Langley church adopts indigenous protocol

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Acknowledges presence on first nation land

February 11, 2015 | God at work in the World | Number 4
Amy Dueckman, B.C. Correspondent

Langley Mennonite Fellowship has become the first Mennonite Church B.C. congregation to acknowledge in writing that it sits on unceded first nations territory.

At last year’s MC B.C. annual general meeting, Brander McDonald, the area church’s indigenous relations coordinator, challenged member congregations to consider posting a written declaration to that effect in a prominent place, such as a church bulletin or website.

Langley Mennonite considered the call.

Says Pastor Henry Krause, “We were challenged by hearing Brander McDonald . . . challenging us to recognize the territory on which our church lies. We decided that this would be a simple, visible first step in our ongoing intentional journey towards greater understanding of our indigenous neighbours and the building of relationships, and so we put the following statement in each week’s bulletin and on the homepage of our website: ‘We at Langley Mennonite Fellowship acknowledge our presence on Stó:lō Kwantlen land and are grateful to our first nation hosts.’ ”

McDonald told Canadian Mennonite that, in terms of relations with indigenous people, this would be “the easiest, most effective first step. . . . Then at least you could refer to that as to proper protocol regarding native relational development and bridgebuilding.”

McDonald said that when he informed various indigenous people of Langley Mennonite’s actions, “they were decidedly excited. Some were sceptical that a church would even consider, but [Langley Mennonite] is working hard to be partakers in the walking out of their reconciliation walk in the MC B.C. . . . This is a huge first step. My hands are raised up . . .  in honour.”

—Posted Feb. 11, 2015

See also:

Ally or accomplice: What does the Lord require of us? 
Churches ‘on the healing side’

Students learn about indigenous land issues

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