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Expressions of Hope

Posted on Sep 20, 2019 in Featured | 1 comment

Congregation Shaarey Zedek has been spreading Christmas cheer to its neighbours since the year 2000. At one of the darkest times of the year, in and around the winter solstice, Jewish tradition celebrates the miracle of light during the holiday of Chanukah, which falls on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev and coincides with Christmas Day approximately every 18 years. For the past 20 years, however, Congregation Shaarey Zedek has found a way for the celebration of holiday spirit to coincide on an annual basis. Since 2000, the synagogue has added a new Chanukah tradition, which brings light into the lives of many underprivileged guests who are welcomed at the West Broadway Ministries Annual Christmas Lunch. Lynda Trono, Community Minister, notes that, “Many people in Winnipeg’s inner city do not have the means to provide a holiday...

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People of Faith Doing Stuff Together

Posted on Sep 13, 2019 in Featured | 0 comments

A story is told about a leading liturgical scholar, who was asked about “peace liturgies” during the heyday of the peace movement. This individual responded with something along the lines of “Aren’t all liturgies peace liturgies?” The story may be as much legend as fact, but the insight remains. Is not the hoped-for end for any liturgy the arrival of a reign of peace and harmony between all of God’s children, even all of God’s creation? Similarly, is not the calling for each of us to be people of faith doing stuff together? Millenia upon millennia have demonstrated that it’s not quite so simple… or is it? Communities across Canada, in recent years, have seen the rise and removal of “tent cities.” Recently, after a visit to his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, our Manitoba Multifaith Council Treasurer came back...

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Hope for the Future at Synod

Posted on Sep 6, 2019 in Featured | 0 comments

Although much of Synod was seen under the dark media cloud of the defeat of the Marriage Canon amendment, so much good work was done as well. I left with a sense of hope for the future, and I believe that the Spirit of God was working to make a much better outcome than any of us could have hoped for. The Indigenous Self-Determination rationale was very well thought out, well presented, and well received. Successfully being voted in, this now means that conversations will begin within the Indigenous community to determine the structures, polity, and procedures for a self-governing Indigenous church, one that reflects the practices of an Indigenous way of life. Archbishop Mark McDonald is now the spiritual head for all Indigenous expressions of the Anglican Church in Canada. This very historic moment represented a move towards...

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So Where is God in all of This?

Posted on Sep 6, 2019 in Featured | 0 comments

In July, lay, clerical, and episcopal members from across our entire Canadian Anglican Church gathered in downtown Vancouver, B.C., for seven days to worship, share in Christian community, listen and learn about our common ministry and mission, and make decisions about the future work and priorities of our Church. Much has been spoken, written, tweeted and put on Facebook about the experience since then. And while the hugely important steps taken to support our self-determining Indigenous Church have received accolades from all corners, the outcomes (yes – plural – the debates, vote, and various follow up statements all factor in) of the proposed change to Canon 21 on Marriage seem to have generated the greatest interest and analysis. Much has been reported (and needed to be) about the pain, disappointment, and finger-pointing that emerged in the immediate aftermath of...

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September Magazine 2019

Posted on Sep 4, 2019 in Featured | 0 comments

In September’s issue on People of Faith, We’re looking at examples of people of different faiths working together to achieve a common goal of peace. The Manitoba Mulitfaith Council explores the importance of interfaith relationships. The Jewish Congregation of Shaarey Zedek synagogue explains the reasons behind the annual Christmas dinner they hold for guests of West Broadway Community Ministry. And, Gail Schnabl, our Diocesan Refugee Coordinator, talks about refugee work in the diocese. This issue also has two reflections about General Synod from Helen Kennedy and Don Phillips, as well as a look at this year’s Urban Retreats Garden Tour held through St. Matthews Maryland Community Ministry. Download the pdf here, or read it in...

