RenewalWorks Spiritual Life Inventory

RenewalWorks is a catalyst for refocusing parishes (and the individuals in them) on spiritual vitality. It has been tailored to the Episcopal (U.S. Anglican) tradition, adapting 10 years of research that has uncovered key characteristics of flourishing congregations.

The RenewalWorks process begins with an anonymous, confidential, online inventory taken by congregants, exploring our spiritual life.

The Spiritual Life Inventory is available to all congregants online from September 10 to October 1. This survey asks us to reflect on our spiritual practices and beliefs both at home and in the church and will provide the groundwork for the four workshops to follow from October to December 2017.

We encourage everyone to participate in this first phase of the Renewal Works program to get a clear picture of where we are currently and how we can better achieve spiritual growth as a Cathedral community, leading up to and looking beyond our 200th anniversary in 2020. For those who do not have access to a computer, we will make computers available at the church and provide assistance for those who need it.

Dean Bob Osborne, a Canoe, and a Canal (Rideau)

Our former Dean and Rector, The Very Rev. Bob Osborne, shared these pictures of his canoe trip in June, the length of the Rideau Canal.  Bob is blessed to be enjoying good health in his retirement.

Bob writes:  “In 1967 Centennial Year I was part of the Diocese of Algoma “Montreal Brigade” 39 of us canoed from the Diocesan camp located on the North Channel of Lake Huron.  We canoed up the French River, crossed Lake Nippising, portaged to Trout lake and then on to the Mattawa River where it finally joins the Ottawa River. We then canoed on to Ottawa and Montreal. This year my canoeing project was a bit more modest. Together with Rob Hubbard, our daughter’s father in law we canoed the Rideau River system from Kingston to Ottawa a distance of 202 km. It was a 9 day trip in which we camped out each evening at one of the locks which have lovely camping sites for canoeists. We canoed in the retirement gift of the Cathedral a cedar/canvas canoe that I was able to build with a canoe builder in Lorette. It is a great joy to canoe in with the many memories it brings of  our ministry at the Cathedral.”

If you wish to see more pictures, use this link:

Down for the count: City of Winnipeg losing battle against Dutch elm disease (our churchyard also)

Thursday, July 27, 2017
Reprinted from the Winnipeg Free Press:

When Robert Orr looks out at his Kingston Crescent neighbourhood, he feels as if he’s watching it die.

The tree canopy where he’s lived since 1995 is withering before his eyes, just one casualty in the city’s battle against Dutch elm disease.

And the situation is getting worse.

“If it keeps going like this, it won’t be the neighbourhood I moved into,” said the soft-spoken, 61-year-old retired teacher.

“It’ll be completely different,” Orr continued. “The trees really are such an important part of the fabric of this neighbourhood.”

In the area where he lives, hundreds of elm trees have been lost in the past decade. City statistics show that 5,500 trees are lost to the disease each year.

When one of Orr’s neighbours moved to Kingston Crescent in 1975, he had 27 elm trees on his property. Now, he has none. Orr and his partner had eight when they first moved to the neighbourhood. This summer, their last tree was infected.

“One doesn’t have to be a tree lover to realize there are some very practical concerns here,” Orr said.

“We’re down to our last one, which now has the disease. Two doors down, our neighbours have two with the disease. The tree directly across from our house in the park now has the disease.”

Dutch elm disease spreads through the fungus carried on the backs of elm bark beetles. They lay eggs in elm trees in the spring, which go on to hatch and mature throughout summer before a new generation is born in the fall.

When diseased trees are not removed quickly – ideally during the summer they are infected – the disease spreads.

Orr is frustrated by what he views as the city’s lack of political will to shut down the disease.

Since the summer of 2016, he says he’s witnessed the city losing the fight. He says not only has the tagging of infected trees slowed down, but so has their removal.

Martha Barwinsky, the city’s forester, admits they’ve fallen behind in efforts to remove diseased trees, but says they continue to tag them on schedule.

They do the best they can with the resources they have, she says.

“There are currently 970 trees marked last year that still need to be removed,” she said. “We’re removing them, but we’re still behind.”

The city has more than 230,000 adult American elm trees, which makes it the largest standing population in North America.

But, Barwinsky says they are at a critical point in trying to protect the city’s tree canopy.

“It’s a real concern,” she said. “We have to catch up and get these trees removed and come up with a better model for removing diseased trees earlier.”

Another concern is the arrival of the Emerald ash borer beetle, which isn’t a matter of if, but when, Barwinsky said. The fear is it could coincide with the city battling Dutch elm disease, thus further dividing their resources.

If their arrival isn’t properly attacked, it could result in the death of all ash trees in Winnipeg. Once they arrive, she added, they’re here to stay.

The city currently has 16 to 20 people working on surveying trees and is rerouting funds from tree planting to go toward the removal of diseased trees.

That, in Orr’s opinion, is a disastrous and short-sighted strategy.

