Archive for the ‘KAIROS’ Tag

Canada Day message from KAIROS

Message from Jennifer Henry, KAIROS Executive Director, on Canada Day 2015 

On this day, when Canadians gather to celebrate our country, I will place my pride not in who we are, but in who we can become.  With the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action summary report, we have a glimpse into the history many did not want to know, and a vision of a future we must strive to realize.

I offer my deepest expression of gratitude to the survivors who in their courage peeled back a façade. We now know how churches and governments collaborated to extinguish language, culture, and identity of Indigenous children, breaking bonds of family and community, contributing to a separation of people from the land, while suppressing the spirituality that celebrated that connection.  We now know that children died preventable deaths, some further dishonoured by unmarked graves. We now know that this has led to generational trauma that continues to this day.

Because of survivors’ courage, we now know.  Because of their resilience, we all have a chance to heal. Because of their profound confidence in the power of the human spirit, our children and grandchildren can believe in a future of mutual respect.

I offer my strongest expression of appreciation to the Commissioners – Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild – for the sacrifices they made to hold this national conversation, to have these truths revealed to a reluctant country.  I heard them describe cultural genocide.  I heard them speak of graveyards instead of playgrounds.  I heard them describe the deep wounds within families that need to be reconciled.  And I also heard them say resilience.  Spirituality.  Self-respect.  Mutual respect. Contribution. Action. Reconciliation.  Because of their sacrifices, we have a way forward – a clear path to a transformed country.

At KAIROS, we believe that transformation is possible.  We see hope every day. In young Indigenous leaders who claim their voice and pull us, all of us, towards a more just future.  In non-Indigenous children who refuse to tolerate inequity and are committed to bring about tangible change.  In elders who against all odds are passing on language, culture, teachings and spirituality.  In Indigenous people of the South uniting with Indigenous people in Canada, helping us to understand that the struggle is global and that solidarity can flow in many directions.   In new immigrants embracing treaty responsibilities and refusing to perpetuate myths and stereotypes.  In settler Canadians craving education and change.  In communities united to protect their watersheds and build relationships of respect and sharing that reflect the original treaties that are the foundation of Canada.

At KAIROS we believe that transformation is possible, because we have faith, and we can see hope made real.  We believe transformation is possible because we are seeing it happen within our organization, and amongst our members and partners. We are seeing old relationships change and in so doing become stronger, and new ones being formed.  One by one.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action – principled, comprehensive, accessible – deserve more than superficial or cynical acceptance.  They deserve our careful reading, our study and questioning, our embrace of their challenge, our discernment of our accountabilities, and ultimately our persistence towards action.

Almost 20 years ago, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples offered a glimpse into our past and a vision for the future.  Our great failing was that so many, too many, did not have ears to hear the information it contained or eyes to see the vision it held.  In the intervening 20 years we have learned and unlearned, and we believe that many have changed.  This Truth and Reconciliation Commission report will not be shelved because Canadians will not allow it to be shelved.  It is too important. There is still much work to do, much to unlearn and learn, but this time it will be different. It must be different.

Today, inspired by Indigenous leadership – young and old – we can express our pride in who we could be, who we should be, who we must be.  We can join our hands and hearts to every Canadian – Indigenous, settler, newcomer – who pledges persistence until together we have formed a country that we can be proud of.  Persistence until we have a country where the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people are honoured, where justice is done, where every child can expect equity and respect, and where language, culture and identity are gifts to be shared.  Let us commit to our own change, to contribute to that of our churches and communities, to show possibility in action, and to not let go.

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action here:

Check out KAIROS’ newest resource entitled Strength for Climbing: On the Journey to Reconciliation, part of our upcoming Winds of Change campaign, here:

Follow KAIROS on Twitter and Facebook, between Canada Day and Thanksgiving, as we detail each of the #94calls2reconcile and encourage all to #ReadTheTRCReport.

Photo credit: James Park, Inspirit Foundation

Click here to make a donation to KAIROS today! 