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The Gospel According to Scruffy: Or, Contemplating the Name of Dog

Posted on Jun 28, 2019 in Featured | 4 comments

I discovered his name in 2008. I wish I could say that it came to me in a dream or vision, but in fact it came to me in one of those terrible mothering moments you probably should not admit to in public. I was dying to have a dog. I have been a dog person for as long as I can remember and I waited until my children were of the age which I could be assured that they had sufficient conscience that they would not ride him like a horse or maul him like a UFC fighter. Canon Law says that seven is the age of reason. I prudently waited one more year until my youngest was eight (just in case Canon Law was wrong) and then I went full-blown dog wild. So the bad mothering bit...

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How Many Loaves Have You? Go and See

Posted on Jun 21, 2019 in Featured | 1 comment

We were invited to share a little of what we have learned about healthcare programs between developed and developing nations. The invitation included a few questions to peak our interest. How do these programs work? How do they raise up local communities? How do we avoid the danger of the White Saviour Complex? However, these questions led us to question the fundamental premise behind the idea of “developed” countries offering healthcare programs for, or even with, “developing” countries. That is, are countries that we define as developed really that healthy? The Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island have given much testimony to the unhealthy reality (past and present) of North American development. Medical, surgical, and pharmaceutical services are not accessible in many areas of Canada, and others don’t have safe drinking water. Poisoned water is a consequence of development; living...

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Improving Global Health, One Organization at a Time

Posted on Jun 14, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Improving Global Health, One Organization at a Time

According to the UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency), 68.5 million people around the world are currently in a situation where they have been forced from their homes. Some are internally displaced, living in their home country; others have had to flee conflict or violence by crossing a border, becoming refugees. Last year alone, almost half of those displacements were related to disasters in 143 countries. UNHCR says “nearly one person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.” As climate change worsens, experts predict that the numbers of wildfires, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, and famines will only increase, putting more pressures on strained and vulnerable communities. Relief and development work aims to reduce those factors that push or pull people out of their homes: Poverty, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking;...

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Abundant Food for All

Posted on Jun 7, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Abundant Food for All

This past month, I’ve been getting ready to plant my garden. Seeds have been started, and the garden beds have been cleaned up. I’ve been dreaming about all the delicious, fresh veggies that will feed me all summer long. My spouse and I have also signed up for a CSA, a community supported agriculture box. We’ll receive a box of fresh, local veggies every week for the duration of the growing season. What we don’t grow ourselves, or get from our CSA box, we will easily be able to pick up at either of the two grocery stores that are walking distance from our home in central Winnipeg. For us, food is available, accessible, and affordable. We have the time and money to procure the foods we need and want in order to live well. In other words, we...

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June Magazine 2019

Posted on Jun 5, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on June Magazine 2019

In June’s issue on Global Health, Zoe Matties from A Rocha takes a look at the problem of food insecurity here in Canada; Janice Biehn, the Communications Coordinator for PWRDF, writes about how relief and development work has changed over the last few decades; and Krista Waring and Pierre Plourde, both of whom work closely with Hand in Hand with Haiti, ask the question, “Are developed nations really healthy?” Lastly, in via media, Jane Barter reflects on the nature of names through the story of her dog, Scruffy. Download the pdf here or read it in Issuu...

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Humans and Humus: In Search of a Christian Ecology

Posted on May 24, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Humans and Humus: In Search of a Christian Ecology

The history of humanity is the history of the adam. God took good dirt (adamah), and from it, fashioned very good humans (adam), Adam and Eve. These humans were free to eat and enjoy God’s creation but were given limits. This history is the history of a creature that could not abide by the given limits of God’s creation, the consequences of which are spelled out in Genesis 3. There was enmity between humans and other creatures, and the ground refused to yield its bounty. The humans’ efforts to overcome this curse by force of will or technological prowess did not prevail. Eventually, some of the humans of Genesis were known as the Children of Israel. The covenant relationship between God and Israel, far from being an abstract legal arrangement, was to be the restoration of humanity in a...

