The Very Rev. Ralph E. Baxter

Requiescat in Pace

Photo by Peter Moodie, Feb. 2012

Our beloved friend and brother, The Very Rev. Ralph E. Baxter, Dean Emeritus, died peacefully last night, at home. He served this Cathedral as rector and the Diocese as Dean from 1990 until his retirement in 1995.

Please hold Eileen Baxter and their family in your prayers.

May Dean Ralph rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.

This beautiful photo was taken in February of 2012 by Peter Moodie, our unofficial but wonderfully gifted and committed parish photographer, at the reception for the Celebration of New Ministry of the current Dean.

High Feasts and Holy Days

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Sunday, December 20
Advent 4 (live stream) at 10:30 a.m.
‘When Christmas Hurts’Dean’s Devotional (live stream) at 2:00 p.m. A special service for those for whom Christmas is a time of personal sadness.

Thursday, December 24
Christmas Eve, one service only
(live stream) at 6:00 p.m.

Friday, Christmas Day
Dean’s meditation on the Nativity of Our Lord
(live stream) at 10:30 a.m.

First Sunday of Christmas, December 27
(live stream) at 10:30 a.m.

Second Sunday of Christmas, January 3
(live stream) at 10:30 a.m.

Baptism of Our Lord, January 10
(live stream) at 10:30 a.m.

A CALL TO PRAYER on the EVE OF ADVENT ONE

November 28, 8 am to November 29, 8 am or ANY PERIOD of time in between

Dear Friends in Christ,
As the earth continues to groan in labour pains, the Spirit sighs too deeply for words, we ourselves lament. We have experienced loss and bewilderment through the past 9 months, and we are yearning to see clear paths before us. N.T.Wright, in God and the Pandemic, urges the Church to fully grasp our lament, our sighs too deep for words, to rise with them in compassion, to be the One Body of Christ engaging in God’s earthly mission. We have been prepared in worship, fellowship and mutual affect in the presence of God to be active disciples as covenanted in our Baptism.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Geoff

The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer is grateful to join Bishop Geoff in calling the Diocese to join together as one in this Prayer Vigil to pray for a vaccine for COVID-19, a stop to the spread of this virus, wisdom for political and medical leaders, courage and protection for people in health care, comfort and healing to the afflicted and the families of those who have died, and God’s peace for all.  Jesus said, “Watch and pray”.  The dictionary affirms vigil means “watchfulness” and scripture confirms that power is released through concerted prayer.  A vigil is a period of keeping awake and watchful, especially during a time that is often spent asleep.  On the eve of the first Sunday in Advent we begin a time of waiting.  We are not able to gather in our parishes to wait, watch and pray, so we invite people to a vigil of prayer for a period of time in their own homes.  Parishes, prayer groups or any group of believers may set up a schedule for a period of time that may or may not include the night hours.  You may simply invite the parish into a time of prayer for a time period that works for you, and let parishioners decide on their own when they dedicate an hour to pray within that time frame. 
You will already have resources but we have attached prayer vigil resources to assist you in this diocesan prayer vigil:
    •   Prayers that may be used;
    •   An example of a simple rotation if you wish to use it or change it to suit your vigil;
    •   Information on fasting if people choose to make this part of their vigil. 
We would be grateful to hear what action is taking place in your parish or prayer group. If you have any questions you may contact Diane Guilford at dguilford12@hotmail.com.
I pray God’s blessing on all of us as individuals and parishes, as we come together as one in prayer, before our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 
Rev. Diane Guilford, Diocesan Representative
Anglican Fellowship of Prayer

Bishop’s COVID Update, November 11, 2020

To All Disciples of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land

Dear friends in Christ,

Greetings in Jesus Christ, the One who leads us in extraordinary and liminal time.

In keeping with the directives set forth by the Province of Manitoba, as of November 12, 2020 all in-person worship and gatherings are suspended until further notice. Notably, however, the Provincial Government directive makes provision for faith communities to conduct weddings and funerals, with those gathered and participating to not exceed 5 persons in attendance plus an officiant.

