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ANDREW'S NOTE - Holy Trinity Anglican Church

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Pentecost 20—Proper 29  (18 October 2020)

Yesterday was the 117th synod of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land. A strange meeting, given that for the first time we could not find a way to meet in person, but with the aid of fibre optic wiring, wireless internet, and much other technology, we did indeed meet. I thought of Archbishop of Machray, who laid the cornerstone of this church and was famous for his efficiency in organizing people, thinking he might well have been delighted by the accomplishment.

As is the custom, the opening liturgy of synod included a lengthy charge from our bishop, Geoff Woodcroft. His opportunity to reflect to the diocese what he has heard and learned over the past few years and give us a sense of where we, as a connected diocesan family, might move in the future. These episcopal charges, in my experience, usually focus on broad themes and present a few ideas about what we might work toward, but the specifics are left for later conversations.
I was pleasantly surprised that Bishop Geoff took up the saint of the day—Bishop Ignatius of Antioch—and charged fully into the ancient saint’s letters and martyrdom. I love the stories of saints and martyrs and the lessons that they teach us, so my ears perked up significantly when the charge began by giving a variation on the gospel for the day’s memorial, adapted for Rupert’s Land today, and a picking up a theme on which Ignatius wrote extensively:

The hour has come for Christ to be glorified and the hour has come for the Church, which is the Body of Christ, to fall as a grain of wheat into the ground where it must die and where, in dying, it will bear much fruit.

Like Ignatius’s own life lived in the service of Christian unity, preaching about the Body of Christ, and ending in a martyrdom in Rome, Bishop Geoff said, the time has come for the Church to embrace its own call, like the grain of wheat, to die and, in dying, bear much good fruit.
Speaking of the death of the Church is an unsettling thing. It is also a topic that comes up with great frequency these days. When newspapers and media personalities speak of the death of the Church, they do so in terms of an institution that they believe is disappearing. Very few of them make the connection between John’s gospel or the belief of Ignatius or us, gathered here today. Death is an important moment of change, but it is not the end. Wheat dies to give life in bread, grapes are crushed to give life in wine, and we, the Church, give of ourselves that others may also have life.
Our bishop was crystal clear that we, as a diocese, as a Church, must reimagine ourselves. Our history as the church for citizens of the Empire is one that we must shift. We are surely still here for all of those who came to settle Canada, but we must also be for those who were here before us and for all of those who have come since and those who will come in the future. In the same way that wheat produces seed as a gift to those who wish to harvest, we are called to offer the fruit of the Spirit, borne in our lives: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5.22-23) for all who seek it. Not to store these things up for those who seem to merit them, those who we might prefer to give them to, those who look and sound like us, but to bear these blessings into the world and share them with generosity that scandalizes the world. We are called to give of our own blessings with the same abandon with which water floods the Red River in spring, with which fields burst with grain in autumn, with which blood and water poured from the Cross.

This parish, this community, this family, the Body of Christ in this place is capable of incredible work. We have been here longer than the City of Winnipeg has been incorporated. The witness of architecture and music, of prayer and art, of preaching and catechism, of blessing and healing, of sanctuary and calm, has lived in this place since Portage and Main was a crossing of oxcart paths and a small general store. The steadfastness of this community and its commitment to showing forth the love of God in the centre of this city is a significant testimony and witness.
The story of Exodus and of Israel’s breaking and restoration of covenant with God is an important one for us to remember. So often when we read these portions of scripture, we identify quickly and completely with the “Good Guys”. The people of Israel are, after all, the nation of God’s chosen on to which we are grafted through our life in Christ. We hear of the liberation from slavery and flight across the Red Sea and think “Ah, yes! These are the people to whom we have been added through our adoption in Christ!” Or we sing Mary’s Song at Evening Prayer and we hear that “[God] has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty,” (Luke 1.52-53) and we immediately connect with the humble and the hungry. We have been lifted and been filled with good things. Mary sings of us.
The Virgin sings of us, to be sure, but we must remember to examine ourselves against her song in all ways. Sometimes the Church is the humble and the hungry, the persecuted and the enslaved. But sometimes we are also Pharaoh and the army, the mighty who must abandon their thrones and the rich who will be sent away empty. These latter parts, the pieces of our shared life which are concerned most with our wants, our ease, our comfort, these are the parts that must die. As today’s collect says, these are the parts which we are called to leave behind in the past, reaching into the future, beyond ourselves, to share the astonishing blessings which God has heaped upon the community here.
This parish stands poised to speak, in word and action, of God’s truth and justice to this city and to the world. The history, geography, and visibility of this place, its people, and its vision for its work as the Body of Christ are a tree ready to burst forth with blessing, nourishment, healing, and life for the world. Evils of the world stalk through our community as bullying, systemic racism, sexism, greed, ableism, exploitation, homophobia, impoverishment, disenfranchisement, and violence. Many of you have been touched by these. Those you love, you yourself have been told that you are unimportant. That because of the way you look, the way you speak, where you come from, who you love, or some other piece of who you are that you are worth less. These blights grow stronger when we look for ourselves before God. When those with power believe that the value of the emperor’s image on the coin is worth more than the image of God imprinted on the face of their neighbours; imprinted on the face of every one of you.
In these days when the sacraments of baptism and breaking bread together are dangerous, how else might we live them out? In our baptism we die so that we might be reborn in Christ and bear good fruit for the life of the world. In Eucharist we give thanks and partake of the heavenly feast, praying that we will see what we are and become what we eat, nourished and strengthened as the Body of Christ, by the Body of Christ. If we are willing to give of ourselves, to let our own selfishness die and to become uncomfortable, to make ourselves vulnerable, to open ourselves to what is strange and unfamiliar and unknown for the sake of God’s love, we could make the healing, life-giving power of God’s sacraments known to the world. We can lift the humble and fill the hungry with good things. We can be a voice of love and care, a voice speaking of the presence of God in humanity. We can be a sanctuary for this city. We can show the world the glory of God in the Body of Christ, if we are willing.
I pray with all my heart that we are.

Homily Holy Trinity, Winnipeg
Harvest Thanksgiving (11 October 2020)      
It is so good to be here, to pray and to worship together, this morning. There is so much to be thankful for in this season of endings and beginnings, not least of which is time together to worship, to pray, to hear the Word of God, and to share in the beautiful mystery of the Eucharistic feast. I am so grateful for this day.
The gospel passage this morning places us with Christ, in an unnamed village between Samaria and Galilee, confronted with a decade of lepers, keeping their distance. The leper’s distance is something that, I suspect, resonates with all of us today. In the first century—and still today, for that matter—lepers kept, or were kept, a great distance from healthy people. Leprosy is a highly contagious disease, most commonly transmitted through the particles emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Once infected, the disease progresses in a number of ways, crippling the infected person. Today, treatments are available for it, but not so in the first century. For Jews of Jesus’s day there was concern, not only of being infected, but also of becoming ritually polluted through contact with a diseased person and, as a result, being unable to worship until one could be purified and known as clean.
This distance lepers kept was important. As is the distance we are all keeping for one another today, in this very building. We believe that each of us here is healthy, but we also each know what it is to feel removed from the people around us. The past six months have taught us a great deal about feeling undesirable, untouchable, about being under suspicion of being a carrier of disease. Anyone who has had a tickle in their throat and coughed in public knows the sorts of looks it draws. For a moment, everyone in earshot looks to see if the cough is something more. We live in a strange, separated, no one’s land. We do it for ourselves and for all of our neighbours; the health and wellbeing of everyone must be our first case, but the protocols and practices wear on us over time. We live in a space that, at any moment, may change from being safe and routine to being dangerous and suspicious. Not unlike the territory between Samaria and Galilee.
This territory Jesus and the disciples are passing through is not the safety of home in Galilee. It is also not the risky and suspicious unfriendliness of Samaria. This is the sort of confusing, hazy, not-in-not-out space that we all inhabit right now and it is in this space that Christ is approached by lepers, people not wanted by either Galilee or Samaria or anywhere else. Here, they approach Christ, keeping the leper’s distance, and hoping they might be healed.
 After a startlingly brief exchange, Christ heals them. Miraculously, as they go to see the priests to be judged either clean or infected, their leprosy disappears. In the world of the first century Jew or Samaritan, a healing of leprosy is not unknown, but it is a significant event. The disciples and lepers and the priests would have known the story we read in the  twelfth chapter of the Book of Numbers. Aaron and his sister Miriam are covetous of Moses’s leadership and privilege among the Israelites, of his close relationship with God, and they act out against him. The Lord comes down in a pillar of cloud and rebukes their actions and Miriam is punished. When the cloud leaves, her skin has become leprous, covered in white infection.
Moses prays fervently for her healing and God consents to do this, but only after seven days. By contrast, in today’s gospel, Christ heals not one but ten lepers and does so both completely and almost instantly. Christ’s miracle is the direct work of the healing hand of God, rather than the powerful prayer of Moses. A difference that would not have been lost on anyone who witnessed the miracle take place. This man, this Jesus, is more than a prophet. Nature, even leprosy, seems to obey him.

