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The Path and Process for Discerning and Electing a New Bishop

Posted on Jan 16, 2018 in News | 0 comments

At a diocesan Synod meeting on October 21, 2017, the Diocese of Rupert’s Land decided to elect a coadjutor bishop prior to the retirement of the current diocesan bishop, Donald Phillips. A coadjutor bishop, once elected and ordained, serves in episcopal ministry, subordinate to and alongside the current diocesan bishop. However, once the diocesan bishop retires, the coadjutor bishop automatically becomes the new diocesan bishop without any further process needed. To celebrate that transition, the new bishop will be installed at a service at St. John’s Cathedral. Most of the ministry and mission of our diocese falls under our own jurisdiction. However, the election of a bishop is governed by the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land (made up of 10 dioceses in central, western, and northern Canada). Hence, on November 16, 2017, the Executive Council of the Province received...

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Cultural Epiphany Customs

Posted on Jan 12, 2018 in Featured | 0 comments

Epiphany is celebrated all over the world with different customs and traditions. In the Western Christian tradition, Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi. However, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Epiphany celebrates the moment of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River; it is called Theophany (from the Greek meaning “God shining forth” or “divine manifestation”) and it is the third of the Great Feasts of the liturgical year. Aside from putting away Christmas decorations, some of the more common traditions include eating Epiphany cake, giving and receiving gifts, and winter swimming. Below are explanations for these cultural traditions. Epiphany cake Also known as King Cake, this cake is eaten in many different countries to mark the feast of Epiphany. The type of cake differs from country to country, but one commonality is that the cake generally has something hidden...

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What if God was One of Us?

Posted on Jan 5, 2018 in Featured | 0 comments

Along with thousands of others Winnipeggers, I rely on the bus to get around. More often than not, the ride is pleasant enough. Fellow passengers keep to themselves, are polite if interaction is required, give up their seats when needed – in short, they follow the rules that make sharing a small, crowded, space with strangers comfortable. There is a small subset of bus users, however, whose conduct can alter the atmosphere for everyone around them. Rightly or wrongly, most people have a private face and a public face. There are certain kinds of behaviour and certain types of conversation that are understood to be for public spaces. Boundaries exist that are not usually crossed. Care is taken to protect what is too personal to share with strangers. Of course, not everyone has the same idea of where the...

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January Magazine 2018

Posted on Jan 4, 2018 in Featured | 1 comment

January’s issue of Rupert’s Land News explores Epiphany and the Mystery of the Incarnation. There are articles from Shelagh Balfour and Maylanne Maybee, cultural Epiphany customs from around the world, Feature Art, and an explanation for how Bishop Don will be transitioning to retirement. Download the pdf or view it in Issuu...

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Immensity Cloistered in Thy Dear Womb

Posted on Dec 29, 2017 in Featured | 2 comments

There is a form of prayer, particularly fostered by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, which encourages the exercise of the imagination. Supplicants are encouraged to pray by imagining themselves in the Gospel story. They are invited to step into the story with their minds in order to look, touch, smell, hear, and taste the Gospel. This form of prayer uses the senses to help the seeker be vividly present to the mysteries of faith. In Advent and through the Feast of Christmas, this form of prayer comes most naturally. History is replete with art that celebrates the annunciation, the incarnation, and the birth of Christ, and feeds the imagination. Almost every church has an Advent festival or a Christmas Nativity pageant where children and adults can physically and with their imaginations enact the story of their faith ‒...

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O Magnum Mysterium

Posted on Dec 22, 2017 in Featured | 0 comments

This poem was reprinted with permission from Alert to Glory (Turnstone Press).     Sally Ito is a poet and translator of poetry who lives in Winnipeg. Her latest book of poetry is “Alert To Glory,” published in 2011. She also translated a book of the children’s poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, “Are You an Echo: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko,” published in...

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Share Work and Traditions

Posted on Dec 15, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Share Work and Traditions

The initial year in a new city and new ministry sometimes feels like a series of “firsts” strung together: first meal in a new home, first day in a new office, first holiday away from community and family. One of the “firsts” I was looking forward to this fall was attending the Feast for Friends at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre outside of Beausejour. This year the Feast took place at the end of the week long Mamawe Ota Askihk Festival – an inter-cultural and inter-generational event focusing on traditional food gathering and preparation. Those of us who came out for the Saturday Feast were able to see the projects and learn about hide tanning, processing wild rice, and gete okosomin squash (a huge indigenous varietal!). A sacred fire burned all day, and teachings were offered before we enjoyed a game...

