A message from Archbishop Mark MacDonald…

Dear Relatives, friends, and people of compassion,

On September 30th at 10am Eastern Time in the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will hold a ceremony to honour all the children who did not return home from the Residential Schools.  The ceremony will include, for the first time, the sharing of the first known names of children lost to the schools. This is a significant spiritual event and the calls us to join in heart, mind, and soul to honour and remember the children.

I am asking that our congregations and peoples across the Land offer prayer and ceremony for the children who did not return home.  For four days, beginning on September 27th, I am asking that people gather in prayer and ceremony for the children, each person and community in your own respectful way.  If it is not possible for you in your church, pray with your family or by yourself.  On Sunday, September 29th, we will remember the children in all of our churches.  We pray remembering the children.  We pray for the healing of the Land.

In Toronto, we will gather for prayer on September 27th and 28th at 10am at the Chapel of the Holy Apostles at the Anglican Church House at 80 Hayden Street, Toronto.  On Sunday, September 29th, we will join with Church of the Redeemer at their Sunday Eucharists, 9:30am and 11:00am.  On September 30th, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, Melanie Delva, and I will join those who gather at the Museum of History.  We ask that those who cannot be there in Ottawa join with us in spirit, prayer, and ceremony in their own communities.

For the Children Who Didn’t Return Home

Our dear brothers and sisters.  We have missed you being with us, so very much and for so long.  There have been times when we have cried in loneliness for you.  We have felt hurt and pain, thinking of your suffering.  There have been times when we cried to God for you and for justice.  Now, we join together to surround you with our very best thoughts and prayers, praying for you and for the very best for you.  We also pray for ourselves, who miss you so, and for the Land, that needs God’s healing.  We pray that you would be at rest and peace.  We remember you now.  We will always remember you.

Prayer for the Children Who Didn’t Return Home

Almighty God, we remember before you all of the children – our dear relatives – who did not return home from the Residential Schools.  May you remember their suffering and pain.  May you grant them rest in the Land of Peace.  May you surround them with beautiful and sacred love and joy.  We pray to you also for ourselves and our children.  At a time like this we remember we need your Spirit so very much.  We pray to you, your Spirit prays through us, in the Name of Jesus, who suffered with us but raised us and will raise us with our departed loved ones.  Amen.

Remembering the Children

God of our Ancestors, who holds the spirits of our grandmothers and grandfathers

And the spirits of our grandchildren,

Remembering the Children,

We now pledge ourselves to speak the Truth,

And with our hearts and our souls to act upon the Truth we have heard

Of the injustices lived,

Of the sufferings inflicted,

Of the tears cried,

Of the misguided intentions imposed,

And of the power of prejudice and racism

Which were allowed to smother the sounds

And laughter of the forgotten children.

Hear our cries of lament

For what was allowed to happen, and for what will never be.

In speaking and hearing and acting upon the Truth

May we as individuals and as a nation

Meet the hope of a new beginning.

Great Creator God who desires that all creation live in harmony and peace,

Remembering the Children we dare to dream of a Path of Reconciliation

Where apology from the heart leads to healing of the heart

And the chance of restoring the circle,

Where justice walks with all,

Where respect leads to true partnership,

Where the power to change comes from each heart.

Hear our prayer of hope and guide this country of Canada

On a new and different path.

(From: Giving with Grace – Anglican Church of Canada)