Throughout the centuries, churches have rung bells for many reasons. To celebrate, to warn, to mourn.
The Anglican Church of Canada is marking 22 days between the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for residential schools on May 31 until National Aboriginal Day on June 21.
A variety of events are planned and St. Dunstans in Aldergrove is joining other churches in ringing bells for the 1,181 missing Aboriginal and Indigenous women. This is a call for all Canadians to remember the women and also a call to the government to investigate their deaths.
“For almost a century, the Anglican Church of Canada worked with the federal government to run a total of 36 residential schools for Indigenous children. While some participants may have had nobler intentions, the underlying colonial aim was the destruction of Indigenous cultures by taking children from their families, driving many parents and children into social dysfunction and addiction. Many of the students who attended the schools suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse,” General Secretary Michael Thompson said.
“We cannot undo the harm that was done but we can work to promote relationships between our cultures and to change the future for this country.
“The call from the Primate and bishops to ’22 Days’ of prayer, listening, witness and commitment is part of our commitment to take seriously the recommendations of the TRC, and the responsibilities that are handed along to us as their work concludes,” General Secretary Michael Thompson said. (from the Anglican Church of Canada website, anglican.ca)
On Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. during June, when you hear the bells, take just a moment to hold the missing women in your heart and mind. Change is slow but surely coming.