Intercultural

Becoming an Intercultural Church in Western Canada/ Turtle Island

Yellow, blue and red patchwork drawing with Western Intercultural Ministry Network in the middle.The Western Intercultural Network: Who are we? We are people and communities in the United Church of Canada committed to a fully inclusive and intercultural church, from northwestern Ontario to the Pacific, and north to Yellowknife. Anyone of any identity is welcome! You can sign up for occasional updates here; you can unsubscribe at any time, and we don’t share your information with anyone else.

We’re new, and trying something different as the United Church continues the major restructuring begun in 2019. We occasionally hold gatherings and online conversations that focus on the communities named above. We work in our own Regional Councils across Western Canada, and we gather as the Western Intercultural Network in person every fall. An executive from the five Western Regional Councils of the United Church offers us leadership.

Our vision of becoming an intercultural United Church encompasses:
Black people, and people of colour
, which includes ethnic churches within the United Church, BIPOC lay leaders and ministry personnel, and more.
Indigenous people and communities, within the United Church and beyond, of all traditions.
People with disabilities.
LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit people and communities.

We honour these identities, and the spaces where they intersect. Our ministry includes courageous (and awkward!) conversations about our diversity, and about the social privilege and history that hinder right relationships. We believe the Good News of Jesus Christ calls us into such conversations and relationship. Learn more by reading our Mission Statement and Terms of Reference.

Interested in knowing more?

Sign up for our email list here (all information is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else. You can leave the list at any time.)

Call for a provincial ban on conversion therapy

Click here for a PDF version of this letter.
From: Living Skies Regional Council of The United Church of Canada, Rev Tricia Gerhard, chairperson.
To: Hon Scott Moe, Premier; Hon Paul Merriman, Health Minister; Hon Gordon Wyant, Attorney General; Hon Everett Hindley, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
CC: Leader of the Opposition; Human Rights Critic
Dear Premier Moe, Minister Merriman, Minister Wyant, and Minister Hindley,
We write to you as representatives of The United Church of Canada within Living Skies Regional Council, which comprises 215 Communities of Faith and over 20 additional ministries or shared partnerships within the province of Saskatchewan.
Living Skies Regional Council of the United Church of Canada, acting on a motion to its membership that passed with over 95% approval in November 2020, calls upon the Government of Saskatchewan to:
a) Enact legislation banning “conversion therapy” for people of all ages in Saskatchewan, thus making it illegal for individuals or entities to engage in the practice of conversion therapy or to refer an individual to practitioners of conversion or reparative therapy;
b) Include conversion therapy and bans on it in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code;
c) Ban health coverage for conversion practices.
d) Ensure that the Government of Saskatchewan does not provide grants or contracts to any entity that engages in or refers individuals to practitioners of conversion or reparative therapy.
e) Make a public statement against conversion therapy.

Regional Council signs on to call to stop Crown/ Treaty land sales

After consideration of past and current United Church apologies and commitments to Indigenous peoples, the Executive will sign on to a coalition letter to the provincial government that expresses strong concerns with the ongoing sale of “Crown” land to private groups. In 2017 the former SK Conference wrote a letter to the provincial government, expressing strong concern about exactly the same issue, and reminding the government of our shared Treaty responsibilities and our commitment to healthy lands and waters.
Now, the Treaty Land Sharing Network notes that, “Since 2007, the Saskatchewan government has sold nearly 2 million acres of Crown land that previously belonged to the people of this province. This land – totalling an area twice the size of Prince Albert National Park – includes formerly protected grassland, wetlands, and aspen parkland that are the territories of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, and Métis Peoples.
In our commitment to honour the Treaty relationship, protect natural landscapes, and ensure that all people have access to land for both leisure and livelihood, we call on the Saskatchewan government to halt the liquidation of public land.”
Communities of faith and individuals are also welcome to sign on to this letter. Here is the full text. If you decide to do so, please contact treatylandsharingnetwork@gmail.com and Regional staff Julie Graham at jgraham@united-church.ca

ICM Spring 2021 update

Janice P, going the extra mile for the perfect bag of potatoes.
Integrated Community Ministry (ICM) is a United Church of Canada ministry located in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhood on the western edge of the downtown. Like so many community ministries, it is in a constant process of adapting to the challenges caused by COVID.
Director Chantalle writes, “I want to tell you about this past month. Once again, we distributed over 160 food hampers and served over 350 nutritious meals to our neighbours and friends.
We’ve been doing this almost every week since COVID struck, but it still feels odd. Community connection and bringing people together into what is known as a safe space in the community has always been essential in our work at ICM, but once COVID changed the way we engage with family, friends, volunteers, and neighbours, we were forced to keep our distance to keep people safe.

Online Worship – A Panel Discussion of Techie Wisdom

Wednesday, April 14th, 7pm

To Register: https://form.jotform.com/210574707062250
More Info: https://livingskiesrc.ca/event/practically-prophetic-online-worship/
Join us for a hosted panel discussion of Online Worship in our congregations.  Our tech gurus bring a wealth of insight & experience, and will share some of their favourite technical tips, tricks, gadgets & software.  Perhaps even more importantly, we’ll also talk about the faith opportunities that online worship and community may hold for our own congregations and the United Church of Canada.
Questions?: contact Kent at LivingSkiesYAYA@united-church.ca or 306-221-5529.
“Practically Prophetic” is a webinar series in Living Skies focused on tools & tips for our UCC ministry together. Think of it as Com-Ed (Community Education) for all: speakers, presentations, and panel discussions related to just about anything & everything in the vibrant faith-life of the church.  Oh yeah, we’re excited that Practically Prophetic is a pretty cool collaboration of Living Skies Region Faith Formation (UCC), St. Andrew’s College, and the Centre for Christian Studies.

Serving Communion during COVID restrictions

How to do Celebrate Safely
Printable version
While the Saskatchewan Health Authority guidelines clearly state that no food or drink can be served before, during or after a worship service, an exception has been made for rituals that include partaking in food and beverage – like Communion.  You absolutely can celebrate communion as a community of faith, but before you do here are some options to consider:
If possible, the very best option is to celebrate communion via remote worship.
If you need/want to celebrate communion during in-person worship, here are some options to consider:

If possible have congregational members bring their own elements. Only households can share elements together.  Masks would only be moved for taking the bread and sipping the juice.

Or

Provide individually packaged wafer and juice combinations (available at most Church supply stores) and have people only move masks for partaking the elements. Members can receive their communion elements as they arrive at church from a designated server using tongs.

Or

Provide elements by serving to each person individually while seated in the pews. Have a minimal number of people serving the elements – wearing gloves and using tongs.  Do not allow congregants to take elements from the plates themselves.  You want to minimize the number of people handling the elements and the number of people moving around the space.  Have only one person preparing the elements – cutting the bread, filling cups etc.  Make sure used cups are not replaced on the same plate as unused cups.

Or

Provide the elements and have people move towards the servers from the pews. This is the least preferrable option as it means people are moving around and possibly not maintaining physical distancing.  If this is the only option, have element servers gloved, masked and using tongs (for the bread).  Also consider having a server who collects empty cups on a separate plate, several steps away from the element servers.  Make sure there is a distance of 6 feet or more between the servers.  Have markers on the floor to indicate waiting spaces, and only allow one pew at a time to line up.  This will likely take more time during the service, but it ensures that all the safety protocols are followed.

For more information or if you have questions, contact Tricia Gerhard at lsrcexecutive@gmail.com

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