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Prairie and Pasture

Posted on May 17, 2019 in Featured | 2 comments

Neither one of us grew up on the farm. Both of us, growing up in cities thousands of miles away – Lydia in Winnipeg and Wian in Pretoria South Africa – dabbled as children in urban agriculture ventures. We could have hardly imagined that we were going to end up ranching on the Canadian Prairies. Wian emigrated to Canada from South Africa at the age of 15. From a young age, he knew he wanted to farm and so pursued farm employment and land rental arrangements where he could raise pastured poultry shortly after he graduated from high school. We met in 2009 in Winnipeg while I was just starting my graduate studies at the University of Manitoba. We had mutual interests and were both drawn to farming/ranching by a desire to manage a working landscapes. We were both...

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From Tree to Tree: An Interview with Elder Velma Orvis

Posted on May 10, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on From Tree to Tree: An Interview with Elder Velma Orvis

I had the chance to sit down with Elder Velma Orvis and ask her about harvesting medicines. Below is our conversation. – Kyla Neufeld What plants do you harvest for medicines? On the Medicine Wheel we acknowledge four plants. We start in the East with the tobacco. At one time it was just wild tobacco, but now we make our own. And then sage in the South and cedar in the West, and sweetgrass in the North. So we can use those for smudging. Usually when we are working with women, we just use sage because that’s mother’s medicine. And women that are on their time, when we have the full moon, they can smudge. So, with women we don’t really use the other three too much. Those four main medicines are what we smudge with. When I worked...

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Community Gardens Remove Fences

Posted on May 6, 2019 in Featured | 1 comment

God has left fingerprints on every inch of the garden. Anywhere I put my foot, the Creator has already been. He touches me with warm sunshine; I can smell him in the glorious mingled scent of soil, plants, and water; and he inhabits the expanded light feeling in my chest that comes from gazing at plants that are growing. At times, I am sure I can see God peek out from the flash of colour as the butterfly passes by. Children are often the first to spot him there. They are less distracted than adults and much more observant to their surroundings. Their keen eyes see, and their sharp ears are attuned to the music of His voice on the breeze. One of my earliest memories is sitting in the dirt beside a tomato plant and tasting the sun-warmed...

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May Magazine 2019

Posted on May 2, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on May Magazine 2019

In this issue on God in the Garden, we’re getting our hands dirty and exploring encounters with our Creator, our communities, our neighbours, and our land. Nora Hogman writes about tending the community gardens at St. Margaret’s, and how they have impacted the neighbourhood. Lydia Carpenter and Wian Prinsloo, from Luna Field Farm, explain how pasture based farming practices benefit both land and animals. In an interview, Elder Velma Orvis talks about the significance of harvesting medicines. And, in via media, Ryan Turnbull challenges the Church to adopt an integral ecology: a relationship that interconnects humans with nature, rather than separating them. Download the pdf or read it in Issuu...

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The Work of Mourning

Posted on Apr 26, 2019 in Featured | 1 comment

Pastoral Reflections on Jacques Derrida’s The Work of Mourning. In his beautiful series of reflections on the deaths of his friends and contemporaries (figures such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Sarah Kofman), Jacques Derrida writes of the work of mourning. It is work of sorts because we must bring to it the judgment and the skills that we have acquired in the course of a life of preparing for our own and our loved ones’ deaths. In another sense it is not a work, because the more we try to control or define mourning, the more elusive it becomes. Derrida castigates his own tendency within his eulogies for his friends to remake them in his own image – to offer a final trompe-l’oeil to foreground his own work. As he writes, he finds within himself a tendency “still...

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Practising the Sixth Promise

Posted on Apr 22, 2019 in Featured | 2 comments

Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth? I will, with God’s help. –The sixth promise of The Baptismal Covenant By far, the most frequent creation care question asked by Anglicans is “What can I do to care for creation at home and in my parish?” In the face of environmental degradation and rapid climate change, there is tremendous desire to take action, but a lack of direction as to where to begin. Over time, scribbled notes and references in my Creation Matters file have evolved into a growing list of things we can do. Possible actions seem to fall into into six general areas of concern. Within each of these categories, I have loosely arranged suggestions according to perceived difficulty and/or cost. A good way to...

