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River Life, Theologically Speaking

Posted on Aug 16, 2017 in Featured | 0 comments

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 | 0 comments

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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Diakonia: Serving with Authority

Posted on Aug 2, 2017 in Featured | 0 comments

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 | 0 comments

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...

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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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May Magazine 2017

Posted on May 1, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on May Magazine 2017

May’s issue tackles the topic of Christ-like Hospitality. We look at communities that focus on low-income housing, making safer spaces in our churches for people with mental health issues, and dismantling harmful attitudes towards refugees. And, check out the work of our Feature Artist, Bob Webster. Click here to read the...

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Contemplation and the Monastic Life

Posted on Apr 28, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Contemplation and the Monastic Life

At the age of 30, I left behind my career, my lifestyle, my church family, and various relationships, to take up another way of life. I felt a call within: a keen desire to deepen my relationship with God. I wanted to be alone with the Alone, and to do so I hied myself off to an Anglican convent, the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, in North Toronto. There I was immersed in a regimen of prayer, work, study, and rest: living a more balanced life within a monastic community of similarly like-minded people whose ultimate goal was union with God. We prayed together several times daily, ate all our meals in common, and worked together for a common purpose. I had classes and received mentoring to help foster my prayer and life in community. I learned various...

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A Beginner’s Guide to Contemplation

Posted on Apr 21, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on A Beginner’s Guide to Contemplation

Below are four contemplative practices with step-by-step instructions on how to follow them. If you’d like to start your own practice, but aren’t sure how, try each option and see which one works best for you. Meditation Daily meditation can quiet the mind, relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and help reduce anxiety. When we meditate on a passage of Scripture or on a prayer, it can help us cultivate the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. 1. Find some place quiet and sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight. You may wish to light a candle to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit. 2. Close your eyes and focus on the pattern of your breathing for a minute or two to help you relax. 3. Begin to silently say a prayer-word or mantra to...

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The Importance and Benefits of Contemplative Practice

Posted on Apr 14, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

One of my favourite quotations about contemplative prayer is from Christian Meditation: The Gethsemani Talks by John Main, a Benedictine monk who began to teach about Christian Meditation about 40 years ago. “Meditative prayer is not an intellectual exercise in which we reflect about theological positions. In meditation we are not thinking about God at all, nor are we thinking of God’s Son, Jesus, nor of the Holy Spirit. In meditation we seek to do something immeasurably greater: we seek to be with God, to be with Jesus, to be with the Holy Spirit; not merely to think about them.” It is a very different way of prayer from what we are familiar with today. It is equally valid, dating back to the fourth century, but not as well known. In our traditional practice of prayer, we usually talk...

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April Magazine 2017

Posted on Apr 3, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on April Magazine 2017

April’s issue is on Contemplation and includes articles on the importance of contemplative practice, as well as a beginner’s guide to a few Christian practices. There’s also an article in memory of the late Rev. Brad Elliott from Christ Church in Selkirk. Click here to view the pdf.  ...

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Bob Dylan and the Theological Imagination

Posted on Mar 31, 2017 in Featured, via media | 1 comment

New York City was cold, muffled and mysterious, the capital of the world. On 7th Avenue I passed the building where Walt Whitman had lived and worked. I paused momentarily imagining him printing away and singing the true song of his soul. I had stood outside of Poe’s house on 3rd Street, too, and had done the same thing, staring mournfully up at the windows. The city was like some uncarved block without any name or shape and it showed no favouritism. Everything was always new, always changing. It was never the same old crowd upon the streets. ‒ Bob Dylan, Chronicles Bob Dylan succeeds where so many of us fail. We also walk familiar city streets but rarely see and feel so much. Michelangelo imagined magnificent sculptures locked inside stone, and similarly Dylan suspects hidden mysteries, “like some...

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Keeping Faith in Silence

Posted on Mar 24, 2017 in Featured, Reviews | Comments Off on Keeping Faith in Silence

You might have missed the sparsely advertised film Silence, which was in two Winnipeg theatres for about two weeks in January. If you did, that’s a shame, because this is a profound and thought-provoking movie. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this 161-minute film is based off the 1966 Shūsaku Endō novel also titled Silence. We follow two Jesuits who travel to Japan in the 17th century to seek out whether the rumours that one of their fellow priests apostatised are true. This is a period of history where Christians were sorely persecuted in Japan for their beliefs. Our Jesuits take their lives in their hands to make a journey we expect, as viewers, to be heroic, but the reality is much more complex. The Japanese Christians hold tightly to their faith, but live in constant fear; most Japanese citizens would...

