Reconciliation is a worthwhile path; it is the one Jesus calls us to take.
It isn’t an easy one.
Thousands of First Nations people have suffered atrocities over several generations – the effects of which are still having a devastating impact on families and communities. It would be easy to stay angry – to remain in a place of justifiable, even righteous, rage. But many First Nations people are choosing to forgive.
This April, at Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga, CBOQ, CBM and the Convention of Atlantic Baptists Canada hosted New Paths, a conference dedicated to helping our Canadian Baptist community understand more about how to connect with our First Nations neighbours. Through sharing stories, music, culture and faith, attendees had the chance to learn about the difficult history and ongoing impact of the residential schools, but also about how we can learn about the person of Jesus and living faith from First Nations people and culture.
Whether through a illuminating history lesson on the shocking legacy of stolen children and systemic racism by Regional Chief Stan Beardy or the music and prayer of Cheryl Bear, there is so much we can learn from our First Nations family. Some partnerships have already begun, with a team from Uxbridge Baptist Church heading to Weagamow to lead a hockey camp for kids. Our CBOQ Compassion Experience team is heading to a First Nations community in western Ontario this summer. The opportunities to get to know each other and learn from each other are exciting, indeed!
The road to reconciliation is steep and difficult, but it also has the footprints of our exceedingly gracious God on it, who calls us into the far country to extend his love in his name.