【December 2018 No.400】Young Adult Study Tour: Vancouver, Canada

by Rev. Yoko Kihara, Kyodan Overseas Minister, Minister of the United Church of Canada

The first Young Study Tour to Vancouver was held between August 20th and 29th, 2018, welcoming ten young adults of the Kyodan, the Anglican Church, and the Korean Christian Church (KCCJ)in Japan sent by the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, Kyodan.

First, they visited Vancouver School of Theology in University of British Columbia (UBC) on August 21st, welcomed by the Principal, Rev. Dr. Richard Topping. They listened to his presentation of their theological education and their unique programs such as Indigenous studies and Interfaith studies. Then, they moved to the Museum of Anthropology to learn about the history and culture of the First Nations people in the west coast, and the  Botanical Garden to touch and smell the nature of BC’s coast.

The next day, on Aug. 22nd, they went to St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver to participate in the Children Summer Camp called Camp Spirit and interacted with about seventy children, introducing Japanese traditional play such as Origami, top spinning and drawing pictures beyond differences of culture and language.

The highlight of the tour was their participation in Kairos Blanket Exercise on August 23rd to experience the First Nations’ history of grief, stolen lands and destructions of families and communities. The exercise was led by Janette McIntosh, a leader of Kairos Vancouver and Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, an Elder of the Musqueam nation. Everybody had a profound experience through this exercise and their experience was more deepened by listening to the sad family story of Melaney and her drum and songs inherited by her parents following the exercise.

Then, on August 24th, they also visited First United Church Community Ministry Society in Down Town East Side of Vancouver which serves homeless people providing food, shelter, and various services. All were deeply impressed by their excellent services based on the Prophetic voices in the Bible and Love of Jesus Christ.

Over the weekend of August 24th to 26th, ten young adults were divided into five families of the United Church Congregations in Vancouver and suburban area and experienced home stay and attended Sunday Worship Service in each congregation.

Although it had been terribly smoky in Vancouver due to wild fires, it was clear on the day they drove up to Whistler, on August 27th. They could enjoy the amazing view of glaciers on top of the mountains. At the end of the tour, they visited Steveston in the city of Richmond where the first Japanese people arrived to Canada and formed their community. Touched by the great nature of Canada; the mountains in Whistler and the Pacific Ocean from Steveston, they had a good reflection on the learning and experiences of the past 9 days.


*The KAIROS Blanket Exercise program is a unique, participatory history lesson developed in collaboration with the indigenous elders, the knowledge-keepers and educators who foster truth, understanding, respect, and reconciliation among indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. (Adapted from the KAIROS Homepage)




 20日に到後、翌21日はBC州立大学(UBC)(University of British Colombia)を訪ね、構内にあるバンクーバー神学校(VST)でリチャード・トッピング校長から同校の神学教育の特色をビデオを交えて説明を受けた後、先住民博物館、ボタニカルガーデンを見学し、先住民の文化と自然に触れました。


 23日はキリスト教超教派の社会正義に取り組む団体Kairos(KAIROS Canada)と先住民のリーダーを招き、植民地政策の下、土地と家族共同体のつながりを奪われた先住民の悲しみの歴史を学ぶ「ブランケット・エクソサイズ」(Blanket Exercise)を体験し、先住民の長老メラニーさん(Melaney Gleeson-Lyall )の体験談、代々受け継がれた彼女のドラムと歌に耳を傾け、多くの参加者にとってこのツアーのハイライトと言える深い経験となりました。



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