In September, 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."