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Waiting, Hoping, Feasting

Posted on Dec 8, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

Early in November, there was a story going round the internet that Stove Top Stuffing was offering branded stretchy pants in time for American Thanksgiving. I don’t know if these really exist. They seemed to be off sale almost as soon as they were offered. However, this tells us something about one of the most common ideas surrounding feasting. When we talk about feasting it so often seems to be that we are talking about the greatest amount of food, or about the best of foods. We often think about dish after dish of our favourite foods ‒ so much food that we eat until we are more stuffed than the traditional turkey. This is not surprising, as at one time feasts were associated with successful hunts or harvests, where the produce needed to be consumed lest it go...

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December 2017 Magazine

Posted on Dec 1, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on December 2017 Magazine

December’s issue is on Feasts. We’ll hear from Donald McKenzie, priest at St. Philip’s, on the spiritual aspects of feasts, and from Michelle Owens, newly-appointed principal of the Centre for Christian Studies, on her experience at Feast for Friends, held by the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre. We’ll also hear from James Kornelsen, from Canadian Foodgrains Bank, about feasting on a low income. Also included in this issue is a poem from Sally Ito and a reflection on Mary from Kirsten Pinto Gfroerer in via media. Download the pdf or read it in Issuu...

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Shared Pain: The Power of Jeremiah’s Laments

Posted on Nov 24, 2017 in Featured, via media | Comments Off on Shared Pain: The Power of Jeremiah’s Laments

“You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.” ‒ Jeremiah 20:7-8 Jeremiah is known as the “Weeping Prophet.” These words are part of a series of laments in which Jeremiah pours out his anger, anguish, loneliness, sense of betrayal, and despair in a form similar to the laments found in the Psalter. Jeremiah ministered in Israel’s final years, through the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the peoples’ exile into Babylon. He called God’s people to repent and return to the goodness of covenant life (Jeremiah 1:4-19). Despite God’s assurance that he would be with Jeremiah and strengthen him,...

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The Same Old Thing: an Interview with Mike Koop

Posted on Nov 17, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on The Same Old Thing: an Interview with Mike Koop

Mike Koop is a musician who regularly leads worship at saint benedict’s table, where most of what we sing is original music written by members of the community. I asked him a few questions about how he approaches writing music for Sunday worship and how he views his role as a musician in the Church. ‒ KN KN: Can you tell me a bit about your musical career and influences? MK: I have been making music since 1987-88 or so, though I would say the music I’ve been making could start being vaguely classified as “good” somewhere around 1992-93. This is, obviously, open to debate. I’ve released around nine or 10 albums both solo and with various groups, such as The Bonaduces, Buick Six, The Kicker, and The Waterworks. Most of my stuff is available on YouTube and The...

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Why do We Sing what We Sing in Church?

Posted on Nov 10, 2017 in Featured | 2 comments

I love music. I particularly love hymns ‒ at least most hymns. Ancient office hymns and gospel hymns each have their niche. I love what we call “praise music” as well. I like to think that each person who sits in the choir or in a pew is open to receiving the message in the music. As Christians we rejoice in music that brings glory, praise, thanksgiving, and prayer to God. We take solace in songs that tend to the injured soul and respond to themes that give hope and call us to action and justice. So, why do we sing what we do during Sunday service? It has a lot to do with who we are as a Christian community, as well as where we are in the liturgical calendar. The preparation of the music for a particular...

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Music and Spirituality

Posted on Nov 6, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Music and Spirituality

Music has had a significant place in my life and in some ways has been a “character” or perhaps more accurately a kind of dialogue partner in my life story. Music has invited me into new spaces of existence and existentiality, has confronted me, and has comforted me. When approached with the topic for this month’s edition of RLN, I asked if I might include a bit about music and scripture, and then interview two Winnipeg musicians on their understanding of music and spirituality. Thus, the format for this article includes first some roles of music in scripture and, next, comments on experiences of music and spirituality from two Winnipeg musicians, Cate Friesen and John K. Samson. Music in biblical texts Music arrives on the scene very early in the biblical canon. Genesis 4:20-22 relates a brief account of the...

