Congregational Email June 30, 2021


This is a difficult time for our country. As we approach Canada Day, many of us are unsure how to mark it. I have always been proud of Canada, wearing my Canadian pin when travelling overseas, flying the flag on Canada Day and being grateful for the privilege of living in such a beautiful country. But this year, the recently discovered graves of children at residential schools has forced all of us to recognize what testimony at the TRC hearings had already told us. Many children died at residential schools with no notifications sent to their home communities. Their families were bereft of their missing children, with no closure or ability to properly mourn and bury their children. Our government policies built this system and our churches ran the schools.

So how do respond as we approach Canada Day? Some communities have cancelled their celebrations, while others are calling for a time of somber reflection. Our Moderator Rev. Richard Bott is working with our General Secretary Rev. Michael Blair to reach out to the communities affected by the 15 schools which the United Church ran. They will keep us updated about ways in which we can support these communities. For now, Richard Bott writes that this is the time to listen, rather than prescribe. It is the time to acknowledge the tremendous pain and anger in the Indigenous communities. It is the time for prayer.

Rev. Michael Wilson is calling for a day of observance, rather than celebration. He writes, “We might also be well served to hold fast to a few of the foundational things in our Trinitarian spiritual tradition. God has always had an uneasy relationship with forms of national pride, a consequence of a love that is all-encompassing and universal. Jesus always listened and held and accompanied those whose pain kept them from the abundant life that was his central message. The Holy Spirit always works to reconcile and make new that which human beings have given up on.”

This year, Canada Day might best be observed not with fireworks, but with somber reflection. Yes, it is a time for gratitude for the peace and security, intercultural relations and stunning nature that Canada is known for around the world. But it is also a time to grieve the inequalities and colonial travesties that Canada has wrought particularly on the Indigenous people. We can do better. This Canada Day allows us an opportunity to commit ourselves anew to a better way in which we can honour the culture, language, spirituality, self-governance and land of Indigenous peoples. It allows us to be more faithful treaty partners and truly respect “all our relations.”

God of compassion,

our hearts are heavy with continuing news of unmarked graves and stories of abuse at residential schools. We pray for those whose wounds have been reopened, exposing raw pain, grief and anger. Help them find solace through friends, community and creation. We pray for our government and for our churches which ran these schools and ask for wisdom and compassion, understanding and generosity, that records may be made fully accessible, apologies fully made and reparations fully given. We pray that we may move from a colonial mindset of helping & converting the other, to listening and being willing for ourselves to be transformed. Through the grace of Christ, we pray, Amen.


Loraine will be on holiday this coming Monday, June 28 through Sunday, July 4. In case of emergency pastoral care during this time, please call Rev. Heather Robbins at (204) 295-1542.


An opportunity to stand with the survivors of the residential schools arrived last week. Westworth was sent a request from the Assiniboia Residential School Legacy Group to support a petition requesting a name change of the little park on which the former school stands near the corner of Academy & Kenaston.

Professor Andrew Woolford wrote, “On behalf of the Assiniboia Residential School Legacy Group, I am preparing an application to Welcoming Winnipeg to change the name of Wellington Park to Theodore Niizhota Fontaine Park in honour of our recently deceased president, Ted Fontaine, who did so much to foster awareness and acknowledgment of the Assiniboia Residential School, as well as educating our community about the Indian Residential Schools system more broadly. Wellington Park is the name for the playing fields off Wellington Crescent, which served as the playing fields for the Assiniboia Residential Schools, where the students played hockey, baseball, curling, football, engaged in track and field, and where much of their social activity took place. The park is currently named for Arthur Wellington Ross, a lawyer, politician, and land speculator. Ross is also remembered through Wellington Crescent. In the mid-to-late 1880s, he held much of the Fort Rouge area. He did so by acquiring Métis scrip, employing “claim runners” to buy the scrip as soon as it was issued. It is our view that the park would be better named after an Indigenous leader like Ted, who sought to build and live reconciliation.”

