On Dec. 13, Bert Adema, a commissioned pastor in the Christian Reformed Church and the executive director of Indigenous Christian Fellowship in Regina, Sask., received a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. This award, presented to Adema by Saskatchewan Lt. Gov. Russ Mirasty, was created to celebrate the 70th anniversary year of the late Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. Several Canadian provinces are issuing medals to community-involved citizens to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee Year, which began Feb. 6, 2022. A total of 7,000 medals will be awarded in Saskatchewan. The city of Weyburn, Sask., described the honors on its website as recognizing “outstanding Saskatchewanians of all ages and from all walks of life, who have built and continue to build a strong, vibrant society and province through their service, contributions, and achievements.”
Indigenous Christian Fellowship was established in 1978 and serves the spiritual and social needs of First Nations and Metis individuals in Regina. Together with the Indian Family Centre in Winnipeg, Man., and the Edmonton (Alta.) Native Healing Centre, the Fellowship is one of three Indigenous urban ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Together, these entities support healing and reconciliation between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Adema was nominated by Meara Conway, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for Regina Elphinstone-Centre. In a Facebook post written the day following the award ceremony, Conway wrote, “Yesterday was an absolute joy … we acknowledged many who have stood tall for reconciliation, for fairness, for justice, for equality for all. … There aren’t enough medals in the world to acknowledge all the people who do heavy lifting in Regina Elphinstone-Centre each and every day. I tried to focus on those doing important work in service of reconciliation because of the urgency of that work.”
A friend and pastor of a Lutheran church in Regina that supports Indigenous Christian Fellowship also commented afterward, “Bert does great work providing meaningful programs, a safe space and hope for a better future. He is a tireless advocate for our indigenous brothers and sisters, and he consistently works at truth and reconciliation in his ministry.”
Adema has served the Fellowship since 1993 and has received previous recognition for his work with this ministry, including the Queen’s diamond jubilee medal 10 years ago and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in December 2005.