Knox College, Sarah Travis

Toronto, Ontario
2021

To create and field-test a preaching and liturgical resource addressing reconciliation among Settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples for the Presbyterian Church in Canada, based on two Calls to Action from the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Researcher(s): Sarah Travis 
Academic Discipline:  Preaching and Worship

Project Summary

This project aims to create and field-test a preaching and liturgical resource for the context of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, addressing reconciliation among Settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples. Canadian churches require materials for teaching preaching in seminaries, and ongoing education of clergy, so that the preaching and liturgy of the church may become an integral part the ongoing movement toward reconciliation. The development of this resource will be facilitated by a group of consultants which will support me, challenge me, and serve as a 'thinktank' throughout the process. 

What questions about worship and your discipline will be guiding your project?

I propose to address the questions: "What is reconciliation?" and  “How might the preaching and liturgy of the Presbyterian Church in Canada engage reconciliation among settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples?” This question assumes that reconciliation will be facilitated by the worship and preaching of the Canadian church. 

How do you envision this project will strengthen the worship life of congregations?

It is in preaching and liturgy that our Christian identities are formed and prepared for service to the world-at-large. The hope, obviously, is that by holding consultations and creating such a resource, the church will be moved toward acts and attitudes of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. This will enhance the larger process of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, and go a small way toward encouraging healing. 

What do you expect might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

There is considerable resistance among some Canadians to address the ways in which churches are directly implicated in injustice and oppression. My hope is that a sensitive resource will help begin conversations that will continue within congregations themselves. If worship leaders are empowered to include themes of reconciliation in their preaching and liturgy, it opens a door for further conversation and action. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

I look forward to hearing about the fantastic projects undertaken by others. I want to learn more about how they are adjusting their projects because of Covid-19 - my own project has had to change significantly. I feel as though the grants event will be an opportunity to dialogue with others and continue to sharpen my project's focus. I am also looking forward to worshiping together with others from across North America.