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.

* * *

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.

Bishop’s Directive – March 16, 2020

Diocesan Office: 935 Nesbitt Bay
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3T 1W6
Bishop’s Office: (204)992-4212
General Office: (204) 992-4200 Fax: (204) 992-4219
E-mail: bishop@rupertsland.ca

Draw your Church together, O Lord, into one great company of disciples, together following our Lord Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving him in his mission to the world, and together witnessing to his love on every continent and island. We ask this in his name and for his sake.  Amen.

Our hard line to follow –
I have issued Directives to the Diocese (March 12 and 15) and an urgent email message on March
13th to suspend all gatherings in Anglican worship spaces in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presently, I am not in a position, nor willing, to make exceptions to these directives. Suspension of
all gatherings in Anglican worship spaces applies also to non-church users of your building,
including renters. I invite parishes to think creatively and imaginatively to continue to provide
pastoral response and care to their parishioners and their community, and consider use of electronic communication, social media, and video-conferencing.

Flattening the Curve –
These actions – ‘Social Distancing’ stance by cancellation of all gatherings in Anglican buildings– are being taken to “flatten the curve” which, in World Health Organization and epidemiologists terms, means to ‘slow the spread of the virus’. A quick google of the term ‘flatten the curve’ will provide additional information.

When the influenza epidemic of 1918 infected a quarter of the U.S. population, killing hundreds of thousands nationally and millions across the globe, seemingly small choices made the difference between life and death. As the disease was spreading, Wilmer Krusen, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, allowed a huge parade to take place on September 28; some 200,000 people marched. In the following days and weeks, the bodies piled up in the city’s morgues. By the end of the season, 12,000 residents had died.

In St. Louis, a public-health commissioner named Max Starkloff decided to shut the city down.
Ignoring the objections of influential businessmen, he closed the city’s schools, bars, cinemas, and
sporting events. Thanks to his bold and unpopular actions, the per capita fatality rate in St. Louis
was half that of Philadelphia. (In total, roughly 1,700 people died from influenza in St Louis.
In the coming days, thousands of people across the country will face the same choices.

Existing Food Ministries:
For those who rely on food banks, living paycheck to paycheck, our food ministries are now more
important than ever. We recommend all food bank providers consult with their local Regional
Health Authority and/or food providers like Winnipeg Harvest (for those in the City of Winnipeg), to obtain the latest protocol, and then adapt these protocols creatively, imaginatively to enable this ministry to continue. A major thrust will be to enable this ministry for both providers’ and patrons’ safety.

Responding to local health authorities:
We have been in conversation with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and other municipal
Health Authorities. We may be asked to make our church buildings available for emergency or
necessary services. If so required, calls will come to this office and will be re-directed accordingly.

Guaranteed Basic Income:
Please refer to the link below to Dr. Robert James, a foremost advocate in ‘guaranteed basic income.
https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/blog/news/Guaranteed_Basic_Income.
As we discern God’s justice in this extra-ordinary time,may this initiative be fore front in our minds to provide opportunity for a healthy populous.

An opportunity to bring out the very best in all people:
This health crisis provides a ministry of opportunity to bring out the very best in all people. We are setting up a COVID-19 tab on our website where we will post creative and imaginative initiatives being taken by parishes as a way of sharing faithful responses in this extraordinary time. Please share these initiatives with our office.

We, as the Body of Christ, are called by God to be continually proactive in all parts of life. Last
Sunday’s Gospel offered a choice: Jesus had the choice not to speak to the woman at the well, or to speak to the woman at the well. He chose to speak to her.
O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your Church, peace among nations,peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God, bless and keep us. May your face shine upon us, and be gracious to us; may you lift up your
countenance upon us, and grant us peace. Amen.

+Geoffrey
Bishop of Rupert’s Land

Response to COVID-19

Important Notice:

Due to the ongoing threat of

#COVID19, #CoronaVirus, #pandemic,

the Cathedral is closed

for all events and meetings

until further notice.

 If you have an emergency request,

please contact us by phone at 204-586-8385

or by email at office@stjohnscathedral.ca

or for the Dean at 204-479-5367

or by email at deanrupertsland@gmail.com

We will be monitoring the phone

and emails as regularly as possible.

God bless you;

stay safe, stay smart, stay home!

#FlattenTheCurve

Bishop’s Directive March 15, 2020

Building and Changing Protocols in Uncertain Times

To The Diocese of Rupert’s Land Lay leaders and Clergy:  From Bishop Geoffrey Woodcroft

 

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. May the following directive and expectations equip you for the journey ahead.

O Lord our creator, by your holy prophet you taught your ancient people to seek the welfare of the cities in which they lived. We commend our neighbourhood to your care, that it might be kept free from social strife and decay. Give us strength of purpose and concern for others, that we may create here a community of justice and peace where your will may be done; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  • Health and Wellness of the Body – My first priority in this communication is to ensure your complete health, and that of the communities you represent.
    • If you are a bishop, priest, deacon or lay leader over 60, and/or have pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease), DO NOT put yourself in harm’s way. Ask for assistance, advice and care.
    • If you are feeling unwell, make every effort to seek wellness, and should you exhibit any of the symptoms of the virus, immediately call authorities for testing and treatment.
    • Presently younger healthy people are not at serious risk (but like everyone should practice careful social distancing). This matters. As leaders we must actively exhibit and promote calmness and reason, by assuring that social distancing/separation is proactive and healthy, and does not lead to isolation.
    • I discourage all leaders, and in turn the diocesan membership, from participating in all activities that put you at risk…

      READ THE FULL TEXT HERE…Bishop’s Directive March 15 2020

** Urgent Communication**

Bishop Geoff has suspended all gatherings  and public worship of Rupert’s Land Anglicans as of Monday morning, March 16, 2020.  All Anglican churches in the Diocese, including the Cathedral, are closed.  THE CHURCH, the body of Christ, is alive and well and hard at work.  Thanks be to God!

The Bishop’s concern is for the health and wellness of all of us and prays for those in our cities, towns and provinces as we adjust to this every-changing Pandemic.

In the peace of Christ,

Dean Paul

Art Braid, requiescat in pace:

Funeral service for Art Braid will be this coming Friday, March 6th, at 10 a.m, here at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in Winnipeg. We are at 135 Anderson Avenue in the North End of Winnipeg, between north Main and the Red River, just north of St. John’s Park. There is street parking all around the Cathedral; gates on all sides will be open.

May he rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory!