The small town of Skidegate, British Columbia, sits on the stunning coast of Haida Gwaii. In the 19th century, Methodist missionaries arrived and eventually set up a church and mission house here as well as schools and hospitals. Over the generations the Haida people lost much of their culture and language, but there is a renewed interest in having children learn their traditional language. The United Church is supporting that through a Mission and Service grant to help fund the creation of DVDs for children in the Haida language. “The oldest speaker in the community is in her 90s, and she’s already teaching the children,” says the Rev. Nancy O’Higgins, Skidegate United Church’s minister. The small church also receives Mission and Service support so it can maintain its presence in the community. Nancy conducts most of the baptisms, weddings, and funerals for the community. The church is also an important centre during the week: groups use it to hold meetings, the community choir practises there, and there are yoga and heritage programs as well. “We’re conscious that we receive Mission and Support money, so we feel it’s important to give back to Mission and Service. It’s always part of our Sunday worship because we know that without it we couldn’t be a presence in the community,” Nancy says. The ability to make DVDs of people speaking the Haida language means the language will be preserved for generations to come, allowing new generations to retain their heritage for years to come. This is thanks to our gifts for Mission and Service, which support a small church on the west coast of Canada.
Mighty and tender God, through our gifts for Mission and Service we respond to your call to mend the world.