St. Luke’s Church hall was once again filled with laughter and the excited chatter of our Messy Church families as we gathered again last Saturday for the first time since February because of the COVID outbreak.
About 30 people gathered for a very special Reconciliation Saturday and although it was a different kind of Messy Church, with no singing or sharing of a meal, everyone said they were just happy to be together once again.
The celebration started outside around St. Luke’s Reconciliation Choke Cherry Tree with a prayer and a special smudge.
Fred Matthews, a parishioner at St. Thomas Sherwood Park, delighted the families with his traditional Haudenosaunee flute which he played during the smudging. Then Fiona Brownlee, the Aboriginal and Rural Communities Liaison for the diocese of Edmonton, led a play called the Wandering Spirit, a story about a spirit long ago who gave Indigenous people the gift of multiplying so they could spread out around the world and live together in harmony.
The event then moved inside – observing physical distancing around the tables – where everyone was given an orange T-shirt which they decorated to honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools in Canada.
While the shirts were being decorated, Rev. Nick Trussell rector of St. Luke’s read Phyllis’s Story, the true story about a young girl who had her brand new, bright orange shirt taken away on her first day of residential school, never to see it again. This story is the reason the orange shirt has become a symbol for remembering residential school survivors.
Paper hearts were also decorated and planted around the choke cherry tree which made a wonderful memorial garden, honouring the children who were sent to residential schools.
Everyone was sent home with a goodie bag containing a snack and everything needed to make their very own dream catcher.
All in all, it was a very successful and joyful Messy Church. Although the smiles couldn’t be seen under all those colourful masks, smiling eyes said it all.
Submitted by Donna Harker, St. Luke's Anglican Church, Edmonton