 All ten of the lepers are healed, but only one returns to express gratitude. The most grateful is the one Samaritan of the bunch. A man who, by their cultural custom, Jesus should not even speak to, much less should heal in so stunning and miraculous a fashion. And here we begin to see the connection to the passage from Deuteronomy and something of ourselves in the story.
 The core of today’s portion of Deuteronomy is about the peril of prosperity. So many and great are the works of God for the benefit of the people of Israel in this story that some begin to forget what it was like to live without an abundance. The slavery in Egypt and the fear and anxiety of the flight across the Red Sea are present, but as memories, softened by the passage of time.
  Like the healed Galileeans who left and did not return to offer thanks to Christ in the gospel, some of the Israelites have forgotten to give thanks for the source of their prosperity, their health, and their safety. And relationships left untended, especially those which sustain us most, often begin to suffer. A stream that flows, bringing fresh water, if not cared for with appropriate gratitude can become dammed up, cutting off the flow of water, or it can be overdrawn, slowing the flow and damaging the productivity of the fields downstream.
 So often when there is abundant blessing in a place, those who benefit from it slip into the dangerous habit of thinking that they deserve this blessing, that they have it because they have merited it above other people, or perhaps that they have produced the blessing themselves. As though the bounty of food on their table is there because they, themselves, made the rain fall, the sun shine, and the crops to grow.
 We are, of course, invited by God to participate in this work of Creation, in the rhythm of the seasons. But it is in cooperation with God and with the rest of Creation, not something that we do alone, of our own merit and power. Many Christian traditions remind themselves of this with the quiet prayers of the deacon as the bread and wine are received from the congregation and set on the altar:
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
 We acknowledge that all things come of God and, while we may have a hand in shaping them, it is through God’s consistent, persistent goodness toward us that we receive all that we have and it is appropriate, then, for us to be grateful for what we have been given.
 With these gifts comes not only our enjoyment and the satisfaction of our needs, but also a responsibility for using them justly. This is the thrust of the portion of St Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth today. The verses we didn’t read at the beginning of this ninth chapter of the letter are an important bit of context. In this part of the letter, Paul is reminding the Corinthians about his great collection for the poor. He has made the point, quite bluntly, that the church in Achaia has had their donation ready for a year and the Corinthians are dragging their feet on their contribution.
 Paul reminds the Corinthians—and each of us—that blessing comes with responsibility. In verse 8, he writes “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” Of course, the good work immediately on Paul’s mind is his collection for the poor, but the point stands. Those with more than they need are expected by God to provide for those whose needs are not met.
This theme of sowing and reaping and God’s justice in the sharing of the harvest comes back over and over in scripture. Most people of the first century lived in agrarian settings and so this stands to reason. If one plants wheat, one harvests wheat. If one is responsible only for one’s own, a bad year might see the family starve over the winter, but if the community care for one another, all but the worst disasters can be survived. Paul is reminding the Corinthians, and us, that if we have been blessed beyond our needs, we have also been blessed with the power to share for the sake of others. This is God’s justice and it is to be carefully considered. After all, Proverbs 22.8 reminds us “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity.”
 Those with much have been given much because God trusts them to put the bounty to good use. To share it justly and responsibly. To be grateful for their blessings and, in turn, to be a blessing to others. Indeed, all that we have from the clothes we wear to the food we eat to the buildings we shelter in all began as gifts to us. Even in the midst of a global pandemic and all of its strange rules, most of us can count many blessings for which we can be grateful. Not least of which is the opportunity to once again meet and share bread and wine in the Great Thanksgiving here.
 Thinking back to the setting of the altar for Eucharist and the gratitude shown for God’s provision of the bread and wine, even before they are made the Lamb’s wedding banquet, I am reminded of another practice in some traditions. When the prayers are said which speak of God meeting the people in the breaking of bread, the congregation’s response is to say “Show us! Show us! Show us!” Not only show us the bread, of course, but praying that God will come again and show them—remind them—of what it means to be present with one another as intimately as in the sharing of food.
 When we give thanks for all that we have been given, we give God due praise and worship along with all of the rest of Creation, we acknowledge our blessing. We name God as the provider of all things, the one who has blessed us so richly that even the only begotten Son of God could be given for our sake and we stand here, today, as evidence of God’s promises of salvation and blessing fulfilled. And, when we do, we hear the voices of our neighbours who have not been so richly blessed in this season. We hear them calling out, like the faithful gathered around the heavenly banquet, “Show us! Show us! Show us!”
 We have all set this time aside to display our gratitude and I am so pleased and thankful to be here with you for this day. Together, we recall the God from whom all blessings flow and to count the moments and days of blessing in our lives.
 As Christ blessed the lepers, as God has blessed us, we are called to bless the world; to show our neighbours whom we love the glory of God in word and action. Show them! Show them! Show them!

Andrew’s Note

8 October 2020

Dear People of God,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
In our community, this week is one of excitement, anticipation, new beginnings, and thanksgiving. The seasons are changing quickly, with leaves turning and falling to the ground, birds migrating south, and more and more sweaters and scarves emerging from their summer hibernation. The nights grow colder—this morning I even saw frost on the tips of the grass while walking to church—but the days are warm and pleasant. Crops planted in spring, grown over summer, are harvested and gathered in to feed us over the winter and to be planted again next spring. And in all of this, Creation does not protest or complain but seems to offer praise and thanksgiving to the God who has given each plant and animal, each hill and waterway such gifts to offer one another. What a blessing it is that the crops and trees offer their fruit to us for food, so that we might care for them and help them grow anew next year.
We are reminded in both Sunday’s passage from Deuteronomy and in the psalm that God has ordained all of this. The cycle of the year, the relationships of all of the parts of Creation, the interdependence of Creation, is all a part of how God desires for us to live, both with one another and with God. Even in circumstances that may seem dangerous or frightening, God abides with us and leads us into good lands, filled with abundant blessings. God leads faithfully and blesses in abundance.
For our part, we are called to consider carefully how we steward the abundance. God has led us into bountiful blessing, just as the psalmist reminds us:
You visit the earth and water it,
  you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
  you provide the people with grain,
  for so you have prepared it.
When we are blessed with more than we need, when the river is full of water and the storehouse filled to the brim with grain, how are we called to respond? When we have harvested all that we can use from the field, do we give thanks for our blessings or do we immediately cast about, looking for where we might find a little more?
Or, put another way, if the rain falls and sun shines such that our field produces a bumper crop and our neighbour’s field is flooded out, how are we called to respond? Is it God’s will that our neighbour should go hungry over the winter? Or is it perhaps that God has provided enough for us and our neighbour, trusting that we will have wisdom and love enough to share from our surplus? When Christ was faced with 5,000 hungry people and only a few pieces of bread and fish, he did not hoard what was available for himself and his friends, but shared of what little there was. God provided in abundance and of that small parcel of food, a multitude was fed.
What an opportunity we are given in our many blessings in this community. We have the opportunity to share food and fellowship, beauty and warmth, prayer and praise with all of our neighbours here in the centre of the city. When I think of these opportunities and of God’s incredible diversity and many ways of self-giving in Creation, I think of strawberries. Small plants which produce some of the sweetest, most delicious berries one can find. The strawberry plant does not need to share those berries with us. It could just as easily save all of that time and energy instead of making fruit and find another way to care only for itself. But we are blessed with these delicious berries and the strawberry is so pleased to show its love for God and the rest of Creation that those berries even grow shaped like our hearts. We, in this community, have so many blessings to share. And each time we share, we have the opportunity to show those we share with the very face and heart of God. In food and fellowship, beauty and warmth, prayer and praise we are always sharing the love and light of Christ.
In just the few days that I have been here in the parish, I have been so warmly welcomed. Emails, phone calls, over hamburgers at the Tuesday lunch ministry, and even passing in the kitchen I have been blessed with expressions of joy, welcome, excitement, and hope. These, too, are part of God’s abundant blessing poured out on this community. A sharing of hospitality and love. There is already so much to be thankful for. I am especially thankful for the ministry of our sister Cathy over this past year, for her willingness to remain a part of our community. God has led us all to this place and to a time of new beginnings; we are called to continue following in faith.
May you be blessed with all that you need and with opportunities to meet the needs of others. St Paul reminds us in his second letter to the church in Corinth: “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” For the God who provides and equips us to be the Body of Christ, thanks be to God.

