An Act of Holy Remembrance—Part 2

We acknowledge that healing does not come from orange fabric alone. The orange fabric is a first step.

May 18, 2022 | ,

Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor CeCee Mills, prays during the draping of orange cloth in September, 2021.

NC Synod Vice President Diana Haywood writes:
In July, native siblings throughout the ELCA invited churches to drape an orange cloth in an act of holy remembering—remembering native children killed in the boarding school movement. They shared:

In honor and memory of the children of the First Nations people and of our Native children who never made it home, and for those still living the nightmare imposed on them as children of Canada and the United States we humbly ask our brothers and sisters of the church to hang an orange banner in the sanctuaries of your churches for 225 days. In remembrance and lament of each child that was thrown into those graves, and those yet to be discovered we honor each of their lives.

In September 2021, we draped an orange cloth both inside our synod chapel and outside the doors. Now 225 days later, we remove those cloths. We acknowledge that healing does not come from orange fabric alone. The orange fabric is a first step and invitation to continue to take steps of lamentation, confession, reconciliation, and healing.

The US Department of the Interior just this week released the first report of the Boarding School movement as a step towards truth-telling. In North Carolina, there were four total boarding school sites identified by the U.S. Interior Department with three located in or near the Great Smoky Mountains and the Nantahala National Forest, and just outside of Asheville, N.C. The fourth site is located near Durham, N.C.

Continue to do the work. Acknowledge the ancestral lands on which you reside. Learn the boarding school story. Engage in history and remember that we have native siblings right here in our state that we can honor, respect, and work alongside for justice.

We remove the orange cloth with this prayer, “Today we remember, the innocent children who were torn from their families, taken to boarding schools, abused by their carers and died so far away from the communities. Hear our prayer, for the innocent sacred lives of all Indigenous children who survived, who have been found, and those who remain lost. Move our hearts by your mercy as we acknowledge and repent all of the suffering that our churches caused. Guide and restore us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Walking with you,

Diana Haywood
Vice President, North Carolina Synod Council


Synod Staff


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