Renewed Spirit in Winnipeg's North End: An emerging Aboriginal young adult co-creative leadership model
Compton, Adel. Renewed Spirit in Winnipeg's North End: An emerging Aboriginal young adult co-creative leadership model; A Thesis submitted to the United Centre of Theological Studies in candidacy for the degree of Master of Sacred Theology. Winnipeg, June 2014.
ABSTRACT This thesis argues that the Winnipeg youth movement, “Meet Me at the Bell Tower” (MMBT), offers a new form of spiritual, cultural, and political renewal. Qualitative data drawn from interviews of youth leaders in this movement suggest four characteristics that attract youth to this community and make it a powerful force for social change. These characteristics are: (1) an affirmation of urban Aboriginal experience, (2) provision of positive alternatives to violence (3) the renewal of community spirit, and (4) the empowerment of subsequent leaders. Underlying these characteristics of MMBT is a reclamation of traditional spiritual teachings that reinforce positive identity, offer spiritual practices that are life-giving, and generate positive outcomes through relationship building and community renewal. Since the inception of Meet Me At the Bell Tower, participants report significant individual and community transformation from violence to one of non-violence and from despair to hope. Such renewal of self and community in North End Winnipeg (one of the most impoverished neighbourhoods in Canada) raises hope for the future. MMBT members believe that their experience and their leadership model can succeed beyond their local context. This thesis therefore concludes with several observations on what the Canadian Church (specifically, the United Church of Canada) may learn from this transformative movement.
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