The War of 1812 was an occasion for shaping Canada’s identity as a country, both in relation to Britain and our friendly neighbours to the south. It is somewhat odd for some of us to be in this ‘bicentennial year’ as you’ve perhaps read about in local newspapers, because we’re looking back on a war with our closest neighbours. Most of these commemorations do speak about celebrating the peace that came in 1814. That said, it’s the only war in which Canadian soil has been attacked by another nation. Those memories die hard.
As heirs to the tradition of the peace church pioneers – the Quakers, Mennonites and Brethren in Christ who settled various parts of Upper Canada – we might wonder what we’re actually commemorating. If you’re really interested in getting into a discussion of these issues, our pastor Carol will be administering a blog over the next year, a forum for these discussions. It’s now up and running, so please check in and participate at: http://warresistancein1812.blogspot.com/
On the Mennonite Central Committee website you can read about some of the upcoming commemoration events of the “pioneers of peace” in Canada, and view the texts (en français aussi!) of the three historic peace churches and the plaques they have prepared as additions to the landscape in Niagara. http://ontario.mcc.org/warpeace-1812
Mennonite pioneers lived through that war and I will be sharing some reflections on that experience, how they responded and also, what type of “spiritual formation” prepared them for that. I will be talking about issues like “what deserves our ultimate allegiance”, “what does justice mean when you’re being robbed by neighbours and enemies like” and how do we represent to others the life that we’re called to live as citizens of God’s Kingdom. These bigger questions surely relate to us today!