Between July 28 and 31, Mennonite Church Canada hosted Native Assembly 2014 in Winnipeg.
It was a powerful time of exploring what it might look like for settler and Indigenous peoples to live into treaty relationship—a covenant commitment with one another, the land, and the Creator. The conversations were at once passionate, gentle, and deeply unsettling. They called us to radical respect of traditional Indigenous pathways and to a rediscovery of subversive biblical memories. They invited us to stillness and risky action, to simplicity and mutual generosity. It wasn’t perfect. But it was joyous, challenging and really good.
Without the support of the Mennonite Church Canada constituency, we couldn’t do gatherings like this – gatherings that are truly animating significant steps towards right relations and peacemaking. One of our teachers said to me, “I used to hate the church. But this [dialogue] is amazing. I’m doing a 180.”
I am so grateful to you all for making this possible. I lift my hands with thanks. We can make a difference, and we are.
Steve Heinrichs is director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, Mennonite Church Canada
—Posted August 6, 2014
More on Native Assembly 2014:
Ears to earth, eyes to God (main report)
Personal reflection: Searching for harmony
Personal reflection: In another skin
Young Voices personal reflection: A world of diverse Mennonite faith