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.
Now is a great time to look into our neighbourhoods, and listen for the stories, thoughts and feelings that surround us. This is a good life. below, please find this week's St Paul's post..... I’m one of those people who enter a crowded space, and I feel the world closing in on me. My eyes dart around looking for familiarity, something to center and ground me. At rock shows, I clamour to find my seat (which I know I will never use for the next 3 hours), just so I have that home. Perhaps I will look across our great arenas and stadiums with a hope of seeing someone I know; perhaps I will try and avert my gaze from those who are close at hand – kind of funny behaviour, eh? So I have tried to picture in my mind’s eye, the bible story of tax collector, Zaccheaus (Zak), and Jesus; and I am alarmed at how I am processing this. Jesus, in the midst of the same crowd that has caused Zak to climb a sycamore tree so that he might see Jesus, stops under the tree, with crowd pressing on, looks up at Zak and says “[Zak], hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” In the midst of such crowding, Jesus simply moves into position, looks up into a tree and calls a man to offer him hospitality. My picture: - We are crowded not by people, but concepts, information, fear, to-do lists and the like - We are called from God within this Body of Christ to move to THE spot, look-up and call to the person with whom we shall share and break bread - We are to be in the market places, in real life moments, wrestling with a humanity that desires forgiveness, healing and wholeness, and there is no better way than to be WITH people. - We are to be one with the people, especially those who have climbed above the crowding, to see the world as it is with God within it. - We are to invite ourselves into rich and genuine relationship, knowing the name of the person with whom we engage, knowing that the judgement of the world on that relationship has no real bearing on that relationship. - That we genuinely need others, especially the Zak’s of the world, in our lives for the very same forgiveness, healing and wholeness. So I am afraid I must leave my social distress behind, and really look to those around me in the market place; there, I have been assured, are enumerable gifts from God. gw
Big thanks goes out this week to the Brushworks Team who navigated some new territory in art sales this year!!! Below is my post for the week: this is an exciting time in which we live, I do not believe it's as bad as some news shows suggest. to live is a gift. gw I listened to a man last week who, after he discovered I am a Church person, told me he was not a religious person. He said it, I think, mostly out of respect, but then a little bit to defend his position (perhaps thinking that I might attack his sensibilities). What I found so interesting about the conversation was that the man was well versed in Jewish scripture, and interfaith dialogue. I am paraphrasing here, but the following is the gist of what he had to say: I think we are all trying to do the same thing, get to the same end, and that is to make the world a great place to be. But religion split it apart with Abraham; the followers of Ishmael slowly formed into the religion of Islam, and the followers of Isaac quickly became the Hebrew nation(s). And out of the Hebrew experience came Jesus, and subsequently the followers, the Church. I find it most astounding that this man had such a clear understanding of the relationship that three religions have with Abraham; I was excitedly invited into this guy’s world for such a great conversation. The event or conversation made me think a lot about how the Bible has become a public library which anyone, at least in the western world, can freely obtain and read. I was even more shocked concerning my arrogance in thinking that only a profound biblical scholar like me could teach, illuminate and come to the same conclusion that the young man came to. My thinking around this event has brought me to a further idea, and that is about the Church moving out of our cloistered conversations about God and Jesus and Spirit, and moving to a stance of listening to conversations in the neighbourhoods around us. Two men show up at the altar, one a priest and one a tax collector. The priest thanks God that he is not like the filthy tax collector, and the other prays to God for forgiveness and healing. This is a story from Luke’s gospel that I have used to shed light on how bad the Pharisees were . . . OMG, that’s it! That’s ME! I used the story to show how good I am! I should not be surprised that God is always there before me, already steeped in conversation and relationship. God, forgive me . . . and give me the courage to enter the song. gw