Part of our Regional Council’s work is  to minister  and work alongside Indigenous communities of faith, especially in Keewatin Circle, and within the wider community in continued right relations work. Indigenous Ministries and Justice at General Council has just announced two long-awaited new staff who we will work with!

Executive Minister Murray Pruden writes, “June and July we have welcomed 2 new members to the IMJ unit- Reynold Anderson and Joni Shawana. I would like to officially welcome and introduce them to you all. And do not be afraid to make contact with them as they both possess numerous areas of interest to many of you and your staff in various ways.”

Reynold Anderson- Community Capacity Development Coordinator

Community Capacity Development Coordinators focus on Congregational Development, Training, Education and Leadership Development and Research and Resource Development. Reynold was a commissioner for GC44 before taking the role of CCDC. He is also an Elder on the National Indigenous Elders Committee.

Reynold comes to the United Church with more than 20 years of experience in field of Social Work. He is a traditionalist who has knowledge of cultural and spiritual practices when it comes to Indigenous peoples. When not working Reynold enjoys crafting, teaching, music.  He also enjoys walking his dogs, and camping during holiday times. Reynold is a father of 4 and a grandfather of 8. We look forward to working with elder Reynold!

More about the CCDC role: The Community Capacity Development Coordinator (CCDC) has significant working relationships with the National Indigenous Council and their working/advisory groups, General Council Staff, all Regional Councils and their networks and cluster groups, Indigenous communities of faith and urban/off-reserve Indigenous People and Indigenous Theological Schools.

The Community Capacity Development Coordinators visit and work with Indigenous United Church communities of faith and ministry leaders to support ministry and outreach.  They are responsible for supporting the priorities, named by the Indigenous communities of faith, in the development and implementation of work plans that lead toward a sustainable and vibrant ministry: youth leadership development, stewardship; real property; human resources; financial/economic prosperity, education, traditional knowledge and spirituality; pastoral care; and healing models. This will be accomplished by working with Indigenous communities of faith, church boards, and partners to develop a transition and work plan that offers movement toward self-determined, self-sustaining, vibrant communities of faith that are engaged in stewardship and leadership programs that serve to strengthen Indigenous communities.

Joni Shawana- Healing Fund Program Coordinator

Joni Shawana is Anishnaabe who originates from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve located on beautiful Manitoulin Island. For over 25 years she has served the Urban Indigenous community of Toronto at various capacities.

In her early career, Joni focused on providing support to Indigenous youth as Youth Shelter Supervisor, Transitional House Mentor and Housing Worker. Her work with a National Recreational Database and Listserv Joni peaked a new interest in Communications which led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Culture & Expression with York University where she concentrated studies within Culture & Communication. Recently, Joni was a Shkaabewis (Cultural Helper) where she was responsible for creating, implementing and delivering programs that were focused on culture and language to Indigenous children and their families. With Joni’s extensive knowledge and experience in the Toronto community she was invited to provide insightful reviews and feedback to a funding panel specifically targeting Indigenous Led projects. On the exciting edge, Joni enjoys being outdoors by exploring nature, fishing, and hunting moose, she enjoys crafting and attending cultural gatherings. Welcome Joni to IMJ & GCO! Here in Prairie to Pine, we look forward to connecting with you as community partners seek funding and support from the Healing Fund and the excellent work it supports.