The Provincial Government expects that faith communities will continue, resume or initiate the use of virtual worship and gatherings. A maximum of 5 persons, physically distanced, and wearing masks is permissible for the production of virtual worship. We will continue our present practices of sanitizing surfaces before and after use of space, and frequently washing our hands and face. We remain in a posture of no group singing.

Ontario Communities, please continue to observe the directives and protocols for your region, as you have faithfully done so since March of this year. Many of you have adapted very well, albeit in isolation and uncertainty, and your Manitoba brothers and sisters hold you in prayer every day.

Most importantly, I encourage you all to connect:

May God continue to bless and sustain you for the work of ministry and mission. We are the eyes, ears, voice and hands of Jesus in God’s beautiful world.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt Rev. Geoffrey JJ Woodcroft

From the Bishop – COVID 19 Update

The Diocese of Rupert’s Land

The Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft

Bishop of Rupert’s Land

October 14, 2020

Dear Disciples of Rupert’s Land,

May Christ be with you.

On March 12, 2020 I wrote to you asking that corporate (in person) worship by suspended for an undetermined amount of time. Slowly, we established good practices and behaviors that allowed for us to once again meet in person while ensuring a low risk environment. You did very well, and the government of Manitoba recognizes your due diligence.

Today, October 14, 2020, Manitoba reported 145 positive cases, compared to the 7 cases on March 12, yet we remain in Code Orange. I believe that the Body of Christ, the Church, the gathered community has an elevated risk for infection and transmission of COVID 19.

A non-Anglican congregation in Prince Albert was fined $14,000 for violating protocol orders. An Anglican parish in the Province of Rupert’s Land closed its doors last week when a member tested positive for COVID 19. These are sobering examples of the serious condition our nation faces today.

Please take the necessary time to discuss the September 28 Protocols with vestries and parish leadership. Should you be unable to follow these protocols, and other local health authority protocols, please make the decision to suspend worship immediately.

I wish to highlight a few of our diocesan protocols that have been met with some confusion:

  1. NO parish MUST be open, or be reopened
  2. Wearing a mask is mandatory for ALL participants of worship and gatherings of our Church, this includes presiders and preachers
  3. Wine is NOT to be shared in celebrations of the Eucharist,
  4. Music: Instrumentalists (organ, piano, percussion, guitar) and one vocal soloist, physically distanced and masked, are acceptable

Should the Province issue a Code Red status, I expect that those parishes within the Code Red zone will suspend corporate (in person) worship and gatherings immediately. Those offering live and recorded virtual ceremony are expected to follow the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines, which may or may not vary from past experiences.

Let us continue to pray for one another, and to offer encouragement, skill and resource to build one another up for the work of discipleship.

Yours in the One who moves amongst us now,

The Rt Rev. Geoffrey JJ Woodcroft

FROM THE DEAN: This Cathedral remains closed for public worship until further notice. We livestream via Facebook every Sunday beginning at 10:25 a.m. Please join us there. The Cathedral Facebook page is:
https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsAnglicanCathedralWinnipeg

Reopening of St. John’s Postponed

Diocese of Rupert’s Land
The Birthplace of the Anglican Church
in Western Canada

28 August 2020

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
I Corinthians 12:26-27

Dear sisters and brothers of our beloved Cathedral parish,

From myself and from both Wardens I greet you in the grace and peace of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, who is, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, the source of all health and life.

Willy Slipetz, Rector’s Warden, and Mary Stanger, People’s Warden, were kind enough to accept my invitation to a ZOOM conversation yesterday.  It was a fruitful meeting and I give thanks to God for their partnership in leadership in this wonderful congregation during these trying times.

Just over six weeks ago, on July 12th, we had one active case of COVID-19 in our province, and total infections that far were at 325.  Seven people had died, seven beloved human beings.

Today, August 27th, we stand at 1064 total cases, more than triple our earlier total of 325!
Instead of one active case, we now have 407 active cases!  You can do the arithmetic.
Our current death total has doubled, to 14 as of today.

