Authored by members of the Joint Truth And Reconciliation Action Group (JTRAG) of Chalmers, Faith and Sydenham Street United Churches

HOPE – Advent 1 (Nov 27) – James Leake

For this first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Hope, we acknowledge the gift of hope provided by the generosity of the Mississauga Anishinabeg of the Ojibway Nation who invited our settler ancestors to share this land.  Instead of sharing, the colonizing government ultimately ‘negotiated a purchase’ of these lands to house the United Empire Loyalists and their Mohawk allies.  The Mississaugas were moved to what is now known as Alderville First Nation on the south shore of Rice Lake.  It seems that their hopes, for continued sharing in the benefits from the lands surrounding where we worship, were not fulfilled.  Today, we too can hope, but even better we can act, to recognize and reconcile settler actions and treat all First Nations, and the land, with the respect they, and it, deserve.

PEACE – Advent 2 (Dec 04) – Kate Mackrell, reader;  Barb Parrott, author

I acknowledge with regret the wanton disregard, by newcomers to this territory on which I am standing, of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples who had called it home for generations. I want to live in peace with their descendants and with respect for all living beings with which I share this land.

JOY – Advent 3 (Dec 11) – Joan Egnatoff, reader;  Lynn Freeman, author

On a cold starry evening, I normally look up and wonder at the mystery of the universe. From Canada’s First Peoples, I have learned to look down—feel the earth beneath my feet and recognize that it is the land that grounds me, its bounty that supports and sustains my family, and unites all of humanity in our responsibility to care for the land and for each other.  I am humbled and inspired by the generosity of Indigenous friends who have taught me to remember my connection to creation and my responsibility to future generations.  I take joy in knowing that I am not alone, that I am part of creation.  

LOVE  – Advent 4 (Dec 18) – Rev. Catherine Elsdon, reader;  Pat Roebuck and Bruce Elliot, authors

To the Ojibwe people, Migizi, the bald eagle, symbolizes LOVE because of its unique relationship with Creator.  Only the eagle has the ability and strength to fly higher than any other animal, so it is able to come closest to Creator, and has the sight to see all the ways of being from great distances.  Eagles show the attribute of unconditional love by being devoted parents and teachers to their offspring, protecting and guiding them.  As we worship on this traditional land of the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples, let us learn from their teachings.  Let’s practice love by treating ourselves, each other, and all of Creation as the Eagle loves their young. 

JESUS’S BIRTH (Christmas) – The Morris-Dakin Family, readers; Leo and Rachel Morris-Dakin, Annika Gale and Lynn Freeman, authors

We are grateful for the land that gives us food, shelters birds and animals, stores water and provides all of us with space to live;

We remember the people who lived on and cared for this land before our ancestors came to this land;

We commit to taking care of this land – keeping it nourished and cleaning up after others and not spoiling it by taking only what we need;

 We promise to share the land and its resources by protecting life, nature and each other.