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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 the HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship before continuing on with your day.
- Through the United Church of Canada’s membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, an appeal for donations has been issued for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East. The Canadian Government has pledged to match all donations until November 12. For more information and to donate please visit: Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East Appeal
- For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work
- 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, November 12, 2023.
The Manitoba Multi-faith Council is a place where people of many different faith traditions come together and talk. For the most part these conversations seek to focus on the things these traditions have in common and often lead to action in common cause. An example of this that connects to Charleswood United Church was the participation of some members of the MMC in the creation of the Jewish-led interfaith coalition Operation Ezra, created in response to the Yazidi refugee crisis several years ago. Our efforts in The Healing Farm, a cooperative food security venture with the Yazidi community, can be thought of as off-shoot of the good intentions that are generated by the MMC.
When it began in the 1950s, the focus of the Manitoba Multi-faith Council was on spiritual care (chaplaincy) in prisons. That soon led quite naturally to coordination of the same service in hospitals. These were institutions where the care of the spirit was vitally important and but where the specific tradition was much less so. Over the years, the scope of the MMC has expanded along with the religious and spiritual diversity of Manitoba. With people of many faiths and religious traditions sitting at the same table, the MMC has been in an excellent position to draw attention to issues such as antisemitism and Islamophobia. One can imagine the thoughtful and careful conversations that must take place before a statement from such a diverse group of people can be released.
Following the horrific events in Israel on October 7, the MMC released a statement which reflected the lament felt and expressed by many people. With all that has transpired in the last month the Manitoba Multi-faith Council felt it appropriate to release another statement this week. It shows deep reflection on who are the combatants, who is suffering, and what rights matter most. Given that it comes from a willingness of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others actually talking together, working through differences, and finding consensus, I thought it was the embodiment of wisdom.
The Manitoba Multi-faith Council expresses deep sorrow for the tragic loss of innocent lives in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a community of diverse faiths, we come together to denounce violence and hatred, and pledge to collaborate towards building a society that is fair and compassionate. In these times of heightened tensions across the globe, we stand in solidarity against all forms of discrimination, including racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. We firmly believe in the fundamental rights of freedom and safety for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Desmond Tutu, the South African Episcopal Bishop who chaired that country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said that if we want peace we can’t talk to our friends, we must talk to our enemies. The same might be said of talking to the people who believe differently or pray differently from one another. In gaining knowledge of “the other” we find that what we have in common far exceeds that which we perceive to be our differences.
Grace and peace,
- 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.
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- The reading for this week’s service can be found at: Matthew 25:1-13