How can Mennonites, with their long colonial history, work toward genuine reconciliation with Indigenous peoples? Mennonite Church British Columbia’s Indigenous Relations Task Group has some ideas.
In a video released earlier this year, the group’s members provide a list of 10 actionable steps Mennonites can take to decolonize their minds, and they invite believers to join them on the journey of reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is hard work,” says Elizabeth Epp, a member of the task group. “It begins by being honest and looking at our own history and ways in which we have not lived fully into the calling we have received as Jesus’ people.”
The video emphasizes Mark 12:20-31 as its guiding point.
“Reconciliation is at the centre of our Christian vocation captured by Jesus as, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: love your neighbour as yourself,’” says Johann Funk, another group member.
Jesus is the example for Mennonites as they work toward decolonization, adds Justin Sun, a pastor at Peace Mennonite Church and Richmond Peace Chinese Mennonite Church.
“Jesus got to cross the barriers of class, culture, sex, and status to demonstrate God’s inclusive love for all of creation. He possesses a thoroughly decolonized mind,” Sun says. “For Christians to purposefully and effectively love our neighbors as ourselves requires decolonizing our minds in response to our love for God.”
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