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November Magazine 2017

Posted on Nov 6, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on November Magazine 2017

November’s issue of Rupert’s Land News is all about how music connects to spirituality and its role in the Church. View it below in Issuu or download the pdf...

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Division and Unification

Posted on Oct 27, 2017 in Featured, via media | 2 comments

Anglicans tend to be ambivalent about the Reformation. Are we a reformed church or not? I can already see the letters to the editor answering this question vehemently from both sides – and that very disagreement tells us something about the Anglican Church. Certainly the Church in England was caught up in the political struggles of the time as the newly emerging nation-states centred on various monarchies asserted their independence from Rome, took control of their own taxation, and took control over their lands and laws. Following the Lutherans, we uphold the doctrine of “justification by faith alone,” but our Church has never made this a theological necessity. With Calvin we uphold the absolute sovereignty of God and the covenants that God has forged with God’s people, although we are decidedly ambivalent on predestination. Undoubtedly, one of the chief...

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The Persecution of the Anabaptists

Posted on Oct 23, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on The Persecution of the Anabaptists

I pushed on the worn, stout, wooden door with oversized iron hardware and ducked as I stepped over the threshold and into the dim, stone-walled cell. A rough bed-like wooden frame, with iron chains, stocks, and shackles, took up most of the room. I tried to grasp what went on here at the Trachselwald Castle in Switzerland and why Anabaptists were imprisoned here. To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I had joined the TourMagination Anabaptist History Tour that wound through Southern Germany, Switzerland, and dipped into France. Martin Luther’s suggestions for church reforms in 1517 set in motion the wheels of religious and social change. Ulrich Zwingli in Zürich, Switzerland agreed with many of Luther’s reforms, including the nature of salvation: that it was a gift; that the role of the Bible was central; that people did not need...

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Support for Rupert’s Land Orphan’s Fund

Posted on Oct 23, 2017 in News | 1 comment

The Companion Diocese partnership between Rupert’s Land and Central Buganda Diocese in southern Uganda is entering its third decade of shared ministry. This valued partnership rooted in the great commission of the Gospel is a constant reminder of the good work to which we, on two separate continents, are called. The partnership consists of two programs: the Parish Links Program and the Orphan’s Fund Program. During a 2002 visit to Rupert’s Land by a delegation from Central Buganda Diocese, our African partners were asked what assistance could be offered? Their response: “Help with the orphans.” At that time, Uganda had one of the world’s highest rate of orphaned children due to the aftermath of civil war, malaria, and the AIDS epidemic. Soon after, the Rupert’s Land Orphan’s Fund was created. Its purpose was to provide education and basic healthcare...

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Reformation and Renewal

Posted on Oct 16, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

When we start something new, we most often begin with good intentions. We want what is best for our communities, for our faith, for our families, and for our world. I believe Martin Luther fully intended to address the injustices he found in his faith community and in his context. He felt a call to renewal and reform, which he expressed through posting his Ninety-five Theses. I don’t believe Luther meant to divide the body of Christ, but that is what happened as a result of his writings, actions, and collaborations, as well as the resultant reactions of others. Good intentions created fresh approaches to the scriptures, worship, and church leadership, but they also created divisions within the Church, which have had a lasting effect through 500 years. These divisions have perpetrated violence against other humans, mistrust within communities,...

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Changing the Legacy of the Reformation

Posted on Oct 6, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Changing the Legacy of the Reformation

The year 1517 is the symbolic heart of the Reformation and has led to the commemorations of its 500th anniversary in 2017. It is the year in which Martin Luther was purported to have nailed his Ninety-five Theses for the reformation of the Roman Catholic Church to the door of the church in Wittenberg. Although this was a powerful and dramatic action, it was simply a symbol of a much larger movement of reform and transformation happening across Europe, England, and Scotland that resulted in schism from the Roman Catholic Church and led to the creation of what are now the Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Anglican Churches. The Anglican split from the Roman Catholic Church occurred for both political and religious reasons, often symbolized in the rejection of papal authority by King Henry VIII over his desire to divorce his...

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October Magazine 2017

Posted on Oct 5, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on October Magazine 2017

October’s issue of RLN explores the continuing legacy of the Reformation for its 500th anniversary. You can download the pdf or read it in Issuu...

