Submitted by Catherine Christie
As reported in Feb. newsletter, on March 7 and 8 , the International Rural Churches Association (IRCA) held a global prayer event. Canada hosted 2 of the hours.
UCRMN member Catherine Smith from New Brunswick, instigator of Rural Routes through the Holy (check out https://hemofthelight.com/ruralroutes/ ) was first, beginning on screen at 6 p.m. her (Atlantic) time. She began with centring prayer, land acknowledgement, and some excellent Maritime music. The Tatamagouche (where the 2 Rivers meet) Centre operates an educational, community building ministry. We heard poet Shallon Joudrey, who asked, “what would happen if we all chose humility?” Catherine spoke of Rural Routes Through the Holy, a conference held in 2019, with sub-theme Recognize, Replenish, Rejoice. In preparation for it, planners saw the loss of hope in many small communities, and wanted people to feel replenishment, as they recognized God in their midst. Doing this required true lament to be expressed, to wring out the heaviness in their hearts. Having to take 2 years off because of the pandemic, this year Rural Routes Through the Holy 2022 – Thrive Where You Are! is being held June 16-18. Also look for The Postcard Project, which encourages story telling between congregations.
IRCA participants then jumped 4,500 km to a farm near Calgary, AB, where for Tim Wray, a Lutheran pastor and farmer, it was 4 p.m. as he began hosting. Tim is on the Board of Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry out of Saskatoon. He presented the video Faith and Farming, in which people see Tim doing his days’ activities on the farm as he discusses vocation, stewardship, biodiversity and below ground microbial life (available on circle-m.ca website under Initiative/Conversation Starters). A major part of our life today in Canada is reconciliation, (well understood by Australian and New Zealand participants of the hour) and Tim showed videos on Residential Schools, Orange Shirt Day, and the latest initiative of CiRCLe M, a relationship with Morley First Nations Community. Glenda Crawler spoke in her Stoney language, with her daughter Trudy translating, of her hopes and prayers, and the Indian Day of Prayer begun in Morley in 1971, which led to what we know today nationally as Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), with the Sunday before known in the churches as Indigenous Day of Prayer.
The videos used by both these presenters will be available on the IRCA website, along with videos by presenters around the world.