From Elder Norman McCallum of the Woodland Cree Nation and Indigenous Advisor to Kamloops Alliance Church, and Lead Pastor Chris Throness, on behalf of the Indigenous Reconciliation Committee at Kamloops Alliance Church:
With broken, sincere, and loving hearts we join our Indigenous friends, our city, and our nation as we process the horrifying news uncovered last week at the former Kamloops Residential School together.
We grieve deeply for the 215 children, who were created in the divine image of God, and lay beneath the ground in an unmarked grave here in our city.
This was not of God.
For decades this school has stood as a reminder to our community of the intentional devastation of residential schools on Indigenous communities, but now we better understand the depths of its dark and tragic realities. For the lives and culture lost, for the generational trauma, for the way God’s name was used to carry out these atrocities - there are no words that can describe this continuing depth of pain and loss.
As a church in Kamloops, we want to acknowledge the pain that is pouring out of our city right now. We want to come alongside those who are grieving and pray for peace and healing. We want to honour those leaders within the Indigenous community here in Kamloops and across our nation; we ask for their wisdom and are awed by their courage.
We pray that we, as a church, would be actively working toward real truth and reconciliation. We acknowledge the wrongs committed by the church, and will continue to intentionally work toward a better and more compassionate future.
But most importantly, we want our Indigenous families, friends, and colleagues to know that they are loved, and that we stand with them in this pain that might be new to some of us, but is far too familiar to them.
May the grace of God lead us to healing, hope, and a better future.
We are holding a Zoom Prayer Meeting on Tuesday, June 1 at 7:00pm. For more information and to register, click HERE
The Alliance Canada Response - June 1, 2021:
The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada profoundly grieves the recent revelation of the deaths of 215 indigenous children in Kamloops, B.C. Our heart goes out to their families, their home communities, and to all First Nations across Canada.
The residential school system remains a stain on Canada’s history. We acknowledge that our ancestors participated in this injustice, even through their silence and inaction. On behalf of our family of churches, I sincerely apologize for the sins of our ancestors and failure to protect these innocent children.
We acknowledge the blindness and institutionalized racism of our past and we are committed to work toward a better future. As a church, we own our sins of the past and repent of this failure—yes, even generations later—and commit to representing Jesus better now and in the future.
We pause, we remember, we search our hearts, and we promise to do better for all children. We will continue to pursue truth and reconciliation in keeping with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Rev. Dr. David Hearn
The Alliance Canada