Bangaldesh!

From August 12 – 27, Roy will be leading a group of students and Kings community members on a community development learning tour in Bangladesh. They will visit a variety of World Renew partner programs, both in the slums of Dhaka as well as in the rural communities in the north, mostly among the Garo people. Along the way they will see health programs, literacy classes, adolescent empowerment groups, various income-generating programs and hear stories that will challenge our assumptions about ‘the poor’. They will also learn from guest lectures on such topics as ‘Climate Change and Food Security”, “Cultures of Shame and Honor”, “Muslim – Christian Dialogue in Bangladesh”. They will visit the collapsed garment factory in Savar and speak with members of a local labor rights activist group there.

Members of the group are Duana Ogden, Graham Witten, Mark Muilwijk, Wes Verbeek, Abigail Douglass, Cindy Christenson, Richard Vriend.

Please pray for their safety and openness to the learning on this tour.


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2014 Honduras Team Returned: Update from Roy

The Honduras water project team returned from Honduras in late May with suitcases full of stories (not to mention dirty laundry, real laundry, that is).  We spent a few days in Tegucigalpa at the beginning and ending of our project (visiting World Renew, AJS, orientation and debriefing) and 17 days in the community of Quebrada Honda in the steamy province of Choluteca, not far from the Nicaragua border.  The community was very gracious and welcoming, generous and extremely helpful, which made our time there a really great experience.  We far exceeded expectations in terms of work accomplished (mostly because the Honduran men are pretty handy with a pick ax), having completed about 60-65% of the trenching (it’s a 2-year project) – that means next year’s team may have a lighter load.  The community has been waiting for a good water system for a dozen years and they are thrilled that it is happening.  Having hoisted several barrels of water up from the 100 foot deep well, I can appreciate how eager they are for running water! We also had the privilege several field trips to schools, a health clinic, shrimp farm, cashew cooperative, plantation, and more, along with many interesting interviews with community members.

It was an excellent learning opportunity for the students and the community gets a water system – I believe that’s called a win-win. No accidents, no sickness, no complaints (in spite of mid 30s humid temperatures) – just a lot of answered prayers and a grateful team.

Thanks for your support over the past semester – and be sure to ask students about their experience

-Roy Berkenbosch

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Ready to Plant!

photoThe King’s community garden is a popular commodity this year! We’ve got a lot of students, staff and faculty using the raised bed garden plots.

This year, the garden is being managed by Erica Prins. Erica is a 3rd year Biology Major who is ready for a summer of growth—literally and figuratively!

Erica has been gardening in the King’s community garden for three years now and is very interested in food sustainability. This year she will be in charge of the planning, organization, administration, education and resource management for the garden. She is looking forward to expanding on the success the garden initiative has already been and learn more about the impact of our food choices with the other gardeners. We look forward to her leadership!

There are over 25 members of the Kings community involved this year. After the long winter, we are all eager to get their hands in the soil and start planting!

 


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Spring Newsletter is here!

The Spring 2014 newsletter contains info on the Quest Mexico program, the Honduras Water Project, The Community Garden and a farewell from yours truly.  Please take a gander by clicking here Spring 2014 Newsletter.


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Truth and Reconciliation Conference Past

IMG_1457On March 27 and 28 the Kings University College community had our semi annual Interdisciplinary Studies conference here at the Kings University College as well as at the Shaw Conference Centre.  This semester’s conference was done a bit differently than in years past. First off, the Winter semester IS conference usually happens in January but the TRC National event was happening this month so it was ideal to combine our conference with this powerful, historical event.  On Day 1, our students were introduced to The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and heard many stories about residential schools, mostly from survivors here on campus. On day 2, students were provided transportation to and from the Shaw Conference Centre to take in the day at the Shaw Conference Centre. Students were also given the unique assignment through Project of Heart  of decorating a wooden tile and attaching it to a card that would be given to a residential school survivor.

For those curious about the Role of the Churches in residential schools, click here to see two of our presenters’ Cecile Fausak and Travis Enright’s powerpoint presentation: Role of the churches – March 27 2014.

