As has been reported to our congregations Brander McDonald, MCBC’s Indigenous Relations Coordinator (IRC) has had serious health issues since early July 2016 and has been unable to work since that time. His health has been getting increasingly better and his doctor has said that he is able to begin work again in June but starting at 30% time (1 ½ days a week) and working from home. If his health continues to improve he will be coming back into his role of 3 days a week (60%) beginning in August 2017.

As Brander prepares to come back into his role as IRC, Leadership Board want to give an update on Brander and his work: Below are three items:
1. Brander’s vision for his work
2. Expectations for the IRC Position
3. Resolution passed at the February 25, 2017 MCBC Annual general meeting

1. Brander’s Vision for this ministry of MCBC: Introduction by Brander McDonald

Tansi neechewam- “Hello my good friends”

As a Cree First Nations believer in Jesus I am delighted to be given this opportunity to join with MCBC in relating the First Nations Cultural mindset and of what it means to carry the Jesus Walk.

MCBC has had the extraordinary courage and vision to embrace an Indigenous person to relate the First Nations protocols and bridge building leadership to its members in local native communities. This is a truly exciting time!

I am excited to join in the vision and goals for this reconciliation work to our native peoples and church families, as both an Aboriginal leader and a fellow traveller in the Jesus Walk!

With this opportunity that MCBC has made available I feel honoured, privileged and excited to be able to share some key cross cultural understandings to help bridge this communications gap.

1. The passion I hold is speaking into the question of what it means to be a First Nations cultural man and to be fully engaged as a lifelong follower of Jesus. Not the Jesus of residential schools of the past, not of government policy, but the Saviour represented in the gospels and even of Anabaptist traditions. I have a passion to share what it means to carry this cross-cultural heart for the healing of my native peoples and the church community to which I grew up in.

2. The second passion associated with this is in regards to being a singer songwriter who can share these same stories and lessons through song and speech.

Finally, I believe God has placed me here for this unique time to speak to this need of what it means to be a bridge builder and agent of change. Sharing what it means to be an Aboriginal and a follower of Jesus and how both the native community and church family of God are ready for meaningful dialogue.

“All my relations” – (respectful honouring of all our families and connections)
In Creator Redeemer Jesus,
Brander “Standing Bear/Strongraven” McDonald

2. Excerpt from Brander’s ‘Memo of Understanding’ Expectations:
– Encourage healthy churches by equipping them to bridge barriers of understanding and acceptance in their own communities – to be ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5.18,19 and Ephesians 2:11-22)
– Challenge and inspire MCBC congregations and individuals to develop meaningful relationships with Indigenous people.
– Identify relevant peace and justice activities and invite congregations to be involved in them especially as it relates to the ongoing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
– Develop resources for MCBC pastors and congregations that can be used to cultivate a healthy interaction with people of other cultures, starting with Indigenous people.
– Exemplify the Gospel of Jesus Christ in “word and deed” as understood by the MCBC Confession of Faith.
– Model Christian unity by learning from and encouraging Christians of other cultures, especially in the Aboriginal community.

3. Resolution accepted by delegates at the February 25, 2017 MCBC annual general meeting

The MCBC Board recommends that we extend the Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Brander McDonald for another year to February 28, 2018. During this coming year, once Brander’s health has improved, MCBC will work on evaluating and projecting how best to continue this work of reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Meanwhile, we will continue with the work Brander is doing to fulfill our ministry objectives as MCBC.
Three priorities identified for the coming year are:
– to be available for congregations when there is a request to speak, teach or be present in a local church
– to create, build and support relationships of healing and reconciliation through dialogue and community involvement locally within the Sto:lo peoples and other Indigenous communities of the Fraser Valley
– to organize (three) bridge building/cross cultural workshops that will provide opportunities for MCBC members to gain knowledge and skills focusing on the 94 Calls to Action coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.