Our Annual General Meeting is this month, right after the worship service on October 29th. Our Board of Directors — who are our trusted elected leaders — is asking us as a congregation to vote yes to joining the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord. If you haven’t read it yet, this initiative, passed unanimously by the city council, can be found here: http://www.winnipeg.ca/Indigenous/WIA/default.stm
Some of you may remember that I shared parts of the Accord in a service during my candidating week back in May. I said then that, no matter the outcome of the vote to call me as your minister, signing on to the Accord seemed a natural choice for a congregation that already was living into a call for Truth and Reconciliation. One week later, you called me to come live among you as your minister, to become one of you, and join the ongoing story of this congregation. Even just two months in, I clearly recognize the same enthusiasm and dedication to this necessary work of healing that I glimpsed so many months ago.
We are already doing the work of the Accord. We have members who have the Truth and Reconciliation training from the Canadian Unitarian Council. Every Sunday we begin the service with a statement about being on Treaty One land, and we’re going to delve into exactly what that means. New this year in Faith Development is the Welcoming Study Group, facilitated by our DLFD, Andrea James, which will be a learning space to examine our assumptions about our dominant culture, and how to make room for those cultures which have been marginalized and oppressed by systems at large. (That group begins meeting this month — go sign up!) I have had numerous conversations with people who wish to do even more, and we are figuring out the best way to do all of it while also doing it well and making it both sustainable for the long run and accountable to our indigenous community partners. One of the ways we can do that is by signing on to the Accord.
But even if we weren’t already doing all these things, I believe we have a responsibility as Unitarian Universalists, who have covenanted together to affirm and promote our seven principles, to sign on to the Accord. If we are not willing to put our name and reputation on the line by signing on to an agreement asking us to commit our minds, bodies, and spirits toward making our principles a reality for everyone, not just those of us who sign the membership book — then I wonder what we are here for at all.
I believe in this congregation, with my whole heart. I believe in the work you were all doing before I got here, and I believe in the future we will create together. I also believe the next stage of that future begins with us signing the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord.
In gratitude and in faith,