The Social Justice Team (SJT) of Lynn Valley United Church is a group of people who are passionate about advocacy, action and consideration for people who find themselves challenged by daily life- the ones who often have no voice to even ask for help.They raise awareness of social injustices locally, nationally and globally with the tenet that we are ALL God’s people. They are compassionate and have a passion for this work.
The team seeks ways to support the local community, national and international initiatives, sharing stories about their work as a means of inspiration, advocacy, and education.
At present, the Team is focussing on work in three key priority areas:
Reconciliation: This group takes seriously the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report on the experience of indigenous peoples with the Residential Schools. We develop educational programs and conduct cultural immersion experiences to foster new understanding of contemporary colonialism and its ongoing systemic oppression of indigenous people. LVUC has partnered with other churches in Vancouver to participate in a variety of functions. We work with Reconciliation Matters (which is affiliated with St. Andrew’s Wesley). We have developed some ties with the Squamish and Teleil-Waututh Nations and have visited the Squamish Shaker Church and have had their Spiritual Leader conduct a sermon at LVUC.
Global Awareness: LVUC has a special relationship with the elementary school in Chwitiziribal, Guatemala, having visited there in March 2018 and fundraised for the re-building of the school with three other churches. This congregational tour led to ongoing programs of support with individual members of the congregation sponsoring scholarships, with the local community funding a daily lunch program. The team and the congregation worked diligently prior to and during the 2018 trip to visit Guatemala to learn about the injustices endured over the decades. Another trip is planned for March 24, 2023.
Local Needs: This group also heeds the call where local need arises. Our primary partner is First United Community Mission Society in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, for which we have fundraised through activities such as Coldest Night of the Year as well as providing gifts in kind such as sock drives
The team currently consists of Rev. Karen Millard, Ray Boucher, Joe Catlin (Chair), Marion Kirk, David MacLean, Victoria Mah, and Jeanne Vallance. Do you have a passion to "be the change you want to see in the world?" If so, you are welcome to join us. Just contact one of the team members or the church office and indicate your desire to join.
Recent activites supported by the Social Justice and Outreach Team:
- Guatemala pilgrimage March 24 - April 4/2023 went to the Land of the Mayan People with Lynn Valley United Church. For more information read news article titled Guatemala Pilgrimage.
- May 7, 2023 - A cornerstone of the Moose Hide Campaign is the moose hide pin. Wearing the pin signifies your commitment to honor, respect, and protect the women and children in your life and speak out against gender-based and domestic violence. LVUC community of faith was encouraged to join the Moose Hide Campaign and moose hide pins were passed out.
- July 14-16 2023 - 1st Annual Memorial Squamish Nation Youth Pow Wow 2023. This was well attended and was well reviewed.
- September 15-17, 2023 - stalew Pow Wow - Four people from LVUC attended
- September 20, 2023 - Nchemus Day at PHT
- September 24, 2023 - Special Indigenous Service at church
- September 27, 2023 - The Fire Still Burns: An Evening with Squamish Elder Sam
- September 23. 2023 - Leigh Joseph, Styawatan, Squamish Nation member and mother of two. Her first book, Held by the Land: A Guide to Indigenous Plants for Wellness, is part narrative, part field guide and recipe book that draws on her lived experience as an Indigenous woman, her training in Western Science, and her cultural journey toward identity. MONOVA -Museum of North Vancouver.
- September 30, 2023 - Intergenerational March to Commemorate Orange Shirt Day – UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Center (IRSHDC). Several hundred people were there. It was a wonderful experience.
- November 21, 2023 - The film For the Next 7 Generations was shown at LVUC. For the Next 7 Generations follows what happens when a group of 13 indiginous grandmothers from all over the world unite. Facing a world in crisis, they share with us their visions of healing and a call for change now, before it's too late. This film documents their unparalleled journey and timely perspectives on a timeless wisdom.
Some of the events we are planing activities around for this year:
Lenten Blessings Calendar
Coldest Night of the Year
Moose Hide Campaign
Shaker chruch visits
Pride Week activities
National Day of Truth and Reconciliation (Orange Shirt Day)
More events will be announced as they are envisioned by our team and we decide on what activities we will be holding.