2013 Mennonite Heritage Sunday: Keeping the Faith

2013, 3 pp
Each year we are intentional about remembering our Anabaptist past, for our history is foundational to our faith as Mennonites. We look back, seeking to discern spiritual truths from past efforts to live as a faithful people, looking for ways they can guide us in the present and as we look to the future. The Mennonite heritage of persecution, humility, and peaceful responses has shaped us as a people. Our unsuspecting complicity in the suffering of the very people whose lands our ancestors populated as they sought refuge has also made us who we are.

This year our Heritage Sunday falls in the midst of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s five-year mandate. The national theme of the Commission is “It’s about Humility.” As we hear stories of survivors of residential schools, designed by nineteenth-century government officials as a way of killing the aboriginal in the child, we are becoming aware of the horrors that were taking place virtually in our back yards, even while many of our own ancestors were settling into new homes. We are facing our complicity with the colonial project that brought us to the very land taken from the parents, grandparents and greatgrandparents of residential school survivors. We are learning that Mennonites, too, taught at and ran residential schools. In the spirit of being a faithful church, Mennonite Church Canada has prepared resource materials including the informative document, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Mennonite Church Canada.

Some of Mennonite Canada’s congregations already have participated in area hearings; for other communities, the hearings will soon be coming. As we celebrate Heritage Sunday, this year we ask ourselves what does it mean for us as Mennonites to keep the faith? What does being a faithful church mean for us in this current context of a national dialogue between Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and the churches as healing and reconciliation are sought?

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