For more information, please visit our website: 

KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
310 Dupont St. Suite 200, Toronto, ON, Canada M5R 1V9
Tel: 416-463-5312 | Toll-free: 1-877-403-8933| Fax: 416-463-5569


Global Day of Action

Government leaders from across the globe will be meeting in New York City on September 23 for a one-day United Nations climate summit. The People’s Climate March precedes it on September 21 and will send out a massive, united call for climate justice and a strong climate treaty.

We can’t all go to New York, but KAIROS invites you to participate in this historic mobilization from wherever you are! Some suggestions:

This would be a good time to check out ClimateFast, which KAIROS has endorsed, as it counts down to this year’s fast on Parliament Hill (September 28 to October 2) and extends an invitation to everyone to join in fasting on the first day of each month.

Citizens for Public Justice, in collaboration with the Canadian Council of Churches, has created resources for faith communities in Canada specifically related to the UN summit and the People’s Climate March. These include a bible study, bulletin inserts, an infographic on the moral implications of climate change, sermon notes, hymns for Creation, prayers of intercession and activities for youth and young adults, all of which would be particularly appropriate for worship services on Sunday, September 21.

Green Faithan interfaith coalition based in New Jersey, is offering resources and an invitation to faith communities to become Climate March Faith Communities.

KAIROS has a long history of advocacy for climate justice and has produced in-depth analysis on climate change that can help to put the September events into perspective:

Stay tuned for another analytical report following the New York summit.

KAIROS also has a new Watershed Discipleship workshop hot off the press that includes biblical and personal reflection, consideration of the issues facing your watershed, and the opportunity to connect those issues with others across Canada and around the world. With climate change affecting every watershed in some way, this could be a timely opportunity to organize a workshop in your area. If you would like to host a Watershed Discipleship workshop, retreat, or train-the-trainer event and support a growing network, please contact Sara Stratton, KAIROS Members Relations and Campaigns Coordinator at

If you would like to go to New York for the march and are in the Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal area, buses are being organized.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminded participants at the So Long as the Rivers Flow conference in Fort McMurray earlier this year, we are all connected by the urgent need to protect our planet from catastrophic climate change, the effects of which have been felt for some time by poor and vulnerable communities in the Global South. KAIROS invites and encourages you to join with others to participate in these efforts in whatever way you can.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact John Dillon, KAIROS Ecological Economy Program Coordinator at

Desmond Tutu’s visit to Canada’s Tar Sands

KAIROS Canada connects with Archbishop Desmond Tutu over climate change, resource extraction and Indigenous rights

Ed Bianchi, Jennifer Henry & Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Jennifer Henry, KAIROS’ Executive Director and Ed Bianchi, Program Manager, were thrilled to meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Fort McMurray at the As Long As the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in Our Time conference, May 31-June 1, 2014. Archbishop Tutu says climate change is a moral struggle and that we must all consider how Alberta’s tar sands impact the climate, Indigenous rights, and the global community – a position echoed by KAIROS.

The conference explored how treaties protect the environment, shape resource development, and address the promise of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Following the conference, Jennifer and Ed visited Fort Chipewyan to follow up on a delegation to the tar sands organized by KAIROS in 2009 that was comprised of leaders from Canadian churches and church organizations, as well as Indigenous representatives from British Columbia, Ecuador and Nigeria.

Jennifer and Ed’s Blogs

We are all connected, by Jennifer Henry
His was a clarion call: we need to move away from fossil fuels dependence towards cleaner and safer energies that protect the people and the planet. Read more.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: A Voice To be Heard, by Jennifer Henry
I worked as a Christian Education worker in an Anglican church in Winnipeg in the late 80’s.  Like others in the churches, we were actively involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.  Read more.

It’s time to decarbonise, by Ed Bianchi
Winona LaDuke wants to change the terms of the discussion. She says we are in a spiritual moment, and we have a choice to make. Do we want to live for another 500 – 1000 years, or another 50? Read more. This blog also appears in – Changing the discussion on the high carbon economy.

We do have choices, by Jennifer Henry
There was rain in the morning, but when it came time to fly to Fort Chipewyan the sky was beautifully clear. It was a chance for me to see directly something of what was highlighted at the last two days during the So Long as the Rivers Flow Conference. Read more.