Our Council Chair, Pat S, personally spoke with the members of our Council over the past few days and we have unanimously supported the request of this letter. Why was Westworth specifically invited to sign this letter? Because in 2017, Westworth hosted a reunion of the Assiniboia residential school survivors. They were so grateful for Westworth’s role that they invited us to appoint a representative to a newly formed Assiniboia Residential School Legacy Group and Ruth Wiwchar agreed to be our rep. They have been meeting for 4 years to plan a memorial for that site. Last Wed. there was an online launch for the book, Did You See Us? which tells the stories of the students who attended this school and were largely hidden from the rest of River Heights. Most people did not even know that there was a residential school there.

By changing the little park’s name to Theodore Niizhota Fontaine Park, it will honour one of the survivors of the Assiniboia Residential School. Theodor has provided our community such strong and gentle, prophetic and wise leadership. Theodore and his wife, Morgan, have been part of Westworth’s Interfaith Dialogues and programs on Indigenous relations. In his last days, they were both comforted by prayer shawls from Westworth. At his funeral, his prayer shawl was placed under his urn. We continue to offer prayers for Theodore’s wife, Morgan, and her family.

As a community of faith and as individuals, may we listen carefully to the survivors and to the families of those who didn’t survive residential schools. May we welcome opportunities to walk with them in truth and reconciliation.


As promised in our original announcement in the June 3, 2021 congregational email, we are pleased to share that Inland Audio Visual was selected to complete our upgrade.  First, we are presenting the information to our congregation, after which it will go to Council for final approval on July 13, 2021.
Please plan on attending a Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 8th at 7:00 pm where we will provide complete details of this tentative improvement to our AV system.   Peter Sim and Allan McKay will present the details of the work that will be completed, plus there will be plenty of time for you to ask questions.   The link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out to our congregants closer to July 8th.
Improvements to our system will provide us with:
Reliability:  Changes to our current system became very apparent with our weekly Sunday worship service.    We currently function with consumer-grade equipment that is basically held together with duct tape.   We are unable to continue for much longer with this system, which means that we would not be able to offer live-stream worship or hybrid in-person and live-stream services going forward.
Aesthetics & Safety:  Our chancel and front floor of the sanctuary are covered in cables and mics which present safety hazards.
Flexibility & Accessibility:  An upgrade to our current system allows us to continue including people unable to attend in person due to geographic location or physical limitation.  It also allows people from across the country and indeed the world to participate in services, funerals, weddings and workshops.  We have gained a few new congregants and had some others return to Westworth because of the flexibility of viewing time and ability to watch from home.
Community Ministry:  We would be able to continue connecting with our broader community so that Westworth has a larger presence outside our own congregation.  It also allows us to offer additional services to the community for the use of our sanctuary.
Sound System Upgrade:  We have an antiquated sound system that is sensitive to the slightest movement of wires in the music library.   It is long overdue for an upgrade.
We are excited to share the proposed plans with you on July 8th.   If you have questions, comments or concerns ahead of the meeting, feel free to contact Peter Sim at or Allan M at
Thank you.


We will hold a Zoom Café after the church service for at least the remainder of the Sundays in June. We’ll start at noon for a maximum of 45 minutes. The Zoom link is below. If you can’t connect by computer, you can still call the number below to connect by telephone.

Meeting ID: 823 4030 0192

Passcode: 709791

Dial 204 272 7920


June 27—July 25

St. Andrew’s River Heights will be joining virtually in these services.

July 4

Rev. Heather Robbins and soloist Amalia Hickerson

July 11

Nature collage of reflections, scripture & photos with soloist Christina Thanisch-Smith


This week’s Bible story is Jeremiah.

Stay connected with children’s weekly bible stories on our Westworth website and Facebook page.

The bible story is read by Julia, and The Lord’s Prayer is read by Danielle, your Sunday school teachers are on the Westworth Face Book page for you to view, there is also a link in the CE drop down menu on our web site.

The Bible Story is available here:



This was Debbie’s last service as Music Director. The staff gave Debbie a gift certificate to Cora’s and the congregation gave a gift card that encompasses a whole bunch of restaurants. Bon Appetit, Debbie!

