By Emily Wiebe
Square One is always looking for opportunities to reach new audiences with the life-changing message of Jesus in ways that are creative and culturally relevant. An integral value of the organization has always been that our programs are created and hosted by people who are from the same countries and cultures as the audiences they are trying to reach.
For many months, our staff here at Square One prayed for opportunities to connect with the Indigenous population of Canada. That is why we were so glad when, earlier this year, Howard reached out to us.
Howard Jolly is a Cree pastor in Winnipeg and is the Executive Director of the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada. He had a vision of sharing the Good News with his people.
“I talked it over with the committee at Alliance Churches of Canada and they agreed to work with Square One on my program,” Howard says. “I wasn’t going to try to make it too high-tech, but they encouraged me to do a good production. The hope is that it will communicate the Good News to my people in a way that they would receive it and to even create awareness about Indigenous life and Indigenous issues through an online ministry.
“A lot of my people,” he continued, “I feel they don’t really receive the Good News because of the impact of colonization, assimilation and even Western thinking in connection to the church. So I really wanted to communicate Jesus in a way that they would receive Him.”
The first episodes of Howard’s program, Piwitapamin (Come Sit With Me), were released on YouTube this October. The program is in English and Cree and shares biblical teachings and stories to inspire and encourage Indigenous audiences.
“One of the episodes recorded features a friend talking about the impact residential schools had on him and the identity crisis he went through as a result of assimilation. He was impacted by the Sixties Scoop. I try to have people share their stories and how they came to know Jesus. I pray that my audience would receive that and connect to who Jesus really is through these stories.
Many Indigenous people were hurt and abused by people who claimed to know Christ, so it is really hard. I need a lot of wisdom and I feel overwhelmed by doing it and I ask for your prayers.”
Let us pray for Howard, and that his audience on Come Sit With Me are encouraged and healed by his words.
To view episodes of Come Sit With Me, follow this link.