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.
- 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 music. For more information contact the Ven. 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 in which stones were location markers for 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.
Those who have gathered to worship form a circle and in the centre is the altar where various symbols of native culture and Christian tradition are displayed.
Within this circle there are four stations.
- Confession/Purification: a smudge for cleansing, prayer for forgiveness of the wrongs we caused.
- Wisdom circle: stories from scripture are read plus a story from 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; reflection on baptism or on the life giving properties of water. During this time people pray specifically for someone who needs healing.
- Thanksgiving: sharing the Eucharist / Lord’s Supper.
The movement around the circle may be punctuated by drumming or singing. This whole process is not designed too strictly so that who ever runs one of these services has the freedom to choose a liturgy and format that fits their community.