June 5, 2020
This has been an incredibly difficult week as we have been deeply saddened and angered by the violence and racism displayed by some police officers and certain elected leaders. It is spilling into our own streets and I will be telling the stories of two African-Canadian Winnipeg friends in this Sunday’s online worship service. With the leadership of our Affirming Committee, our congregation has been working diligently over the past year to help us learn how we can be more welcoming of diversity. Race is part of this diversity. Westworth’s values are rooted in God’s unconditional love and affirmation of everyone, regardless of identity.
Our Christian faith is solidly based on love that breaks down divisions based on race and ethnicity. The Good Samaritan story is a clear example of someone risking their own life to stop along a dangerous road and help someone of a different religion and ethnicity. Jesus’ teachings challenge us to risk standing in solidarity with those who are vulnerable.
Because of this, I will be attending the rally against racism today at 6 pm. I will be wearing my collar and cross to symbolize the church’s presence and will be standing with visibly-identified Jews and Muslims. Together, we pray that our presence will indicate our commitment across religious traditions to stand together in support of our Black friends.
The rally organizers have released a strong statement, part of which I have pasted below. They are committed to a peaceful presence and to people honouring physically distancing and the wearing of masks. If you would like to join me, you may text me at (204) 805-4694 and I can let you know where I am. Please wear a mask.
Speakers for the night include:
Nadine Sookermany from Women’s Health Clinic
Uzoma Asagawara MLA for Union Station and organizer of QPOC Winnipeg
Adeline Bird is an Afro-Indigenous community advocate, producer and filmmaker. She is also the book author of the book “Be Unapologetically You: A self-love guide for women of colour
Please come out to heal, show solidarity and love for Black folks.
*Allies are welcome*
This is a peaceful rally and not a riot. If you are coming with the intention to be violent and destructive instead of grieve, learn, listen and support organizers & our community STAY HOME
We want to make sure that people are still following social distancing protocols, meaning to please wear masks, remain two meters apart from each other and bring hand sanitizer if you are able to. If you do not have any please let us know and we can provide you with some.
We will have extra masks and gloves available but please do your best to get some for yourself and others if possible.
This Sunday, we will be virtually celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Please have bread or crackers and juice or water ready when you watch the YouTube. We now are trying to post the service by Sat. evening each week to facilitate a flexibility of viewing times.
At 10:45 am this Sunday, Ray’s 6 by 4 brass quartet will be offering a church porch serenade. This will be his last musical offering before he heads to his cottage for the summer. If you plan to come, please remember to keep 6 feet from each other (hence the name of the quartet). Last Sunday there were about 30 people, including some neighbours, who turned out. It will help us monitor our numbers to keep them to a maximum of 50.
We will be starting our After Church Café this Sunday a bit later at 1:00 pm to accommodate the church porch serenade and this time I will offer a question for us to discuss. How can we use the power of our privilege to empower those who are marginalized? To join the After Church Café through Zoom, please click on the following link. You may also join by phone.
Click on this link at 1:00 pm on Sunday to join the After Church Café:
Meeting ID: 922 2364 9526
You may also dial any of the following long-distance numbers:
+1 778 907 2071 Canada
+1 438 809 7799 Canada
+1 587 328 1099 Canada
+1 647 374 4685 Canada
+1 647 558 0588 Canada
Our Worship Team has been working very hard, meeting twice as often as usual to help guide our worship plans. Thank you to Olwyn L., Worship Team Leader for taking up the challenge and to the Worship Team members for doubling their commitment of time: Petra T., Eunice P., George & Bettina N., Cathy B., Merle M. and new member Teresa S., along with staff Debbie McLeod, Dorcas Windsor and Maggie Barnett. We will be continuing our online services through the summer. In June, they will be recorded on Thursdays and Peter will continue to edit them and post for the month of June. As of July, we hope to move to live-stream services where we will record and upload to our Youtube Channel all on Sunday morning. We need a couple more people to join our tech team. So far, it consists of Peter S. and Kim O. with two more people considering. If you are available and interested to help us film and upload our services on Sunday mornings, please let me know. We are trying to find enough people so that they can spell each other off on different Sundays.
