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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, June 19, 2015

Painful Realities and Hopes for Peace


Nora Sanders is the General Secretary of the United Church of Canada within their Executive Council. I receive her ongoing communications and this latest letter provides a heartfelt sense of 2 recent occurrences of painful realities within our society worthy of our prayerful reflection. She writes......

"You picture a small group of people of different ages gathering in a church basement for an evening Bible study. Maybe some had come because of burdens they needed to lift up to God. Others may have been there because it was their custom to gather to study scripture. The pastor leading the session offered inspiration to so many.

Only one person present knew that for most of those gathered, this time spent studying scripture together would be the last hour of their lives.

According to the news reports, the 21-year-old white man who stands charged, sat in the Bible study group for an hour before shooting nine people. All those who were shot were black people. Those killed included the beloved pastor, and an 87-year-old woman. They left behind parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, a grieving community and a shocked nation.

Following on the events in Ferguson a few months ago, this horrible crime serves as a grim reminder that although laws have changed, government positions have changed, and the views of the broader public surely have changed too, there remains a stream of racism and violence not so far beneath the surface. The civil rights movement of the 1960s brought about huge gains in the rights of people of all races, changes that have been embraced generally in American society, but not accepted by all. It’s especially chilling to think that the young man charged with these murders was born at a time when important battles for racial equality had already been won in the courts and the legislatures. He would have been just entering high school when his country elected a black man as President.

It gives some comfort to note that this didn’t take place in our country. Some comfort perhaps, but not a lot.We are not the same as our neighbours to the south, but there are currents of racism in our society too. We yearn to be better than we are. We can be better than we are, as people, as a church, and as a country, but it will require effort and a willingness to face up to our own awkward realities.

In this week, as our Canadian National Aboriginal Day approaches, I had expected to be writing about Truth and Reconciliation, and the importance of being serious about responding to the Calls to Action that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued two weeks ago.

I recommend that every member of our church, and in fact every Canadian, read those 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:
http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf?utm_source=E-Newsletters&utm_campaign=b77d12f90e-GSWL150619&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_53a49c9e28-b77d12f90e-159518313

As a church, there is an important role for us. Our work is with hearts and souls and the sharing of God’s love in ways that transform.

I don’t know what scripture passages that little group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston was studying this week, so let me end with these words from Psalm 9:

"The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you."

Blessings, Nora
submitted by Kerry

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