Yes, many, if not most, current cases are outside of Winnipeg, but we have seen recently how quickly numbers can change completely and dangerously.  Soon, our schools will open, apparently, and I pray that cases do not increase everywhere in the province, including Winnipeg.  I fear they may.

Therefore, your Wardens and I, the Cathedral Corporation, have made the executive decision, effective immediately, to postpone our reopening at least until Sunday, October 25th, the Sunday following our virtual Synod weekend. We believe that, until our active cases begin to decline again, and we know for sure the results of back to school, it is most prudent not to resume communal, public worship within the Cathedral.

We understand there may be differing feelings about our decision.  We hope that, whatever your feelings, for or possibly against, you will feel free to share them with us, Willy, Mary, and me (our emails are below).  We pray also that we are wrong, that cases will not increase, and that there will be no more deaths from COVID.  In fact, we will be delighted if we are wrong!  But we believe that for us, for this congregation, with many older people, including older people with serious health vulnerabilities, the most cautious decision is the one we have made.  Our Sunday morning livestream of worship will continue on the Cathedral Facebook page.  Remember, you do not need to be a Facebook member to join us; here is the link:

(https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsAnglicanCathedralWinnipeg)

This email is being sent to everyone who has an email address, and will be sent hardcopy via regular mail to all those who don’t have email.  We will also post it on the Cathedral blog and via Facebook and Twitter.  Once you have received this letter, please feel free to share it with other members of the Cathedral, anyone you think may not have received this news, despite our best efforts.  Thanks very much.

[Jesus said]“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:12-13

With you in Christ’s glad service,

Dean Paul
Willy Slipetz, Rector’s Warden
Mary Stanger, People’s Warden

cc:       The Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Woodcroft, Bishop of Rupert’s Land
The Venerable Simon Blaikie, Executive Archdeacon

Seventh Sunday of Easter – Jerusalem Sunday in the Anglican Church of Canada

2020 Theme: The Jerusalem of Your Heart and Soul

In recent years more than four million travelers visited Jerusalem annually.  This year travel is not recommended but we can still visit this sacred place in spirit and thought.  We can consider our fellow Christians in the Diocese of Jerusalem, and their neighbours, to ask a blessing for them.

Blessed is the one whose strength is in you, O God,
Whose heart is set on the pilgrim way.  (Psalm 84:5)

I was glad when they said unto me “Let us go into the house of the Lord”
And now our feet are standing within your gates O Jerusalem.  (Psalm 122:2)

Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land:

The earliest recorded special visit to Jerusalem occurred in the year 170 CE. Melito, Bishop of Sardis (Sardis is near Ephesus) made a scholarly visit to confirm aspects of the Gospel accounts for himself. Thirty years later, Alexander from Cappadocia visited the land “to inquire of the places” and “to pray.” He demonstrated the principle aspects of pilgrimage; the desire to engage a geography of spiritual significance and to do so devotionally. Over the following thirty years further recorded visits occurred by Origen and other Christian leaders and scholars. Then in the early 300’s Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea Maritima (located on the Mediterranean coast about a half hour drive north of present day Tel Aviv) produced a gazetteer of the holy land listing 340 locations that corresponded to the gospels. The Onomasticon (places names in scripture) became a handbook for the swell of Byzantine Christians making pilgrimage to the land. Eusebius is credited as the first to refer to the biblical lands as the “Fifth Gospel.” What this means is that the land itself, its topography, climate, agricultural variations, locations and proximities all together serve as a fifth gospel that can inspire startling fresh insights into the other four gospels.

By the 4th century Christian pilgrimage had come of age. A new devotional practice had arisen in the imagination of Christians sending thousands to visit the land and prayerfully encounter the gospel accounts on location so as to return home with renewed vigor and faithfulness.

