COVID in a Time of Easter

Hallelujah! The Lord is risen!

Dear friends in Christ,

This past Sunday we gathered in worship as a congregation, or a good part of one, to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord!  What a joy!  We met all the provincial requirements, and all the Diocesan requirements.  I thank all who were in attendance for your smooth cooperation.

We had only the Tower Door unlocked, and then two greeters (Thank you, Char and Felix Farrell!) awaited to let you proceed only after ensuring that we had your contact information.  Then two ushers (Thank you, Marlene and Vic!) took you to your seat, ensuring safe distancing at all times.  Pews are spaced 80 inches (two metres) apart.

There was sanitizer available inside the doors, and again in the centre aisle once your registration had been checked.  In keeping with the Bishop’s directive (and ours) masks were worn throughout the service.  People were also asked, directed, to visit outside after worship.  Some did, all spaced properly.

We had wonderful music — thanks, Helen Suh, Carolyn Boyes, Matt Neufeld on trumpet, and choristers; again, all were safely distanced and masked.

We did not have Holy Communion, no, not even on Easter, as we think it’s better to re-enter in stages; once we are comfortable with all the current COVID requirements, and once many more have received a vaccine, we will consider setting the Lord’s Table and inviting you to receive, bread only!

Finally, in keeping with ‘safety above and beyond’, I have decided that we will, for now, at least, gather in person only EVERY OTHER SUNDAY.  So, the next time we will unlock the Tower Door will be Sunday, 18 April, NOT NEXT WEEK, 11 April.  The Sundays in between (assuming we don’t have to shut down completely again, due to variants and increasing rates) the service will be live streamed via YouTube, as has been our custom.  Indeed, we streamed on Easter Sunday as well, and an additional 30 computers were logged in, meaning we had more than thirty folks participating virtually.  TBTG!

It is my belief that this alternating of Sundays will provide an additional safety factor.  If anyone who was here on Easter Day should develop symptoms, we will know that for certain with a two week gap, including time to get tested for such symptoms.  This will keep us all safer.  We will do this at least through April, as follows:

Sunday, 9 May?  We shall see…


Thank you for your strong partnership in looking after each other,
as you have been doing throughout.  TBTG!

The Lord is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Dean Paul

Requiescat in Pace – The Rev. Canon Barry Bear

From the Family:
Shari Bear-Sinclair is with Jacinta Bear and 4 others.

“On behalf of the Bear Family, It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of our dad, Barry Bear at 2:15 this morning. Dad got to say his goodbyes for the last couple of days to his family and passed away peacefully with our loving mom who never left his side. Our dad loved it when people came to the hospital window to say their prayers and goodbyes. He fought hard to stay as long as he could but he knew it was his time to be at peace.Our family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. A huge thank you from the bottom of our heart to the Percy E. Moore nurses and staff for their love and caring support of dad making it as comfortable as it could be, you truly made this difficult time a lot easier for us.”

From the Diocese of Rupert’s Land:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It is with deep sorrow, and firm hope of the resurrection to eternal life, that I announce to you the death of the The Rev’d Canon Barry Bear, [early] this morning. Archdeacon Mawejje has provided pastoral support these past days for Barry, Freda and family.

Please continue to hold Freda, and all whom Barry loved, and the Peguis First Nation Community in prayer.


The Ven. Simon Blaikie
Executive Archdeacon
Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land

Bishop’s Christmas Letter 2020

The Diocese of Rupert’s Land

The Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft

Bishop of Rupert’s Land

Christmastide 2020

‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Isaiah 40.3-5

On this Feast of Christmas, I am raising thanks to God for the work of every person of our Diocesan ministering community. For those who have risked their safety to provide for those who are vulnerable, for they who are fatigued, for the academics who found the perfect time to study, for those who lament and experience loss, and folk who have basked in blissful quiet, I thank God for you.

I am thankful for our leaders and workers who have applied themselves unwaveringly to the new tasks at hand, whilst accomplishing the fulfillment of usual commitments. In so very many ways I see and hear the words of Isaiah 40.3-5 happening in God’s activity through the Church. The mountains and hills of privilege are being leveled, the hungry may be fed, release may be given to those in socio-economic prisons, the infirmed may be healed, and the lonely befriended. This is God’s doing, and we now rejoice!

I hope that this year’s Nativity experience be for all a prophetic nudging, a comforting call, and a rekindling of relationships. May God bless you, and all whom you love.

Yours in the peace of Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Geoffrey JJ Woodcroft

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


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

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

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

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

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


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
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:

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:


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