Several Christian Reformed churches on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, recently used the opportunity provided by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to reach out to nearby First Nations groups.
Alberni Valley Christian Reformed Church in Port Alberni was one of the first CRCs in Canada to use a new curriculum called “Living the 8th Fire,” based on a documentary series produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
The videos and discussion circles that form the curriculum focus on breaking through stereotypes and learning to see the First Nations side of the story.
The workshop at Alberni Valley was attended by members of the congregation and of other local churches, and by several First Nations elders. The leaders hope to reach beyond the CRC with this ministry of reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is a huge work that can transform perceptions and prejudices and build trust where once there was none. Together we opened the road to stronger relationships,” said Alberni Valley’s pastor Curtis Korver.
Christ Community CRC invited the worship team from the Tsawout First Nations Assemblies of God church, while Victoria CRC hosted a discussion evening with the chief of the same band, Harvey Underwood, and his wife, Lillian, who are Christians. Both events provided an opportunity to hear reflections from their guests about the integration of their Christian faith with their First Nations culture.
Victoria CRC’s pastors David and Brittney Salverda agreed that the highlight of the evening was a time of mutual prayer. “They challenged us to view them not as people who need help but [as people who] also have something to contribute,” they explained.