I.S. Conference | Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada | Expression of Reconciliation

On Saturday, March 29, Kings President Melanie Humphreys gave an King’s Expression of Reconciliation 2014 on behalf of King’s stating how it is important to learn about the history and impact of residential schools. The Kings community listened to the experiences of survivors, were moved by their tears, inspired by their courage, and impelled to seek greater understanding of pathways to healing and hope. As an expression of our commitment of respect and cooperation with the Aboriginal peoples of this land, The Kings Community will plant a commemorative garden on our campus and decorate a wooden park bench with commemorative wooden tiles from Project of Heart. At the event, the Commissioners expressed their thanks for the Expression of Reconciliation and indicated that they look forward to sitting on the bench with us.


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reForming Relationships: Debriefing the TRC

reForming


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We Were Children – Free Screenings

 In preparation for the Truth and Reconciliation conference we are offering two free screenings of We Were Children at
The Kings University College, 9125 — 50 Street, Edmonton, AB.

Thursday, March 20 at 7pm

Wednesday, March 26 at 7pm

In Room L116

 

We Were Children is a 2012 Canadian documentary film about the experiences of First Nations children in the Canadian Indian residential school system.

For over 130 years till 1996, more than 100,000 of Canada’s First Nations children were legally required to attend government-funded schools run by various Christian faiths. There were 80 of these ‘residential schools’ across the country. Most children were sent to faraway schools that separated them from their families and traditional land. These children endured brutality, physical hardship, mental degradation, and the complete erasure of their culture. The schools were part of a wider program of assimilation designed to integrate the native population into ‘Canadian society.’ These schools were established with the express purpose ‘To kill the Indian in the child.’ Told through their own voices, ‘We Were Children’ is the shocking true story of two such children: Glen Anaquod and Lyna Hart.

 


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Edmonton, May 12–13: Are We There Yet? Economic Justice and the Common Good

Registration is now open for Are We There Yet? Economic Justice and the Common Good, a major conference co-hosted by the ICS Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics and The King’s University College in Edmonton Alberta, May 12 & 13, 2014..

While economic issues dominate Canada’s political agenda, protest movements like Occupy and Idle No More signal growing concern about the effects of the free market on the environment and the health of Canadian society. Disagreement about these effects often divides us while opportunities for dialogue remain relatively rare. This conference seeks to set a hospitable table around which a broad range of opinions, political perspectives, and socio-economic experiences can be gathered and shared in a spirit of solidarity and mutual respect.

The conference takes place in Edmonton on the King’s University College campus.  On-campus accomodations are available.  Visit the conference website thereyet.ca for more information, registration and updates.  Take advantage of the early-bird specials!


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Roy Berkenbosch Honoured as a ROOPF 2014 Finalist

We are very proud because last week Roy Berkenbosch was honoured as a ROOPF 2014 finalist by Homeward Trust. The event took place at the Westin downtown. ROOPF, in case you don’t know, stands for “Recognizing Outstanding Organizations and People in Housing,” and Homeward Trust is one of Edmonton’s primary agencies charged with ending homelessness in our city. Roy’s particular citation was for “Outstanding Service for the Aboriginal Community,” especially for his leadership and engagement through the IS conferences on the legacies of residential schools and his outreach to aboriginal communities through the Micah Centre. More finalists here: http://www.homewardtrust.ca/announcements/index.php?id=108


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One Year In: The Joyful Surprise of Pope Francis

Today the world celebrates Pope Francis’ first year. Notice I didn’t say the church is celebrating, but the world. The pope has graced the covers of every magazine from TIME to Rolling Stone over the past year. People all over the world are delighted by the breath of fresh air he has brought. His popularity has moved beyond Catholics to Christians of all kinds, believers from other faith traditions, agnostics, and the “nones,” who are very drawn to this pope who emphasizes love and simple living.

Pope Francis at the Vatican on March 5, giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

Pope Francis at the Vatican on March 5, giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.comBut the pope said last week that he is not a “ superman” and does not want to be a celebrity. He is just trying to talk and live like Jesus, a point he makes repeatedly to shrug off his media darling standing. From the moment he took the name Francis, he made clear his, and thus the church’s priorities: the poor, peace, and the creation. Francis is now challenging the most powerful people and places in the world, as well as a popular culture that mostly asks how we can serve ourselves.

Pope Francis is right: it is not about him; it’s about the Christ he follows. Everything Francis is saying and doing is aimed at pressing this question: Are Christians going to follow Jesus or not? That should be the question on the first anniversary of this new pope. Are we Christians ready and willing to follow Jesus? How can we then serve the world?

Read the rest here: http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/03/13/one-year-joyful-surprise-pope-francis#.UyIjXHoPm1E.email


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