Covenant Recognizes Place of Aboriginal Church at Union
Ray Jones, Chair of the Aboriginal Ministries Council, and Moderator Mardi Tindal celebrated the final step of a journey towards the United Church’s formal recognition of Aboriginal congregations by showing off their new moccasins.
The footwear was a gift from the church to mark the signing of a covenant by the Aboriginal Ministries Council and The United Church of Canada that acknowledges the place of the Aboriginal church in the formation of the denomination in 1925.
The signing was part of a banquet held at the 41st General Council on August 17, 2012.
There were more than 60 Methodist and Presbyterian Aboriginal congregations when the United Church was formed, but they were included under the Board of Home Missions.
Earlier this week the General Council invited the Aboriginal congregations to sign the covenant and changed the United Church crest to include the words “all my relations” in Mohawk and the four colours of the Aboriginal medicine wheel.
Tindal, Jones, and Moderator-elect Gary Paterson showed off their moccasins after signing the historic covenant in the presence of leading Elder Lorna Standingready of the All Native Circle Conference.
The moccasins are “for walking the path together, to remember this day,” Tindal said.
Paterson read aloud the covenant, which celebrates the establishment of the Aboriginal Ministries Council and rejects, “all historical attitudes which imposed European cultural norms as a condition of accepting the gospel.”
It adds that the Basis of Union will now be read within the context of the words added to the Introduction and Declaration parts of The Manual that remind the church of the place of the Indigenous church in the formation of the denomination.
The covenant is made “to proclaim symbolically through the revised crest that all peoples are equally welcome in The United Church of Canada and to affirm our commitment to walking together, following Christ on a path towards right relations.”