September 30th: Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Click here)

Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


Dear siblings in Christ,

September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  You may have your own plans to honour this day, but we would like to share a few possibilities with you, on behalf of the Shuswap Ecumenical KAIROS group, and St. Joseph’s Social Justice group.


Louie Thomas, a respected Secwepemc elder, has invited people to gather at the Art Gallery in Salmon Arm at 2:00 PM on Thursday, September 30th for a special event honouring this day.  You are welcome to attend this event.


Another option is to drum where you are at 2:15 PM in response to the invitation from Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir at or their Facebook page tkemlupstesecwepemc.  Here you will find a media release and links to the honour song.


Another possibility that St Joseph’s and First United are considering is a display of children’s shoes – perhaps on the banister, or forming a circle, near the church.  These could be set in place on Thursday, September 30th, and kept there until the following Sunday, when as a faith community, you might want to offer a prayer over the shoes before donating them to the Thrift Store.


Whatever your decision, we encourage you to share the information in your church bulletin this coming Sunday.  There are several fine prayers available, but we include this prayer from the Indigenous Ministries of the United Church of Canada.

Great and Heavenly Spirit,
God of compassion, healing and comfort,

We lift up in prayer the sacred lives of the children, some now known to us, all known to you, who died in residential schools.
We lift up in prayer the sacred lives of the children who went missing from these schools and whose fates are unknown to those who held them most dear.
We grieve the loss of so many thousands of these little ones, and we grieve especially their loss so far away from home.
We grieve the loss of youth with so much potential. These were children of this place, children of our land. The loss of their giftedness is our collective loss.
We lament how long their families have had to live with unanswered questions.

Hear our prayers:
for those who were not informed of their children’s deaths at all, or on a timely basis;
for those who were not told of where their daughters and sons had been buried;
for those who have long hoped that a child who went missing somehow survived and had a good life—even as they may have also feared the worst.

We lament our complicity in the loss of these children. As members of a church which ran residential schools, we seek your help as we look to redress the many ways in which our church failed these Indigenous children, their families, and their communities. We pray that your reconciling love will teach us how to create true bonds of community and understanding as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples today.

We lift up with gratitude the efforts of all those who are seeking to honour the lives of the children who died, as well as the children whose fates are unknown, through ongoing research and acts of remembrance.
We ask for your continued guidance of them as they work to uncover the stories of the lost. We understand how precious this information is, and how vital it is to the healing of so many families and communities.
Bless those who are preparing to honour the children with sacred ceremonies and those who work to protect burial sites, in keeping with the traditions of Indigenous peoples across this land.

We pray for the families of these children and for all who loved them. Envelop them in the warmth of your infinite care and give them peace.
Inspire all of us with energy, wisdom, and commitment to the loving pursuit of the truth which will heal all of us in our brokenness and lead to reconciliation with our neighbours across this land.



May God bless us with wisdom and compassion as we journey together toward reconciliation.


Rev. Juanita Austin

Co-chair of the Shuswap Ecumenical KAIROS group


Carol McAndrew

Co-chair of the Shuswap Ecumenical KAIROS group


Bruce Weicker

St. Joseph Parish – Social Justice