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A Return to Allegorical Readings of Scripture

Posted on Sep 25, 2017 in Featured, via media | Comments Off on A Return to Allegorical Readings of Scripture

There are texts in scripture that present moral problems and, throughout history, the Church has found it difficult to come to terms with many of the teachings and stories in scripture. Today, the Church employs various approaches to these difficult texts: the more conservative voices usually place the importance of maintaining the integrity of scripture foremost and, therefore, find philosophical justifications for God acting the way God did, while the more liberal voices place the importance on maintaining a moral integrity and thereby find ways to exclude these texts from their working canon of scripture. There are merits to both these approaches, but ultimately I am unsatisfied by them. I want to continue to have a high view of all of scripture, but I also recognize that there are some parts with which I will have moral concerns, no...

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Children’s Place in Church Community

Posted on Sep 15, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Children’s Place in Church Community

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,” but how do we do that in these changing times? Our approach to children’s spiritual formation in the Church is changing, as we have seen through the “Killing Sunday School & Birthing Cross+Gen Community” movement and other conversations exploring ways of including children in corporate worship. Faced with the challenge of fewer children and young people on a Sunday at St. Chad’s, we acknowledged that we lacked the energy needed for a vibrant and varied Sunday school. After prayer and discussion, we felt the call to include children in corporate worship rather than try to find ways of sending them out to a facsimile of church in another space for part or all of service. As is the practice of most churches, we have a children’s talk, where we incorporate...

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Mickey Mouse and Youth Ministry

Posted on Sep 8, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Mickey Mouse and Youth Ministry

In a 1989 article for Youthworker Journal, Stuart Cummings-Bond declared, “Churches with strong youth programs have usually controlled adolescence by corralling it, by institutionalizing it ‒ and not within the daily rhythm of the church, but outside of it, in a smaller circle that is tangent to the larger one, like a one-eared Mickey Mouse.” The short story is this: someone saw adolescence and said, “It is good.” It needed to be directed and channelled so church youth groups were formed. Beyond Bible studies, it was crazy games, relevant talks, and a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility. These elements were eventually codified into a model of effective youth ministry to which missions trips and youth worship were added. This well-intentioned model has dominated the shape of youth ministry in churches, morphing into what Sharon Ketcham, Professor at Gordon College, has...

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September Magazine 2017

Posted on Sep 4, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on September Magazine 2017

RLN is back with September’s issue on the Inter-generational Church. In this issue, we take a look at how the different generations of the Church relate to one another. Also included is an update from the Anglican Foundation on its 60th anniversary and a piece on allegorical readings of scripture. Download the pdf here. Or, read on Issuu...

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Statement Denouncing White Supremacy, Terrorism, and Violence

Posted on Aug 23, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

“My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh, the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent.” – Jeremiah 4:19 Such are the words of a Middle Eastern prophet some 2,700 years ago. During their time, ancient prophets exposed and challenged social injustice, abuses of power, and particularly violence against the less powerful and marginalized. They did so without weapon or armour – but with the words of truth. The events in Charlottesville, VA, the anti- Semitic graffiti in Winnipeg, and all of the lesser-known acts of racial violence (including the “freedom of speech” demonstrations designed to legitimate such behaviour), demand a response, not just from law enforcement agencies or civil governments, but from all people who can clearly see the fear and hate that lies behind such actions. We unequivocally denounce these...

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River Life, Theologically Speaking

Posted on Aug 16, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

Before arriving in Winnipeg just over a month ago, I lived in cities in Ontario, the UK, and, briefly, the American Midwest. What links these distant places to Winnipeg is how important their rivers are to the social life of the city. Guelph, Ontario, has the Speed River; London has the Thames; Oxford has the Cherwell; Northfield, Minnesota, has the Cannon River; and Winnipeg surrounds the intersecting Assiniboine and Red rivers. We should not be surprised that societies gather next to rivers. There are obvious reasons for this, which are both biological and prudent: water satisfies our thirst and cleans our bodies, but rivers are also a very effective way to transport things and people. Beyond the obvious, or maybe because of it, or perhaps in spite of it, rivers have tremendous symbolic and narrative power for us. Think...

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Restorative Justice: listening with the heart

Posted on Aug 10, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Restorative Justice: listening with the heart

A man in his late twenties sits across from the woman whose house he entered to steal articles that he could sell in order to buy the drugs he desperately needed to feed his habit. He listens as she tells him about the impact his actions had on her family, especially her young children. Her eight-year-old can’t understand why he had to break the window in his bedroom to get in. Could he not ask to come into the house? Could he not ask if he needed help? The man is full of remorse and wishes he could turn back the clock — but he can’t. He can only express how deeply sorry he is. He offers to pay for the damage he caused in the house and for the things he stole. She is anxious to know if...