Yours in Christ,


October 1, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend

I take real heart and delight in greeting you on this fall day. Fall is so full of turbulent, stunning beauty. The leaves gathered at the river's edge look like the gold leaf of an icon. Creation, in all its fantastic complexity, diversity and constant change draws me outside of myself to contemplate its Creator. Bless the artists and the scientists for unfolding creation’s splendour and calling us to look and appreciate its ever unfolding beauty.
Our psalm appointed for this Sunday begins:
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. [Psalm 19]
The author of the Wisdom of Solomon echoes the power of creation to reveal God and God's ways. We hear:
the author of beauty created them [fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven.]  And if people were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is the one who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. [Wisdom 13:3b-5]
Even Paul in the opening of his letter to the Romans writes:
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.  [Romans 1:20]
And as we know today creation was not a single event at the start of time, it is also an ongoing, ever evolving, unfolding process. God is at work in all of history creating this extraordinary reality of which we are one small part.
And over our history, with the help of brilliant minds, we have developed an ever deeper appreciation of the laws or ways of the universe. Although Psalm 19 might be referring only to the moral and behavioural codes and commandments God has given God's people to govern our affairs, I choose to also understand the psalm to refer to the laws of nature and the ways of our universe. Indeed then can we not sing with psalmist:
the law, decrees, precepts, commandments, ordinances and fear or awe of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul; are sure, making wise the simple; are right, rejoicing the heart; are clear, enlightening the eyes; are pure, enduring forever; are true and righteous altogether; and are more to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Beyond simply revelling in creation, we must ask ourselves what is our place in this amazing universe? How do we walk well on this earth, care for its beauty, its health, its limits, respect its workings and the intricate balancing of all its components? Listening to our scientists and artists, it is clear that we are trespassing earth's limits, stressing its health and throwing much out of balance. Many trust our ingenuity and technology to counteract and redress or mitigate the effects of these collective actions. But in that I fear that we are like the tenants in the vineyard of Jesus' parable. We usurp our proper role and fail to honour the owner of the vineyard – our creator, the author of beauty, the heart and wisdom of our universe.
Jesus revealed God’s love for creation. John 3:16 is the briefest summary of this tenet of faith. Part of our role as followers of Jesus and lovers of God is to walk well on this earth, to God's glory [not our own]. Part of our role as a Christian community is witness to this way, to proclaim God's love and care for us in Christ, and to invite others into communion with their Creator. We are at such a profound moment in our collective history. We have so much work to do. It is good, indeed very good, to be part of a community discerning the way to constructively engage the challenges of our time. I have been so blessed to have 14 months to get to know you as your associate priest. I'm delighted to welcome Andrew into ministry leadership here at Holy Trinity. I'm pleased that I am able to continue to be part of this community of disciples as a parishioner and volunteer. Thank you so much for your warm welcome and supportive engagement in ministry over this past year. I know that you will extend the same welcome and support to Andrew. Together we trust in the power of the Spirit to guide us in this adventure of faith.
And so a word from Andrew:  
Dear People of God,
I am so pleased to be writing this to you, looking forward to the beginning of my time serving in your parish. Many of you have already reached out with words of hope and welcome, for which I am so grateful. I look forward to meeting everyone in person as we are able to do so.
We are inundated with news from here at home and around the world about the many ways in which the Light of Christ is needed and I am excited to learn the ways in which the people of Holy Trinity feel called to respond to these needs. There is such great need in the centre of our city for voices and a presence which represent the heart of God. This community of faithful disciples has been gifted with such an abundance of blessing, we are poised to hear those needs, to lay the cornerstones of new ministry, and to learn what fruits of the kingdom might grow in this fertile vineyard. It is an exciting time and I am so pleased to share it with you.
Yours in Christ
Our psalmist’s closing seems appropriate: may these words and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.
Fall blessings
Your sister in Christ

September 25, 2020
Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friends:
Fall is upon us. The colours are beautiful but the days are getting shorter. Schools are open again although working hard to be safe places for all. And so is Holy Trinity! I’m delighted to say that we gathered inside for worship for the first time since March 15th! Organ music filled our sanctuary again. It was wonderful to welcome new and old friends back to our beautiful sanctuary. And yes, even with all our new worship protocols, we can indeed “worthily magnify God’s holy name.” It was so good. As long as the government permits, we will continue to be open for Sunday worship. For those who cannot safely join us at the moment, know you are in our prayers and we will continue to be connected through phone and email.
Our Tuesday Lunchroom @ Holy Trinity ministry is doing very well. It is a terrific gathering of folk for splendid BBQ’d hamburgers. Donald McKenzie is always happy to welcome volunteers. It is a great place for lunch on a Tuesday. On Wednesday Donald continues to welcome folk for Eucharist at 12:10. Holy Trinity has received a request for refugee sponsorship that could be accommodated under our Diocesan Sponsorship Agreement. I would be very happy to coordinate a small group [3-4 people] who would be interested in supporting a refugee family coming to settle in Winnipeg. Please email or phone me if you would be interested in this ministry.
Our scriptures for Sunday include one of the great hymns of the early church that has continued to be beloved down to now: Philippians 2: 5-11. It starts: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” To cultivate the same mind and heart as Christ – through prayer, study and action, that, I believe, is the goal of our path as Jesus’ disciples. Let that be our prayer, individually and as a parish. May we always, everywhere be an occasion for folk to experience God’s steadfast love and infinite mercy revealed to us in Jesus the Christ. And, may we find ways extend that Word of life into all our relations God’s beloved creation.
Fall blessings to you and your circle of care
Your sister in Christ

September 12th, 2020
Dear Holy Trinity Parishioners and Friends:
May this note find you enjoying God's grace and blessings this day. I write this looking forward to tomorrow - our last outdoor service of the season. I've attached my reflection notes for your interest. The scriptures of the day are posted on the website as are the prayers of the people.
Next Sunday September 20, we will gather again in our beautiful sanctuary with the organ to worship. The setting will be the same, but our way of gathering must change a bit out of an abundance of caution in these pandemic times. We are having a parish work party to prepare the sanctuary on Tuesday starting at 4:00 and you would be welcome to come and help as you are able. We've published our new worship protocols on the website and have sent them out in the mail to those without emails. Our ushers will help us to follow our safety protocols. But know that, like in many of our schools, we are going to have cohorts which have to remain separate and distinct. One cohort will be those who enter and leave through the main Donald Street doors. The second cohort will be those with children, those providing worship leadership, and those requiring the handicap family washroom. The second cohort will enter and leave through the Smith Street doors. Sadly, until we can find a way, we have to suspend our informal time of fellowship after worship. These protocols are the best we can create at the moment, but we know that they are open to change and adaption as the pandemic evolves and as we gather together over the coming months.
The good news is our church school for children 5 and older will start Sunday September 20. Our new Children's Ministry Coordinator is Spencer Kushnir, Johanna's cousin. We are delighted to welcome her to Holy Trinity. I hope our families with children will feel safe and comfortable enough to return to church. If you have concerns, please feel free to contact me.
We know that everyone will not be able to come safely to Holy Trinity at this time, but we will continue to reach out and stay connected. We are one in the body of Christ. He leads us in this uncertain time.
Fall blessings
Your sister in Christ
Reflections for September 13 based on Matthew 18:21-35; Psalm 114; Exodus 14:19-31
One thing we all share together is the weather. We're right at the turn from summer to fall... no more sandals and open windows... we're headed into sweaters, coats, boots, and heating systems. Yet in this, every year, completely natural process, are we ready to live in this moment... let go [not forget, but not cling to] the joys of summer, and, even anticipating all the rigours of winter, say yes to this moment. Forgiveness is all about being free to be fully present in this moment. This moment, this present 'now', is where God is... not in the past or in the future, although God was and will be fully present then too. But to know, to live in, to experience the presence of God, we have to be in this moment...then as Paulina sang[1] and our psalmist wrote, we:
          tremble, tremble at the presence of the LORD ...
tremble at God's power, tremble at the power of God's love and mercy - embracing the world and us, and sustaining life in fullness right now.  Remember that Israel's crossing  of the Red Sea and defeat of Pharaoh's army was but the first step in the people's journey to full freedom. They had 40 years in the wilderness to learn to let go of Pharaoh's ways, to free their hearts, minds and bodies of the ways of slavery, and trust in God – to truly become God's people. That journey to freedom is like our journey of forgiveness – it is the process of becoming truly free - free to be present without being burdened by the past or future – free to be fully present to our Creator.
So forgiveness is hugely important, as uncomfortable as the topic might be for many. Indeed, so much grief has been caused by a too simple understanding of 'forgiveness.' Forgiveness is way more than saying “I'm sorry;” its way more than “Oh you haven't forgiven him yet? get over it...”; and it's more than wiping the slate clean. Yes, we can imagine it as a cancelling or writing off a financial debt, as Jesus does in the parable for today. And that metaphor points to the awesome freedom and generosity of spirit involved in forgiveness. And like all gift giving... a gift generates gift-giving; generosity should beget generosity... but forgiveness is most often a complicated, twisty/turny spiral journey i.) because its usually about way more than money and ii.) because its often warped by differences in power and privilege. Tangled up into a forgiveness journey are ideas and our longings for fairness, for justice, for winning/losing, for an acknowledgement of guilt and innocence, or rights and wrongs; there's a desire for truth, and often for revenge, for retribution, or at least 'getting even'...  It is a fraught and tangled process, on which so much depends. For forgiveness is all about the healing, restoration and possible reconciliation of broken and torn relationships. It's a critical part of any process for building and sustaining community and peace over time. And its also critical to being able to be fully present in the moment and not tangled up in stories from the past and fears of the future.
Now, everyone will have their own stories of this process of forgiveness created by their own life circumstances. The one who has taught me the most about forgiveness is WiIma Derkson. Her 13 year old daughter Candace was brutally murdered by a stranger in 1984 here in Winnipeg. She wrote a fabulous, honest, courageous account of her complicated journey towards forgiveness[2]. She calls this journey “the way of letting go.” Not letting go of the crime and loss, but letting go of its claim on her life. In her book, she describes her letting go of: a happy ending to the situation; letting go of her fear; her grief; her ego; her narrow faith; her 'old me'; her expectations that life is fair; her guilt and blame; her need to know; her rage; her obsession with the offender; her justice fantasy; her hope for an easy resolution; her self-pity; her desire for closure. She talks of forgiveness as a never-ending process. And I'm sure that any one who carries the scars of trauma, of broken relationships, or deep hurts will resonate with her account. And through it we can all begin to appreciate the power of forgiveness to open to new life, and perhaps find new resolve to take on the journey of forgiveness ourselves.
Another way of reflecting on forgiveness is deepen our sense of being forgiven and that of course involves acknowledging and coming to terms with the ways we hurt others and the earth itself. To appreciate God's mercy and become merciful ourselves must we be clear on our own capacity to hurt, break and turn our backs on our relationships with God and neighbour. The Peter who stands before Jesus and asks: “how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" is the same Peter who faces the resurrected Christ whom he had publicly denied and deserted three days earlier. I imagine that Peter's appreciation of God's mercy is transformed in that moment. He is no longer concerned with accounting but knows the full depth and breadth of God's mercy. Each time we gather at this table we too hear, in some form, Jesus' words:
this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. [Mt. 26:28]
We too stand before the crucified and risen Christ, with Peter, as forgiven sinners... called to be merciful agents of forgiveness. We called to take our place in the great circle economy of unmerited grace; to pass on freely the grace and forgiveness we have received. To be forgiven and to forgive... God's grace in action.
Do not be deceived by the simplicity and speed with which we offer our confession and receive absolution each Sunday. That moment is but a rehearsal, a reminder, a call for us to enter fully into the great mystery of God's “steadfast love and infinite mercy” for God's creation – all of it, all of us. In its familiarity we can lose the sense that in that moment we are standing before God, accountable for our actions and failures to act. And if we could fully enter into and appreciate that moment, indeed we would tremble, as Paulina and our psalmist sing. And we would appreciate, with Peter, the full power of God's mercy and grace and be ourselves healed and transformed and become witnesses, indeed agents, in the great project of healing all our relationships – the journey of forgiveness.  And so we pray each Sunday:
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may i) delight in your will, and ii) walk in your ways, to iii) the glory of your name.
Thanks be to God for God's steadfast love and infinite mercy...

