I feel like every day there is something that happens at this Mennonite Assembly that overwhelms me emotionally. After a very heavy discussion and question period about the future structure of Mennonite Church Canada, it was announced that the Bethany Manor Ukulele Band would be leading us in worship before lunch. My Grandma Neudorf passed away just a month ago and she had lived at Bethany Manor. I suddenly remembered that back in the winter before she was sick that she had told me very excitedly that her Ukulele Band was going to be playing at the Assembly. Although I was sad that my Grandma wasn’t up there with her friends I was happy to be reminded of her and our shared love of ukuleles and twangy old hymns. I wasn’t able to go to my grandma’s funeral and when the band sang Amazing Grace and I’ll Fly Away that was it, I started sobbing, I felt like these songs were for my Grandma and me.
If you would like to see the Ukulele Band in action fast forward the video below to 1:48:00 and watch for the standing ovation they received at the end.
I was overwhelmed with emotion today as the delegates of Mennonite Church Canada officially voted yes to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. This is one of the recommendations made to churches by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Repudiate is a fancy word for divorcing yourself from a concept, idea or practice.
There was some amazing work done on concisely describing what the Doctrine of Discovery is and why we need to work to undo the damage it has caused. You can read about that here in a PDF Download: 27-29 2016_May31_Assembly_Discernment_Guide_Final.
One of the reasons this was so emotional for me is that there is both first nation and settler roots in my family. Being part of the Mennonite Church during this step in reconciliation makes me hopeful for children who have both First Nations and Settler roots as part of their heritage. My prayer for these children is that they can grow up to feel a healthy internal peace of reconciliation within themselves.
This vote is not an end unto itself, over the next months Mennonite Church Canada will be putting together a group to help continue our collective reconciliation journey. I look forward to seeing where this leads us.