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Job Posting: St. Aidan’s Christian School

Posted on Aug 9, 2017 in News | Comments Off on Job Posting: St. Aidan’s Christian School

St. Aidan’s Christian School is looking for a a new principal. St. Aidan’s Christian School, Winnipeg, is a small Christian school in Winnipeg comprised of two campuses, one in the North End, working mainly with Indigenous students, the other downtown, working mainly with an immigrant and refugee student population. View full job details here. Please submit a resume outlining teaching/administrative experience by August 28, 2017 to: C. Holland at...

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Diakonia: Serving with Authority

Posted on Aug 2, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Diakonia: Serving with Authority

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor. That is one of the reasons the Church calls people to be deacons, who will help us find and be among those who are poor of body and spirit. Churches of the Orthodox, Catholic, Reform and Evangelical traditions all have some way of signifying the ministry of diakonia (pronounced dee-AH-kon-ee-ah). As a sacramental church, we Anglicans ordain people to the diaconate, to be living signs and reminders to the people of God that Christ came to serve. When speaking of the diaconate, I like to stay with the Greek word diakonia rather than the common translation of “ministry” or “service” because it has a richer meaning. The noun form, diakonos, has been linked with konis (dust), suggesting someone who works close to the ground, not as a doormat, but as...

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Mental Illness through a Biblical Lens

Posted on Jul 27, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Mental Illness through a Biblical Lens

Religion and psychiatry have a long and complex relationship, not always a positive one. However, in recent years there has been an increase of interest in, and openness to, spirituality in mental health care. When mental illness enters the picture, spiritual well-being suffers. The person may feel alienated from, or abandoned by, God. Long-held beliefs are called into question. The person may not have opportunity or feel well enough to attend worship services. There is a profound sense of loss and grief, stemming from loss of hopes, dreams, and control. Sadly, there is often rejection and stigma that leads to a loss of self-esteem and a sense of shame. The person must search for a new sense of meaning and purpose, new hopes and goals, and the elusive sense of acceptance and peace. It’s not just the individual who...

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When God was Young

Posted on Jul 19, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on When God was Young

“I’m only 19, but my mind is old, and when things get for real, my warm heart turns cold.” I heard these words at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday night while sitting at home attempting to read my notes from psychology. These are the words of Prodigy (one half of rap duo Mobb Deep). Why do these words matter? What is Prodigy trying to say? These words of his come from what is easily the grittiest song on the entire album. From beginning to end, the song speaks of the reality of death and alienation built into the fabric of the Queen’s Bridge housing projects in New York City. Prodigy wrote his lyrics twenty years ago, when he was my age. The world of the young Prodigy and the world that Ilive in couldn’t more different. I don’t live...

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Animals and the Church?

Posted on Jul 13, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Animals and the Church?

A Meditation for the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi Who brings rain to a land “where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life”? (Job 38:25–26). God poses the question to a beleaguered Job and it is a striking one. Why indeed does God send rain to places where no humans live? How does that help us? Could it be that it is not all about us, as so often assumed? Animals are everywhere in the Bible and yet the erasure of the nonhuman from theological contemplation has been commonplace from the earliest days of the Church. We see this in the New Testament itself. Just look at 1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5 where the takeaway from the story of Noah’s ark is that only eight humans survived the flood. These...

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Finding Common Ground through Poetry

Posted on Jun 16, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Finding Common Ground through Poetry

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is a fairly short document, only consisting of 46 articles. However, some might find it difficult to read: “[it] sounds like Western legalese and it’s somewhat technical,” says Steve Heinrichs, Director of Indigenous Relations for Mennonite Church Canada. “The words don’t leap off the page; they don’t grab one’s heart and spirit. And that’s what I long for ‒ to find ways to hear and speak and imagine these words so that they come alive.” Heinrichs is the editor of Lifting Hearts off the Ground, a new book that hopes to bring the Declaration into a new light. Two poets ‒ Lyla June Johnston, who is of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) descent, and Joy De Vito, a Settler from the Haldimand Tract, Ontario ‒ come together to contemplate...

