Standing Stones Sacred Gatherings
What is it?
Standing Stones is a gathering of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal People to explore God in an Aboriginal Context. We come to worship Jesus, infusing Cree symbols into Christian ceremony. We smudge to purify our minds, hearts and spirits in order to come to a clearer understanding of God; we seek wisdom in Aboriginal story and scripture, we ask for God’s healing water and prayer on ourselves and our community and we celebrate God’s activities in our lives though the sharing of bannock and berries. Standing Stones is a fresh expression of Jesus to the Aboriginal Community and to the diocese. The hope is that this gathering is a means of Christ’s reconciling Love to heal ancient wounds and enlighten the next generation of all Canadians.
Where Do We Meet?
Standing Stones currently gathers regularly in three places:
- All Saints’ Cathedral, 10035-103 St, Edmonton, 2nd Sunday of every month, 9:15 am: All Saints’ Chapel, located upstairs from the sanctuary, also hosts Standing Stones. The unique design of the chapel is conducive to the nature of the communal worship. The symbolism of the crown of thorns and the circular shaping and textured walls of the sanctuary are comforting statements of faith to the Aboriginal community. This worship space is one of the few places in the diocese that can meet the unique liturgical requirements of Standing Stones. As the diocese as a whole is making concrete movements of Truth and Reconciliation with the Aboriginal Community the chapel has become a place of security and hope for many people.
A smudge liturgy is held on Community Day and and by appointment. For more information, contact All Saints’: 780-428-6323, or for appointment call Sharon Pasula: 780-717-8378.
- St. Faith / St. Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church, 11725-93 St, Edmonton, 3rd Sunday of every month, 11:00 am: Worship follows the Standing Stones liturgy and Indigenous musicians lead musically. For more information contact the Rev. Canon Travis Enright / 780-887-9710.
- Inner City Pastoral Ministry at the Bissell Centre gathers for Standing Stones once a month. Contact the Rev. Rick Chapman for details: 780-642-3715 or the Bissell Centre: 780-424-7652.
Emergence of Standing Stones
Travis Enright and Harold Rocher were exploring the meaning of Christian Indigenous worship and struggled to find a satisfactory answer. Eventually they settled on a format that can be used by anyone.
Standing Stones comes from the Cree Culture and the stones were location markers of food caches or graves and other ceremonial sites. As the plains people traveled up and down the Great Plains these markers helped guide them to these often sacred places.
We hold the time of worship in a circle and in the centre is the altar where we display various symbols of our native culture and Christian tradition.
Within this circle we have four stations.
- Confession/ Purification; we smudge ourselves at this time, praying for forgiveness of the wrongs we caused.
- Wisdom circle: stories from scripture are read plus a story from our aboriginal culture. Experiencing these stories through all the voices from within the circle can be a powerful moment of understanding (sharing circle).
- Healing /reconciliation: water station- reflect on our baptisms or reflect on the life giving properties of water. During this time we ask people to pray specifically for someone they know for healing.
- Thanksgiving; we share the Eucharist / Lord’s Supper.
The movement around the circle could be punctuated by drumming or singing. We have tried not to define this whole process too perfectly so that who ever runs one of these circles has the freedom to choose a liturgy and format that fits their community.