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Holy Disruption

Posted on Apr 15, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Holy Disruption

Abid Munir is an active member of our congregation, serving on vestry and representing the parish of St. Mary Magdalene at PWRDF meetings in the diocese. On a recent visit to our church, Bishop Geoff asked him to share his story and he agreed. Abid was born in Peshawar, a city in Northern Pakistan with a population of two million people. It is an ancient city close to the border of Afghanistan. Abid’s parents are Christian and value education, working hard to see that all their children would go to school. His early education was in Christian schools. When he reached Grade 10, he was able to earn money to help himself and his family. Later, he became a “homework teacher” at an elite school, where the remuneration was good. As a member of a minority group, he was...

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We Carry On

Posted on Apr 5, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on We Carry On

When many people think of a church, they think of people on a Sunday morning and a full-time priest leading worship. Yet for over 60 percent of the congregations in Rupert’s Land, that isn’t the reality. I asked some people from some of these churches what difference it makes in worship when there is no full-time priest in the parish. A retired priest travels to All Saints’, Whytewold from Winnipeg twice a month to lead Holy Eucharist. On the other Sundays, Lay Readers lead Morning Prayer services, including preparing and preaching the sermon. The Lay Readers have learned to adapt some services in the Book of Alternative Services that assume a priest will be present, like Ash Wednesday or Good Friday, so that they can lead. “All Saints just seems to adapt to changing preachers and circumstances!” says Lay...

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April Magazine 2019

Posted on Apr 4, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on April Magazine 2019

April’s issue on Creative Disruptions has four articles that offer their own takes on breaking away from the norm. Heather McCance writes about how parishes that don’t have a full-time incumbent worship. Heather Birtles shares the story of a parishioner from St. Mary Magdalene whose life has seen many upheavals. Beverley Eert offers concrete actions Rupert’s Landers can take to reduce our impact on the environment. And, in via media, Jane Barter reflects on The Work of Mourning by Jaques Derrida and her own work as a “professional mourner.” Download the pdf, or read it in Issuu...

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Why Our Loneliness Points to Truth: How Alone-ness can Show Us Our True Home

Posted on Mar 29, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Why Our Loneliness Points to Truth: How Alone-ness can Show Us Our True Home

This piece concludes Kirsten Pinto Gfroerer’s explorations of the monastic traditions. Her first piece, “Reading the Great Spiritual Writers of the Past,” appeared in January 2019’s issue, and her second, “Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience: Re-learning How to Give,” appeared in February 2019. No matter what the conditions of our life, all of us feel lonely. There are moments in most days where we feel an abyss open between us and the person sitting across the table. Be it a stranger, parent, spouse, friend, child, or colleague, something happens and we cannot reach each other anymore. Being lonely is not cured by marriage, by friendships, or by meaningful work; it is not cured by riches or poverty. We all find ourselves, in the silence of these moments very, very alone. This lonely silence can make us afraid. And so, we...

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Alone, but at Home

Posted on Mar 25, 2019 in Featured | 3 comments

When I moved to Winnipeg in the summer of 2017, my furniture took quite a few days to catch up with me. A friend had accompanied me on the road trip here from southern Ontario, but she flew back before the moving truck arrived. Since I didn’t start working at the Centre for Christian Studies for another week or two (thank goodness, as all my work clothes were on the road somewhere!), I was left in an empty apartment in a new city. Alone. This is the first time I have ever lived by myself. After moving from my parents’ house in the small town where I grew up, I lived with roommates, and then with my daughter and eventually my (now ex) husband and a second child. I have lived with parents and partners and kids and friends...

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Being Alone Shouldn’t be Lonely: the Church and Singles

Posted on Mar 15, 2019 in Featured | 1 comment

There’s an old cartoon that shows a minister walking into the church office. He is on crutches with bandages, bruises, and braces all over his body. In the foreground the parish administrator is asking him: “So how did the singles group take your suggestion that they start calling themselves The Leftovers?” Leftovers. That’s a pretty accurate way to describe what it’s like living as a single. When I say leftovers, I’m not talking leftovers in the wonderful, tasty, beef-stew-reheated-from-the-day-before sense of the word. I mean the odd sock, assorted mismatched screws, and not-sure-where-it-came from computer cord sense of the word. Essentially, as singles, particularly as we get older, we find that the world and the Church just don’t know what to do with us. This is especially true in the Church where we like to create affinity groups. We...

