A Reflection on National Indigenous Peoples Day, 2020: As we approach the celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 (National Indigenous People’s Day of Prayer in the Church), the news has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the George Floyd tragedy that happened in Minnesota on May 25. This blatant murder by a police officer of an unarmed Black man has caused people to stop in their tracks and really consider what equality for all people is about. The violence toward Black people in the USA, and the racism in our own country shows how deeply divided we are as a society.
In his book, “The Skin We’re In,” Black author Desmond Cole looks at Canada in the year 2017, month by month, and talks about his own experiences living with the injustices directed toward Black people on a daily basis. He devotes a chapter to Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and urges solidarity with them as their experiences are similar.
We Indigenous people have lived with this for generations and in order to survive we have become numb to it all. You might wonder what keeps us going on, and what is it that we have to celebrate on National Indigenous Peoples day….?
In the Diocese of New Westminster, and in the national Anglican Church, we have a lot to celebrate. I cannot help but feel gratitude for how far the churches in this diocese and their Aboriginal neighbours have come in building relationships and celebrating each others’ communities. It is a joy to see churches celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day in their liturgies. It has been wonderful to have an annual celebratory Feast on the grounds of the Synod Office, which includes singing and dancing offered by the Coast Salish and Nisga’a peoples, Métis dancers and fiddlers, and the Big Drum group representing the Plains peoples. It was very special for the Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dancers (of which I and members of my family are members) to be part of the Opening Eucharist for General Synod, July, 2019.
We can all truly look up to Indigenous heroes like; Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Dr. Chief Bobby Joseph, and Archbishop Mark MacDonald. Young leaders are emerging, such as Keane Tait who is keeper of Nisga’a knowledge. There are so many more people we can look up to as our Nations continue to grow and thrive. Nii K’an Kwsdins (aka Jerry Adams) June 12, 2020
Re-Opening plans for St. Michael’s Church (Updated June 18, 2020). We are very pleased to let you know that our application to re-open St. Michael’s Anglican Church to in-person worship has been approved by Archbishop Melissa Skelton. Our first in-person worship service will be on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Please note the new service times as follows; 8:00 am – B.C.P. Service and, 9:15 am – B.A.S. Service. Both services will be a Morning Prayer.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the members of St. Michael’s Parish Council for providing support in preparing this application.
Phase II Protocol. Please see down below some of the re-opening protocols that should be observed by all of us as we come back to our church building.
- Service will be Morning Prayer. No Holy Communion.
- The entrance door will remain open to prevent surface contamination of handles and to increase ventilation.
- Pews will be measured off in 6 feet sections and marked with tape – only alternate rows will be used.
· Physical distancing must be observed and we must refrain from touching each other.
· Music will be piano/organ only – congregational singing is not allowed but a soloist is permitted.
· The offering plate will not be passed – it will be left on the table at the back of the sanctuary.
· Washrooms are for emergency use only – users will be asked to sanitize surfaces following use – gloves, paper towels and sanitizer will be provided.
· Bulletins will not be handed out – they can be collected from the table at the entrance doors and placed in recycle bins by the exit doors at the end of the service – books will be removed from the pews.
· Coffee time is suspended for now and parishioners are encouraged to leave the building when the service is over.
· Guests are required to sign the guest book upon entry to the building with their full contact information in case they need to be contacted because of any COVID-19 alerts.