Thank you for your knowledge, cheer and musical ability.

You will be missed, Debbie!

Making a Difference at Home …..

  1. West Broadway Community Ministry


Westworth’s Giant BBQ on Thursday June 17 was a rousing success! Grateful thanks is extended to all of you who have supported this vital ministry throughout this difficult year! Because of your generosity, Westworth thrilled to be able to transfer $5000.00 to 1JustCity to support the West Broadway Community Ministry Lunch Program during July and August. We will be accepting donations to the Lunch Program again in September. Thank you!


West Broadway Community Ministry (WBCM) Emergency Pantry: Because of your continuing support for the folks in the West Broadway area who experience daily food insecurity, we are able to transfer $5235.00  to assist in keeping the panty fully stocked. We will continue to accept cheques throughout the summer months  to support the Pantry. Cheques can be issued  to Westworth with “WBCM Pantry” on the memo line. thank you!


  1. 1Just City – Virtual Garden Tour


a) St. Matthews Maryland Garden Tour is going virtual! This year, the gardens you have a chance to visit are in the Scotia Street area. Check out the link for all the information, including a trailer illustrating the beauty of the area.


b) 2021 Urban Retreats Virtual Garden Tour video

Every year the Urban Retreats Garden Tour raises significant funds, $18,000 in 2020, for St. Matthews Maryland Community Ministry, a part of 1JustCity, supporting vulnerable families in Winnipeg’s west end. Since the COVID crisis began, the number of people depending on us for food support has doubled. Help us meet the need by donating now at: to gain access to the Virtual Garden Tour when it is released in July. Please click poster for details.

 1JustCity – Beat the Heat

Come Beat The Heat This Summer To Help Winnipeg’s Underloved Make Meaningful Memories

 The Beat The Heat virtual summer triathlon hosted by 1JustCity and TriFactor is a fundraiser supporting 1JustCity’s summer programming which includes family beach days, berry picking, summer Powwow, picnics, and more. These activities are not accessible for some and for a lot of kids, these are the stories they’re able to tell their friends back at school in the fall, where they had the opportunity to feel belonging, connection, and not be left out of the fun.

Participating in Beat The Heat is super EASY with the event lasting July 30-August 10, meaning you can complete it on your own time. You can also do any summer sport you’d like!

Registration is OPEN! Please visit to register and create your fundraising page. Register on your own or as a team!

Create your own course, and challenge your friends and family to some friendly competition with the longest distance, fastest time, or most fundraised! There will be daily prizes just for participating and top fundraising individual and team prizes from our incredible sponsors.

If you have any questions about the race, please email after visiting our FAQ page.

Making a Difference in the Community …..

Finding Peter Bryce: Story of a National Crime 
Finding Peter Bryce is a 20 minute documentary that explores the silencing of an early whistleblower within the residential school system. As sponsors of the documentary, Toronto United Church Council has been granted permission to share it within our United Church networks. We invite you to watch and share with your community of faith. Discussion resources are also available for those wishing to host a conversation. The video link is unlisted and we ask that you do not share it broadly beyond your community of faith as the film is available for purchase by other types of institutions.

Brandon Indian Residential School Mobile Learning Centre
The Brandon Indian Residential School Mobile Learning Centre is housed at Knox United Church Brandon. Community groups/schools/communities of faith are able to borrow it and host events. It includes 27 large format photos that span the history of the school and we have a variety of resources that travel with the centre. Those interested in it can contact Craig Miller at Knox, Brandon 204- 727-6975.

Here’s a brief article from when it was displayed at Brandon University: 


  • The Property Team is looking for a dehumidifier to use in a section of the basement.

Does any member of the congregation have a household defhumidifer that they would be willing to donate?

Please contact Paul at

  • Gardening Tools are needed at the Church.

If anyone has extras of the following, could you contact Tammy at

Garden Fork

Hand Trowel


Hand Cultivator

Large Watering Can(s)