[1]    “Israel Went Out From Egypt” Paul W.Quinlan; Commmon Praise 227.
[2]    “The Way of Letting Go: One Woman's Walk toward Forgiveness” Wilma Derksen; Harper Collins; 2017.

September 3, 2020
Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend
I pray that this finds you rooted and hopeful in the love and grace of Jesus Christ. In the tumult and anxieties of our current moment in history and in the newness and uncertainties of our pandemic way of life, it is easy for faith to get neglected. I pray for teachers, students and their parents as school begins. And I pray for our faith communities as we search for ways to be together, nurture our faith and love our neighbour. These are strenuous times even in the quietness of our self-isolating lives. Now more than ever we must sink our roots deep into the living waters of God's love and grace.
Holy Trinity is beginning to imagine and plan for ways to safely reopen our building for public worship. Jesus, in our gospel reading for Sunday, says:
where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
We need Jesus' presence and guidance in this moment and so we're planning for ways to gather safely in his name. But as we all know, human community is often hard. As Holy Trinity knows too well, our differences, hurts, styles of talking/listening often challenge our relationships. But again and again, if we do the work of listening to each other, we can discern Jesus' presence in our midst. As Paul writes to the early church in Rome, love lies at the heart of our life together. It shapes our listening, sharing and caring for our neighbours. Listen again to Paul's description of love:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. [1 Cor 13: 4-6]
A friend yesterday sent me a poem on kindness that I've included for your interest. Sometimes we can hear poems differently than scriptures or letters. At times, love can seem too big and challenging, but simple kindness seems like something every person can do. As we each, in our own circumstances, work to build up human community and sustain a rich life of faith in these trying times, let us be known for our kindness.
Our plans for September here at Holy Trinity include one more outdoor worship: September 13 – weather permitting.
Then September 20 and forward, we will worship indoors – following the government's phase 3 re-opening guidelines and our protocols. I've attached those protocols for your information. These are our starting point for gathering again inside safely. They will evolve overtime. For anyone who can, we will have a work party: Tuesday September 15, starting at 4:00, to ready our sanctuary together. Given all our different circumstances, we know that not everyone can join us for Sunday worship, but we are committed to upholding each other in prayer and friendship. Our phone and email connectors will continue to keep us all in touch. Then, God willing, on October 11, Holy Trinity will welcome its new Priest-in-Charge: the Reverend Andrew Rampton.
We give thanks for Jesus' promise to be with us whenever we gather in his name. We center our lives in him, in his love and his path of abundant life for all.
September blessings
Your sister in Christ
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
From: “Words Under the Words: Selected Poems.” Naomi Shihab Nye; 1995

August 29, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend:

This Sunday, weather permitting, we will gather on the front lawn of Holy Trinity for worship. It is good to be together in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, to pray, to receive communion, to support each other  in our life of faith and witness to the great goodness of Jesus' way. We continue to reach out to those who cannot safely be with us. We are all part of the body of Christ at Holy Trinity.
We are now planning for our return to worship inside our beautiful sanctuary. Next week you will receive an outline of the protocols we'll use to gather safely. Weather [and government permitting] we will gather outside one more time, September 13 and then move inside: September 20th. It will be a 'new normal,' but in our familiar space. More news on that in the weeks to come.
In the mean time, you are invited to come for the best hamburgers in town: Tuesday 11:00 – 1:00 at the Lunchroom @ Holy Trinity – the south lawn under the trees. Wednesday noon Eucharists are ongoing again. We continue to hold the whole Holy Trinity community in prayer.
May God uphold you in these challenging times we are in.
Summer blessings
Your sister in Christ
204.942.7465 ext 3

I enclose my notes for my homily tomorrow. The scriptures are already posted on the website [Exodus 3:1-15, Romans 12:9-21; and Matthew 16:21-28].  
Words for August 30:
Moses' story has a contemporary ring to it, especially as so many today engage in the struggle against the sin of racism. Moses led what today people call a hyphenated life. He was a Hebrew who grew up in the privilege of the Egyptian Pharaoh's court – a Hebrew-Egyptian. Our scriptures tell Moses' coming-of-age story simply:
“One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labour. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand...” [but the incident was observed, and we're told:] “when Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh.” [Exodus 2:11-12, 15]
You know that if Moses had simply looked away and walked on by what would have been a common sight, for sure Moses could have stayed in Pharaoh's court. But Moses intervened. He put his life on the line to stop the suffering of a single man.
At the start of today's account, Moses is a shepherd tending the flock of his father-in-law [a long way from the privilege of the Egyptian court]. He had taken the flock “beyond the wilderness.” And there beyond everything, in the great aloneness of that space “beyond the wilderness,” he sees a strange sight. Moses' first decision is to “turn aside and look at this great sight.” When God saw [we're told] that he had turned aside, God calls Moses by his name. And Moses finds himself standing “on holy ground.” God, like Moses, has seen the great suffering of the Hebrew people and will intervene. Moses is destined to be God's agent despite Moses' protests. Who would know better than Moses what the challenge is? But God's simple reply to Moses' objections are “I will be with you.” And then God shares his name with Moses. Names matter. Resisting evil, addressing the great suffering of God's people, the work of liberation, then and now, is a great and demanding struggle, but it starts simply –
  • with seeing,
  • with turning aside from the regular way of things,
  • with acknowledging that the place, the ground on which we stand, that moment of engagement with God is indeed holy.
Then we, with Moses, must ultimately say 'yes' to our call.
Now the disciples around Jesus faced a similar situation. They had acknowledged the holy in Jesus. ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Peter says. But Peter thought that Jesus would be their ticket out of suffering, out of the oppression of the Roman empire of the day. But then, Jesus starts talking about the great and demanding struggle – the suffering and death that is before him and his followers.
‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.  
Jesus' path to resurrection, to liberation, to life abundant for all does not sidestep suffering and death. Rather suffering and death are part of the struggle, but they can become meaningful not meaningless, not useless, not dead end. They can carry worth and value and point to a life beyond itself – a witness to the great and demanding struggle for justice, peace and the dignity of all. The life found in and through following Jesus' way is not a carefully defended life turned inward in protection and the search for security. Rather it is great and spacious and full – full of all the wonder and diversity and beauty and love for all of God's creation.
Paul in his letter to the church in Rome fills in the practical characteristics or code for following Jesus' way:
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection...[even our enemies. Paul writes:] Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” [Romans 12:9, 10a, 14, 21]
It is a strenuous path, a good path [filled with “good trouble” as the late US Senator John Lewis described it]; it is a path of life with dignity for all. But this path can only be lived fully in community, with others. Moses singular action of resistance was not the crucial turning point for his people. That was taken when he “turned aside” to see “this great sight” - a burning bush that was not consumed. There he encountered God and said 'yes' to his calling to deliver all God's people from their suffering. Centuries later, with infinite patience, we find Jesus teaching his disciples the full meaning of what his way was and still is all about. It is a path that includes suffering and death, but also resurrection – participating in life eternal. It is living held in the broad inclusive arms of God's love. And this way, this way of living only requires our 'yes.'

