KAIROS Year of Prayer: Holding Close to our Hearts

Holding Close to our Hearts 

Beginning on March 11, 2020, the KAIROS Steering Committee began a Year of Prayer for the persons, families and communities connected to The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the National Student Memorial Register of children who didn’t come home from Indian Residential Schools. 

This initiative, which is meant to honour, pray, listen with open hearts and discern how we might continue to respond to the Calls for Justice and reconciliation was impacted greatly by COVID19. In spite of these challenges, the Year of Prayer remains in our hearts. 

There are two parts: 

  1. A Shared Time for Prayer: KAIROS Steering Committee members continue to pray weekly at the same time on Wednesdays, holding our families in spirit close to our hearts. 
  2. A Travelling Bundle of Sacred Items: Under the guidance of gkisedtanamoogk, Knowledge Keeper and long-standing member of the KAIROS Indigenous Rights Circle, a Bundle was created to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and Indigenous children who died while attending residential schools.  

The Bundle includes:

  • the Calls for Justice of the MMIWG report 
  • the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
  • the National Student Memorial Registry with the list of names of deceased children
  • Sacred medicines
  • Wampum
  • The Prayer by Rev. Leigh Kerns (see below)
  • Messages from gkisedtanamoogk about the enormity of evil and the meaning of the medicines and wampum in the Bundle

The Bundle is travelling wrapped in a blanket made by Knowledge Keeper Sandra Campbell and accompanied by a video featuring gkistedtanamoogk that explains its significance.

The Bundle began its journey in Toronto on territory governed by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant. It was to travel across Canada, from hand to hand, between Steering Committee members and be part of services, meetings, vigils, and other honouring events. It’s now in the Prairies, where it had arrived when the pandemic swept through Canada.

Though our plans evolved, we continue this important work of remembering those who must not be forgotten. 

We share this prayer with you on this day.

We hold close to our hearts today

Those whose absence leaves a gap too great for words.

We hold to our hearts and grieve those beautiful lives cut short by colonial violence.

For the thousands of children who did not return home from residential school

For the many Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ2S+ people who are missing, or taken from us

May love surround them.

May love circle those who miss them from their circle of love, family and community.

May love empower and encourage us to act with compassion, understanding, peace.

Peace and dignity to all beings, of earth, sky, and sea.

We lament the violence at every level of Canadian society. May we all listen, implement, and follow the leadership of the families in this time of reckoning and calls for justice.

We hold close to our hearts the tears of so many, and the dead who lay in the earth.

We commit ourselves to praying, listening, being in relationship, speaking, and acting for the healing of the generations past and generations to come.

Creator of life- unleash the healing of your love in this land.

In the spirit of the wounded God-with-us,


Leigh Kern, Coordinator of Indigenous Ministries and Reconciliation Animator, Diocese of Toronto, The Anglican Church of Canada

Filed in: Indigenous Rights


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