Canadian leaders of the Christian Reformed Church in North America sent a letter of congratulations on July 1, Canada Day, to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian government officials to mark the 150th anniversary of the country’s confederation.
The letter — signed by a range of CRCNA ministry leaders — is more than a message of congratulations. It is also a reflection of gratitude for how CRCNA members have been “blessed by the peace, order, and good government afforded by Canada” since its immigrant founders started the first CRCs in Canada in the early 1900s.
In addition, the letter speaks of how the CRCNA and its members have become part of the fabric of Canadian life, engaging with issues and joining with their communities to seek opportunities for all people
The letter says: “Together we have focused on Aboriginal ministry, faith formation, disability concerns, race relations, volunteer opportunities, global mission, social justice, international disaster response, community development, outreach to newcomers and refugees, and ecumenical and interfaith collaboration with other faith communities in Canada.”
In addition, the letter takes the opportunity to touch on the fact that the CRCNA, as a part of Canada, also shares “responsibility for its shortcomings, injustices, and sins.”
The letter laments some of these shortcomings of the country and the church over the years, said Peter Noteboom, the denomination’s Canadian development director.
“We are reminded that our land is broken and we have fallen so short of what we have been called and required to do,” said Noteboom.
In the letter and in other ways in which the CRCNA is marking the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation, said Noteboom, the church is asking government officials as well as its own congregations to work harder for justice.
In the letter the CRCNA says, “In witness to Christ’s kingdom of grace and mercy, we call our own members, all citizens of Canada, and our governments acting on our behalf, to thoughtful and urgent action to redress the most pressing justice concerns of our land.”
These include the following:
- continuing to seek and build reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
- welcoming refugees
- caring for a sustainable environment
- protecting children and families
- restraining religious persecution
- promoting sustainable development
As part of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration, CRCNA staff have also sent a brochure to all the CRC congregations in Canada, suggesting several ways in which CRCNA members can take part in this year’s activities.
These range from joining in events in local communities, making a visit to an Indigenous community, hosting a refugee family, or taking part in Inspire 2017, a CRCNA gathering of ministry workers, both paid and volunteer, being held Aug. 3-5.
“We see Canada 150 as an opportunity for the church to think about the role it will play in the public life of Canada” in the years to come, said Noteboom.