“A Charlie Brown Christmas…”

cbtree_smallEach winter, the congregation of St. John’s “decorates” our Charlie Brown tree with a variety of donated winter apparel (hats, mittens, scarves and socks) for children who don’t have them. All of the clothing collected is then donated to a neighbourhood school. The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree appeared in the narthex on November 16th and remains through December 14th. We will be delivering the ‘fruit of the Charlie Brown tree’ to the schools next week.

This special project is a tangible way to express our support of the schools in our community. There is still one Sunday (December 14th) left to bring in more items. Thanks to one and all for sharing and caring and making this year’s tree so successful!

From the Dean’s Desk… Second Sunday in Advent

Saint Nicholas, the truth about Santa - bannerDecember 6th is the Feast of Saint Nicholas.  We are pretty certain that he existed, and he was quite possibly a bishop in the early church, in what is now Turkey.  Beyond that, though, well, there are many wonderful stories.  All of the stories are about a faithful disciple of Christ, who lives the love of Jesus.  Coca-Cola Santa Claus?  Maybe not…  Consider what The Encyclopædia Britannica has to say:

Saint Nicholas and gift giving in Europe“Saint Nicholas, also called Nicholas of Myra    (flourished 4th century, Myra, Lycia, Asia Minor [near modern Kale (Demre), Turkey]; feast day December 6), one of the most popular minor saints commemorated in the Eastern and Western churches and now traditionally associated with the festival of Christmas. In [Holland, Germany, and Switzerland especially] children receive gifts on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day.

“Nicholas’s existence is not attested by any historical document, so nothing certain is known of his life except that he was probably bishop of Myra in the 4th century. According to tradition, he was born in the ancient Lycian seaport city of Patara, and, when young, traveled to Palestine and Egypt. He became bishop of Myra soon after returning to Lycia. He was imprisoned during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian but was released under the rule of Emperor Constantine the Great and [legend says] attended the first Council (325) of Nicaea. He was buried in his church at Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine there had become well-known.

st-nicholas-givingdowrytothreepoorgirls-fra-angelico“Nicholas’s reputation for generosity and kindness gave rise to legends of miracles he performed for the poor and unhappy. He was reputed to have given marriage dowries of gold to three girls whom poverty would otherwise have forced into lives of prostitution [. His legend says that he gave the gold secretly, by throwing bags of coins through the house window, or, another version, dropped the bags down the chimney. Legend also says that he] restored to life three children who had been chopped up by a butcher and put in a tub of brine. In the Middle Ages, devotion to Nicholas extended to all parts of Europe. He became the patron saint of Russia and Greece; of charitable fraternities and guilds; of children, sailors, unmarried girls, merchants, and pawnbrokers; and of such cities as Fribourg, in Switzerland, and Moscow.

“After the Reformation, devotion to Nicholas disappeared in [most] Protestant countries of Europe except Holland, where his legend persisted as Sinterklaas (a Dutch variant of the name Saint Nicholas). Dutch colonists took this tradition with them to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the American colonies in the 17th century. Sinterklaas was adopted by the country’s English-speaking majority under the name Santa Claus, and his legend of a kindly old man was united with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished naughty children and rewarded good children with presents. The resulting image of Santa Claus in the United States crystallized in the 19th century, and he has ever since remained the patron of the gift-giving festival of Christmas.”

Saint Nicholas to Sinter Klass to SantaSo one who began his life after death as a devout Christian, wearing a Bishop’s tall red mitre, and giving secretly to the poor, evolved much later into a patron, note, not patron saint, but patron, of ‘the gift-giving festival’ of Christmas.  Christmas is indeed a gift-giving festival, but it is God who is the gift-giver in Christ, whose Good News makes it clear that God does not keep score as we are tempted to do. Christmas is about God’s generosity which we are called to share, especially with the poor and all those in any need, all year round.  Whose birthday is it anyway? For now our Advent journey continues. Thanks be to God!

High Feasts and Holy-Days…


Christmas Eve – two services – the Family Service with Holy Communion at 7:00 p.m.
Dean Paul Johnson preaching and presiding
and the Sung Eucharist (‘Midnight Mass’) at 11:00 p.m.
Dean Paul Johnson presiding and Bishop Donald Phillips preaching
Christmas Day, Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord begins…
Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., Hon. Assistant, Dean Paul Johnson preaching and presiding
First Sunday of Christmas, December 28 – Eucharist at 10:30 a.m.
The Fourth Day of Christmas
Honorary Assistant, the Rev. Brian Ford preaching and presiding
Second Sunday of Christmas, January 4 – Eucharist at 10:30 a.m.
The Eleventh Day of Christmas
The Rev. Melissa Frankland preaching and presiding
Baptism of Our Lord, January 11 – Sung Eucharist at 10:30 a.m.
Dean Paul Johnson preaching and presiding


Trinity Institute 2015 Webcast and Conference – Creating Common Good

TI Logo2015-roundYou’re invited to attend Trinity Institute (TI2015), an annual conference that takes place in New York City—but you can attend at St. John’s Cathedral! We bring all the elements of the NYC conference to you via webcast.

This year’s conference takes on the pervasive, overwhelming issue of economic inequality. TI2015 speakers have real-world experience making change happen. They will provide us with hopeful, practical tools we can use to make a positive economic impact.