August 21st, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend:
Summer greetings. I pray that you are able to find cool refreshing moments in these hot dog-days of summer. All too soon we'll be greeting autumn. One of my uplifting moments this week was participating in Holy Trinity's Lunchroom gathering – welcoming our neighbours, having great conversations, making new and renewing older acquaintanceships, and delighting in the work group of volunteers serving the best hamburgers! It was a perfect Tuesday! The Spirit is moving among our community here in downtown Winnipeg, even as we practice the social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene required in our COVID time.
Interestingly our scripture readings for this Sunday are all set in the context of oppressive empire.
Our first reading from Exodus describes the tremendous cruelty and fear based actions and policies of the Egyptian empire against their Israelite slaves. Surprisingly, the turn towards life and freedom for the people depends on courage and audacity of women: two midwives: Shiphrah and Puah who spoke back to Pharaoh, Moses' mother who dared to release Moses to the Nile, and Moses' sister: Miriam who cleverly found a way to return Moses to his mother's care, and Pharaoh's daughter who in her compassion and against the will of her father gave Moses' sanctuary and care – a safe foster home for his early years. The seeds of Israel's liberation were planted and tended by this amazing convergence of brave women. May we be at least as clever and courageous as these women as we sow the seeds of our future.
Then in our second reading from Paul's letter to the emerging church in Rome – right in the heart of the empire, we are encouraged to know ourselves as one body in Christ – individually members one of another, with all our essential and beautiful differences. As one commentator notes: “each member’s identity and essence becomes intertwined with the other, regardless of our colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, or race. Our faith in God becomes our common denominator, rather than our affluence, education, status, or upbringing. With God as the source, a transformed life oriented to the Holy Spirit is the engine that drives our growth as a fellowship of believers (Romans 12:5).”
And finally, our gospel reading is set “in the district of Caesarea Philippi” the city of the oppressive Roman governor of the day. Jesus' direct question to his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” is set at the “intersection of economic trade, religion, and the power of the Empire.” To whom or in what do we put our ultimate life defining trust and allegiance?  Then and now, can we say with Peter: “You are the Messiah, the Son of Living God...” even knowing that like Peter, we don't really know what all that means, what all following Jesus' way will entail for us, what we really are saying, but trusting that Jesus' way is the path of mercy, of liberation, of life abundant for all.
Powerful, life defining scriptures for us individually and for us as a parish living and growing into our vision and mission here in downtown Winnipeg.
Our parish also had a wonderful moment of worship last Sunday out on the front lawn of Holy Trinity. It is good to gather and pray together with the ground under our feet and the sun overhead. Because of the encouragement of parishioners we will plan to worship twice more outside: next Sunday August 30 and then again September 13th. We will then move inside for worship: September 20th. Know that we will move forward in our worship life with an abundance of caution [and cleaning!].
One of our other projects is re-organizing our web-site. We so appreciate Derek's ministry in this. However almost half our parishioners still like to receive a letter in the mail, so that will go out over the Labour Day weekend. We all owe a real debt of gratitude to all our parish connectors for knitting the “body of Christ” together as we follow Jesus into the fall. May God bless us and keep us on this journey together.
Your sister in Christ

August 15th, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity parishioner and friend:

I hope that you are able to enjoy the blessing of these beautiful summer days that we've been given. The rain is refreshing the dryness of the earth. The lawn in front of Holy Trinity is greening again. We are gathering this Sunday to worship together outside again. Conscious of the continuing presence of the Covid virus and the recent increase in cases, we will take every precaution as we gradually re-open. Our current plan is to have one more outside service – September 13, and then move to worshipping inside: Sunday September 20. All of this is dependent on weather and government health protocols. We're not returning to normal, but to a safe way of gathering for worship and prayer. We will learn together over time about how to do this both safely and meaningfully. In this meantime, we pray for each other and for people around the world who are vulnerable and suffering both from illness and from poverty.

You will find in our regular website updates of scriptures and prayers, a notice from PWRDF on responding to the crises in Lebanon. As well, I've included an outline of my reflections on our gospel reading for Sunday: Matthew 15: 21-28.

I pray that you may be surprised and delighted by God's grace each and every day. I look forward to the time when I can greet you in person.

Stay well, safe and compassionate in the Spirit.

Your sister in Christ

Reflections on  Matthew 15: 21-28:
Oh the fierce determination of a mother fighting for her daughter... focused, insistent, loud. This woman cracked open Christ's heart and the great banquet table of the kingdom – and God's love over flowed with mercy - Mercy for this foreigner, mercy for this woman and healing for her daughter. What a story – told in only 7 verses. So many barriers broken. It's not a politically correct story – who calls foreigners 'dogs' these days... oh my? In fact its quite jarring. And yet what a powerful, important event.

Jesus had defined his circle of care to be for his people, his children, and the woman and her child were outside of that circle. She does not have a place at their table. But, she makes the picture bigger. She sees a table of plenty, a table with leftovers, a table with more than enough for all. And Jesus responds: “Woman, great is your faith!” And her daughter was healed instantly. The great banquet table of the kingdom is bounteous - God's love overflows with mercy. Of course there is enough for all!

At the heart of this story is a recurrent question: who owns Jesus? Who can say, Jesus loves these people and not those people? Biblical scholars believe that the gospel of Matthew was written for a primarily Jewish community in the early days when many Christians were Jewish. Remember Jesus himself was a Jew. They claimed him. Jesus was for the Jewish community. This account shatters that claim. This story says that there is room at the table for all: Jews and Gentiles, men and women [and as Paul added in his letter to the Galatians: slave and free; Galatians 3:28]. As Isaiah put it long before Jesus in our reading for today:
“Thus says the Lord... my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples...and the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, will be joyful in my house of prayer;”
And our psalmist says twice: “let all the peoples praise you;” and then finishes with “let all the ends of the earth revere him.” And I say: God' table is for all – all of us humans, and all of creation – every last fragment... “let all the ends of the earth revere him.”

But how easily, how quickly, how often, we define our circles of care as for us and not them; for me and mine but not you and yours, for humans and not the rest of creation. Sometimes we build walls to define those circles... [think of the wall between Israel and the West Bank; or between Mexico and the States].  But sometimes our separation is not a physical wall. We create rules, policies, bureaucratic procedures that privilege some and not others, that include and exclude. And sometimes those those boundaries, those walls, those separations are in our heads, in our cultures and can even be unconscious – oh our manifold blind spots. And those separations can be as fierce and hard to change as physical walls and ingrained policies and laws. These separations are at the root of the racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classisms of our time.  We humans have been so clever at differentiating ourselves into different circles of care. And how often the church has [sinfully] reinforced those divisions...How often the Bible and Jesus have been used to justify these divisions.

And what is it that cracks open all these divides between and among us?... All our organizing, teaching, legal and practical work is critical, but we it also requires a spiritual transformation. And at a spirit level, our gospel is right. What's required: is the hard work of love, a fierce determination, and an understanding that there is enough – enough for all... The great banquet table of the kingdom - God's love, over flows with mercy. Indeed, as you've heard many times before, God's grace is for all, for free – its unconditional - you don't have to be good, right and deserving; this kind or that].  God's grace is for all, for free, for ever.

Once you let that reality sink into your heart and deeply into your bones... you will see, you will experience the world differently. The world will sparkle with all our differences, but rather that sort that kaleidoscope of differences into colours that match or complement, we will just delight in the diversity. Our gospel event did not entail the conversion of the Canaanite woman. Her faith was already great. Rather the point is healing and wholeness for her daughter – as it is indeed abundant life for all... all of us and all of creation – every last fragment. May it be so!

Thanks be to God for God's infinite mercy, and for all our opportunities to learn and grow in the ways of the great circle economy of grace that opens to life in all its fullness for all.

August 7th
Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friends:
We're delighted to update our website after a week away. I hope this finds you well in your corner of the kingdom. Donald McKenzie, Haewook Kim, Paulina Gonzales and I have created a small youtube prayer service. You can watch it by clicking on this link:
Also hymns and their lyrics have also been posted separately in the music section.
Please note that we are planning another outdoor service for Sunday August 16th at 10:30. Please pass the word. This time we'll worship on the west side facing the stadium outside the main doors. There is more room for social distancing than on the south side. Know that masks are required. We will provide one if you don't have one. Everyone is warmly welcomed to come, but we would strongly urge those that aren't feeling well or who have been around those who might not be well or who have travelled recently to wait on coming to service until September. Thank you for your care and respect for each other. Please bring lawn chairs if you have them. Also know there is less shade on the west side. It will be good to gather, greet each other and worship all together again. [Our rain date is the following weekend]. If the weather holds, we will plan a third outdoor service in September.

Please check out picture from our July 26th Outdoor service in our Worship Our Sanctuary section on the site Click Here
The Lunchroom @ Holy Trinity is going strong on Tuesday's from 11:00 to 1:00pm. Come and enjoy a BBQ'd hamburger and meet our downtown neighbours. If you can volunteer, please talk with Donald McKenzie: 204.942.7465 ext 4 or revdonald@holytrinity.mb.ca. He would be most appreciative.
Summer blessings to you all
Your sister in Christ


July 24, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend:

I'm so delighted to have the gift of worshipping together again – outside, with the ground under our feet, in the heart of the city. Our last Sunday worship together was March 15th!  Wherever this note finds you, know that our life together in the Spirit as church continues and will re-emerge after the precautions of the pandemic are eased.  I'm including my notes for my homily this Sunday.

