Sharing creation stories: the cornerstone of bridge building

By Rev. Canon Rob Lemon

On October 17 the Deanery of Essex welcomed Rev. Rosalyn Elm, priest-in-charge at Six Nations parishes,  Rev. Tom Patterson from St. James, Stratford, and Hanna Scorrar from Christ Church, Amherstburg at St. Mark’s-by-the-Lake church in Tecumseh.

These folks, who are connected to Bridge Builders in our diocese, came to share with us some insights about creation stories from indigenous tradition and the biblical tradition. We were encouraged at Synod, back in May, to learn more about indigenous and biblical creation stories and we’ve found in the Deanery of Essex that the best way to do any of this type of learning is together, through deanery events.

Rev. Rosalyn Elm: building realtionships with First Nations communities

Rosalyn shared the stories of both traditions. She mostly concentrated on the indigenous stories because that was the least familiar to the rest of the community that had gathered.

Her telling of the stories was rich and engaging and she was diligent about offering context and insights that could be gleaned from the stories.

That evening, we learned about substantial differences between the creation stories that each of the traditions told but we also focused on common ethical and moral demands that were placed on humanity by the stories. The stories of both traditions called humanity to community, to respect and dignity, to celebrating and sharing the abundance of creation. The way that calling was conveyed was substantially different, but the call was similar across the two traditions.

Rosalyn invited us to participate in creation and to live into the moral and ethical demands of that participation. She and Tom urged us to build relationships with First Nations communities, to spend time with each other, to know each other, to seek what is best for each other, and to build a common people in which the rich blessings of creation are available, celebrated, protected, and shared by all.

The evening was fruitful and the participants deeply appreciated the opportunity to learn and grow through these Bridge Builders’ ministry.

Rev. Elm continued her sharing of creation stories throughout our diocese. On November 2, she lead a workshop on creation stories organized at St. James’, Stratford.

Rev. Canon Rob Lemon is the rector of St. Mark’s-by-the-Lake, Tecumseh and the regional dean of Essex.