St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Fort Garry, in south Winnipeg has been around for nearing 100 years. We are a suburban gathering of people meeting in Fort Garry, but residing, working, schooling and playing all over the city of Winnipeg. We refer to ourselves as Paulinians, as a sign of respect for our patron, and as a clever way to distinguish ourselves from other communities of the same name.
We strive and struggle to be a welcoming, warm, and friendly people; sometimes awkward like a couple at their first dance, sometimes like ships in the night, yet always with the hope that we are seeing Christ in the stranger’s disguise.
People of all ages comprise Paulinians, infants to our elders, we are all fully members of the one Body of Christ. Our worship is a blending of old, new, creativity and originality and is somehow woven into our fabric, which is Anglicanism.
We endeavour to be open to and accepting of all peoples; especially in our age of diversity and change. Although we could never be all things to all people, we can share the road with all people.
What’s God Up To?
Geoff Woodcroft publishes a weekly update on "What's God Up To?". Please see below for this week's insight.
This Sunday St Paul's will celebrate Sacred Songs and Stories of Advent and Christmas. Our Choir and Rejoice Group put a lot of effort and love into preparing for this event. YOU are most welcome to join the song! Dec 11, 2016 @ 10am (get there early and claim the good seats).
below is the post for the week . . . gw
Advent 3 – halfway through the season that leads to the celebration of God’s timely birth in timelessness. Yes, this phrasing is intended to push us off the status quo course, a little.
I know that, in my heart of hearts, this sacred and holy time of Advent/Christmas/Epiphany is a necessary arrangement between God and the Church (the Body), to breathe words of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy back into the world. Particularly, the music of these seasons is pregnant with the suggestion that God will do again great things in the lives of the people of this world. The Bible readings used through the seasons also captivate our imagination with great promises from the Jewish Testament, and terrific mystery in the Christian Testament, all the while inviting us to be participants in God’s story.
A local group has asked me to put on a fancy red outfit today, so I am sitting here at my laptop, all decked-out in a red suit, and more white hair than I know what to do with. “Why am I doing this?, I quiz myself; but I know the reason: it feels like I am called more directly into the story, but I do not know if I like the character that’s been assigned. The beard is itchy, the polyester is too warm, and I do not have a convincingly deep HO HO HO, that the children’s parents will believe. Oh well, at least I’m in the story.
I want the children today to have a positive and happy experience, while we have a really good teaching moment about caring for all people. I think children actually understand promises and mystery better than I do, in that waiting is actually a big part of their lives as youngsters, and magic, or mystery has helped them to bide the time well.
I also hope that adults can reclaim the arts of promise and mystery; no longer for ourselves, but for the folk of the world who have been short-changed on promises, and have had little or no experience of mystery due to the struggle for mere survival. God has never left the suffering, lost and forgotten; but we, sometimes, lose sight of God who is calling us from our complacency to our compassion, so that we might be in genuine relationship with the Holy Other.
You are the blessing God chose for the Holy Other.
I think we are called to care in around and for this world. Let us allow compassion to be the lens through which we see, the filter through which we hear, and the limbs by which we act. Below is the article for this week. Cheers. gw
Promise, dream, love, hope, peace and joy . . . what else do we say about Advent? The Church has claimed ownership and development of the program – and certain of my colleagues, including me, have publicly bemoaned that Advent is not the beginning of Christmas, and as such should not be confused with tree decorating, present sharing, Christmas well-wishing, carolling, and especially cheesy Christmas carols in shopping venues.
I labour to plan and execute dynamic worship for the 4 Sundays of Advent; yet I am perpetually preoccupied, and consumed by the planning and execution of the Christmas eve ceremonies, and my own family plans. Oddly, I have come to realize a couple of different features of the Advent season, first it is no more work than any other time of the year, and secondly, it is very easy for Churches to become trapped into thinking that Advent and Christmas are simply things that the Church does.
God does the work of Advent, with the Church as a noble advocate. God announces to the oppressed, broken, tired and forgotten that a new thing is going to happen. God uses every human story and compassion to incite radical behaviour amongst the citizens of heaven, with an end-view to bring healing, grace and wholeness to all lives. The Church, that noble community, has always been part of God’s story keeping library, and strong heart of compassion. The Church has always been called by God to resist complacency and inactivity, to move with the ebb and flow of every new generation; to embrace God’s bold new initiative already in play in the world.
Consider, just in your neighbourhood, what God is doing (blessed are the merciful, the sorrowful, the persecuted, the poor in spirit, and those seeking to right their relationships). Then ask yourself, what is Church preparing to help with and advocate for God in those instances. My hunch is that somehow God breaks through our dullness, and does that work regardless of our attitudes and ignorance. Suppose, however, if you and I willingly and thankfully walked into the fabric of our neighbourhoods with the story of promise, dream, love, hope, peace and joy . . .what else shall we say about neighbourliness and Church business, other than these things.
Prepare to enter God’s work and life in the world.