I find myself swimming in a very noisy and unsettling wash of news of our world these days.  People seem so polarized and strident in their positions. Every issue is presented as hugely important. It is all urgent:  buy this, consume this, don't consume this, do this, don't do that... and in order to get our attention, everything is do or die. One response to this deluge is of course to stop - turn off or put down what ever we are watching or reading. Another less self-isolating approach is recenter ourselves in Paul's three great assurances offered to the church in Rome:  
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are always, everywhere held in God's embrace;
“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not, with him, also give us everything else?” God shares extravagantly, arms wide open, without stinting, all we genuinely need. And
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Can we go forward in the Spirit in quiet assurance and trust?
Perhaps none of us should read or watch the news without having Romans chapter 8 at hand and in our hearts and minds.

With these assurances etched into our souls, we turn to Jesus' five small parables about the kingdom for they give us clues about to discern what is of God and God's reign. What is God's sovereign will in these crazy, uncertain times. How do we attend to and interpret our times? In those parables, we hear that:
small matters – small and insignificant and every day – like mustard seeds and yeast, can change a situation for the good;
diversity is a characteristic of the reign of God – 'fish of every kind' are part of the netted catch of the kingdom;
the kingdom is hidden – it's in the dirt, buried in the stuff of our lives. It requires finding, selling and buying – in other words we have to pay attention and search for it; we have divest ourselves of encumbrances - whether psychological or financial, and we have to commit to it.

But you might ask: what is it? What is the kingdom of heaven, the reign of God, seeds of the kingdom? How do we know it to find it? Let me offer you the words of two 20th century musical poets:
Marty Haugen in “You are Salt for the Earth”... points to the kingdom of mercy, of peace, of justice and finishes his last verse with “love is the kingdom of God!”
And Byrn Rees in “The Kingdom of God is Justice and Joy”... [and indeed, we're told, the person who finds the treasure hidden in the field does go with joy to sell everything to buy that field]...Bryn writes in her second verse of signs of the kingdom: mercy, grace, captives free, sinners restored, outcasts welcomed to the banquet and hope awakened. And in her fourth verse she suggests that the kingdom is both gift and goal - already begun in Jesus - both 'now' and to come in its fullness “when all things cry 'Glory!' to God all in all.”
These are good word pictures, set to music, to draw us into an understanding of the kingdom. Signposts to finding our way in these uncertain, unsettled times.

And so Jesus after 5 parables of the kingdom [on top of the one last week and another the previous week] asks his disciples [and us]: "Have you understood all this?" [And] they answered, "Yes." Do we? And if we say 'yes,' we understand his invitation to see and be part of the kingdom... his words to his disciples at his last supper with them in the gospel of John should ring in our hearts:
If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.  [John 13:17]
Our knowing must be inextricably tied to our actions, to our commitments. How do we live in these crazy unsettled times? We live for the kingdom. We live as Jesus' did:
For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. [John 13:15]
We follow his way – the path of abundant life for all. For even the small can grow into a big shrub and shelter the birds; even the smallest ingredients can leaven the whole. Even we can play our part to grow the city of God.
I've included the words for “You are Salt for the Earth” and “The Kingdom of God is Justice and Joy” for you to consider as musical poems. If you want to hear the music search for them on YouTube. Enjoy!
Note that our webmaster: Derek, is scheduled for eye surgery this coming week. Gwen our parish administrator had emergency eye surgery this week. Instead of a website update for next Sunday, we will have a good old-fashioned parish mailing. I give thanks for our parish phone/email connectors for keeping us all in touch in these unsettling times.
May God shower you with summer blessings
Your sister in Christ
CP#502 You Are Salt for the Earth
Verse 1
You are salt for the earth, O people:
salt for the kingdom of God!
Share the flavour of life, O people:
life in the kingdom of God!
Bring forth the kingdom of mercy,
bring forth the kingdom of peace;
bring forth the kingdom of justice,
bring forth the city of God!
Verse 2
You are a light on the hill, O people:
light for the city of God!
Shine so holy and bright, O people:
shine for the kingdom of God!
Verse 3
You are a seed of the Word, O people:
bring forth the kingdom of God!
Seeds of mercy and seeds of justice
grow in the kingdom of God!
Verse 4
We are a blest and a pilgrim people
bound for the kingdom of God!
Love our journey and love our homeland:
love is the kingdom of God!
CP #631 The Kingdom of God is Justice and Joy
V 1: The kingdom of God is justice and joy,
For Jesus restores what sin would destroy.
God’s power and glory in Jesus we know,
And here and here after the kingdom shall grow.
V 2: The kingdom of God is mercy and grace;
The captives are freed, the sinners find place.
The outcasts are welcomed God’s banquet to share,
And hope is a wakened in place of despair.
V 3: The kingdom of God is challenge and choice;
Believe the good news, repent and rejoice!
His love for us sinners brought Christ to his cross,
Our crisis of judgement for gain and for loss.
V 4: God’s kingdom is come, the gift and the goal,
In Jesus begun, in heaven made whole.
The heirs of the kingdom shall answer his call,
And all things cry “Glory!” to God All-in-All.

July 16, 2020
Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friends

I pray on this beautiful summer day that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you, enfold you and all you love, and guide you in all you do. These are uncertain and muddled times, but we are blessed. We're blessed as we are – as muddled, uncertain, and ordinary as we are these days.
On the surface, at first reading, Jesus' parable of the wheat and weeds divides the world simply and clearly into categories of children of the kingdom and children of the evil one. But in the moment, practically and mercifully, it proves not so simple to divide the wheat from the weeds. They are muddled together, their roots are intertwined, and sorting them would kill the wheat as well as the weeds. The counsel is to live in the muddle and stay our inclination to clear up the muddle prematurely – before the harvest. And this is merciful counsel because, in truth, are we not all in ourselves muddles of weeds [sinners] and wheat [children of God]? We are works in progress. As Paul writes: “the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption” - full adoption as children of God. And so Paul writes, in this in between, muddled time, before all is resolved, we live with patience and hope. And we live with the assurance of God's presence wherever we find ourselves. Jacob, that epitome of  the mixture of weeds and wheat of Jesus' parable, on the side of road, hears: “know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” And Psalm 139 testifies to this assurance in a beautiful crescendo of images.
We can live – live fully and well - in harmony and love of God, neighbour and creation. Because, even in these unsettled, uncertain times, God is with us and will keep us always in steadfast love, compassion and wisdom. And so indeed we live into our future with patience, trust and hope. And maybe when we wake into our new day, we too with Jacob will be able to sing:
"Surely the LORD is in this place--and I did not know it!...How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
And then take the sign of our discomfort and unsettledness – for Jacob his stone pillow, and mark it as a sacred reminder of God's presence and commitment to us and all of creation.
Next Sunday July 26 at 10:30 am – God willing and the weather permitting, those who can, will gather outside on the south side of Holy Trinity, with masks and social distancing, to worship and pray together. Please bring your own lawn chairs and masks if you are able. Know that there will be music, but no congregational singing. There will be communion, but in one kind only. And we will be together but six feet apart, with extra ushers and hosts so we can move safely among each other. If it is rainy, we will delay our service until August 2. We do ask that if you have any cold, flu or Covid-like symptoms and/or if you have travelled recently, please wait to participate in worship until a time when it safe for us all to be together. You will be in our prayers and we are grateful for your consideration.
This is a special week for Holy Trinity. I am SO delighted to be able to include Bishop Geoff's July 16th letter to the parish. On October 6th, the Reverend Andrew Rampton will become Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity. I have also included his note to the parish. Andrew's appointment is terrific good news for the parish. He is a gifted priest who is passionate about the mission and ministry the church in our time and place. I look forward to journeying with the parish and supporting Andrew as a volunteer. Please welcome him as you welcomed me - with open good hearts.
In the meantime, I offer summer blessings to each of you.
Your sister in Christ
204.926.7465 ext 3  
Bishop Geoff's note:
The Diocese of Rupert’s Land
The Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft
Bishop of Rupert’s Land

