2017 Theme: Breaking Barriers
April 14, 2017 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The walk begins and ends at the Church of the Holy Trinity and the crowd moves as a procession to stations around the city within walking distance, each set with a different aspect of the theme. At the end of the walk, back at the church there is a short reflection followed by a light meal of soup and bread.
Link to Google map
Each year Rev. Brian McIntosh writes a new verse to the hymn based on the Passion Chorale. This year the 3rd verse was added for the theme of water.
We Walk with Faith and Passion 2016
(available as a PDF below)
We walk with faith and passion upon our city’s streets
to protest pain’s new fashion as death’s refrain repeats
the Friday cross of Jesus,
a victim of the pow’rs
of war and wealth and madness, ‘til justice, life is ours.
In public paths and places, as women, children, men,
we see in blood-stained faces the crossed-up Christ again.
The corp’rate sin of many,
of race and class and creed, denies new life to any |who are betrayed by greed.
In blood-filled, toxic water, pollution, pipelines, drought,
there’s Pilate’s, empire’s laughter
as hands are washed of doubt.
We waste the flowing fountain of Earth’s safe watersheds;
by failing their protection we’ll thirst in desert beds.
While waging peace and freedom we name the crucified,
for reconciliation is why the rabbi died.
Our journey is for healing
of social sins and fears,
our songs and prayers revealing the promised end of tears.
Words: Brian McIntosh Music: Passion Chorale
Good Friday Walk Hymn (Download a PDF version, 1 page)
This was the reflection given by Jennifer Henry at the final station of this year’s Ecumenical Good Friday Walk.
Who lives the pain of Good Friday in our time? Communities of Pimicikamak/Cross Lake, Syria, South Sudan, Kashechewan…
Where do we hear the cries? Taste the thirst for justice? Refugees fleeing, Women sexually assaulted, Black lives ignored, Indigenous girls missing…
Where do we see the wounds? Melting permafrost, fracked earth, tailings ponds, tanker spills…
Where is the pain of Good Friday felt? Where can we touch the wounds? Everywhere…Everywhere…
Our beautiful world—the land and air and waters—is Christ’s aching body, Jesus’ wounded flesh. Violated, crucified every day. We close our eyes, our ears. We wash our hands of it. We walk by on the other side. Or, in a brutal realization, we find ourselves complicit in the wounding.
Water is the blood that flows through this wounded body, this aching earth. The rivers that connect us, parts of the body, are the veins that carry the life blood to creatures, to peoples. Water is life, interconnected, flowing, nurturing all created beings. Water is sacred bond. Dispersed light in water droplets is the rainbow, the Creator’s inter-species, inter-generational covenant with us. But water is also our vulnerability, our inequities, our risk, our danger.
When it is polluted, cut off from eco-systems, diverted, compromised, commodified, it is so quickly depletion, desertification, degradation, death. Bleeding dry…
There are women, you know, who can see what we are doing the Body. Women who are binding up the bleeding wounds. Women who are tending to the aching world–with fierce love. Women who are caretakers of the water running through the earth’s veins: Great Lakes water walker, Indigenous Elder, Josephine Mandamin; Cochabamba Bolivian water activist, Marcela Olivera, and Berta–Berta Cáceres who lost her life in her commitment to protect precious waters, waters in Honduras vulnerable from corporate damming. There are women tending to the waters, protecting the waters, caring for the wounds in the Body.
They know. She knew. Water is connectedness, relationship—to beaver and sage, to owl and otter, to trout and neighbour. It links us back to the original goodness of Creation. And watersheds, embedded in watersheds, connect us across the whole globe. Water teaches us permeability. Our watersheds literally flow through our bodies, so that what we do to that water, we do to ourselves.
On this day of separation and loss, of alienation and pain, let us confess our disconnection from this holy Body of Christ, our dislocation from whole Earth community, our disowning of our place in the Creator’s web of life. We paved and polluted paradise rather than immersing ourselves in our watersheds. We warred with God’s creatures rather than living as relatives. We violated our neighbours, original custodians of the earth and waters, rather than living in respect of First Peoples whose teachings are instructive to us all.
