Monday, May 02, 2022

"The conversation must include apology. But it must not stop there"

Tonight I wanted to conclude my coverage of the visit to Saskatchewan by the Archbishop of Canterbury the Reverend Justin Welby, and his apology for the residential schools. Rev. Welby spoke in Prince Albert yesterday, and here are some excerpts from his talk
 I am sorry that the Church was not there for you when we should have been your greatest friends. 
And even if we were powerless, and I will come back to that, we should have been willing to suffer alongside you. That is better than nothing. 
 I am sorry that the Church belittled your spirituality, denigrated and undermined your culture, traditions and above all your languages, and abused your rights. 
And I am sorry that an eagerness to share the good news of Jesus Christ we committed an indefensible sin of the arrogant assumption that we ‘brought God to you’ rather than understanding and seeking to listen. 
I’m not sure who has more right to be offended - the God who was already here, or you who knew that God..... 
I hope that what I have said may be the beginning of the beginning of a deeper conversation in words and action. The conversation must include apology but it must not stop there. 
In humility, in deep sadness, I end as I began: by apologising unreservedly and unqualifiedly, and saying again to you that even where I cannot change things, I will do everything I can to stand alongside and continue to learn from you.

Good coverage generally of his visit, but I was most affected by Leanne Sanders' detailed story in APTN News.  She noted:
Welby expressed his remorse for what they went through.
“I am sorry. I am more sorry than I can say. I am ashamed, I am horrified,” Welby said. 
“The grace shown by the survivors is so extraordinary. The graciousness. One came up to me this morning and said I slept well last night. I felt the lifting of the burden. It’s only the first step in a very long journey, but it was a great blessing to me,” Welby said. 
“It was a very gracious step to say that to me.”
This photo shows Rev. Welby speaking with Rev. Helen Northcutt of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, a residential school survivor. (photo by Jeff D'Andrea/paNOW Staff)

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