July 16, 2020
Dear People of God, Disciples of Holy Trinity,
Greetings in the name of Jesus, the head of the Body to which we belong!
It is with great excitement and honour that I write to you this day. The Rev’d Dr. Cathy Campbell has served her term as an interim priest for the last most extraordinary year. Her gifts, along with that of the Rev’d Aubrey Hemminger for a few months, has made for new beginnings and hope amidst the Body gathered here in Holy Trinity. Technically, her time in this role is complete as of September 1, 2020.
Last Tuesday evening members of Holy Trinity were called to hear a presentation from the Rev’d Andrew Rampton, by my invitation. Andrew spoke with passion and conviction about vision meeting reality for this downtown parish.
I hereby inform you that it is my intention to appoint The Rev’d Andrew Rampton to a 5 year, renegotiable contract, as Priest in Charge, beginning October 6, 2020.
During the early months of this appointment I am requiring Holy Trinity to undergo an assessment of human and other resources to help us achieve the goals and skill-sets necessary to meet the mission and ministry needs we are identifying for Holy Trinity.
May you continue in the rich blessing of God, who continually calls us forward.
In Christ,
+ Geoffrey
Andrew Rampton's note:
Dear People of God in the Parish of Holy Trinity,
I write to you today both honoured and filled with excitement. The bishop’s announcement of his intent to appoint me as priest-in-charge in your parish is one that carries much hope, much excitement, many possibilities, and has surely been guided by the careful work of the Holy Spirit.
I met with representatives from your community on Tuesday, 7 July, and was given many stories and dreams by them. These words spoke of a people who are called to be the sharers of God’s abundant blessing, to be healers and caregivers, and who see the face of Christ throughout their parish, and who long for strong, healthy relationships with all of God’s children.
I am honoured by the invitation extended by you and our bishop to join with you, the Body of Christ in the centre of Winnipeg. I look forward to meeting each of you and to the many blessings our ministry together will reveal.
Yours in Christ,
The Revd. Andrew Rampton
July 8, 2020
Dear Holy Trinity parishioner and friends,
I look  out my window and see blue and green and more green – dotted with bright flower colours, but every shade of green moving in the wind. Creation is shining in all her glory! Thanks be to the Creator for these beautiful summer days and the nights which bless us with coolness and renewal. Although mostly isolated, we are indeed all in this moment together.
At the heart of our life together in faith, is God's great circle economy of grace. God's grace is poured out for all, for free [unconditionally], forever – always; and we pass it on in big and small ways. It's not written about in the financial news of the day, but it sustains and renews the globe. God showers the earth, indiscriminately and extravagantly, with words of grace, seeds of kingdom, kernels of love. Isaiah writes:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty...
The picture that unfolds is of joy, peace, song, trees clapping their hands, the earth overflowing with goodness. And our psalmist joins the chorus and echos the great life giving power of water - the hydrological cycles of nature. And so God's great circle economy of grace. [see our scripture section for these readings]
What are the seeds that the sower in Jesus' parable scatters so indiscriminately and generously? Matthew calls them “the word of the kingdom.” Jesus starts with the command: “Listen!” and ends his parable with: “Let anyone with ears listen!" Can we hear, can we take in and absorb the “words of the kingdom” - the words of grace and love showered upon us each and every day? What is the state of the soil of our lives – our souls?
Are they hard packed, bitter, resentful, cynical, reluctant to hear a single word of grace; or
Are they thin and superficial, infatuated with all that glitters or moves us in the moment, easily distracted; or
do we find ourselves anxious or judgmental – preoccupied, we might say weedy, with competing priorities so that there is no room for God's word to grow; or
are we open, receptive, attentive and responsive to the grace and blessings God showers upon us?
What sustains and grows the health and fertility of the soil of our souls? How do we tend, fertilize and keep our souls awake and alive. All the spiritual practices matter: wonder, generosity, gratitude, praise, loving kindness, empathy, simplicity. You can add to the list. And so we pray:
Crazy, indiscriminate, extravagant Gardener, you shower the earth with your words of love. Plant us deep in your heart that we might bring life, joy, right relations and your peace to all whose lives touch ours. We give thanks for your steadfast love. “You are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.” May we and all your beloved creation “shout and sing together for joy.” We pray in the name of your Word, Amen. [quoting Psalm 65]
In news of the parish:
we continue to plan for an outdoor service: Sunday June 26th at 10:30 on the south side of the church – with careful social distancing, face masks and care for our neighbour; bring a lawn chair if you can; rain date a week later.
The Lunchroom at Holy Trinity is open and also outside; volunteers welcome.
our revenue is significantly down as you can imagine; we give special thanks to all who have posted a cheque or have authorized an automatic withdrawal – Gwen can help set that up for you if you would like; and we now have the capacity for e-transfers if that makes things easier for you to support Holy Trinity – please see the instructions below.
I pray that you are enjoying the long hot days of summer and staying safe.
Every blessing,
Your sister in Christ
04.929.7465 ext 3
Instructions for E-Transfer Donations to Holy Trinity
After logging in to your financial institution select the payments option and the select interac e-transfer.
You can then set up a payee – the information requested will be similar to what is displayed below but there will likely be differences depending on your financial institution:
Fill in the amount you would like to donate.
When you press continue you will get a message as shown below.



July 2, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity parishioner and friend:

Here we are in the heart and heat of summer. I pray you are well and safe. It is too long since I’ve been able to greet you in person. But this week we have the next best thing – a video of a small prayer time with music and reflection on our gospel for this Sunday:
I extend special thanks to Paulina Gonzales and Richard Greig for splendid music, Be Buckingham for our prayers and Donald McKenzie for this technical expertise. I pray that Jesus’ radical and unconditional invitation continues to reside and work in your hearts and imagination:
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Holy Trinity is cautiously opening in this new phase of the Covid pandemic. We had a happy hotdog BBQ under the trees on the south side of the building at last Tuesday’s LUNCHROOM. Please speak to Donald if you’re interested in helping. Donald has re-initiated our Wednesday Eucharist service with our new pandemic protocols. And if we can identify parish hosts, Richard is prepared to have Pipes Alive on Thursday noon hours in August. In addition, weather permitting and God willing, Holy Trinity will worship outside Sunday morning July 26th at 10:30. Anyone who would help host, read and serve at this service, please let me know.  It will be so good to gather and worship together [with masks and social distancing] again!
Know that you are in the prayers of my heart. Should you or anyone you know need specific prayers, please email or phone me. Given our social isolation, the current events and turmoil around the world and an atmosphere of deep uncertainty about the future, prayer is critically important. May the Spirit enfold and empower you and those you love in blessing.

Your sister in Christ
Associate Priest; revcathy@holytrinity.mb.ca
204.942.7465 ext 3

June 25, 2020
Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend:
I pray that this note finds you and all in your circle of love and care well and able to embrace the beauty and life of these long days of summer. Indeed life is bursting out and around us: birds, gardens, trees and people – out of winter coats and enjoying God's grace. In the midst of so much uncertainty, illness and death, and demonstrations against the terrible injustices and violence of our time, we must remain deeply grounded in God's grace. It is from a heart of grace and love, that the new creation – the fullness of the kingdom, is brought to life.
Our scripture passage for this Sunday [Matthew 10:40-42] concludes Jesus' instructions to the disciples he has sent out to bear witness, in word and action, to the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Our simple short gospel text describes the heart of hospitality that lies at the centre of the economy of the kingdom - God's economy of grace.
"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me... [and] whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple -- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."
And the reward is the reward of the righteous [the sheep – those who fed, watered, clothed, welcomed, healed and visited “the least of these who are members of my family”] in Matthew 25:  to “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” At the heart of the economy of the kingdom is welcome received and welcome given.
Years ago, 'the banquet' became for me a synonym for 'the kingdom' – specifically a banquet where everyone has a place at the table, every place is one of dignity, and there is enough always for all. All are welcome. Only those who exclude themselves are absent from the table. I've included a prayer that I wrote about the banquet that elaborates this vision and underlines the expansiveness of God's welcome.
How do we remain rooted in God's great circle economy of grace in times such as ours – times of distress and anxiety and change when we cannot even be together safely. The witness of so many people demanding racial justice, the gradual opening of our public spaces and resilience of the globe's atmosphere are hopeful signs of our times. But the traditional disciplines of faith are critical to stay centered in the Spirit: prayer, critical reflection on the scriptures, creation and the newspaper, acts of generosity and compassion.
Our letters, emails and phone calls are meant to invite and encourage us all to live in and act out of this circle of grace in our daily lives. There is so much that invites us to close our hearts, we must stay in touch with all that opens our hearts in love – to each other, to the world around us, to ourselves, to God. May we all continue to welcome God's invitation to the banquet and extend it on in word and deed. For it is indeed the path of life – abundant life for all.

Summer blessings
Your sister in Christ
Cathy Campbell
204.942.7465 ext 3
PS Our Wednesday noon time Eucharist services have begun again [Donald presiding]; The Lunchroom is set to begin again – please talk to Donald if you

“Gathered in Love in the family of life, we are one Sacred Community.”
Mary Southard, CSJ 1997

{C.Campbell “Stations of the Banquet: Faith Foundations for Food Justice”; Liturgical Press; 2003; p.243/4}
Station 12 Litany: The Banquet
Voices 1:          At the beginning of the day, we join you at the breakfast table;
Voices 2:          We sing our thanksgivings to you for all the blessings of the banquet.  
One:                O Host of the wedding feast, who calls each of us by name,
Voices 1:          You welcome the poor, the weeping, the lost, exiled, rejected, and reviled, the hungry and thirsty, the bullied and victimized; and in your mercy, the bullies and victimizers.
Voices 2:          You welcome the humble, the peace-makers,  the patient, the faithful, and the resolute; and in your steadfast love, the tentative, the impatient, and the proud.
Voices 1:          You welcome the eccentrics, the wild ones and those who dance to drummers we don’t yet hear; and in your great love, the upright and respectable.
Voices 2:          You welcome the great hearts and the scared hearts, the wise ones and the simple ones; and in your compassion, the misguided and the angry.
All:                  All the creatures are welcomed to your table
Indeed all of creation has a place at your table.
Voices 1:          The joy of your welcome is perfect peace;
Voices 2:          The company you keep is love’s full harvest;
All:                  We come each day to the feast of your grace,
With hearts full of wonder and thanksgiving.
One:                O Source and Power of Salvation,
Voices 1:          Banish scarcity, destruction and fear from our midst;
Voices 2:          Banish the ravenous and aching hungers of your beloved creation.
One:                Feed us with the abundance of your table:
Voices 1:          The food of justice and truth, The food of reconciliation and solidarity,
Voices 2:          The food of healing and wholeness, The food of freedom and peace,
All:                  That we ourselves might become food for all.
One:                Source of all wisdom and compassion,
Voices 1:          You open the door to the new creation,
Voices 2:          And accompany us as friend, challenge and surprising provider;
All:                  Lead and we will follow.
One:                Deep current of everlasting joy,
Voices 1:          All our striving, reaching, consuming and restless searching finds fulfillment in you.
Voices 2:          You are the well that satisfies all thirst.
All:                  We sing of the glory, splendour and joy of the banquet, And praise your name forever. Amen. Alleluia!
{C.Campbell “Stations of the Banquet: Faith Foundations for Food Justice”; Liturgical Press; 2003; p.243/4}

Cathy’s Note June 21, 2020
Dear Friends at Holy Trinity,

         10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 10:30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 10:31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

This is Rev. Donald, filling in once more for Rev. Cathy, who will be returning with these notes, beginning next week.

