Most of the people that read this blog are also facebook friends and will have seen some of this info in recent facebook posts. Not everyone is with me on facebook though and there is more to the story than I can say on facebook without being overwhelming. So the bakery story is coming to the blog.
The bottomline: I started a bakery this week. Its very simple, very limited, very manageable, but very powerful in my heart.
When the discovery of bodies at Canadian Residential School sites began I pondered how I could respond in a meaningful way. What I came to is that I wanted to bake a bun for every child whose remains were found. At first that was 215, a full day of baking for sure. Numbers rose and the plan had to change. Now I am having scheduled baking sessions, joined by people that want to help, want to share stories with me, or just talk over thoughts and feelings about these horrifying discoveries. I am then delivering buns to local people who have pre-ordered via facebook and they are giving me a donation in exchange for the buns, a donation being forwarded to something called “The Healing Fund.” This fund was established by the United Church of Canada in 1994 in an effort to begin making things right. The monies raised support the plans of indigenous people to do what will bring healing to individuals and communities. The response in my local area has been great.
The name of my bakery is “Broken Bread Bakery”, it just came to me one morning. I was thinking about Bible stories where Jesus gathered with others at tables as equals and meals were shared. Then at the point where Jesus’ death was being plotted he told his followers to continue to break bread together and in doing that remember him. The Sacrament of Communion was begun. In my first thoughts on this, through the lens of those discoveries of human remains, I was really aware that Jesus called us to break bread and not bodies. When I talked to the family about this it was noted that although it is true that we are dealing with bodies the ongoing issue is the legacy of the attempts made to break spirits. I think that the way Jesus treated all as equally worthy of God’s love, his example of humility and the respect he showed for the uniqueness of others was in those moments something that made peoples spirits more whole. The residential school agenda was not that. I am quite a fan of how Jesus used bread to invite us, by his example, to do better and to be better. So…… “Broken Bread Bakery” was born. Maybe the brokenness within me and others who connect with this project in any way can be touched. Maybe, by God’s grace, we can all find ourselves a little more whole as bread shared draws us together.
I have had opportunities come from this already. To be with people who I don’t know that well, bake, form buns, be at home in my own space but treading new space in relationship and learning is good for me. I like the familiarity of my own home at this point in my journey. A very cool set of moments happened yesterday. I was joined by someone who attended residential school, her Mom did and her grandmother. She had much I needed to hear. We got a batch of buns started, the water, yeast, sugar, oil and part of the flour blended, then stories began to emerge and it was best to just turn off the mixer, sit and listen. What was in the mixer bowl did its thing, it rose and rose while the stories emerged. Finally as the ingredients started to creep out over the top of the bowl we returned to our work, got salt and the rest of the flour added, and got it mixing, we talked through the noise of that and then got to forming the buns. My guest was a beginner at making buns, so for the 2nd time this week I got to teach someone how to make buns. The very cool thing about yesterday is that my friend brought the ingredients to make bannock. Once we got the buns rising she taught me how to make bannock. I loved the give and take of this and it was truly a treat to sit in my own kitchen and observe someone else at work. We got some oil hot and she cooked up that beautiful and delicious bannock. I was excited to call the kids up for a snack that I knew was pretty darn special. They loved it.
While the kids settled in Russell happened to come in, we got to have a family snack with our new friend. I had cause to run into town not long after the buns came out of the oven and was able to make a couple of deliveries of warm, fresh buns where again, generous donations were given in reply. Also, yesterday I was given 2 20 lb bags of flour. I am set for buns for a while!
So there is a little bit more of the story of the bakery that was born in my kitchen this week!