Fort Chipewyan: Time for Treaty Renewal, by Ed Bianchi
In so many ways, Fort Chipewyan’s story mirrors that of Canada. Its rich history includes Indigenous peoples, explorers, fur traders, disease, corporations, governments, treaties, residential schools, and the church. Read more.

For more on KAIROS’ visit to Fort McMurray, click here.

Climate justice – divestment (3)

Movement to Divest from Fossil Fuels Gaining Strength

Two recent events signify how the movement to withdraw investments from fossil fuels is gaining momentum. On Sunday February 23, the congregation at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto voted unanimously to ensure that none of its funds are invested in any of the world’s 200 largest fossil fuel corporations. Then, on Saturday March 1, Greening Sacred Spaces and the Green Awakening Network hosted a forum on Divestment or What? Economic Tools for Creation Advocacy in a Time of Crisis.

As Jeanne Moffat, speaking on behalf of the Climate Justice Group at Trinity-St. Paul’s, said “For too many years governments have not dealt decisively with the impending climate chaos, largely to the peril of low- income countries and low-lying regions of the world.” While this is the first example in Canada of a church deciding to divest, the climate advocacy group lists 19 religious institutions, nine post-secondary institutions, 22 municipalities, 2 counties, and 17 foundations in the U.S. as having made this commitment.

Fossil Free

Anglican Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu sums up the moral case for divestment by citing the key role it played in South Africa: “The divestment movement played a key role in helping liberate South Africa [from apartheid]. The corporations understood the logic of money even when they weren’t swayed by the dictates of morality. Climate change is a deeply moral issue too. Here in Africa we see the dreadful suffering of people from worsening drought, from rising food prices, from floods even though they’ve done nothing to cause the situation. Once again, we can join together as a world and put pressure where it counts.”

For more information please see Trinity-St. Paul’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Primer.
For more information please contact: 
John Dillon
Ecological Economy Program Coordinator 
416-463-5312 x 231
Toll-free: 1-877-403-8933


Posted March 10, 2014 by allanbaker in Christian Faith, Environment

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Unbearable Pain, Startling Hope – by Jennifer Henry

Watershed moments by Sara Stratton

Orca Carving by Dora Edwards. Photo: Sara Stratton, 2013.


This reflection by KAIROS staffer Sara Stratton could be a “watershed moment”. Sara reflects on the connections between the Truth and Reconciliation commission and the pursuit of Watershed Discipleship. What will your “acts of kindness bespeaking kinship” be?

I hope that it will help you begin 2014  with hope for our common future, and peace for all God’s creation. To see the entire reflection, please click here.

UN Climate Talks Move Backwards

UN Climate Talks Move Backwards: Developed States Refuse Meaningful Action

COP 19 protestors

Youth attending the Warsaw Conference staged protests
singling out Canada and Australia.

The 19th UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw in November opened in the wake of  super typhoon Haiyan with Yeb Saño’s moving speech pledging to fast “until a meaningful outcome is in sight”. The conference was a dramatic spectacle of confrontations between industrial greenhouse gas contributing countries and low-income countries most affected by those emissions, highlighted by the walk-out of 130 low income countries whose joint statement described it as “a conference focused on profits at the expense of Mother Earth.”

As KAIROS partner Tetet Nera-Lauron from IBON in the Philippines stated, “The diluted language of the conference outcome presents a growing problem for poor countries that are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. It allows further leeway for developed nations to backtrack on their commitments and effectively weakens the position of developing countries that struggle every year from the damages of climate catastrophes.

KAIROS’ Ecological Economy Program Coordinator John Dillon reviews the unfortunate outcome of this conference in this article.

Christmastide blessings from KAIROS

IMG_0027” I have trouble some days believing peace is possible.  In our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in Israel-Palestine, confidence in transformation can be easily tested.

But we work with the people who don’t give up, who can’t give up, who take the prophetic message to heart, who believe that peace, that well being is possible, and work hard, and at great risk to make it so.

Those are the words of Jennifer Henry of KAIROS Canada. Her full message of hope can be found at:

Nation to Nation Bike Tour, 2013

Look for this story in your local, corporate – controlled media …

Nation to Nation Bike Tour

On July 27, the first-ever KAIROS and OteshaNation to Nation Bike Tour gets underway! Twelve Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth will start in Akwesasne and end in Tyendinaga; these are Kanien’kehaka  (Mohawk) communities that share the waters of the St Lawrence and Lake Ontario. In between, the cyclists will be hosted by non-Indigenous communities and groups.