“So just at the time we’re losing a lot of trees, they’re going to cut back on planting,” he said. “That is a terrible, misguided way of thinking.”

Orr tries his best to do his part by talking to his neighbours, calling 311 about diseased trees and writing letters to Trees Winnipeg and his city councillor. But he recognizes his efforts are limited and says he often receives no response from authorities.

He thinks the city needs to boost funding to the department that fights tree disease.

“We need to do something differently or we’re going to lose the canopy,” he said. “Politicians need to be talking about this, educating people and encouraging them to plant trees. We need to get at the removal of all these diseased elm trees before it’s too late.”

From the Dean:

We have planted quite a few trees in the past three or four years, as part of our ongoing reclamation of the Cemetery, where we have lost far too many trees over the years, mostly American Elm, but also some big Maple trees to age; we are continuing this process and you can contribute if you’d like to do so.  We are asking for $200 to be given to the Cathedral and we will plant a tree in honour or in memory of the person of your choice.  If you are interested please call Carol in the Office at 204.586.8385, or e-mail her at <>, and she can give you more details; thanks for considering this.



Connecting with the past

St. John’s Anglican Cathedral looks forward as the 200th anniversary of the Peguis Selkirk Treaty

From The Winnipeg Free Press, July 8, 2017
By: Brenda Suderman, reporter (
photo by Wayne Glowacki

(The Very Rev. Paul Johnson in the St. John’s Anglican Cathedral at 135 Anderson Ave.)

THIS month, Manitobans mark the 200th anniversary of the Selkirk Treaty, which was signed on July 18, 1817, between Thomas Douglas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, and Chief Peguis along with four other Indigenous chiefs. Later, Lord Selkirk designated land to establish Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. St. John’s Anglican Cathedral was built on the west side of the Red River, near Point Douglas, and St. Boniface Roman Catholic Church was established on a large land grant on th


e east side, across from The Forks. Brenda Suderman visits both cathedrals to understand the challenges and concerns of these two faith communities two centuries later. For more information on the upcoming anniversary events, check out


Two centuries after a land grant established a church on the west bank of the Red River, the city’s oldest Anglican parish still searches to find its place in the community.

“How can we be of service?” asks Rev. Paul N. Johnson, rector of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist.

“How can we share in life together beyond these walls?”

That’s a significant question for a parish steeped in the history of Winnipeg. The expansive cemetery surrounding the Anderson Avenue cathedral is a who’s who of prominent city politicians, businesspeople and professionals.

“That’s our history, that’s our cloud of witnesses,” says parishioner Rene Jamieson, one of the writers of historical pamphlets on the graveyard and cathedral.

“There are some beautiful people buried in that graveyard.”

Located just east of Main Street between two city parks, the cathedral’s history reaches back to 1817, when Lord Selkirk and Chief Peguis signed the first treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Western Canada.

Five years later, the first church building was constructed on the site, and by 1849, the church became a cathedral for the new Anglican diocese of Rupert’s Land.

“This particular cathedral really represents the birthplace of the Anglican church in the West,” Bishop Donald Phillips says.

“There is the whole sense of the historical importance of the Rupert’s Land territories and the church was very involved in it.”

With the parish’s history written on the gravestones and portrayed through the plaques, artifacts and stained glass windows inside the 91-year-old stone cathedral, it might be easy to remain mired in the past, Jamieson admits.

“People think we’re a museum. We’re not,” says Jamieson, a volunteer member of the pastoral team.

“We’re a live congregation.”

That living, breathing congregation of about 75 regular worshippers, of whom about half live within walking distance of the North End cathedral, continues to search out ways to connect with those beyond its doors, Johnson says.

Some of the connections are practical, such as hosting neighbourhood events, supporting refugees through nearby cathedral-owned Hospitality House, or providing hats, mittens, scarves and shawls to people in the parish and surrounding neighbourhood.

“Our prayers are extending outward and not just to people in the congregation but to people in the community who are sick and sad,” says Leanne Landriault, a member of the St. John’s Anglican Cathedral Friendship Circle, of knitting items for people in need.

The cemetery also opens doors to helping out the living, as Johnson fulfils requests to officiate at burials and funerals, including a recent service for an elderly man he had never met.

Shortly before he died, the man told his neighbour he had a plot at St. John’s, and the neighbour and his wife arranged a funeral with Johnson, and were the only mourners.

“I think the main (purpose) is to make the connection between the past and the living,” says Johnson, an ordained Lutheran pastor who has served in Anglican churches for the past seven years.

He says that connection includes building stronger relationships with Indigenous people, and acknowledging their joint stories through the upcoming commemoration of the 1817 treaty between Lord Selkirk and Chief Peguis.

“We recognize, we appreciate, we give thanks for our heritage,” says Johnson, a member of the planning team for the 200th anniversary of the treaty.

“We also recognize we need to repent as part of our healing journey.”