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I Notice God in the Mundane

Posted on Jun 9, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on I Notice God in the Mundane

I heard about the Companions program at the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in the bulletin at saint benedict’s table, the Anglican church I was attending while working toward a degree at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. Though intuition compelled me to apply, I spent a self-allotted two weeks in prayer about it for the purpose of discernment. When, at the end of that time, I was still moved to apply, I figured that was reason enough. The best thing about the program is the formative learning. I found university to be an excellent environment for a particular type of learning that cultivates intellectual knowledge. While I am grateful for that, I nonetheless began to sense that intellectual knowledge alone was insufficient for spiritual life. I did not know until coming to the SSJD that I was...

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Pilgrimage For Indigenous Rights

Posted on Jun 5, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Pilgrimage For Indigenous Rights

Recently, I took part in the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, organized by Mennonite Church Canada and Christian Peacemaker Teams ‒ Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Project. Between April 22 and May 14, 30-60 people from diverse ages, stories, and backgrounds participated in this 600km walk. The majority of the walkers identified as Christian and as settlers in Canada, though there were Indigenous peoples and other faiths among us. “Pilgrimage” is common to many traditions, and the purpose of this walk was simultaneously personal, spiritual, and political. We began in Kitchener-Waterloo, on the Haldimand Tract, and ended in Ottawa, on un-ceded Algonquin land, walking 25-35 kilometres daily. We opted for less busy roads when available, but often walked along busy highways, sometimes single-file along narrow shoulders. We prayed and reflected on the land and history in each place. Local news reports covered...

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June Magazine 2017

Posted on Jun 2, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on June Magazine 2017

June’s magazine for National Aboriginal History Month focuses on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also includes a list of recommended books on Indigenous issues and a first-hand account of the Companions on an Ancient Path program offered by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine. Download the pdf here. Or, read on Issuu...

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The Art of Bob Webster

Posted on May 26, 2017 in Featured | 5 comments

When I was a child, I had no artistic ability, so I never followed any of those inclinations. However, in a mid-career evaluation course, I realized that I was doing nothing with my creative drives. I decided to dabble in oils and had a few satisfying results, but for a couple of reasons I drifted away. Upon retirement, living in Mexico, I discovered my neighbour was an artist and she gave me some classes. I have long been impressed with God’s call to Adam to join in the acts of creation by naming the animals. The ways in which we serve one another continue to manifest the loving word of God, which called all things out of nothing. Painting is simply one way I use present materials to draw into being something that was not there before.   I...

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Mental Health and the Church

Posted on May 20, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

I’ve been depressed for almost 13 years. I have what the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders calls Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), or Dysthymia. Basically, I’m always sad. The symptoms that “qualify” someone for a Major Depressive Disorder need to be present for at least two weeks. In order to “qualify” for PDD, the symptoms need to be there for at least two years. Throughout these 13 years, my relationship with God and the Church has grown and evolved. My depression has shaped my relationship with God and has greatly influenced how I experience going to church. I spent many years “trying out” different churches, all of them leaving a bad taste in my mouth. It was very difficult walking into a church where everything and everyone looked perfect and perfectly happy. The people leading the music...

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House Blend Hospitality

Posted on May 12, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on House Blend Hospitality

House Blend Ministries celebrated its 10th birthday in February with cake, coffee, and community storytelling. This milestone means a lot of different things to me, but one thing it signifies is that, for 10 years, I’ve been a part of a community that has been learning about hospitality, by practising hospitality. House Blend began with a simple question, “How can we rearrange our lives in ways that allow us to follow God and create a caring, Christ-like community?” For the past 10 years, through a process of trial and error and error, we continue to ask that question and every now and then we catch glimpses of the answer. Hospitality is a practice through which I am learning to invite people into my life, as it is, not as I wish it was, and there has been no better...

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Entertaining Angels

Posted on May 5, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Entertaining Angels

According to St. Benedict, guests, “who are never lacking in the monastery” are “to be received as Christ” for Christ said, “as long as you did it to one of these least, you did it to me.” The sculpture located in the St. Benedict’s Retreat Centre foyer, “Christa,” is a symbol of the presence of Christ in both the guest and the one who receives the guest. Hospitality is not mere sociability (as in the “hospitality industry”), but a sacred duty. Biblical hospitality invites us to see in the visitor a divine messenger. While the community and each member may have something to offer a guest, the guest also brings a gift. In our day and age, we have become suspect of all that is different, including the stranger. It is a risk to open our doors to those...

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