Siloam Mission has served people experiencing poverty and homelessness in Winnipeg since 1987. What began as a humble soup kitchen offering meals has evolved into a full range of programs and services, including access to Indigenous teachings and practices for those who seek them.

At the heart of our community wellness initiatives stands Christine Vanagas, our Director of Community Wellness. Christine embodies our mission, ensuring that every individual receives the support they need—emotional, medical, spiritual, or cultural. As an Indigenous woman with a deep Christian faith, Christine’s journey has been one of reconciliation and acceptance.

“Feeling unwelcomed in a church has been a lifelong experience for me and for some of my relatives who are believers as well because we do not see ourselves reflected back,” Christine shares candidly. “In a Christian context, I never saw my Indigeneity reflected back. Even in the Sunday School materials, there were no images reflected back. At times, I feel like the church has looked at Unity under the guise of uniformity.”

Yet, through introspection, Christine discovered that unity does not demand uniformity. 

“In the Indigenous context, often Indigenous believers have been told that we’re brainwashed. We are colonized. And it can be a very alienating experience to hold to your faith. And so, for me, there was always this feeling that, to be a good Christian, and that’s exactly what I want to be, to follow Jesus, I had to give up my Indigeneity.”

This tension weighed heavily on Christine, prompting profound questions about her identity and purpose. She grappled with a profound dilemma: why would God create her, an Indigenous woman, if she had to abandon that integral part of herself in pursuit of Him?

“And sitting with the Elders to learn from them became the turning point. Because it wasn’t an experience of having to change who I was. It was just sitting and listening and over time seeing the intersections between Christianity and Indigenous beliefs and beginning to see that they actually supported each other.” 

“And that changed my relationship with God. It changed the way I read the Bible, it changed the way I prayed, and it improved my relationship with God a hundredfold as soon as I realized that I could be who I was.”

She found harmony in embracing her Indigenous identity and Christian faith, recognizing how they complemented each other and enriched her spiritual journey.

“I think that we need to understand that God created it so that all nations can come. And they’re all going to come different, they’re all going to come with different ways of worship, different ways of dressing, different ways of praying, different ways of worshiping him. And God is okay with that because it really is just what is in their heart, and whatever their intention is.”

“People get nervous, you know maybe my prayers aren’t perfect. No, every prayer is beautiful because it is pursuing God and it is putting God first. And I think that if we just get over that and we can see each other’s differences, we will be more welcoming to people in the church and being pursued, and see that everyone is coming pursuing God for the same reasons, and it’s beautiful.”

Christine sharing her experiences and the connections between Indigenous Practice and Christian Values at a volunteer learning opportunity.









Through our commitment to education, as well as Truth and Reconciliation, we seek to foster understanding, acceptance and respect for Indigenous spirituality within a Christian context. Our upcoming Truth and Reconciliation Gathering in May offers an opportunity for learning and growth as we explore pathways to reconciliation in our community.

We invite you to join us as we learn, connect, and deepen our relationship with God. Registration for the Gathering is now open, and we encourage you to visit our website,, or email for assistance.