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.
The Golden Rule is an idea that spans all religions. It can be said in many different ways, and in many different languages, but the basis of the principle remains the same.
The Venerable Geoff Woodcroft, Archdeacon – Stewardship Development
Geoff was ordained in 1990 and served in Northern Ontario in parish and chaplaincy ministries. He came to Manitoba in 1999 to serve as Chaplain and Dean of Residence at St. John’s College.
When The Rev. Canon David Pate retired in December 2001, St. Paul’s embarked on a search for a new incumbent, and were very blessed to welcome Geoff in August 2003. Geoff brings many wonderful gifts to his ministry with St. Paul’s. He has been instrumental in much change, yet has a profound respect for tradition. Change is never done for the sake of change, or to be “modern”, but for growth – as we grow individually in our life in Christ, as we grow in our church community, and as we grow in our ministry in the world.
A gifted musician, Geoff works with the Rejoice Group and choir so that the music speaks to the theme of the ceremonies. Geoff encourages and works to equip the ministry of all, as we seek to do God’s work in the world, including and inspiring children and youth to fully participate in the life of the church.
One way to describe Geoff’s ministry at St. Paul’s, and indeed the world, would be building relationships/ community.
Geoff Woodcroft publishes a weekly update on "What's God Up To?". Please see below for this week's insight.
Hi all. May your hearts and hopes find solid ground this day. Below is our weekly post, and this time from cousin Hatti.
There’s a couple moved into the condo down the hall from mine. He’s Norman, she’s Alice. He has Parkinson’s – you can see that right away from the cruel twist of his body. Can’t be easy for him. Alice says he came to terms with it last fall, put their classy spread of house and gardens, (three of them) up for sale. He’s worsening, she tells me privately, his latest tests not good.
Our building boasts a round grassy courtyard – a bird bath in the middle, a variety of flowering shrubs edging the sides. The Corporation people have a man arrive on schedule to mow and tidy up. Every spring until he comes the courtyard looks shabby: winter kill lying about, a dead bush here and there, people litter. But this year we don’t have to wait so long because Norman has offered to help.
My place is on the first floor so I see him out there, raking, piling up the fallen branches, bending, digging. “Nice job, Norman,” I call out, “everyone appreciates it.” He shrugs, leans on the rake. “I enjoy it, like the smell of new turned earth, the feel of it in my hands. Probably should have been a gardener not an accountant.”
There was, John’s Gospel tells us, a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified and in that garden a new tomb and they laid him there. While it was still dark, Mary came to the tomb, finds it empty, the stone rolled away. Straight off she finds Peter, tells him the worrying news and he and another rush to see for themselves. Mary follows along. When the men see the linen grave clothes lying in the empty tomb they return home. Mary stays, weeping.
Through her tears she sees someone, and noting his rough clothes supposes him to be the gardener. Why couldn’t she have been right, it was the everyday hardworking gardener, who having witnessed Jesus’ whole terrible execution in this very same garden and filled with compassion for this grieving woman, gently inquires for whom she seeks, for whom she weeps. “If you have carried him away”, she sobs, “tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.” Then he speaks her name. Granted he may have heard Peter and the other use it, but what Mary feels as she turns towards him is a sense of being fully known, and what she hears, him speak is love. Who she saw then was not the gardener nor a stranger but her Lord Jesus. “Rabboni,” (teacher) she said and fell at his feet.
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