The participants will be learning and sharing as they go, offering a new version of the Blanket Exercise in the communities they visit. There’s more information available on the KAIROS site. All events are currently posted to the KAIROS calendar and we’ll be adding more information as specifics are confirmed. Nation to Nation Bike Tour events posted to this calendar are open to all.

After four days of programming in Akwesasne,  the tour gets underway on July 31st with smudging, Mohawk prayer and opening address, words from Grand Chief Mike Mitchell, and songs from the A’nowarakowa Arena youth group singers.  Local media will be present. Many thanks to Akwesasne radio CKON-FM 97.3 for an excellent interview on the bike tour!

In the words of the Akwesasne planners, “ This is an important event as it acknowledges a new friendship that was created and teachings shared  between Mohawk members of the community and the KAIROS  youth group. Community support will be present to meet, give thanks and to help support the visitors’ journey.”

In turn, the KAIROS community would like to say nia:wen, thank you, to the Akwesasne community for their gift of starting the group’s time together in this good way. The community and the people are showing enormous generosity to the riders and KAIROS, as ceremonies, teachings and hosting are all shared. We also offer  thanks to Tyendinaga  for hosting the end of the  tour. Without these good words and actions, we could not continue KAIROS’ commitment to a new relationship built on justice and respect.

KAIROS’ gratitude also goes to the church communities who will also host the bikers. There are Lutheran, United and Presbyterian churches along the way who are hosting and caring for the riders. Thank you!  We’ll update information about all the generous hosts as it’s confirmed.

And of course, the people who have offered donations to help cover the riders’ expenses are also very much a part of this work. Any amount helps and you can still donate!

For more information please contact:
Katy Quinn
Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator
613 235-9956 x224

Testing a new Blanket Exercise workshop developed by Suzanne Keeptwo that will be offered at public events during the bike tour.


Easter Greetings

‘Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!’

An Easter Reflection by Jennifer Henry, Executive Director, KAIROS

Two years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Garden of Gethsemane. It was an important moment for me as that part of the Passion story has always touched me deeply. In his sadness, maybe even fear, Jesus, so understandably, seeks the accompaniment and solidarity of his friends. And his friends fail the test – they fall asleep. I am always rocked to the core with Jesus’ poignant question: “Will no one stay awake with me?”

Theologian and activist Ched Myers says in his book Who Will Roll Away the Stone, “We are called to stay awake with Jesus in a world become Gethsemane.” I share his sense that this is a resonant story for First World Christians. We strive to stay awake to the suffering and injustice of the world, of our global neighbours. We are called to solidarity with Christ in the poor, in those pushed to the margins, the victims of violence and greed. But our privileges can make us sleepy. It is too hard to keep opening my eyes to injustice; it is inconvenient to answer the call to solidarity. Like the disciples, we can fail the test.

Yet our desire to be faithful to the call to “stay awake with Jesus in a world become Gethsemane” is evident in so many ways. In these recent weeks, some 200 of you took the time to write a letter protesting death threats against the women of the Popular Feminist Organization in Colombia and urging action on their behalf. We know these letters – this international support – saves lives.

Others of you helped host and welcome two Salvadoran women in their visit to Canada to speak of the impact of a Canadian mining company on their community. Some of you are preparing for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission National Event in Montreal – preparing to listen with your whole heart to those who in tremendous courage will tell their stories.

These (and so many more) are acts of justice in churches and communities across the country. For everything you do in accompaniment and solidarity – actions, donations, prayers – we are so grateful. For the way you help keep each other awake, we give thanks. We see a faithful movement here and, in very real ways, it is growing.

On Easter Sunday, the children in my church will set free the “alleluias” from the little box we store them in through Lent. We will raise our voices to proclaim: “Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!” And we will put our faith in the One who accompanies us always, even when we fail the test.

From all of us at KAIROS, thank you for your support, thank you for your solidarity.

Happy Easter!