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 Reverend Canon Geoff Woodcroft
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.
This Sunday, our Church is celebrating, observing and trying to figure-out again Jesus’ Transfiguration. We will read aloud the story of Moses on the mountain with God in splendour and glory (Exodus 24.12-18); and we will read aloud the story of Jesus’ disciples on another hill watching as Moses, Elijah and Jesus have a spiritual meeting (Matthew 17.1-9). I know that there are many different, even opposing ways of interpreting and understanding these texts; I would like to offer a few observations that may transfigure how we are thinking about the stories.
I ask that we lay aside our desire to explain-away scientifically, or otherwise, and just allow these stories to fill our imaginations. As I explore the Exodus and Matthew passages I am struck by how much I know about the stories, the characters and the plots before they even happen. This is to say, I think that the clever writers are trying to set me up to participate in the narrative right here and now. As the narrative unfolds, the lead characters actually do very little, they are just sort-of there, first Moses and God, then Jesus, Moses and Elijah. I then consider the community of Israel cowering at the awesome sight of God’s glory on the mountain, and the reaction of Peter, John and James as they are awestruck and dumbfounded by the Transfiguration event. “Peter said, It is good that we are here Lord. Let us build three booths, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for you.” God speaks next to the fearful disciples, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
At the risk of pushing the boundaries way too far, I think preachers and teachers have been missing the most important characters, the fear filled people of both stories, AND, what it was they were seeing. First, those who are filled with fear are being asked to not be afraid, but to accept God in their midst as a real and present gift. This is to say that if the disciples and Israelites were to rise above their fears, they would most certainly be blessed in the presence of God close at hand and within. Secondly, the Transfiguration is about how others see; the story is not about Jesus and Moses as much as it is about those who perceive them.
Am I ready to risk to see the presence of God in the people that God has placed around me?
....Geoff WoodcroftClick here to see more of Geoff's insights on the St. Paul's Anglican Facebook Page
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