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Alone Again, Naturally

Posted on Mar 8, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Alone Again, Naturally

Though this letter is published with permission, the author has requested to remain anonymous. One Sunday, my priest gave a sermon on Job. He focused on being lonely and being alone, and kept referring to words from an old song by that title. I tried to find the message, but he continued on, telling tales of people suffering loss. I was gripped with an overwhelming sense that I had been grappling with my loss and alone-ness by putting a new face on a new life in an old place. I don’t want to stay here anymore. It hurts. I can’t run fast enough to get out of the way of this kind of loneliness, the kind that occurs when you feel surrounded by people and they are not feeling what you are feeling. When I started to cry in...

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March Magazine 2019

Posted on Mar 6, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on March Magazine 2019

March’s issue on Alone-ness explores being alone and being lonely. We’ll hear from a parishioner (who’s asked to remain anonymous), who talks about the loneliness she’s dealt with since the passing of her husband. Michelle Owens writes about being alone versus being lonely. And Donald McKenzie shares his thoughts on being single in the Church. In via media, Kirsten Pinto Gfroerer finishes her exploration of spiritual texts with a piece about monastic alone-ness. Download the pdf here or read it in Issuu...

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Living Abundantly with Less

Posted on Mar 1, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Living Abundantly with Less

You might think Living with Less lines up well with Stewardship – if you reduce your consumption, you can give more money to the Church. But that flows from a hopelessly narrow concept of stewardship, one that completely misses the mark. Stewardship is an expansive concept, and its larger meaning is living our faith to the full. It’s a whole lifestyle – a broad commitment to changing the way we live in the world according to the vision of Christ. That lifestyle is one of being faithful stewards, commissioned by God to nurture the garden bequeathed to us and to honour all its inhabitants with our loving care. It takes all our gifts – our time, talents, and treasures – packaged in a lifestyle of generous living, to fully reflect God’s grace. Give more and take less, because a simple life...

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Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience: Re-learning How to Give

Posted on Feb 22, 2019 in Featured | 3 comments

Last month, Kirsten Pinto Gfroerer put together a primer on “Reading the Great Spiritual Writers of the Past.” She will be continuing her exploration of the monastic traditions in via media this month and next. During the season of Advent in 2018, I overheard a wise woman complain that there were too many volunteers at the food bank; you could hardly move around and there was not enough for everyone to do. She sighed and wished that people didn’t insist on coming to volunteer at Christmas, but instead gave time during the rest of the year. Around the same time, I sat with the executive director of an amazing inner-city resource, and, without prompting, she too spoke of the immense challenge and resource drain that the need for people to give at Christmas caused her organization, other organizations, and...

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The Wealth of a Blue Plastic Token Holder

Posted on Feb 15, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on The Wealth of a Blue Plastic Token Holder

When I was invited to add stewardship ministry to the roles I had while on staff in the Diocese of Toronto, I realized I didn’t really know what that meant. Was it about parish fundraising to meet the budget? Was it about living as a faithful disciple? At that point, I thought it was more about the former. On the wise advice of a leader in the field, I set an intention to adopt a personal practice that could teach me about stewardship and giving. It began as a small step. I resolved to give away all the change in my purse each day to the first person who asked for it. Soon after I began this daily practice, I had a specific experience that has grounded, shaped, and driven my thinking and actions about giving, generosity, and gratitude ever...

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Give Me neither Poverty nor Riches, Give Me Equity

Posted on Feb 8, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Give Me neither Poverty nor Riches, Give Me Equity

For over 30 years, I have been engaged in a personal, political, and perhaps even holy war against consumerism. I’m probably not winning, but I’m still fighting it. I live communally with five other women, I share a car, I darn my socks, I buy my clothes second hand. I consider it a life-giving spiritual discipline – refusing to define myself by what I own, being attentive to ethical spending choices, and trying to buy local. I am inspired by scripture such as this: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God. – Proverbs 30:8–9 If I...

