Jennifer Henry’s Reflection from 2016

jennifer-good-friday-walkThis 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


March 25, 2016 Good Friday Walk: “I thirst”


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)

For Information

Contact Michael Arbour ( or Sherman Hesselgrave (

About the Walk

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.


Mark Macdonald


Kimberly Murray

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.

For further information contact or

Good Friday Mission Statement – the journey continues

We are a Good Friday People.
Centuries ago, a holy man invited a group of people on a journey.
That journey turned out to be both harrowing and life changing.
It ended in death, a violent death on a cross,
but also in the exciting realization that in the end
death is not God’s final answer to the human struggle
for meaning, hope and liberation.

The power that Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate thought they had over Jesus
turned out to be illusory.
The Passion Story unveils another kind of power at work in the world, and in the Word.
When Jesus said, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth,”
he was not talking about domination and control
but about solidarity and liberation
At enormous cost, Jesus confronted the life-denying forces of his day and entered death,
showing us that our lives too can confront and overcome the forces of death in our day.

Jesus entrusted us with an amazing gift: the gift of knowledge
about what the real purpose of our lives is,
a purpose dramatically at odds with a world marked by violence, oppression and alienation for far too many.
He offered up his life with this message and challenges our souls through his example.
Conversion of our own lives and of the death-dealing power systems of our times is within our reach.

And so today as we walk, we journey together with Jesus,
enacting a hope that can be for all people,
a hope 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.

All who share our vision are welcome.

Hundreds Walked for Justice

The annual Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice drew between 300 and 400 people again this year, to bring attention to contemporary crucifixions due to injustice in our political and economic systems. Under the banner, “Sold out for Silver,” participants gathered at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Trinity Square, Toronto, to prepare to visit four ‘stations of the cross’ in the downtown core. At
the artificial pond on the Ryerson University campus, native women calling themselves Water Keepers lamented the neglect and damage done to what is an essential, sacred gift, the gift of clean water. Signs protesting Line 9 drew attention to the potential for environmental damage posed by gas and oil pipelines, particularly due to a lack of adequate environmental assessment and proper consultation with First Nations. Water Keepers
Walkers then marched through the Eaton Centre to Old City Hall where Migrante, gave a dramatic presentation to highlight the issue of unfair exploitation of migrant and domestic workers. MigranteAt the federal courthouse at Queen West and Simcoe Streets, we heard from those supporting refugee claimants who have been the subject of secret trials and prolonged neglect of their claims.
Returning to Holy Trinity where a Homeless Memorial lists over 700 people who have died on Toronto’s streets from homelessness.
Bonnie Briggs, Sherman Hesselgrave and Michael Shapcott addressed this issue before the group entered the church for a closing ritual and meal of soup and bread.

April 18, 2014 2:00 p.m. Holy Trinity

GoodFri14--Poster-croppedHuman trafficking,devastation from the oil industry (specifically, Line 9 here in Ontario) and the plight of homeless persons will be held up in this year’s Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice on April 18, 2014.  Jesus’ betrayal by one of his own disciples sets the theme, “Sold Out for Silver,” as Christians demonstrate the relevance of Jesus’ crucifixion to the sufferings faced by millions of people today.  The Walk will focus on the modern-day betrayal by institutions and systems that put profits before people.

“The three focus stations this year offer us the opportunity to recognize, lament and be empowered to transform how marginalized people and God’s good creation are currently devastated by the corporate, consumer and personal greed that ‘sells out’ thousands and even millions of lives and our collective future in the name of short-term profit for only a few,” says the Rev. Brian McIntosh, a long-time member of the Walk planning team.

The Walk begins at 2 p.m. at Church of the Holy Trinity beside the Eaton Centre.  Participants will visit three “stations” representing each of the issues before returning to the church at approximately 4:30 p.m. for a closing ritual and simple meal of soup and bread.  The Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice began 35 years ago.  The planning team for this year’s walk includes people from the Anglican, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United Churches and Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Download Colour Poster pdf; Download Greyscale Poster pdf

Map to Holy Trinity Church