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Becoming People of the Land

Posted on Mar 17, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Becoming People of the Land

The following is the last article in our series on Identity and Land. See Deanna Zantingh’s piece, “Uncovering the Truth: Land is Central” in January’s issue and Ellen Cook’s piece, “The Land Restores Identity” in February’s. Both Deanna Zantingh and Ellen Cook’s recent articles in the Rupert’s Land News were food for a set of questions I’ve been living with this past year. I’ve been wondering if an urban person of faith, like myself, whose grandparents came to Winnipeg at the turn of the last century, could become a person of this land. By this, I don’t mean a citizen, or a property owner, or even just a lover of this land. For me, to be a person of the land means to be defined by, belong to, and consciously take part in this larger reality called “the land”...

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The Human Spark and Encounters with Dementia

Posted on Mar 10, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

I first encountered dementia when my elementary school class went to sing Christmas carols in a personal care home. One woman in particular caught my eye and I begged my mom to let me bring her a Christmas present. It turned out that she was my classmate’s grandmother, living with the advanced effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. I remember being confused as the old woman told me the same story over and over again during that 15 minute visit, but simultaneously being drawn to her spirit. It seemed to me that she was a friend, and we understood one another. She smiled at my youth and I marvelled at her age; she held my hand and I held hers. Twenty-five years later, I did my Clinical Pastoral Education for chaplaincy training in a locked unit for patients with a “special...

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Adapting to Failure

Posted on Mar 3, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

Failure hangs over me constantly. In the past seven years, it’s been a daily, if not hourly hurdle. Sometimes its the small things, like forgetting a word. Sometimes it’s the medium things, like walking into a tree. Sometimes, it is a series of slights or omissions that end up hurting or disappointing people I care about. Some people might call this adulthood, or the human condition. For others like me, it’s the constant adaptation required of those with disabilities. I’m 27 years old. I’m fairly young and healthy. Most people are surprised when I tell them that I had a stroke when I was 20. At the time, it was shocking to me too. Now, it’s the banal reality of every day. There are no clues in my face as to the nature of my disability. In fact, you...

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March Magazine 2017

Posted on Mar 2, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on March Magazine 2017

March’s issue of Rupert’s Land News explores different facets of disability, and includes a review of Silence and a look at Bob Dylan’s theological imagination. Download the pdf here or read it below in...

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Art for our Eyes and Hearts

Posted on Feb 24, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

I have been a visual artist for over 30 years. I am inspired by the beauty of God’s creation and aim to capture and reflect that through the use of vibrant colours, energy, and gentle-yet-bold interpretation that encompasses a spirit-filled essence of love, faith, and hope. In 2007, my work “Welcoming, Widening World” was featured in the Anglican Church of Canada’s “Sacred Expressions” collection of Canadian art. My “Creation’s Colours” art shows and parish fundraisers celebrate the positive energy of the beauty around us. I approach my work through keen experiential moments, captured in time through photos, drawings, and thought. I take these building blocks and transform them into creations that come together into “touchable” pieces that evoke emotion and reflection. I create colourful, energy-filled and encouraging original acrylic paintings for spaces where we live, worship, and work. I...

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New Beginnings in Stained Glass

Posted on Feb 17, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on New Beginnings in Stained Glass

When River East Mennonite Brethren Church decided to fill their 20 columns of ceiling-to-floor-windows with stained glass, the congregation immediately resolved to make it a community project. “Community is an important concept in the way we understand what God is doing in the world. God is in the business of gathering people together,” said Mary Anne Isaak, pastor of River East MB. A few years ago, a woman had left money in her will for River East to do a worship art project. With those funds available, the REMB Glass Project was born. For a year and a half, two teams from River East gathered together at Prairie Stained Glass ‒ one group on Tuesday nights and the other on Thursday nights ‒ to learn how to cut, grind, fit, solder, and lead glass for the new stained glass...