Our service for June 21 will be partly recorded at West Broadway Community Ministry and will allow some of you to see what this outreach ministry is all about. We will be having a virtual tour and interviews with staff, volunteers and guests.
Saint Andrew’s River Heights will be joining us virtually for our services in July and we will be having a joint service with them on the last Sunday of June. We will then join them virtually for services in August through to Sept. 6.
I want to give a particular thank you to Dianne S. and Maggie Barnett. They have both risen to the challenge of the world of technology to begin planning a virtual Vacation Bible School through Zoom for this summer. They are exploring many options for virtual Sunday School as well. They continue to offer creative activities for our children, such as delivering sidewalk chalk to families with which they have graced our steps with words of hope and love, delivering flowers, which are being planted in the church garden, along with other creative endeavours which will soon appear. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I will be on study leave for one week Monday, June 8-Sunday, June 14 as I continue researching how the thriving United Churches I visited last year are faring during this pandemic. Rev. Ray Cuthbert has a powerful service planned for June 14. In case of emergency pastoral care, please contact him at 204-283-7676.
May this coming week bring blessings of peace and healing.
From Your CE Team:
Love Blooms! Thank you to our young folk who planted colourful annuals in the gardens at our building. Once again you have contributed to lifting the spirits of our neighbourhood. Whether you were able to plant at the church, or you planted them at home, we hope the flowers remind you of God’s love and also the love, concern and care held for you in your Westworth community.
Thank You: To Julia S., Danielle C. and Cheryl E. for continuing to connect with our young people while we have been physically distanced from each other. As we enter June and our usual winding down of Church School, please know how much your connection with our children is appreciated.
‘Superheroes of the Bible’ Zoom VBS August 24-28th . More information to follow.
Middle Years Youth: Our regional regular youth drop ins are continuing. If you are interested in connecting with other United Church people in our city and beyond, the information is below.
Virtual Youth Drop-In Updated
(not on June 4th due to evening Q & A advertised above, but continuing through the rest of June)
Calling all youth who would like a chance to connect online with other United Church youth for some games, discussion, and sharing. Thursdays at 2:30 pm. Please email Twila M. at TMacNair@united-church.ca
Racism Kills by Richard Bott Moderator of the UCC
You might think I’m just talking about overt ways –
like a white police officer’s knee on a Black man’s neck,
crushing out his life;
or a white man’s gun whose hair trigger goes off while “accidentally” pointed at an Indigenous man,
taking his life;
or a white woman’s weaponized phone call,
voice changing mid-sentence,
“fearing for her life,” because she was asked
to leash her dog,
knowing what her actions could take away,
a Black man’s life;
or a white man’s fists slamming
an Asian woman’s face, as she stands,
waiting for a bus;
or the late night, midwinter dropoffs
at the city limits,
when the amount of time a person can die
because of exposure is counted in
or a thousand other things.
You might think I’m talking about covert ways –
the difference in sentencing between
someone who is Black and someone who is white
that puts one in prison for years,
and the other with a misdemeanor;
or the carding, the “stop and frisk,”
or the disbelief that an Indigenous woman
could be a lawyer, “and what are you doing
in this part of town anyway”…
or a thousand other ways.
You might think I’m talking about systemic ways
that mean unsafe drinking water,
or overcrowded housing,
or the “disproportionate prevalence of comorbidities,”
or the simple reality of what the stress of
constantly being on guard does to
a person’s body, mind, and well-being…
or a thousand other ways.
All of it.
And you know who has to change?
Me and people like me.
Systems like the ones I live in and move in
and am privileged by
Me and people like me.
If I’m not being anti-racist
with my words and my actions,
with my thoughts and my life,
if I’m not living anti-racism,
doing everything I can to stand with
and be held to account,
and be change,
in ways that honour and respect –
then I’m not doing enough.
And… white people…?
if you aren’t doing the same…
then neither are you.
2020 Urban Retreats Virtual Garden Tour
Every year, the Urban Retreats Garden Tour raises significant funds, $19,000 in 2019, for St. Matthews Maryland Community Ministry, a part of 1JustCity, supporting vulnerable families in Winnipeg’s west end. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, requests for food support have doubled. This year, please enjoy our Virtual Garden Tour at https://www.1justcity.ca/gardentour and help us meet the need by buying a ‘Virtual Ticket’.