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Reconciliation Meets Gospel Mission

May 24, 2023

From May 25-28, 160 Christian Reformed people from across Canada will gather in Ottawa, Ont., for the Canadian National Gathering and its focus on Hearts Exchanged and the work of reconciliation with Indigenous brothers and sisters.

Participants will be representatives selected by every CRCNA classis across Canada, along with members of Hearts Exchanged learning cohorts and various representatives of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.

In a recent post on The Network, Adrian Jacobs, a member of the planning team for the Canadian National Gathering, explained, “The theme of reconciliation can help us to understand many other facets of our Christian walk.”

In the area of Global Mission, for example, Jacob explained that understanding reconciliation can help us recognize how we can more fully share the gospel and live it missionally. He also shared the following reflections from missional leaders to illustrate these connections.

Joyce Suh

Joyce and her husband, Gil, served as missionaries with Resonate Global Mission in Nigeria and Cambodia. She currently works for Resonate as program leader for intercultural gospel witness.

“The gospel has two dimensions – reconciliation with God and reconciliation with each other. We are in a season of mission in which mission from the West is being placed in a bigger context of mission from everywhere to everyone. I believe it is a moment when God is calling us to see the gospel more fully through the eyes of others. We are called to something more than tolerance and to a longing for community. What will happen if we are willing to live into and experience God with and through others?”

Jeremiah Damir Bašurić

Jeremiah is a commissioned pastor at mosaicHouse Church, a multicultural Christian Reformed church plant in Edmonton, Alta. He is also a chaplain at an organization walking alongside those whom Scripture calls "blessed" and the "rich in faith."

“In terms of the gospel, the good news of Jesus must remain good news for all who participate in it. It cannot be a tool of power causing a god-like attitude of superiority (bad news for the message bearers); nor can it be a tool of oppression and manipulation causing an impoverished view of self (bad news for the message hearers).

“As we discern how to ‘connect’ with people and places, it is good to know how we are currently connected – good and bad. It is good to prayerfully observe in weakness (as opposed to discovering through strength) how the Spirit of Christ is breaking old and making new connections ahead of us.”

Anthony Pennings

Anthony and Barbara Pennings partner with Resonate Global Mission and work at DayStar, a ministry that serves Indigenous people in various First Nations communities in Ontario. They are based in M’Chigeeng First Nation with a focus on building mentoring relationships and supporting an Indigenous-led church plant.

“It didn’t take long for us to discover that when we had our own plan of how we intended to serve the community, usually it was quick to fall apart. It was far more valuable to serve the community by having our brothers and sisters in Christ on the reserve lead the direction instead. This takes a lot more time and a lot more investment – you really need to spend a lot of your time listening. When we presume that people see Jesus through the same cultural lens we do, we make a mistake. Indigenous believers work out what is appropriate for their expression of Christianity through prayer, Scripture reading, and understanding from the Holy Spirit.”

This post on Global Mission was just one in a series of posts that explored how a focus on reconciliation fits with the CRCNA’s four “milestones” of Our Journey 2025.

Other posts looked at how Indigenous worship can help us “cultivate practices of prayer and spiritual disciplines”, and at how the reconciliation journey helps us “listen to the voices of every generation.”

Please read them and be in prayer for the Canadian National Gathering and the work of reconciliation that will take place there this week.