Racism is not an easy thing to talk about with white people, or so I’ve found. When I was bullied all through grade 7, shoved up against lockers and called “Paki,” my caucasian friends just kept walking, as if they’d seen nothing. I was too ashamed to bring it up myself, so we just acted like it hadn’t happened – even though it happened every single day.
Many years later, at a friend’s 40th birthday party, I sat with 3 of my closest high-school friends. It occured to me that after all these years it might be a good thing for me to share honestly with them about my experiences back in school; the struggles my family went through and why we never talked about them outside of our home.
Meet Pinegrove UC, a medium-sized church in Rosslyn, NW Ontario. Rosslyn used to be a community of farmers, but with Thunder Bay nearby it’s taking on some characteristics of a bedroom community. Pinegrove used to be the thriving community hub, but when I started there 5 years ago it felt more like a rudderless ship. People pining for the days of yore, when there was hardly enough room to hold the congregation, with a choir that shook the rafters, when there was a thriving Sunday School, when… in short, think your average United Church.
I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay with these lovely but lost people. As a restless person, I felt confined and misplaced. I was eager to form new faith communities, not work with these stuck-in-the-muds. But as I walked with them through times of great joy and deep despair, I got to know them. After a while, I knew them better than I ever thought I would. And with it came love, and with love came an awareness of their God-given potential. I decided to stay a little longer. Continue reading ““Café del Soul” serves change and purpose”