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The Land Restores Identity

Posted on Feb 10, 2017 in Featured | 3 comments

This article is a follow up to Deanna Zantingh’s piece in January’s issue, “Uncovering the Truth: Land is Central.” I have a beautiful house by the Assiniboine River near Winnipeg, but when I say I am going “home,” I mean the place where I was born: Misipawistik Cree Nation in Grand Rapids. Among my people, there is a question we ask someone who cannot seem to stay still in one place, but moves about constantly; “What are you looking for? Your bellybutton?” I interpret this query as, “Are you missing the land on which you were born; do you feel lost when you are away from there?” Indigenous peoples lived on, from, and with the land. The traditional Indigenous peoples birthed their own children with the help of midwives. Upon the birth of a child, the mother’s placenta would...

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Urns for Healing

Posted on Feb 3, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Urns for Healing

Our society no longer knows how to deal with death, grief, and mourning. No more do the grieving shroud themselves in black, indicating to those around them a loss has been suffered. So how, or where, does one hold that brokenness now? I have found that pain, and healing, is held in the deep recesses of my being. Urns for Healing is a collection of vessels that give form to those deep places of mourning and loss. Made from found materials, they invoke the memory of my mother, of her clothes, her presence, of her broken body. The healing process is not a linear path. Nor are the places the body holds grief the same over time. Sometimes overwhelming, other times small and comforting, the body holds what it knows and misses in different ways. Urns for Healing hold...

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February Magazine 2017

Posted on Feb 1, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on February Magazine 2017

February’s issue of Rupert’s Land News explores Art as a form of worship and features the work of two artists from the Diocese. Download the pdf here or read it in Issuu...

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To live and pray in Pembina Hills

Posted on Jan 27, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized | Comments Off on To live and pray in Pembina Hills

Yes, it has been six years since our group of five churches – Clearwater, Pilot Mound, Manitou, Kaleida, and Altamont – which initially made up the parishes of Pembina Hills,have been commissioned as Local Collaborative Ministry (LCM), a form of ministry that involves members of congregations volunteering their time and talents to provide the services normally performed by paid clergy. There was a total of 15 members who were first commissioned in March 2010 and since then a number of team members have either retired or moved away. In 2015, we had a re-commissioning and many new faces joined. There are currently 16 members that make up the team: five ordained priests, one ordained deacon, eight worship leaders, two pastoral care coordinators, and one administrator. We no longer have a stipendiary priest, but currently have a part-time mentor, Norm...

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Why Winnipeg? Being Muslim in Rupert’s Land

Posted on Jan 20, 2017 in Featured | 1 comment

I am often asked why I chose Winnipeg to be my home. My answer is simple. In my 40 years in Winnipeg, I have not once doubted my initial impression of this city as one that has a soul. Winnipeg is my home. I have lived nowhere else this long. My roots here are connected to the fact that my son and my parents are buried here my other son and grandchildren were born here, it is here that my social justice activism was nurtured, and it is here where I discovered not only why I am a Muslim, but why I wanted to live as a Muslim Canadian. My intellectual inquiry into my faith started here and for this I am eternally grateful. The spirituality that my grandmother and parents nurtured in me growing up in Pakistan was...

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Uncovering the truth: land is central

Posted on Jan 13, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Uncovering the truth: land is central

I turned on the radio in time to hear CBC perfectly capture my past year’s journey in one sentence. “The thing about seeking reconciliation with indigenous peoples is that eventually you realize you also have to make reconciliation with the land,” said Caleb Behn, a Salish activist and lawyer. I began studying theology as a way to explore the questions that my friendship with an indigenous community in northern Ontario had raised. After my first year, I was shocked at how central land had become, when reconciliation was my focus. My thesis work has been no different. This past year I began a qualitative research project listening to people in Mishkeegogamang First Nation in northern Ontario reflect on land and identity. All of this has led me to a startling conclusion: I don’t want to talk about reconciliation anymore,...

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Traditions across Canada, for better or worse

Posted on Jan 6, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on Traditions across Canada, for better or worse

Here’s a little quiz appropriate for the season. 1. What country invented the department store Santa? 2. What country invented the Santa Claus parade? 3. In what country do young people go door-to-door at Christmas begging, threatening to torture the oldest daughter of the house if a donation is not made? 4. What country has magical gift-bringers such as Father Time, Queen Mab, Aunt Nancy, and Mother Goody? 5. Where can you find janneys, ownshooks, belsnicklers, and fools demanding entrance into a neighbour’s house at Christmas? The answer, of course, is Canada, which has celebrated Christmas for centuries with unique customs. Take, for example, the now-universal presence of Santa Claus figures in department stores and malls around the world. The very first of these appeared in Sampson’s Department Store in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1869 where Santa filled stockings...

