At the recent DUCC national gathering, Murray Pruden (CCS Program Committee member, United Church of Canada Executive Minister of Indigenous Ministries and Justice) invited the participants in small groups to respond to the Indigenous Circle’s Calls to the Church creatively and dramatically. One small group, which included a few CCS students and staff online, crafted this dramatic response:
Reader 1: We often think of history as linear and it is told through our own culture and experience. History can weigh us down.
Storyteller (on screen): Let me tell you my story…
(The Storyteller microphone is muted. They continue to tell their story,
but it cannot be heard.)
(The Storyteller’s display name and pronouns are erased.
They continue to tell their story, muted and anonymous)
Reader 2: There are some voices and stories that haven’t been heard, that have been silenced, and even their identity has been erased.
(As the Storyteller continues to speak, unheard,
their camera is switched off.)
(We wait in silence. Eventually…)
Reader 3: As well as weighing us down history can also ground us to the land and to our identity.
(A whiteboard appears on the screen.
We see a line being drawn.)
Reader 1: This is a story about a journey.
(Another line appears on the screen.)
Reader 2: A journey with many paths.
(As readers speak, more lines appear on the whiteboard,
some straight, some curved, some spiralling.)
Reader 3: Some paths have intersected.
Reader 1: Some have run nearly parallel.
Reader 2: Some have diverged.
Reader 3: These paths bring us to the diversity we have now but we are connected because we are all children of the creator.
Reader 1: Sticking to the path that we have been told is the only path leads us to a limited future.
Reader 2: The Indigenous church invites all of us to walk the many paths.
Reader 3: On these paths, Indigenous peoples will be able to discover and claim their own identity, determine who is part of the journey and who to look to for wisdom, authority and support.
Reader 1: On these paths, the Indigenous church will choose relationships and how to organize.
Reader 2: On these paths, Indigenous peoples will live into who the creator calls them to be and to serve in their own way.
Reader 3: We will be grounded in the land and our shared history as we travel these multiple journeys.
(Storyteller is unmuted,
name and pronouns are changed back,
and camera is turned back on.)
Storyteller: To walk these paths well, make sure all voices are heard, all people and all creation is valued.
Thanks to the group that created and performed this piece: Jen Dresser, Carolynne Bouey Shank, Marcie Gibson, Kristin Woodburke with Caryn Douglas, Caitlin Smithers, Dyanne Marlok, and Kathy Douglas