More than a year ago the Diocese of Edmonton came together to take part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Now, as the TRC holds its closing event in Ottawa this spring, Anglicans are asked to take 22 days to share what they are doing to promote healing and recognition.
The #22days campaign will mark the three weeks between the close of the TRC on May 31, and National Aboriginal Day on June 21. For 22 days, churches across the country will be taking time to remember the horror of Residential Schools, recognize the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women, and honor our commitment to reconciliation. Primate Fred Hiltz says that “Hopefully, it is another sign to the TRC and to indigenous people that our church is serious about its ongoing work beyond supporting the mandate of the TRC itself.”
In Edmonton, these 22 days hold added significance as they begin on Trinity Sunday, the day when one year ago parishes across the diocese planted chokecherry trees as a sign of reconciliation. Joining in the #22days campaign will be a chance to affirm that our commitment to reconciliation has not been forgotten.
At All Saints’ Cathedral, each of the 22 days will be marked by special noon vigils, which will include hearing a story of a Residential School survivor, a time of silence, prayers, and ringing the bells for murdered and missing indigenous women.
“When I met with Deans of Cathedrals across Canada to begin planning this event,” says Dean of Edmonton Neil Gordon, “the hope was that it would mark not only the end of a significant chapter in national life, but would also symbolize that we are going to continue to work on this issue and that it is not ‘over’.”
Cathedrals and churches across Canada will join in the ringing of bells. 1017 indigenous women and girls were murdered between 1980 and 2012, and 164 indigenous women and girls were classified by the RCMP as missing in suspicious circumstances, 1181 in total. Bells will be rung for each of them in solidarity with indigenous peoples in their cry for justice and for a special commission.
Bishop Jane encouraged every parish to join in the movement in her charge to the 64th Synod. “In this diocese, I hope we will all enter into these days of prayer and reflection. I encourage all churches with bells to ring bells for each of the 1181 murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. Bells could be rung on National Aboriginal Day; 11 days out of the 22 days; or every day for 22 days.”