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January Magazine 2017

Posted on Jan 2, 2017 in Featured | Comments Off on January Magazine 2017

January’s issue of Rupert’s Land News explores Canadian traditions around Christmas, reconciliation and land, and an update from our friends in the parishes of Pembina Hills. Download the pdf here or read it in Issuu...

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Christmas tables of many kinds

Posted on Dec 16, 2016 in Featured | Comments Off on Christmas tables of many kinds

Do you eat dinner at the table? With demographics showing nearly 30% of homes to be single occupant residences, and less than half of families reporting eating together up to five times a week, statistically you may not! With Thanksgiving and harvest behind us, and the bounty and abundance of Christmas celebrations ahead, our planning and celebrating centres so often around food. Why is there such emphasis on the dinner table culturally (the highly idealized family dinner), and why is the opulence of the holiday spread so attractive? Isn’t the dinner table just another reminder of our disconnection from the community ideal that we hold in high esteem but so regularly fail to achieve? Decorated with a mound of bills and paperwork, frequently abandoned in favour of take out, in my busy household it more often represents the chaos...

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The Messiah in the time of Trump

Posted on Dec 9, 2016 in Featured | 1 comment

In the warm, spindled foyer where I go to university, there hangs a collection of paintings. On the stairway they are flanked by portraits of nineteenth century university doyens, in anachronistic yet recognizable clothing – principles, deans, emeriti. They are joined in the middle by six bearded and awkwardly collared reformers, gawking pensively at each other past their gold-ribbed picture frames. At the far end, on the wall just adjacent to my first-ever university classroom, dangles Richard Hooker. He is the Anglican of this group. Looking stoic and tranquil, he stands in the foreground of an English meadow split by a lazy stream. Wearing a black cassock topped with a billowed ruff, Hooker’s hands are almost raised in prayer. Only the tips of his fingers are touching, spread apart, in a reversed rabbinic blessing. Surely, it speaks to the...

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Transforming the world one lay vocation at a time

Posted on Dec 5, 2016 in Featured | Comments Off on Transforming the world one lay vocation at a time

At a National Church gathering, a group of men and women settled around a conference table. It was a mixed group, comprised of both clergy and laity. They had come from parishes across the country and were strangers to one other, so they began with introductions. “Hi, my name is George,” said one. “I’m just a lay person.” “I’m Judy,” said another. “I’m nobody, just a lay person.” Yet another began her introduction with “I’m nothing. I’m a lay person.” She went on to assure the group her parish priest was actually present, but attending another workshop. This pattern repeated itself again and again throughout the conference as participants and facilitators alike expressed their inferior status or apologized for their lack of qualification to speak to the gathering solely on the basis that they were lay people, not clergy....

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December 2016 Magazine

Posted on Dec 2, 2016 in Featured | Comments Off on December 2016 Magazine

The December magazine is available here as an easy PDF that can be printed off or read on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Or, if you prefer the online magazine look, check out the Issuu format...

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“They Come to See Me See Them”: The Aesthetic and Moral Vision of Dolly Parton

Posted on Nov 25, 2016 in Featured | Comments Off on “They Come to See Me See Them”: The Aesthetic and Moral Vision of Dolly Parton

This week, a warm and gentle southern breeze blew like grace through our (already) chilly northern city: the incomparable Dolly Parton came to Winnipeg as part of her “Pure and Simple Tour.” There are so many ways that she exploded all expectations, as she has been doing all her life — her graciousness was breathtaking, so was her musical versatility, and her infectious energy created an evening that was nothing short of magical. Many commentators have discussed the supposed contradictions of Ms. Parton: of an external appearance that is judged to be at odds with her acumen and serious talent, of the kind of feminine glamour that seemingly jars with her depth as a woman. But those commentators are wrong, because Ms. Parton knows a thing or two about aesthetics. I believe that hers is a deeply (but exceedingly rare) Christian...

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