August 06, 2009 12:00 ET

General Council to Reflect on Truth and Reconciliation

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2009) -

For delegates to the United Church's 40th General Council, Monday afternoon, August 10, will provide a unique opportunity to hear residential school survivors speak to the church.

This opportunity will leave delegates with a lasting impression and a sharpened understanding of why the United Church has committed itself to finding ways to reconcile its relationship with Canada's First Nations peoples.

Also participating in this 90-minute session will be Marie Wilson, one of the three recently appointed Commissioners to Canada's Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Her presentation will help to focus the delegates' attention on two questions:

* What is the opportunity that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents to our nation?
* What are two things that I can do when I go home to prepare for the TRC coming to my community/church?

The agenda time on Monday afternoon will closely follow the church's participation in the survivors' event this weekend sponsored by the Tk'emlups Indian Band, First Nations Health Council, and the B.C. Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society. Both Moderator David Giuliano and General Secretary Nora Sanders, will travel to Kamloops Friday afternoon, August 7, to spend the evening along with other United Church representatives who have been invited to attend the three-day survivors' gathering.

On Monday evening, delegates will also have an opportunity to attend optional workshops dealing with building congregational strategies for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and living into right relations.

"Reconciling, particularly in the case of serious harm, is more than merely saying 'I'm sorry,'" explains the Rev. James Scott, The United Church of Canada's General Council Officer for Residential Schools. "Apology is not the end of the encounter between two peoples, but the beginning of a transformed way of being together. There is a relationship to be restored, a friendship to be rebuilt, a living together to be harmonized."

Adds Scott, "An apology is only the beginning-it is not reconciliation. The hard work of reconciling lies in the living out of the apology. I believe that our church has made efforts to give substance to its words of apology. But with each step in our attempt to 'walk the talk,' we see more clearly what will be required to 'reconcile.' We are only now coming to understand the depth of the harm done, the length of the healing road before us, and how profound a change is required of us."
/For further information: Mary-Frances Denis
Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office until August 5, 2009)
416-400-7273 (cell/voice mail August 5–18, 2009)
250-807-9451 (August 7-16, 2009) PLEASE NOTE THIS PHONE DOES NOT HAVE VOICE MAIL

Contact Information

  • Mary-Frances Denis, Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations, The United Church of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
    Toll-Free: 800-268-3781