WHERE: St. John’s Cathedral, 135 Anderson Avenue, Winnipeg, MB
WHEN: January 22-24, 2015
COST: We have extended the Earlybird deadline to January 11. Register before January 11: $60/person, $105/couple, $45/students and seniors. After January 11: $70/person, $115/couple, $55/students and seniors. Registration covers the cost of the web cast, study materials, meals and snacks.

CONTACT:   To register for TI2015 For more information,
contact Carol Hargreaves at (204) 586-8385 or email office@stjohnscathedral.ca

Please download our registration form at the link below:
registration form

For more information about Trinity Institute’s national theological conference—including speaker bios, schedule, videos, and more—visit ti2015.org

From the Dean’s Desk… Advent One

Son of Man coming in clouds, Helen SieglBeware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.  Mk 13:33

Happy New Year!  I guess…  Advent is the beginning of the Church Year, the liturgical calendar, and traditionally understood as a time of preparation for Christmas.  But, it’s not quite that simple, or easy.

Every store, the entire commercial world, is more than ready.  Every possible medium of mass communication is saturated with messages carefully crafted to tug at our heartstrings and then at our pockets and purses, to tug money out of them.  The ‘Coming One’ has already come, with the Santa Claus Parade the Saturday after Remembrance Day, and is now ruthlessly exploited to squeeze as many dollars as possible out of everyone, including those who can’t afford to spend anything, but feel compelled to do so anyhow.

So what about us?  How are we feeling, and what on earth – or not – is Jesus talking about in his stern words from the Gospel?  Now it’s Mark’s Gospel, which will be our main source for the coming year, during Year B of the three year lectionary (four assigned readings for each Sunday) which is our discipline in the Anglican Church of Canada, and in many other churches also, including our Full Communion partner the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Beware!  Keep alert!  Keep awake!  Keep awake!

Yes, Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas, and the celebration of the Word made flesh in the helpless baby of Bethlehem, whose family would soon become homeless refugees, but Christmas itself, the whole Feast of twelve days, is really a time of preparation for the rest of the story.  The helpless human baby will grow up, the wood of the manger will take another form as, eventually, that baby, named Y’shua (or Joshua, or Jesus) becomes the helpless man nailed to a cross.  All the tinsel and shiny globes and bright lights in the world cannot make this tree beautiful.  What will make it beautiful, though, is the light of God’s love shining so brightly in the suffering servant who is obedient unto death, even death on a cross, for our sake, and the sake of all.

Can we handle this, when the rest of the world – at least our part of it – is urging us into an orgy of materialism and self-idolatry?  To do so, we are invited to journey together in the Spirit of the Servant Christ, in prayer, in reflection, in worship, in service, disciples together of Jesus.  To make this journey of preparation for service in the Reign of God, Jesus himself invites us, strongly, urgently:Son of Man coming in clouds, Durer woodcut

Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”  Mark 13:35-37

The Royal Winnipeg Rifles at St. John’s Cathedral for Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday, Cpl. Kyle Hall lays a wreath at the RWR Memorial, St. John's Cathedral ChurchyardSt. John’s Rector and Dean of Rupert’s Land, The Very Rev. Paul N. Johnson, said both soldiers were mentioned by name during the prayers, which featured the Rifles’ regimental band throughout the service. “It’s a privilege to have this service — every year they come and we remember, with them — it’s a special day,” Johnson said. “But it’s more poignant this year. Everything is still fresh in people’s minds about both here and overseas. But we even pray for our enemies, as we are called to do, and we pray for peace, which every soldier wants.”

Please read the full story here.

Remembrance Sunday at St. John’s Cathedral

CPC MP Joy Smith and PNJ-2We had another great Remembrance Sunday service with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Band, and other members. We had some visitors too, of course, including first time visitor today MP Joy Smith, one of our local MPs. Joy serves the people of Kildonan-St. Paul (east and west) Riding. She also has done an extraordinary amount of great work in fighting human trafficking, through The Joy Smith Foundation, as well as in the Parliament of Canada. Thank you, Joy!

Remembrance Sunday at the Cathedral: November 9th, 2014

Remembrance, Canada - We Remember

Join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. The Regimental Band of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles — gazetted in 1883 and associated with this Cathedral since — will be with us, playing prelude, postlude, and several hymns. Parade to the Regimental Memorial follows immediately, with coffee, tea, cakes, and fellowship in the John West Hall to follow that. The Director of the Band is 2nd Lt. Ryan Wehrle. Welcome Rifles, welcome all!

Address: 135 Anderson Avenue, just off north Main, north of St. John’s Park, east toward the River, street parking.

RWR band march 2008 SJAC


Advent Quiet Day With Nancy Phillips, Saturday, November 29

O No! Christmas is coming and I’m not ready!

o emmanuelCome and join us for an Advent Quiet Day. We will use the words of the ancient O Antiphons as a way of opening to the blessing of the Christ child, incorporating the poetry of Malcolm Guite, the music of Steve Bell and visual imagery. The day will involve periods of silence for personal reflection.

The Advent Quiet Day will provide an opportunity to find quiet space within yourself to sustain you through the busy days ahead and find meaning in your celebration of the Christ Child.

Saturday, November 29th, 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM

At St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, 135 Anderson Ave.
Cost: $10.00 at the door (includes lunch)
Registration (required) deadline is Sunday, November 23rd
To register phone (204) 586-8385 or