Sunday, June 19, 2022

Indigenous Day of Prayer & the United Church

We begin by acknowledging that we are on land that has been inhabited by Indigenous people for thousands of years.

We acknowledge that Belleville - Quinte West community is located on/in the traditional territory of the Anishnabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee. This territory is covered by the Williams and Upper Canada Treaties.

Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work, live and play on this land.

Example of a local Land Acknowledgement 

In the United Church this is the Indigenous Day of Prayer, the Sunday before National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). It is an opportunity to celebrate First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples’ values, customs, languages, and culture.

Some congregations will begin worship with a land acknowledgment, others will devote the service to the theme reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The United Church has been on a painful but purposeful journey during which we have apologized for imposing Christian faith during colonization and participating in the horror of the Residential School system. We hope that a respectful relationship in which we are willing to learn from those who were marginalized in the past.  

A decade ago the United Church affirmed the presence and spirituality of Aboriginal peoples in the United Church by revising the church's crest. The crest changes include incorporating the colours often associated with the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel, which reflects respect for diversity and interdependence, is often represented in the four traditional colours of yellow, red, black, and white, which incorporate important teachings from the four directions, the four stages of life, and the four seasons. The crest changes also include the addition of the Mohawk phrase "Akwe Nia'Tetewá:neren" [aw gway--  nyah day day waw-- nay renh], which means "All my relations."

Here is a prayer from a service created for this day by the Reverend Jan Jorgensen who shares ministry with Robert Patton, a Kanien'kehá:ka Congregational Designated Minister and Elder, and the people of Kahnawake United Church.

Opening Prayer

One:    Creator, in love and through love, you have called all things into being. We thank you for mother earth, our home. We thank you for the heavens that watch over us and the starlight that warms and guides us. We thank you for all the plantsfor those that are medicine, for those that nourish us, for those that express your delight through their beauty and diversity. We thank you for all of our fellow creatures; may we share this earth with them in respect, with reverence. We thank you for soil, water, fire, air; for forests, plains, and mountains, deserts and tundra and oceans. And now, when so much of the world is threatened with destruction, help us to walk in humility with gratitude among all these sacred gifts from you.

We thank you for being a God of liberation, for you are ever seeking to bring us into the joy of your salvation; into a just, equitable, and holistic celebration of life.

We thank you for your compassion, which holds each and every one of us. We thank you for coming to us as Jesus, our teacher, brother, and friendfor dying on the cross and breaking the power of death in order to bring us back into harmony with you and all of Creation.

All:       Creator, thank you for your truth and wisdom, and for inviting us to travel the healing path with you; we offer you our hearts and minds so that we might embody your grace and share your blessings with all who live upon the earth. Amen.

No comments: