The community gathers, and music fills the air. Slipping effortlessly between Anishinaabemowin and English, the gathered congregation sings their favourite hymns to piano and guitar. Christian Island United Church serves the Ojibwe, Potawatomie, and Odawa people of Beausoleil First Nation located on beautiful Georgian Bay. The Sunday morning congregation is tiny, but the pastoral care needs of the community are never-ending. This is a place where the United Church tries to live out in practical ways our apology to First Nations. The United Church, and its predecessor the Methodist Church, have had a presence in this community for approximately 175 years. The early missionaries were both teachers and ministers. The United Church ran the Protestant school on the reserve, with the minister acting as the principal and the pastor. The band took over the responsibility for education in the early 1970s, amalgamating the United Church and Roman Catholic schools. For the first time, the pastor was freed for full-time ministry. Fully funded by Mission & Service, this ministry is broader than just care for the families that identify as United Church. This ministry reaches out to the entire First Nation, offering spiritual care, counselling, and religious services where needed. Thanks to our contributions for Mission & Service, together we can offer the gift of God’s presence in tangible, everyday ways. Please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith.
Loving God, we are called to be your colours in the world, to walk with each other, to share in love through our gifts for Mission & Service. Guide us to shine brightly in the world. Amen