EQUITY, INCLUSION + ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES
GOD’S LOVE INCLUDES EVERYONE
As an inclusive, affirming congregation, we honour the diversity of God’s creation. Our community is richer when we include people of all ages, gender identities, racial and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, abilities, economic circumstances and family configurations. We seek to provide a safe space so that each person can bring every aspect of their whole self into participation within this congregation. We invite all to join into the life, leadership, witness and ministry of Knox Waterloo.
TRUTH, HEALING & RECONCILIATION
We acknowledge that Knox Waterloo is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Attawandaron Peoples. We seek a renewed relationship with our neighbours, one that is based on honour and deep respect. We give thanks for the ability to gather, work and worship here.
The sacred land on which Knox Waterloo is situated has been home to various Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years. The Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Attawandaron People sought to walk gently on this land. Knox is situated on the Haldimand Tract – six miles of land on either side of the entire length of the Grand River – which was given by the British to the Six Nations as compensation for their role in the American Revolutionary War of Independence and for the loss of their traditional territory. Of the original 950,000 acres, only 46,000 acres (less than 5%) remains Six Nations land today.
Beginning in the 19th century and continuing until the late 1960s, the Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC) partnered with the Government of Canada in running Indian Residential Schools. It is clear that these schools, in policy and practice, were an assault on Indigenous families, culture, language and spiritual traditions, and that great harm was done.
The Confession of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (1994) seeks forgiveness from our Aboriginal neighbours. We continue to lament and regret our part in that legacy.
We cannot change the past, but we continue to share in the work of healing and reconciliation, respectfully following the leadership of Indigenous communities and leaders.
This acknowledgement was adopted by Knox Waterloo on April 25, 2017
Our hearts break at the ongoing existence of systemic anti-Black racism, brought to light once again, by the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This event, and too many similar events throughout North America compel us to speak.
We deeply regret that the church has too frequently remained silent about racial injustice. We have much to learn about the role our white privilege has played in perpetuating inequity in our nation.
We recognize the courageous acts of those who have helped and continue to help heighten society’s awareness of the ongoing problem of racism. Sadly, it is often those who work so hard to dismantle oppressive attitudes and systems that are most affected. Anger, rage, and helplessness have been expressed along with calls of lament and for action and for justice. Black lives matter, and to say anything other rejects the biblical affirmation that all are lovingly made in the image of God.
Members of Black, Indigenous, and other communities in Ontario regularly experience incidents of aggression, discrimination and even violence. Recent events have reminded us again of the work yet required to eliminate systemic racism that is based on white supremacy.
As a congregation dedicated to inclusion in all areas, we condemn all racially motivated discriminatory actions and attitudes. In his ministry, Jesus recognized the dignity of all people and spoke openly against the systems of oppression which denied such dignity. We are called to follow in his footsteps.
We stand with all who have experienced prejudiced or racist attitudes or behaviours and we commit to work in solidarity with those who are peacefully shaping a world built on equality, justice and love.
Along with many other religious groups, our denomination (The Presbyterian Church in Canada) has issued a statement which you can read at https://presbyterian.ca/2020/06/02/pcc-anti-racism/
You can also read the Moderator’s Reflections of Anti-Black Racism https://presbyterian.ca/2020/06/03/the-moderator-on-anti-black-racism/
This statement was adopted by Knox Waterloo on June 9, 2020
Special Listening Committee of the PCC to hear stories of harm done by the Church due to homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism and hypocrisy
This final report (published in 2021) draws on the 139 stories shared with the Rainbow Communion. It is available in written form, resource summary, audio format and a video. The video is also linked to the image on the left. All content and formats can be located at: https://presbyterian.ca/listening/