All Saints Commitment to Active Reconciliation
In the last few years, All Saints began a journey towards active reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters. This journey began in 2019 with a major campaign to raise funds, buy and donate winter clothing for children in Pikangikum, a remote northern Ontario First Nations community.
Our relations with that community started with financial support for Pimatisiwin Nipi(Living Water) Group through PWRDF providing water/sanitation in homes there. Relations blossomed with Eenchokay Birchstick (EBS) School who told us of the urgent need for student winter clothing. We found out that 70 students from kindergarten to high school did not have proper winter jackets and many did not have winter boots. Of the 300 students from kindergarten to Grade 3 only 30 had snow pants. In extreme cold many could not go out for recess.
Thanks to the generous outpouring of financial support from our congregation, St. Timothy’s North York, Grace Church Markham, and other individuals we were able to raise $10,366.00. With these funds All Saints purchased: 75 pairs of Snow Pants, 60 pairs of Boots, 66 pairs of winter mitts and 20 pairs of Ski Do Mitts at seasonal discount prices. Many merchants gave an additional discount when told of the reason for the purchase. Parishioner Leah Springford, through her involvement with ‘Newmarket Lions – Coats for Kids, provided 72 new Winter Jackets. We filled the list of clothing asked for by the EBS School.
In addition, a significant donations of children, youth and adult jackets [some new] snow pants, boots, knitted hats and mitts and various other clothing items were received by All Saints King City from the Anglican Parish of Lloydtown, Church of St. Aidan, Church of the Resurrection, St. George’s St. Catharines, Hiawatha First Nation and Trinity Clothes Closet.
A total of 65 boxes were shrink wrapped on 6 pallets for pick up by Rotary HIP- Honouring Indigenous People’s in partnership with Trucks for Change, a program sponsored by Rotary International. They were received with gratitude.
We also raised money for a Grade 8 from Eenchokay Birchstick school visit to Toronto-Niagara in June 2019. Unfortunately, Forest Fire evacuations and COVID have postponed this visit until June 2022. Although visit money has been collected since 2019, a community Walkathon prior to EBS Gr. 8 Visit is planned to raise All Saints donations to a new plateau.
All Saints has remained committed to Pikangikum when PWRDF chose to pivot to NGO, Water First Education & Training Inc. as the on-site water project coordinator in October 2019. Dialogue is maintained with EBS-Pikangikum Vice-Principal Brian Green and Missionary Colleen Estes, Living Hope Native Ministries.
Pre-COVID, our incumbent and treasurer attended multi-faith, governments, academe, corporation, Indigenous, Chief & Council, Pikangikum Working Group quarterly meetings hosted by WeirFoulds LLP.
During the summer of 2020 when most Pikangikum adults departed for bush camps to avoid COVID-19, leaving mothers and children in the community, All Saints provide $1000 in support of snacks for four Vacation Bible Camps sponsored through Living Hope Native Ministries.
In Advent 2019, All Saints co-ordinated and hosted 32 parishioners from 8 churches to Sainte Marie Among The Hurons-First Light- an annual re-enactment of Jesuit-Huron Advent 1649-which is now run in support of Midland Food Bank.
In 2021 our interim priest, Fr. Michael Peterson, together with Rev. David Franks (Trinity, Aurora) co-hosted a Zoom Lenten Indigenous studies series featuring “Quest For Respect” essays for parishioners from Holland Deanery. Each session was supported by local Indigenous Elder or pipe carrier knowledge keeper. Currently Fr. Michael is coordinating The Holland Deanery youth in the PWRDF “Mapping The Ground We Stand On” exercise.
In response to the Lytton wild fire, All Saints raised funds for The Territory of The People. Members of the parish have been invited by The Redeemer- Indigenous Solidarity Working Group “Travel for Learning” to participate in educational trips to Tyendinaga MT Mohawk Landing ceremony, Curve Lake FN Manoomin harvest and Crawford Lake Iroquoian Village. All Saints maintains with Toronto Urban Native Ministry and Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.
In June of 2021, on the National Indigenous Day of Prayer, All Saints started a new custom of beginning our main Sunday worship with this Prayer of Acknowledgement to Indigenous Nations. We feel that this prayer captures our commitment, however imperfect it may be, to continue on our Reconciliation Journey.
Holy Creator, you made all people of every land in your image and entrusted them with care of the earth you graciously gave to all peoples.
Make us mindful of those peoples who first occupied the land we are on, the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, as well as our current Indigenous Neighbours, the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.
Give us penitent hearts, that we may recall the destructiveness of western settlement on these peoples. Give us attentiveness, that we may hear and give thanks for indigenous voices in our Anglican Church of Canada.
Give us sincere and open hearts, that we may embrace the work of reconciliation to which you call our Church. We pray these things in Your Name, Your Son the Peacemaker and the Sacred Spirit. Amen