Every culture pays special attention to the children in its care. Injury and harm done to the young impacts all generations. In recent months, we have heard news about the American Indian children who were sent away to boarding schools and died there without being returned to their families. This is a horrendous part of our nation’s history, as are other atrocities against the tribal nations within the borders of what is now the United States and Canada.
The American Indian Alaskan Native Lutheran Association (AIANLA) within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has issued a letter on behalf of the Indigenous people throughout North America. I invite you to read this letter with care. Our response as people of Christian faith matters well beyond the boundaries of the Saint Paul Area Synod. Read the letter here.
With this letter, fellow members of the ELCA invite you and your congregation to a time of repentance and learning in solidarity with the First Nations and Native children who never made it home from the residential schools.
As a synod, we will dedicate the 225 days from October 1, 2021, to the end of the Synod Assembly on May 14, 2022, as a period of remembrance, repentance, and resolve to live in equitable partnership with neighbors of Native identity. The letter explains the poignancy of hanging an orange banner in your worship space, as well as the significance of the number 225.
Each month from October until May there will be resources to include in worship life, learning opportunities to better understand the impact of the boarding school movement, and synod-wide events to remember the children — these children. You are welcome to submit a photo of such an orange banner, hanging in your sanctuary, to the synod office (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will be shared here on the synod’s website.
As communities of faith that care deeply about children, I invite you to join me in practices and prayer to make these 225 days a time of transformation for the sake of remembering these children.
Yours in Christ’s service,
Bishop Patricia Lull