Loving our neighbours: World Refugee Day and National Indigenous People’s Day

This weekend and next, we have new opportunities to recognize and affirm our neighbourly love for our land’s oldest and newest people, as well as our diversity. Your church can join in, too.

Saturday, June 20th, is World Refugee Day, and Sunday, June 21st, is National Indigenous People’s Day.

Next Saturday, June 27th, is Canadian Multiculturalism Day—and maybe that’s a day you’d like to highlight as well.

So why does this matter to us as Atlantic Baptists? And what can we do to highlight and honour our indigenous and refugee communities, renewing our call to value others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3)?

God is very much interested in our relationships with our hosts (indigenous peoples), our newest arrivals, and with all neighbours who are different from us. Biblical hospitality—the care for strangers and openness to vulnerable ones—is basic to our Christian identity and practice.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:39-40)

The past few weeks have reminded us of the presence of racism in our broken world, even in the systems that we as Christians are part of. And it can leak out into our thoughts, conversations, worries, and anger. It can cause us to ignore or deny past and present injustices. But such superiority is not found in God.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ:  Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used for his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the nature of a servant.” (Philippians 2:5-7)

No matter how our CBAC congregations are “meeting” this Sunday, we encourage you to use this opportunity. Here are some action steps:

World Refugee Day, Saturday June 20th

National Indigenous People’s Day, Sunday June 21st

  • Mention this day in your church service and in communication with your congregation
  • Use and/or share this resource: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013248/1534872397533
  • Do a Land Acknowledgement Statement at the start of your church gathering. Your statement will be different, depending on where you are. The CBAC (our office in Moncton) has this statement:
    • The CBAC recognizes that no people and no buildings can exist without land to support and uphold them. Prior to the founding of our denomination or any of our churches, before the beginning of any of the Atlantic provinces, or the dominion of Canada – this land was entrusted by the Creator to the Mi’kmaw, Wəlastəkwewiyik, Peskotomuhkati, Penobscot, Innu, and Inuit nations as well as the former Beothuk nation. Many of our churches exist in unceded territory, and we, as a predominantly settler body, are governed by treaties with the First Peoples of this land. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, and with the guidance of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, we acknowledge these lands and their Indigenous custodians and we recognize ourselves as treaty people. As Baptists of Atlantic Canada, we seek to walk in a good way upon the land that sustains us, and alongside our Indigenous neighbours and hosts.
  • Promote the online course “Walking In A Good Way With Our Indigenous Neighbours” (https://courses.baptist-atlantic.ca)
  • Make plans to host a Kairos Blanket Exercise
  • Pray for Indigenous people and communities you know

 

 

Reach out to our Director of Intercultural Ministries, Rev. Paul Carline (paul.carline@baptist-atlantic.ca), if you have any questions about these days or our work relating to indigenous and refugee peoples.