-- you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate.
 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Blinded by colonization

 

Larry Morrisette

“I am not sick. I am not a victim. I have been colonized. I am a member of a strong and resilient people. The effects of being colonized have made me sick. I have been victimized but that is not who I am. I have been healed, and continue to heal, by the traditional ways and medicines of my ancestors—given to them by the Great Spirit.” (A paraphrase)

Larry Morrissette of Winnipeg’s Bear Clan (one clan among many) explains how colonization has attempted to destroy his culture and eradicate his people’s claims on the land we call Canada. 

Larry is the founder and president of Medicine Fire Lodge Inc., an Indigenous organization involved in cultural revitalization through education and training. He teaches at the University of Winnipeg. One day, he tells us, he showed up to give a lecture and a security guard stopped him and asked him if he was looking for the Food Bank.

He says this kind of thing can trigger memories of abuse suffered in the residential school by “mean” nuns. His hope is that the young people—including his children and grandchildren—who learn the traditional teachings and use the medicines of their people will be better able to protect themselves from such attacks on their personhood.

“They thought we’d be gone by now—but we’re still here.”

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY REFLECTION: All My Relations


As we race home, the kilometres clicking, stock markets dipping, politicians promising brighter futures in radio sound bites, Lynn reads from the Truth and Reconciliation’s (TRC) 388 page report “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future”. As an official document – it’s surprisingly digestible. As a record of Canada’s history – it’s deeply troubling. 

As we drive south, mists rising off the lakes surround the hills. It has an otherworldly effect—making me feel like the world we’re leaving is an unreal, distant, a dream that disappears like smoke once daylight arrives.

Passing through hour after hour of northern forests it might be easy to think there’s a limitless supply of timber. It could be easy to forget the living nightmare the people of Grassy Narrows have shared with us. Return to my same old ways of getting by, consuming energy and natural resources without a thought to the true costs of my living.

I remember what Larry Morrissette, who talked to us about de-colonization in Winnipeg, said about Development.  “You flush the toilet – and somebody else gets the shit.”

We have short memories when it comes to such things. The 1996 Royal Commission covered much of the same territory as the TRC report. It made many of the same recommendations. Most of which were conveniently disregarded by those in power and forgotten by the general public.

This TRC document however, is soaked in the tears of the Residential School survivors. The TRC heard over 6,000 stories. Many heartbreaking accounts are captured in the pages. In addition to the hard cold truths of how we made “our home on native lands,” it documents the human costs. The truth is that the “true north” is neither strong nor free.

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 9, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 9, 2015

Give thanks that the Aamjiwnaang First Nation is speaking out about the damage that “Chemical Valley” in the Sarnia area is doing to its nation as well as to the other living creatures.  Christian Peacemaker Teams recently participated in a “Toxic Tour” as an act of solidarity with the Aamjiwnaang people.   Like ninety other First Nations in Canada, including Grassy Narrows, Aamjiwnaang First Nation is unable to drink the water on its land.

 *Epixel for Sunday, September 12, 2015 
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray, save my life!" Psalms 116: 3-4
 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

MIGRATION REFLECTION: Not since World War II… so many people looking for HOME

 

Afghan refugees on Lesvos

I have been home three weeks and am now able to re-enter Winnipeg society. I no longer have to cocoon in my house, unable to face the huge grocery stores and my friends who ask me how I am.  Already I can go hours without even thinking of  the people I sat with in Iraqi Kurdistan. I am forgetting the heat and the sweat and the burning hot wind. I am forgetting the tears and pain of mothers sitting on the sidewalk begging with their eyes, families in unfinished houses asking for a refrigerator so their water can be cool enough to drink and people living in flappy tents that fall down in the blustery winds.   I am forgetting the father looking at his 21-year-old son who is thinking of paying money to a smuggler to try to get to a life worth living. I am forgetting the words, "What else can he do?"

But there are still hours when I remember. When I read news of seventy people dying in a smuggler's truck because no one would open the doors.  When I hear from my colleagues working on the island of Lesvos of ordinary people risking the life and breath of their children to get onto inflated boats trying to find a society who will embrace them and say welcome.