Trinity this week – The first Sunday in Lent – February 26, 2023

Hello Trinity Friends,
This Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent.  We celebrate with the sacrament of Holy Communion.  We invite all people to share in communion with us – it is an open table!  People joining us from home are encouraged to gather their own elements and we will share these together. The first of our “Lenten Blues” musicians are Jodi St Pierre and Marcel MacDonald.  Imposition of Ashes: Those who wish, are welcome to come forward during the postlude, to be marked with the sign of the cross.

LENTEN OFFERING This year, the Lenten offering will go towards Trinity’s Brick Fund.  Lenten offering envelopes will be available from your ushers.

The Faith Forward 2030 Team has worked diligently to prepare an Executive Summary.  This document has been compiled after a great deal of research, consolidation and conversation. Please do read this meaningful document.  There will be more information to follow in the weeks ahead.  The Executive Summary can be found on the website or by clicking here  Executive Summary

At the end of this  email is some correspondence from the Right Relations Team regarding the findings at at Port Alberni Residential Institution. Please do read through to the end.

A reminder that next Sunday is our Annual Congregational Meeting.  Lunch will be available.  The meeting takes place immediately following lunch.  All of our Trinity church goers are encouraged to attend. The nursery will be staffed.  

The Covid Response Team met to review our covid protocols.  We will continue to have a masked section on the Main street side of the Sanctuary but it will be slightly reduced.  Your ushers can direct you to the appropriate spot.  Of course, you are always welcome to wear your mask wherever you wish – but they are optional.  We continue to ask you to practice safe health practices such as increased hand washing and remaining home when you are sick!

The Red Hot Friday Chili Night takes place this Friday March 3rd beginning at 5 pm.  This evening includes a fun, friendly chili competition and will be accompanied by acoustic music from a variety of local musicians!  We are still looking for a few more chili entries and desserts.  If you are able to contribute either or both, please let us know. You can reply to this email or sign up in the Fellowship Hall after church this Sunday.  Admission is by free will donation (suggested minimum $10).

The AOTS thanks you for supporting the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner. Judging from the comments it was well appreciated and we realized hearing the conversations (and as most were not eager to leave) it was a social event too. We are pleased to present this annual event and we are happy to announce a profit of more than $600 to be applied to our mandate of support mainly for youth and as well other projects. THANK YOU again.
We note that Hubbert’s Maple Products donated a 4 litre jug and a wholesale price on another. We expect the Scouts will be selling their syrup products for a fund raiser again this year. They appreciate the sponsorship of this church.

Statement from the Right Relations Team
on the Findings at Port Alberni Residential Institution
This information may be traumatic for residential school survivors, families, and community. If you are feeling pain or distress, please call the free 24-hour crisis line: 1-866-925-4419. You can also call the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310. It’s toll-free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.2 Corinthians 5:18 (Lectionary text for Ash Wednesday) “… God has reconciled us to God’s self through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

This week the Tseshaht Nation delivered an update on the first stage of its search of the Port Alberni residential institution.They were able to verify 67 deaths of children at the institution and identified 17 possible unmarked graves.

The United Church of Canada, which ran the Port Alberni Residential Institution from 1925 to 1969, has issued a statement. You can read  The United Church of Canada’s response to the phase one findings here.

The United Church will also be holding space for members of the non-Indigenous church to reflect on the ongoing legacy of The United Church’s role in colonization and the operation of residential institutions. (See below for more info on these online sessions).

This is a time to listen to and leave space for the Tseshaht Nation and other communities that have been impacted by the Port Alberni residential institution to mourn. This is also a time for personal reflection on the ongoing legacy of residential schooling – a legacy that we all must bear.  

Linda Ambrose, a member of the Right Relations team offers this personal reflection:

Last week on Have a Heart day Feb 12, I led the kids church activities at St. Peter’s including a game to reinforce and to recognize the deep injustices that Indigenous kids experience. Then I witnessed the haunting sight of dozens of red dresses (including a tiny girl’s dress) hanging in the birch trees and fluttering in the wind on the Laurentian campus to mark Feb 14th Red Dress Day and remind us of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. And now Feb 22: this unspeakable grief over 67 small children whose bodies were used and abused in the name of nutrition research, religion, and other settler “projects.” Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

May our ashes be outward signs of our inward changes. May we, collectively and individually, as a church and as a society, recall we are given the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation includes hearing truths, offering apologies, restoring peoples, and living in a new way. It is never a one-and-done moment of time.

Mourn. Grieve. Do something.

Creator have mercy. Saviour have mercy. Sustainer have mercy.

~ The Canadian Shield Regional Council Right Relations Team
 A Time of Reflection
In light of recent truths shared about Port Alberni residential institution, Indigenous Ministries and Justice and Church in Mission will be holding spaces for members of the non-Indigenous church to reflect about the ongoing legacy of the United Church’s role in colonization and the operation of residential institutions.
Register for one of the online sessions:
Thursday February 23 @ 8:30pm ET
Sunday February 26 @ 4:30pm ET (with French translation)
Monday February 27 @ 8:00pm ET