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February Magazine 2019

Posted on Feb 4, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on February Magazine 2019

February’s issue on Living with Less explores consumer privilege and being able to choose to living minimally. In this issue, Lynda Trono talks with guests from West Broadway Community Ministry, where she works, about how they spend their money; Susan Graham Walker reflects on what her daily practice of giving away all her change has taught her; Gary Russell challenges us to change the way we think about giving; and Kirsten Pinto Gfroerer continues her exploration of monastic traditions. Download the pdf here, or read it in Issuu...

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Everyday Mysteries

Posted on Feb 2, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on Everyday Mysteries

Someone has said, “Life is a not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” I sense that most of us find ourselves experiencing “problems” in our lives rather than “mystery.” We are able to confront, attack, resolve, or decry problems, and in this way, feel we are in control. But mysteries, except those in TV series like Murdoch Mysteries, find us wrapped in unknowns, in holy darkness. To understand Mystery we would do well to watch a child of three years exploring the world. Taking a child on a walk on a summer day in a park can take a very long time; every bug and leaf is a fascinating mystery, one to be gazed at, admired, enjoyed. No rush, no problem, just wonder. If only I could approach life as a child does, as...

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The Gospels and God’s Will

Posted on Jan 25, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on The Gospels and God’s Will

This past year was very challenging personally, as I moved from Toronto with my husband and settled into our new home in Winnipeg. Our road trip took us five days, driving in the treacherous weather around the mountains, passing through a long stretch near the border. One might ask why we made such a big move, leaving the family and friends. Certainly it was a test for both of us to follow God’s will and understand His purpose in our life together. I do not have a clear answer. Digging deep into the course of my life, however, I have no doubt that our hard times can lead us towards God closely. Rolling back 17 years, I emigrated from South Korea with one suitcase, having no idea where God was leading me. Charmed by The Little House on the...

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Reading the Great Spiritual Writers of the Past

Posted on Jan 18, 2019 in Featured | 2 comments

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. – Julian of Norwich, “Long Text 27,” Reflections of Divine Love Many of us come to know spiritual writers and mystics through a quote that resonates, challenges, comforts, or inspires. We are so taken in by the quote that we want more of the same, But when we go looking, we do not always find exactly what we were searching for. Often, we encounter something complicated, demanding, strange, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes troubling. Is it worthwhile to read the difficult texts of spiritual writers who write such inspiring words? I think it is. The truth we meet in the quotes that strike our souls is meaningful because it is grounded in the infinite, complex truth of God. This means that, beneath these...

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The Source of Life: Mystical Experience in the Liturgy

Posted on Jan 11, 2019 in Featured | Comments Off on The Source of Life: Mystical Experience in the Liturgy

“One often gets the impression today that the liturgy is perceived more as a problem to be solved than as a source of life.” This is the opening line of the 2014 English translation of Goffredo Boselli’s The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy. Whether one thinks of the liturgy as problematic or not, it is true that the Church intends its liturgical celebrations to be life-giving, especially when we appeal to the mystical tradition for a description of the experience of the liturgy. The liturgy offers us a liminal space, which Jean Corbon compares to the moments of dawn just before sunrise in his book, The Wellspring of Worship: “The time of the luminous cloud but not yet of day.” We have moved from our day-to-day and into a special space and time, set aside for this purpose, where...

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January Magazine 2019

Posted on Jan 4, 2019 in Featured | 1 comment

January’s issue is on Mysticism. Andrew Rampton explores the mystery of our liturgy and the Eucharist; Diane Lee-Olenic talks about how the Gospels can shed some light on God’s will; and Kirsten Pinto Gfroerer offers some helpful tips for those who are interested in reading spiritual work. Also included is a review of Steve Bell’s new collection of books, Pilgrim Year. And, in via media, Mary Coswin reflects on the mysteries of Christ. Download the pdf here, or read it in Issuu...