But do you know? We are a forgiven people. God’s spirit is free among us
Can you feel it? We who are part of the problem can be part of the solution. (see Rita Wong in Undercurrents. Gibsons, BC: Nightwood Editions, 2015).
Can you see it? Redemption is rehydration. Healing waters are regeneration.
(see Ched Myers Re-inhabiting the River of Life)
Can you hear it? The rushing waters that flow down as justice, the ever flowing fountain of living waters.
The Easter promise is not for complacency, but for collaboration.
At his baptism, Christ submerged himself in the waters, immersed himself in his watershed, as he claimed his radical ministry of transformation. We are invited to go also: go to the waters to take the equality temperature of our world; go to the waters in our lament for the violence and destruction of our earth; go to the waters for repentance, including for our sins against the world’s First Peoples; go to waters to spill our tears for those whose lives were lost protecting them; go to the waters for blessing in our work of justice and in our commitment to transformation; go to the waters for connection, for wholeness, for oneness with creation, with one another and with our wounded healer, the crucified, and yet resurrected, Body of our God.
Jennifer Henry is the Executive Director of KAIROS Canada
2016 TORONTO GOOD FRIDAY WALK TO FOCUS ON WATER
Jesus’ cry from the cross, “I am thirsty,” is the impetus for this year’s Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice in downtown Toronto.
On the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, we will walk in the Lake Ontario Waterfront watershed, starting on the shore of Lake Ontario at Harbour Square Park, just west of the ferry docks at the foot of Bay Street. Participants will gather at 2 p.m., then proceed north on Bay Street, stopping at ‘stations’ along the way to decry the unjust use of the divine gift of water leading to environmental degradation and vast numbers of refugees.
The Walk will end at the Church of the Holy Trinity (just west of the Eaton Centre) for a brief worship service and message from Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of Kairos. “The health of water is about the health of our communities — not only the quality of our relations with the earth community within watersheds, but also the nature of relationships with Indigenous peoples as the original custodians of water,” Henry says.
A simple supper will take place there at approximately 4:00 p.m. A freewill offering will support the efforts of participating social justice organizations.
As Jesus cried out in thirst from the Cross, we too thirst for justice – for the environment and for all creatures adversely affected by systems that misuse or destroy Earth, our sacred home.
History of the Ecumenical Walk
The Ecumenical Walk for Justice began in 1979 and has focused on a range of issues including peace, indigenous relations, the criminal justice system, violence against women, the environment and economic injustice. It is organized by a planning team drawn from several Christian denominations. Some 300-400 people take part each year.
In the words of the Walk’s Mission Statement,
And so today as we walk, we journey together with Jesus,
enacting a hope that can be for all people,
that had, and still has, the power to confront the myriad forces of death,
and overcome them, in all their forms
moving beyond the brokenness of our world
toward abundant life for all.
(Read full Mission Statement)
Contact Michael Arbour (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sherman Hesselgrave (email@example.com)
Download the Poster (1 page PDF)
The Good Friday Walk for Justice for 2015 will take place on April 3 beginning at 2:00 at the Church of the Holy Trinity, in Toronto.
The annual Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice in downtown Toronto will focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which will issue its final report June 2. The TRC has gathered first-hand accounts and archival material on the legacy of residential schools for generations of First Nations. The final report will offer ways of moving forward.
National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, will speak at the start of the Walk at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Trinity (Trinity Square). Participants will proceed to Nathan Phillips Square where TRC Executive Director, Kim Murray, will address the gathering.
We will look to the Four Directions in Native teachings and hear from Aboriginal people to deepen our understanding, mindful of Jesus’ solidarity with the suffering of the world, before returning to the church for a common meal. This year’s planning team includes representatives of Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, Toronto Aboriginal Social Services Council, and members of Roman Catholic, United, Anglican, Mennonite and Presbyterian churches and Christian Peacemakers. All are welcome on the Walk and supper.