It is our hope and prayer that congregations across Canada will reach out in relationship to their Indigenous neighbours and begin to take responsibility for reconciliation. Through empathy, education and equipping the IET is here to help you fulfill God’s call to missions here at home.
The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Indigenous peoples: First Nations, Inuit and Metis. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. 1.7 million people (5% of the population) identify themselves as Indigenous – 977,000 (58%) First Nations; 587,000 (35%) Metis; 65,000 (4%) Inuit. Approximately 50% of those identifying as First Nations live off reserve or settlement. There are more than 600 First Nations and 3,100 reserves in Canada.
If you’d like to learn more about Indigenous culture and how you can reach out in relationship and take responsibility for reconciliation, please contact our IET Leader: Adam Kline
Many Voices – One Heart
One of the ways your congregation can be educated and equipped is by hosting our “Many Voices – One Heart” experience. This is an opportunity for followers of Jesus to learn about Indigenous history here in Canada, and help create a common ground for the larger community to pursue reconciliation and relationship together. This experience is made possible thanks to our partnership with Jonathan Maracle of Broken Walls and our Blanket Exercise Facilitators trained and certified through KAIROS Canada.
Where to Begin
“One Church Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You” by Richard Twiss
“Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity” by Randy Woodley
“Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips and Suggestions” by Bob and Cynthia Joseph
North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies: www.naiits.com
At our 2008 General Conference the Free Methodist Church in Canada publicly confessed “a role in the oppression of First Nations people, whether by action or passive inaction, past or present.”
As members of Canadian society, Free Methodists participated in electing successive governments throughout the 20th century who contributed to oppression and injustice toward Indigenous peoples. As people claiming the name “Christian,” Free Methodists also have a connection to the wider Christian community which sought to eliminate the cultural identity of First Nations peoples in the name of “Christianizing” them.
In this 2008 statement leaders in our movement said: “It is Jesus’ heart desire that their dignity, which has been destroyed through these circumstances, be rebuilt so they can recognize, then receive God’s mercy and grow in His love. The Free Methodist Church in Canada has a role to play in achieving this goal. In identifying the souls around us that are dejected, angry, hurt from lost dignity, and seeking to restore this aspect of their spiritual life, we will earn their trust. Only then can we show through our actions and words that God’s Kingdom is truly an inclusive and Eternal Nation characterized by mercy, grace and love. By seeking the well-being of others we will find greater spiritual health ourselves as individuals and churches.”
Fast forward to our 2021 General Conference, after several years of planting seeds of truth and reconciliation, being led by the Spirit in partnership and friendship with Indigenous elders and leaders, and after inviting Free Methodists across Canada to take the time to listen and to learn, A Response and Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, was read and received:
And as part of our ongoing commitment, on September 30th 2021, the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, A Sacrament and Liturgy for Truth and Reconciliation, was released: