Resources for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30th 2023 is the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This date was chosen in conjunction with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots commemoration marked by the wearing of Orange Shirts on September 30 in remembrance of the children who had been forced to leave their families in order to attend residential schools. (See Orange Shirt Day story by Phyliss Webstad).
To help Canadian CRC members commemorate this day, the Christian Reformed Church in North America has produced a podcast and devotional reflection.
“National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a public remembering and lament of the colonial legacy of residential schools in Canada. It is a time of solemn reflection for all people in this land called Canada,” said Adrian Jacobs, Senior Leader for Indigenous Justice and Reconciliation for the CRCNA in Canada.
The establishment of this day also fulfills several calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a Canadian government-funded initiative that ran from 2008-2015 in order to document the history and lasting impacts of the Canadian Indian Residential School system.
“TRC Calls to Action 59 and 60 guide the work of CRCNA’s Indigenous ministries educational efforts with churches. These calls to action ask churches to ‘ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary,’” said Jacobs.
The resources produced for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2023 are designed to take approximately a half hour and will guide the participants through the calls to action and invite them into prayer and reflection.
“As Christians who believe in a God who reconciles us to himself and one another, the concept of reconciliation is familiar,” said Jacobs about the value of these materials for CRCNA audiences.
“We also recommend that you look for opportunities in your local area to participate in events, because reconciliation starts in people-to-people relationships often at the local level. Local Friendship Centres are a great place to inquire about public events.”