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Walk for International Peace

   

July 15, 2011
- Rachel Bergen

Waterloo, ONT. — Though many Mennonites have been involved in or supportive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), many say they feel God must be brought into the equation through prayer for their First Nations brothers and sisters.

On Thursday July 7, 2011, hundreds of Mennonite Church Canada Assembly participants in Waterloo, Ont. gathered to walk and pray for people from all corners of the world, including those in their own backyard – the First Nations people of Canada. The prayer walk also involved singing hymns from around the world.

For Melanie Kampen, a delegate from Springfield Heights Mennonite Church, being a part of the prayer walk was “an opportunity to show solidarity with our Aboriginal neighbours. The prayer walk was a liturgical practice; as we stepped together across broken land we trusted that our prayers to our Creator would be for ‘the healing of all nations.’”

During the prayer, walkers faced one another recognizing that we are a part of many peoples living in North America, what the First Nations refer to as Turtle Island.

“We are people who often struggle with addiction, poverty, affluence, and a lack of purpose in life,” they prayed. “Loving God, pour your blessing on North America.”

According to Neill von Gunten, who recently retired as Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministry Co-Director, “for the First Nations community, knowing that the Christian community is praying for peace, reconciliation and restoring justice is very important... prayer is also very important in their culture.”

Those taking part in the walk also prayed for people in South America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East through liturgy and song.