A Call to Conversion(s): Spirited Reflection by Jennifer Henry, Executive Director, KAIROS
Photo of KAIROS Elements of Justice Intergenerational Event in North Vancouver, October 2015, taken by Matthew Dueck.
I believe at this time in our country and in our world, our faith calls us to twin conversions. The first is an ecological conversion, a call to know, love, protect, nurture, and defend God’s creation, to reconcile with God’s beloved creation from which many of us have become estranged, even alienated. And to conversion in our relationship with Indigenous peoples from that of collaboration in or benefit from colonial wrongs, to true respect and right relationship–to reconcile with Indigenous peoples, beginning by addressing the injustices of the present.
These twin calls to conversion come from a kairos moment in our country and our world but also from our faithfulness to the dignity of all people made in the image of God and the integrity of the creation God loved into being.
At KAIROS, your ecumenical movement for ecological justice and human rights, we strive to work as though these twin conversions are not two but one–one extension of our faithfulness in this time. What does that look like?
- It looks like sitting with Indigenous women around the globe as they reflect and strategize together on the impact of resource extraction in their communities, the impact on people and the earth seen through women’s eyes.
- It looks like planting permanent Heart Gardens on church and community grounds across the country, using seeds and plants native to the area, as a permanent memorial for children who died at the residential schools and as a commitment to reconciliation.
- It looks like bringing research and policy development into relationship with Indigenous wisdom, so we are advocating with governments for climate solutions that respect and benefit from Indigenous perspectives.
- It’s about learning, through the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, how Indigenous peoples cared for the land we now call Canada, how that land was taken from them, and the meaning of treaties for us all.
- It’s about advocating implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its central standard—free, prior and informed consent for any activity on the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples.
- And it’s about watershed discipleship, learning about the people and creatures that reside in our watershed, about the earliest people to care for this creation and how settlers and newcomers join with the ancestors of those First peoples to love and protect that watershed now.
We are grateful to walk with diverse communities across this country, and with our global partners, in the spirit of conversion towards reconciliation with the land and the Peoples of the land.