Starting May 31, the bells of Christ Church will be ringing to remember the First Nations women who are murdered and missing.
It’s part of the Anglican Church’s 22 Days of Prayer and Renewal.
Rev. Elise Chambers says six years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began “to try to come to grips with what happened in the residential schools.”
First Nations children were sent to the boarding schools outside of their communities, stripped of their culture and in some cases were physically and sexually abused. The residential schools were run by a number of church denominations including the Anglicans. “They lost their culture.”
The commission has been traveling the country hearing the stories in an effort to figure out what happened and bring some healing to the four generations affected by the schools.
Chambers, who worked on a database for the commission while she was in seminary, says many of Petrolia’s neighbours were deeply affected. On Walpole Island, she says, 500 people were taken from their homes. “It’s absolutely incredible.”
The commission is wrapping up its work and Anglican Churches across the country are being called to 22 Days of Prayer and Renewal starting May 31 and ending on June 21, the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer.
During the 22 Days, Christ Church members will be ringing the tower bells 51 times per day to remember the aboriginal woman who are murdered and missing. About 1,017 women were murdered or reported missing from 1980 to 2012 – a rate 4.5 times higher than other Canadians.
Chambers says the bells will likely be rung around the noon hour each day.