Tears trickled down many cheeks as Stephen Kakfwi, former premier of the Northwest Territories and a residential school survivor, talked and sang about his experiences as a child in a residential school and the impact it has had on his life.
His presence, alongside his wife, Truth and Reconcilliation Commissioner Marie Wilson, was one of many moments that will long remain in the memories of those who attended the 15th Biennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. This was a remarkable convention that exceeded expectations and made what may be a record number of decisions, each reflecting a church that has matured and is determined to be In Mission for Others. We have indeed been Liberated by God’s Grace.
This issue tries to capture some of the spirit and the importance of those moments and decisions. We must now move on with determination and imagination to make certain that these become more than hopeful memories. Each of us who has been liberated by God’s grace is challenged to grab hold of at least one part of one thing and do what we can to be In Mission for Others.
In response to the Reformation Challenge and in gratitude to the many people who supported this former high school dropout as I returned to school and completed eight years of education so that I could become a pastor, I am challenging myself to do what I can to provide one of the scholarships for schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Part of my plan is to ask those who give me gifts for my birthday and at Christmas to make money part of their gifts to help me reach my goal.
Now I challenge each of you to pick up part of the Reformation Challenge and make it your own. It may be sponsoring refugees, planting trees, providing scholarships or supporting the LWF Endowment Fund.
I also challenge you to find at least one thing that furthers the resolutions of the convention. It might be entering dialogue with Indigenous neighbours to foster truth and reconciliation, advocating for a public inquiry concerning the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, tackling restorative justice, learning new ways of thinking and speaking that repudiate our colonial past, working for climate justice, making structural renewal work or one of the many other things that flow from this convention.
Kenn Ward, Editor