National Indigenous Peoples Day—June 21, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ

The ongoing public health restrictions mean that this year’s celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day will be less about gathering and more about building up relationships in new and creative ways.

The Government of Canada describes this as a day for all to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.1  We give thanks for these heritages, cultures and contributions. We honour Stewards of the Land and Defenders of the Water.

This is a day to re-affirm our churches’ commitments to ending racism: discrimination and racism against Indigenous Peoples, anti-Black racism and all other forms of racism in Canada.  This month, both Anglican bishops and the Lutheran Conference of Bishops made statements that commit the church to calling out racism as sinful and deadly, acknowledging the place of racism and colonialism in the Canadian context, and doing the work of dismantling the systems that oppress.2  We pray for the Spirit to prod us forward.

This is a day to re-affirm the commitment of our churches to the work of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.  The way to reconciliation is a long path; there remains much to do, much to hear, much to feel and much to change.  We pray for the Spirit’s guidance and support for healing journeys.

This is a day to celebrate the gifts and witness of Indigenous Ministries.  We commend to you the Rule of Life from Gospel Based Discipleship:3

Creator God, we acknowledge and give thanks that:

In Jesus we know we belong to a Sacred Circle with the Gospel and Baptismal Covenant in the centre.
In this Sacred Circle:
We are all related;
We live a compassionate and generous life;
We respect all life, traditions, and resources.
We commit ourselves to spiritual growth, discipleship, and consensus.

These words of prayer and wisdom are a gift to the whole church as we seek to deepen our discipleship; to endure and adapt to the impacts of COVID-19; and to become the community of respect, equity, justice and peace that God calls us to be.  Meegwetch!
This is a day to read the Gospel.  Jesus says, “So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31, NRSV)

We hear in these words:

A call to face our fears, whatever they may be;
A call to honour the dignity of each one and the value of every one;
A call to notice birds and nature with open hearts for the Creator’s wisdom;
The assurance that God is with us in all that we face.

For resources, please visit

What opportunities do you see in your context?  What actions reflect the next step on your spiritual journey?

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

+Mark MacDonald
The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, Anglican Church of Canada

+Linda Nicholls
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

2 See and The second half of this sentence is adapted from these statements.

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”