What does it look like when a church lives out its intention to be Radically Welcoming?

I asked Heather Morigeau and Janice Clark, to share the journey of Wild Rose United Church (WRUC) to open its doors to Making It Right – Relations Art Festival, a bridge building interactive arts experience.    

The journey has these highlights –

Following the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015, WRUC took seriously the call of the TRC to actively listen and take steps towards right relations between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people. The Church created a Right Relations committee.

The Right Relations committee embarked on a yearlong process of leaning with and from Indigenous People about their history in Canada including the particular role of the United Church of Canada in supporting residential schools.  The participants took a journey of grief and acknowledging responsibility and emerged with a renewed commitment to making things better.

The church board approved the Right Relations committee pitching an Indigenous Arts Festival at the Calgary Foundation sponsored Soul of the City Grassroots Pitch event.

The pitch was successful (see the happy picture at the top of the article) and was awarded $8000.00 to host a festival to build bridges between Indigenous and Non-indigenous people through the arts.

To the surprise and delight of WRUC members, the initiative, through the magic of networks of all kinds, including social media, has gathered volunteers from beyond the church to organize, support and promote the festival.  Some volunteers come from as far away as Red Deer and the majority are not members of the church.   image1

The commitment of the group to making this event a success is so strong they have organized flyer delivery to 1000 homes in Crescent Heights.

All of this in support of a day of enjoying, discussing and making art for all ages including:

  • 15 Indigenous Artists selling their art
  • workshops such as making a dream catcher or personal medicine bag,
  • story workshop and a drum circle
  • Darcy Robinson will be hosting a conversation on Decolonizing the Art System.

The invitation is join neighbours and strangers at 10:00 am – 4:00pm on June 16 to experience the world through Indigenous Art, storytelling and drumming and to leave with an expanded view of the world. Wild Rose United Church is located at 1317 1 St NW Calgary.

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