Without exaggeration, Christian pilgrims to the biblical lands since then, over 17 centuries, always joined in the worship of the local Christian community, sought the comfort of Christian guest houses and monastic centres and requested local Christians to present the places of spiritual significance. Oddly, this cannot be said of many Christian pilgrimage tours to the holy land today. Very often now Christian pilgrims are not taken by their Guides into Bethlehem, are not allowed to shop in the local Christian shops but are taken to the shopping districts of another ethnicity, are not taken to worship with the local Christian community on Sundays, and are presented with an experience and commentary that cannot easily be described as “multi-narrative.” Christian Pilgrims to the land of the Holy One need become informed; need to ask for a Christian guide, ask to worship on Sundays with the local Christian community, ask to visit for instance one of the magnificent outreach ministries of the Anglican church in the land such as the centre on the Mount of Olives serving children with disabilities called the Princess Basma Centre.

Jerusalem Sunday:

Jerusalem Sunday invites particular attention and prayer for one of the principal global partnerships of our Anglican Church of Canada; the people, churches and ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Who are they? They are a remnant community spread thinly across the Middle East and Jerusalem. They are part of a Christian minority in these lands. They face complex contextual challenges affecting every aspect of their lives. Even though millions of Christian pilgrims, for instance, visit the land of the Holy One in hopes of walking on the stones where Jesus walked those Christian pilgrims rarely pause to notice, or worship with, or learn about the “living stones” of the local Christian community.

The Anglican Church of Canada has had a long and meaningful relationship with the Anglican (Episcopal) Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. They are a diocese of some 7000 members formed into 30 parishes who worship in the name of Jesus and serve faithfully in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. They oversee an enormous outreach ministry of some 30 institutions, employing more than 5000 people providing education, vocational training, medical care in hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation for the hearing impaired, care for children with disabilities, and residential support to the elderly. They are a vibrant faithful community offering a bold witness to the compassionate love of God in action. They need to know that they are not forgotten, not ignored, but recognized and valued as part of our oneness in Christ.

So today we will pray for them. Donate now to the Diocese of Jerusalem by using the online donation form here. All Jerusalem Sunday offerings and donations support the work of the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, operated by the Diocese of Jerusalem.  Please be generous, as you are able.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you!  (Psalm 122.6)

Worship at the Cathedral for Easter Seven / Jerusalem Sunday is available on the Cathedral Facebook page, where it will be live streamed at 10:25 a.m., Sunday, 24 May 2020.

For a Time Like This: a new message from Bishop Geoff – March 24th, 2020

In this episode, the Right Reverend Geoff Woodcroft, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land delivers his second brief podcast message to the church, offering words of both encouragement and challenge.

In his message, Bishop Geoff commends a brief video by Dr. Rob James on why we need a National Guaranteed Basic Income in Canada, which can be accessed by clicking here.

https://www.stbenedictstable.ca/blog/new-message-bishop-geoff?fbclid=IwAR1Z3gQknMHF9R57Wy01NqCE64wbOZOLIwH7HxQjJ3KML70KtYwnZ6Ep0aM

If you’d like to listen to Bishop Geoff’s podcast message from March 14, please click here.

Stay up to date on how the church is dealing with these unprecedented events on our For A Time Like This web page. There you will find resources, words of encouragement and more podcasts that are being created even now.

For A Time Like This: Bishop Geoff – March 14th, 2020

This is the first of several special editions of the saint benedict’s table podcast. As we all face the uncertainties of a global pandemic, we sense that For A Time Like This we need to come closer as the body of Christ, even if we are not able to do so in person.

In this episode, the Right Reverend Geoff Woodcroft, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Rupertsland in central Canada, delivers a brief message to the church. He outlines his directives to the parishes of his diocese and offers words of hope and challenge.

 
 

Stay up to date on how the church is dealing with these unprecedented events on our For A Time Like This web page. There you will find resources, words of encouragement and more podcasts that are being created even now.

Comment on this episode below. Subscribe to the show wherever you listen to audio and we invite you to rate us or write a review of what we are doing on Apple Podcasts. Reviews help others join the conversation.

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This podcast is created at saint benedict’s table, a congregation of the Anglican Church of Canada in Winnipeg, where we’ve been making great audio since 2006. Listen to other recent episodes on our website and see our entire catalogue of almost 500 shows on our hosting page.