Peacemaking in Canada
Rev. Blake Eady is pastor of a Baptist congregation in Cayuga, Ontario. It sits at the edge of the Six Nation Reservation, the largest reservation of First Nations peoples (i.e., Canadian “Indians”) in Canada. For the past year, a land dispute has ensued between the local community and the Six Nations with hotheads on both sides spouting hateful and violent rhetoric. Caught in the middle has been this Baptist church. Rev. Eady told the story of their struggles to make peace with justice with all the communities–struggles that sometimes came within a hair’s breadth of subjecting the church to violence by either Anglo or First Nations activists. It was an amazing story and showed how the Christian virtues of patience, inclusivity, cross-cultural openness, desire for justice for all–and much more were needed to avoid bloodshed.
The story is ongoing. The Six Nations, indeed, all the First Nations peoples, have suffered much over the centuries from the French and British colonizers and then from their successors in the Canadian government–even though comparatively less than Native Americans suffered at the hands of the U.S. government. That suffering has led to much resentment and a feeling of “enough is enough, this time we are compromising on NOTHING!” Meanwhile many of the Anglos and other Canadians in the area might not have even had ancestors involved in these historic wrongs and are impatient with the whole process–and there are many who want to call the might of the government down again.
Rev. Eady and his Baptist congregation keep working for a just peace in the midst of all this. They refuse to let their own fears and insecurities push them into setting aside the Sermon on the Mount for the wisdom of a violent world. I lift up their struggle to be a reconciling presence in the world.
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