An award-winning Indigenous author is joining a local church in its reconciliation journey – and you’re invited to attend.
The Mount Zion Community Connections Team is inviting community members to attend its second annual Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams gathering, part of its journey towards reconciliation.
“As we began this journey of learning about our part in reconciliation and making change, we realized it could not be a one-time event,” said Vivienne Welters, on behalf of the Community Connections Team. “It needed to be an ongoing journey of learning and developing relationships with others.”
Community members are invited to listen to some stories, enjoy bannock and scatter seeds at the Honouring Memories Planting Dreams event on Saturday, May 27 at 3 p.m. on the front lawn of Mount Zion Lutheran Church, 930 Cumberland St.
Joseph Dandurand, a member of the Kwantlen First Nation and the director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre, will be in attendance. He will read from his most recent children’s book, The Girl Who Loved the Birds, the third in a trilogy.
Like last year, Stacey Ferguson from the Qayqayt First Nation will open this year’s event.
“We will remember the children lost to the residential school system, and honour residential school survivors and their families, by scattering seeds in a ‘Heart Garden’,” said a notice about the event. “The act of planting represents our commitment to reconciliation.”
Children (of all ages) are invited to paint a rock with their own heart design and place it in the heart garden among the seeds. Everyone will be given seeds to scatter as a sign of rebirth and hope.
“We look forward to the fun of people using their creativity in making the heart garden feel like a gift to each other and the neighbourhood,” Welters said. “Our hope is, as we all walk or drive by, we’ll remember all that was lost, why we took the time to plant it together, and the possibilities for a hopeful future as we all Journey Towards Reconciliation.”
Welters said the members of the church want to understand the history of Indigenous people, not just here in Canada, but in countries throughout the world.
“Our church has many people from Africa and other parts of the world. As we studied Canada’s history in relation to Indigenous people, we saw the similarities of others who have experienced injustice and oppression,” she said in an email to the Record. “We hope to live out the words, ‘when you know better, you do better’ so we continue to find ways to learn more.”
Along with learning, Welters said the Community Connections Team was thinking about how it might provide an opportunity for the neighbours around our church and the larger community, to connect.
“It was about getting to know one another better,” she said. “We want to make the area around our church a welcoming place for neighbours.”
Welters said the church, as it did last year, participated in the annual Massey Victory Heights Neighbourhood Garage Sale.
“Again, all our proceeds went to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors’ Society (IRSSS),” she said. “We have bought a variety of books recognized as important and interesting reading. They will be offered by donation with all funds, once again, going to the IRSSS.”