As we gather and prepare for what God has for us, we take a moment to remember that before the sidewalks, roads, and bridges that brought us here, this land that makes up our mission territory was a mixeddeciduous forest.
Indigenous Peoples walked and lived on this sacred land. The Whittlesey and theirancestors lived on this land since time immemorial. As colonialism pushed west, manysovereign nations were forced into the territory of Northeast Ohio, including the Lenni Lenape, the Wyandot, and the Ottawa. The Seneca, the Shawnee, and Miami also once called Northeast Ohio home. We recognize all the varied Indigenous Peoples who have lived in and continue to live in and around these lands.
We give gratitude for these peoples and know that for them, this land holds both pain and beauty. We acknowledge the painful history of land theft, betrayal, murder, and displacement, knowing that we have become its beneficiaries. Today, we mourn the lives and ways of living that were taken.
We also acknowledge our complicity in the historical and ongoing attempts to appropriate Indigenous cultures, ignore or break treaties, and perpetuate racist and violent acts.We acknowledge our sinfulness before God.
Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.
The good news in Christ is that when we face ourselves and God with the awareness of our need, we are given grace to grow, and courage to continue the journey.We know that this land acknowledgment is but a small, first step towards reconciling our histories, but renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit we can work diligently to undo the harms of the past and present to the glory of God.Friends, believe the good news of thegospel. In Jesus Christ all things are made new!
This land acknowledgement and confession were written by the Rev. Debbie Pinnegar,with a portion of the paragraph beginning with “Gracious God” being adapted from the PCUSA Book of Common Worship Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993; p. 88. Please include these acknowledgements when using the confession in printed material.