Fear. Fear seems to be stalking us at every turn. Some of this fear is quite natural. We are in the middle of a pandemic, and so we wish to tread carefully.
Much of the fear we face though, is manufactured. Fear is used as a tool to make us doubt our worth. To make us doubt each other’s worth.
First, as we read the Gospel for today, we need to remember that it is a continuation of a passage where Jesus is sending the disciples out into the world. As Jesus encounters opposition so will the disciples. Yet, in the middle of all of that, Jesus wants them to remember how much God cares for them.
Jesus uses the example of the sparrow. A small and seemingly insignificant bird. There are so many of them, that we generally do not notice when harm comes to them. God does though. Every. Single. Time. Never does the fate of one sparrow escape God’s notice.Jesus then goes on to say, even the hair on our heads are numbered. The smallest details of who we are matter to God. We are loved. Love is the antidote to fear 1 John 4:18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
We are perfectly loved. There is nothing in this world that we should fear. More importantly, there is no one in this world that we should fear. We are all created by God’s love.

When we allow each other to be fully human, we are not lessened. We do not lose anything of who we are by allowing anyone else the freedom to be who they are. Why, because we are all people who are created by God’s love. When we stand up against injustice. When we work to create systems that benefit all people. That is when we show love and not fear.

Thinking about this in terms of our reopening. Do we have enough love to wait, until all can gather? Can I allow some to gather, even though I am not yet able? Do we seek the welfare of the whole body, or just what makes us happy as individuals? Will we allow God’s love to drive away our fear?
Rev. Donald
(offered by The Rev. Donald McKenzie for June 21, 2020)

Cathy’s Note June 14, 2020

Dear Friends at Holy Trinity,

Recently, someone said, “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live during the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s . . .  all at the same time!”
I’m not sure what your days are like, but mine seem to fit the times.  At work, we still wear masks and have our temperature taken daily, but I’m fortunate that I did not lose my job.  I’ve now had a haircut and been shopping, even though I haven’t yet entered a mall or a restaurant.  My oldest two kids are both graduating from university this spring, but without a convocation or photos in cap and gown, and my youngest, who is in grade 11, says she’s keeping up – but it looks and feels more like summer holidays than school!  I’ve come to realize that I hate Zoom, although it has allowed all sorts of things to happen.  Maybe, like me, your days are quietly unfolding.
And, of course, I’ve been shocked at what is happening in the U.S.  I chose not to watch the video of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, but I have been riveted by the demonstrations that followed.  I was especially moved by two things: first, I discovered that a photographer in the U.S. has recreated Michelangelo’s Pieta, using Black mothers and their sons in locations across the country.  One is in front of a Target store, one in the centre of a major city, one on the steps of a legislative building, one beside a country road.  In each photo, a mother stares into the camera, holding her son, just as Mary held the body of Jesus, her dead son, in Michelangelo’s statue.  There is strength in the mother’s face, even as there is pain and bewilderment, as she cradles her child.
The second thing that moved me were some of the final words of George Floyd, as he lay on the road under the officer’s knee.  He cried out to his mother.  Mama, he screamed.  Someone called this a sacred invocation.  When he called out to his mother, he called out to all mothers, and all mothers came.  
I think about all these things: the monotonies of self-isolation, the students graduating from school, those who have lost their jobs and are struggling, the sin of racism, the failure of political leaders, the cries of suffering that rise to heaven every day.  I think of Rev. Cathy as she mourns the death of her mother.  I think of Holy Trinity, closed and silent.
The psalm for this Sunday says that the Lord hears the voice of our supplications (116:1).  How important it is to remember that.  When our world convulses under the strain of disease or prejudice, or when things fall apart and our eyes fill with tears, how important it is to remember that.  The Lord hears our supplications.  God hears our asking, our begging, our earnestness, our bewilderment.  The Lord hears, and like the mother in the Pieta, holds us close, eyes us with deep love, and carries us into life.  
(offered by The Rev. Norman Collier for June 14, 2020)

Cathy’s Note June 7, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend,
This is Reverend Donald writing. Over the next three Sundays, myself and Rev. Norm Collier will be sharing on the Cathy’s Note page. Rev. Cathy is taking some much-needed time off. Please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers as she mourns the death of her mother.
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
13:13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
This week has brought about an opening of the city. Yes, there are still many restrictions and we will be continuing in our practice of waiting until the fall when we hopefully be together again. Along with that, it has been largely, warm, bright, and sunny. This should be a time for celebration.
Yet, at the same time, our world has been thrown into greater turmoil. With the killing of George Floyd, we have again been reminded that all is not as it should be in our world. We must acknowledge that the systems of our world are set up to allow some people to hold an advantage over others. Whether we approve of or decry the rioting that is going on alongside the peaceful demonstrations, we need to see the injustice that pushes people to engage in such behaviour.
In the first verse of our epistle reading for this week, as Paul is signing off his letter to the Corinthians, he tells them to: Put things in order. Yes, he also tells them to agree with one another, and to live in peace, but these statements come after putting things in order.
Our world is disordered. Our world is fragmented. We have built systems that assure peace for one group of people, by assuring that others: blacks, indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and more, are never able to be at peace. We create a world where others must live in fear, so that we can live in denial.
How do we do this. The answer may be found in reflecting on the Trinity. Too often we spend our time trying to find technical descriptions of how the Trinity works. Instead let us focus on the way that each member of the Trinity is in relationship with each. A relationship built on love.
This is not love in any sentimental sense. Rather it is love in a practical sense. Every action of each member of the Trinity perfectly reflects the will of the others.
We need an action-based love, and we need a loved based action. We need to take some time to read 1 Corinthians 13. Then we should ask ourselves how we can apply that definition of love in the world around us. Ask ourselves how that definition of love shapes our race relations (Pentecost should remind us that there is only one race, the human)? How that definition of love shapes our economic system? How that definition of love shapes our sexuality?
We are currently not meeting at our building, but we are always meeting people. Let us meet them with the love that is demonstrated for us in the Trinity.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Rev. Donald McKenzie

Cathy’s Note May 29, 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioner and Friend:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful; and kindle in us the fire of your love.
For Pentecost Sunday – May 31, we have created a little prayer service and reflection, captured with Donald MacKenzie's help, as a youtube video:

Please click on the video and let's pray and reflect on the scriptures together, but in a time and place that works for you. Haewook and Richard have offered music to inspire your heart in prayer. It is a modest expression of Holy Trinity in this Covid moment – disbursed but together in the Spirit.
Vestry met last night at Holy Trinity.
We gave special thanks for our volunteer phone and email connectors. They keep us in touch with each other and sustain the parish. They are committed to staying in touch with everyone in the parish.
The parish has indeed taken quite a financial hit as have so many charitable organizations. We give thanks to those who have continued to give to the parish – by mail, by e-transfers and pre-authorized giving and we trust that others will generously make up the difference in their donations when we gather again.
We will not gather for in person Sunday worship until September. However, there will be small Wednesday noon time Eucharistic services starting June 17th. Please know that these services will be for 20 or less and follow strict protocols set by the Diocese.
We will continue with a weekly website update and have three YouTube prayer and reflection recordings – one this Sunday and one for the beginning of July and of August. There will be three Canada Post mailings to those who requested it and to those without email addresses.
Over June and July, Cathy and Gwen will each take holidays, but the parish phone and email will be monitored for calls and questions.
Good news: the Lunchroom @ Holy Trinity will re-open on June 16th depending on the availability of volunteers. It will also host some outdoor events. If you can volunteer or know others who would like this opportunity please call or email the Rev'd.Donald MacKenzie at: 204.942.7465 ext 4 or revdonald@holytrinity.mb.ca. With thanks
The Spirit is calling us to new life here at Holy Trinity. Let us rejoice and be very grateful.
Stay safe and pray for the continued health and well-being of the city.
Your sister in Christ

See anglican.ca/resources/gospel-based-discipleship  for more

See the
Winnipeg Free Press Article “Keeping The Faith” by Ben Waldman. posted 04/09/2020.

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