On the morning of Day 2 of Synod 2015 the agenda was moving very rapidly. It was just 11am and the next item scheduled for 12noon was Noonday Prayers. A group approached Synod Planning Chair, Simon Johnston and asked if they could offer some information and food for thought regarding the upcoming Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) final report events in Ottawa May 31st - June 3rd.
Jerry Adams from St. James' led the discussion followed by Brander McDonald, Indigenous Justice Ministries Coordinator for the Diocese of New Westminster who posed the following questions to Synod Members for table discussion in their Parish groups: "What can your local community do to enhance your engagement of bridgebuilding with indigenous neighbours and parish followers to assist them in a sense of belonging and healing regarding the TRC?"
The table discussion protocol was facilitated by the Reverend Clarence Li of St. Hilda's, Sechelt who gave the plenary 10 minutes to discuss the question.
After the 10 minutes, the first person to report back was Lay Secretary to Synod/Anglican Archivist, Melanie Delva who stressed that only the "Commission" part of TRC was ending and that "Truth" and "Reconciliation" will continue and will be an ongoing part of our society and of our journey as people of faith.
A recurring theme of Synod comments and questions were under the general topic of the differences between ministry in the urban parishes of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the suburban parishes of the Fraser Valley. Regarding reconciliation and First Nations engagement some of the suburban parishes commented that they know which First Nations land they inhabit but have not engaged or integrated that reality into any phase of their ministry.
St.James' parishioner, Pat McSherry spoke about the KAIROS initiated Blanket Exercise that took place earlier in the month at St. James' and the plan to ring the St. James' bell every day for 22 days—from May 31(first day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s closing ceremonies in Ottawa) to June 21 (National Aboriginal Day)—the bell will be rung in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in their cry for justice and for a special commission.