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A House of Common Prayer

Posted on Dec 28, 2018 in Featured | 2 comments

The main worship space of a typical Anglican church comprises a nave, a chancel, and a sanctuary. The nave is the largest part of the worship space, and contains all the pews, the pulpit, and the lectern. The chancel is the front part of the worship space and often contains prayer desks and choir pews set perpendicular to the pews in the nave. The sanctuary is the furthermost part of the chancel, is usually cordoned off by a communion rail, and contains the altar (or communion table). By contrast, a typical Catholic church only comprises a nave and a sanctuary. The classic form of a Catholic church is the Roman basilica, which is a nave terminating in an apse, a semi-circular sanctuary often topped by a half-dome. The only Anglican church in Rupert’s Land that I know of with...

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The Night Before the Pageant

Posted on Dec 24, 2018 in Featured | Comments Off on The Night Before the Pageant

Costumes draped over chairs: white tunics for angels, brown or striped for prophets, peasants, shepherds. Feathers and fake fur to dress creation’s extravagant parade. Blue robe and veil for Mary. Children have come, said their lines, sung their songs, and gone home. In the wake of their leaving, the helpers put props in order, turn out lights. The room settles into stillness that echoes not yet, almost, not long. Ready for the story whose telling always ends too soon. And if, this time, the sweetness of costumed sheep, the memorized “O Come” won’t satisfy, it’s only that the children play their roles too well. Their final “Gloria” pulls aside a curtain, reveals a heaven heard around the edge of things, a glory we long for without knowing.   Joanne Epp is a poet who serves as sub-organist at St....

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Solidarity Along the Way

Posted on Dec 21, 2018 in Featured | Comments Off on Solidarity Along the Way

The museum attendant watched me quietly as I shuffled slowly from artifact to artifact before she gestured and asked, “Peregrina?” “Si.” Even on a rest day in a large city without my backpack and poles, I couldn’t blend in with the rest of the patrons. My telltale shuffle and pain-filled grimace identified me as a person who was willing to do unspeakable damage to her feet. It identified me as a pilgrim on the way of St. James. I first walked the Camino de Santiago in 2015. I haven’t been back – yet – but I was already planning my second pilgrimage on the plane trip home. If you’ve made the way, you probably understand, but it you’re asking why anyone would walk 800 kilometers to go to church once, let alone multiple times, you’re not alone. The history...

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Youth Camino Pilgrimage

Posted on Dec 19, 2018 in Featured | 2 comments

A small group of senior youth from St. Margaret’s Anglican will be walking the Camino in the spring, documenting their experience along the way. In this issue, we’re introducing who they are and why they’re going. And, when they get back, we’ll run a follow-up piece about what they learned. Pilgrims were people who figured things out as they walked. Pilgrims were people wondering, wondering. Pilgrims were people who tried not to annoy the regular inhabitants. Pilgrims were people who carried little. They carried it balanced on their heart. –Anne Carson, “Kinds of Water” Rebecca Widdicombe I am a youth leader at St. Margaret’s Anglican. It has long been a dream of mine to start a tradition of pilgrimage for the senior high youth group. This spring we will be embarking on the first journey, walking the final third...

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Sacred Space and Reconciliation

Posted on Dec 14, 2018 in Featured | 1 comment

Healing takes a lot of courage for an individual person to learn to forgive and to move forward from life’s hurtful experiences. Creator, the Spiritual Being, Kisa Munito, loves all his children regardless of race and colour, and has given us gifts to use when battling each day’s daily challenges: the challenges of anger and bitterness; the loss of who we are; the sense of not belonging; the shame of the scars we wear; the lack of self-esteem; the addictions of drinking, drugs, and gambling; the violence and racism that rear their ugly heads in our daily lives; and the way society views us, and other ethnic groups, as invisible. With so many others, we are thankful to Justice Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson, and Willy Littlechild, who took on the tremendous responsibility of taking on the Truth Reconciliation Commission...

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