Of belonging and living on stolen land
By Kim McNaughton
I attended the DOTAC (Diakonia of the Americas and Caribbean) 2019 Conference in Vancouver for the first two days out of six days. Entering into my last year of the diaconal programme at CCS, I felt a need and a desire to be present, to see “how I fit,” to feel if this was “my home” in ministry.
Immersed in this ecumenical gathering of energetic diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and deacons from all over the world, gathered with a shared concern about and engagement with the work of social justice and education in the name of Jesus Christ, the answer was clear – Yes! – I did feel at home! Attending DOTAC was another step towards affirming and solidifying my diaconal identity.
One piece begs attention from those two short, full days. With a theme grounded in reconciliation, I was interested to talk to my small table group of 8 about the parallels that can be drawn, and the teachings to mine, between the Hebrew Scriptural theme of “promised land” and the colonization of this land and resulting devastation for Indigenous peoples. I was shocked to hear that NOONE at my table had EVER talked about, or even thought how there might be a connection. At CCS we have this conversation.
As we heard the Anglican Church of Canada’s reconciliation animator, Melanie Delva, say, “We are on stolen land.” Absolutely, it is time to have conversations about stolen land and promised land with as many people as will listen and those who will not.
Kim McNaughton is the student minister for the McBride and Valemount Anglican United Churches and an Integration Year student.
Photo by Kimiko Karpoff
Good to see you at DOTAC Kim. It was my first time as well, and I felt very connected to Diaconia.
The human story has many chapters where “the Promised Land(s)” are taken over by the aggressive, oppressing, force. The oppressor then writes an account of how the land is attained glorifying their own actions and calling it good. So, should we cut those stories out, or re-write them or put them on the shelf and forget them? Or, expose the truth and add it to the mix? I think maybe the latter.
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