Dear friends of the Council,
A few weeks ago, an important Indigenous-Canadian musician Buffy Sainte-Marie was in concert in Kitchener, Ontario. For those unfamiliar with her work, Buffy Sainte-Marie rose to fame decades ago, as an icon of the idealistic “flower power” generation that believed the world could be changed. However, there are many difficult issues that continue to trouble us, and she highlighted one.
At the back of her stage, hanging from a coat hanger, was a plaintive red dress, a grim reminder of the 4,000 or more Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. And there was no mistaking the powerful message of protest, when she sang one of her signature pieces, “Whether you’re woman or whether you’re man, sometimes you got to take a stand,”
Christmas recollects a moment when God drew near and radically “took a stand” out of love for humanity. So, too, must we—as a council of churches in Canada and as human beings—seek to take a loving stance toward God and neighbour.
- We must continue to acknowledge and weep for the unmarked graves at former Residential Schools and the unconscionable loss they represent;
- We must continue to lament and condemn acts of hatred committed out of racial and religious discrimination;
- We must continue to raise awareness of the human impact of issues like climate change, arms sale treaties, and sex trafficking;
- We must continue to wrestle with the ways genetic engineering impacts what it means to be human;
- We must continue to combat xenophobia and stand with sisters and brothers of African descent.
We must also continue to work toward unity among Christians. As the new year approaches, we invite our member churches to participate in the 2022 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year’s theme, “We saw the star in the East, and we came and worshipped Him (Mt 2:2),” was chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches. It focuses on the story of the magi who have seen a star and have come to worship the Christ child. How important a lesson that God invites strangers from a foreign land to be a part of His story! There is no place in His world for a narrow and parochial outlook. God’s good news is for all people, and we have a part in making it so.
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The magi also remind us that this is a season of gift-giving. They came with their gifts, and so may we. The work we do together is worthy of your wholehearted support.
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The Christmas story assures us that we are not alone. May the hope and life Christ brings brighten your life.
With all good wishes,
The Canadian Council of Churches