'With courage and with honesty'.
Honesty "can be painful," Rev. Dr. David Sutherland, moderator of the 139th General Assembly, said to those gathered at the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Vancouver.
"It can also be liberating and a step in a journey toward wholeness. ... At this national event, as at other national events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we are listening to painful stories from survivors [of residential schools], told with courage and with honesty."
He spoke to the gathering on Sept. 20, with Rev. Mary Fontaine, executive director of Hummingbird Ministries in Richmond, B.C., standing beside him.
In his remarks, he acknowledged those teachers who "did their very best to care for children for whom they were responsible."
But, he continued, "we know why residential schools were created and we know the evil that was done to so many children was systemic."
Together with the TRC commissioners, Sutherland and Fontaine placed Silent Voices, a CD created by Fontaine and 17 musicians, singers and storytellers, into the commission's bentwood box as a sign of reconciliation.--CW