On September 20, Canadians will vote in a federal election, electing Members of Parliament who will help shape the life of our country for the next four years. We give thanks for each candidate and their willingness to offer their vision, gifts and service for consideration for leadership in public life.
Over the last two years, many events have pushed for deeper reflection on the kind of Canada we desire.
Finding the remains of more than 1,300 Indigenous children who were buried in unmarked graves at the sites of several former residential schools is traumatic, heart-wrenching and profound. Many more sites have yet to be investigated. The call for healing, reconciliation and renewed relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples is a fundamental element of work for social and ecological justice in the Canadian context today.
The murder of George Floyd in particular, along with many other incidents in Canada and beyond, have called attention to anti-Black racism and other expressions of systemic racism. In March 2020, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s National Church Council participated together in a session of anti-racism training. This was one step on a multi-faceted journey of working to dismantle racism and to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas of life.
The recent report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the need to address the climate crisis. This election takes place during the Season of Creation, when we are invited to reflect on our relationships with Creation and our impact on our shared home. Indigenous wisdom and relationships with the land need to inform individual, community and societal choices for healthy relationship with the Earth.
Human trafficking affects millions of people around the world. Children, women, and men are being trafficked across Canada. Certain groups are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Through a joint National Youth Project, Anglican and Lutheran youth have committed to being be agents of change in their own lives and community.
Over the last two years, our churches have also spoken together for global access to vaccines, affordable housing, Guaranteed Basic Income, justice in Palestine and Israel, human rights in the Philippines, and the dignity of human beings of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
Several of our partners are publishing election resources and we commend them to you for prayer and reflection: The Canadian Council of Churches, KAIROS Canada, Citizens for Public Justice, Vote Housing, and Basic Income Now.
What kind of a Canada do you desire? How is that desire rooted in your spiritual convictions as a follower of the way of Jesus Christ? Let’s talk about that in our churches, discuss it with candidates in our ridings, pray about it in the deep longing of our hearts, bear witness to it in our public discourse, and seal it with a vote that thoughtfully considers what will make our country a good place for all, and therefore a good place for each of us.
Let us pray together:
Creator, we give you thanks for all you are and all you bring to us for our visit within your creation. In Jesus, you place the Gospel in the centre of this Sacred Circle through which all of creation is related. You show us the way to live a generous and compassionate life. Give us your strength to live together with respect and commitment as we grow in your Spirit, for you are God, now and forever. Amen.
(The Gathering Prayer, Gospel Based Discipleship)
Yours in Christ,
The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
The Rev. Susan Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada