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Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00
- Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall for HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship after worship.
- Tickets for the 100th Anniversary Spaghetti Dinner and Dance on Friday, June 16 are on sale and available on Sunday and at the church office through the week.
- A coalition of neighbours is working to have a turning light installed for the left turn from Roblin onto Dieppe in front of the church. If you wish to register your opinion you may do so here: https://legacy.winnipeg.ca/clerks/council/delegation.stm Click on Standing Policy Committee on Public Works (use the drop down box) and register comments for Agenda item #21, Left Turn Signal at Roblin Boulevard and Dieppe Road
- The 2023 edition of the Urban Retreats Garden Tours is all set for Saturday, June 24. This year’s event will be hosted by the United Church in Meadowood and feature gardens in South St. Vital. All proceeds support 1JustCity and West End Community Ministry. For more information please visit: https://www.1justcity.ca/garden-tour
- Michael Wilson’s book “A Pastoral Pandemic: Remaining Connected in a Time of Disconnection” is available in store and online through CommonWord Bookstore (Canadian Mennonite University). For more information visit: https://www.commonword.ca/go/3408.
- Did you know you can support this ministry by e-transfer, automatic withdrawal (PAR), and gifted securities, in addition to weekly or monthly cheques? For Offering Information please visit: https://charleswoodunited.org/support/ Thank you for your generous support.
Welcome to worship for Sunday, June 4, 2023.
I had the good fortune to attend a few Winnipeg Jets home games this past season. I must admit that I do not seem to be much of a good luck charm for the team as I saw more losses than wins. But it is always fun.
What I noticed is that there is a growing frequency of special event or theme nights at Winnipeg Jets games. These are often coordinated to promote groups and events in the community and sometimes, though not always, to contribute to some fundraising initiative. A friend took me a game last fall which turned out to be “Hockey Fights Cancer” and lifted up some courageous children who were most inspiring. I have previously been to “Aboriginal Sports Achievement Centre Night” where the crowd was introduced to some youth attending their first NHL game. This year the Jets had “Filipino Heritage Night”, “Canadian Armed Forces Night”, “South Asian Heritage Night”, and “Black History Night” among others. On every occasion there is mention made before the game of what is being promoted and some information provided. Once the puck drops, the game takes over and not much more is said.
In April I was at a Jets game and it was “Pride Night”. It was fairly understated but in warmup the team wore special jerseys that were later auctioned online as a fundraiser for the Rainbow Resource Centre. The Winnipeg Jets’ attempts at promoting inclusion and diversity in hockey culture are admirable, and dare I say, sometimes inspiring. Many teams do the same thing.
What a surprise it was then to hear of NHL teams that were experiencing backlash over their proposed “Pride Nights” and that the resistance was coming…from some players. I actually think I can understand that every hockey player may not want to lend their name to every cause (though for several million dollars/year this doesn’t seem like a hardship to me). But here’s the thing that cannot be ignored. Resistance came for “Pride Night” alone in a calendar that is filled with a multitude of promotional games. And even worse, the excuse of several players was that they were Christian.
Christianity has always been a collection of people who believe different things. The creeds written in the fourth century were attempts not only to say what Christianity was but also what it wasn’t. We have a seemingly infinite number of denominations in the world today, all teaching different lessons while holding fast to the idea/ideal that there is One Christ, who Paul says cannot be divided. But sometimes, the so-called body of Christ tries its best to be just that.
So rather than try to figure out what is behind hockey players who won’t acknowledge Pride Nights (and the pastors who teach them) I would prefer to say what I believe. After all, I too am a Christian.
Jesus was asked what he thought was the greatest commandment. He responded by saying that it was to love God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul. And to love our neighbor as our self which is it’s equal. In fact, he went so far as to say that all the commandments are essentially summarised in these two. Odd that Jesus would offer a commandment which is nearly impossible to keep? Who among us can claim to have such perfect love, such perfect faith? I will not claim that for myself nor for anyone I have ever met.
The great commandment is thus aspirational. It is the prize. It is what Christians should aim for, work for, strive for. Being a Christian is doing our best to live this life. To love those who haven’t been loved. To accept those who haven’t been accepted. To welcome those who have never felt welcomed.
“Pride” is a social movement not a theological one. It is not for me to say what should or should not be part of this movement. But I am a Christian and I have a sacred responsibility to love my lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans neighbours as myself. In church, at the hockey arena, and in the communities we share.
I am proud to do so.
Grace and peace,
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- The reading for this week’s service can be found here: Matthew 28:16-20
- For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work