Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road

Shoal Lake is located in Eastern Manitoba and the Kenora area of Northwest Ontario. It is best known to most Winnipeggers as the source of our drinking water. It is also home to Shaol Lake 40 First Nation. Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is an Ojibwa or Ontario Saulteaux First Nation located in the Eastman Region of Manitoba and the Kenora District of Ontario.

While we in Winnipeg enjoy fresh, clean water thanks to Shoal Lake, the people of Shoal Lake 40 have been living under a boil water advisory for over 18 years, and have been without a road to their land for over 100. As far as the boil water advisory goes, just think of how frustrated we were when we had a few days of it in Winnipeg, now multiply that by about 1,000 times.

Shoal Lake Freedom Road
St. Philip’s Sign with a message of support for the Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road project.

The project would cost $30 million with the city of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba each having promised $10 million so far. Continue reading

Leadership for the Whole Church

Leardership for the Whole Church: Part 4 in the Series reflecting on Slow Church

Part 1:

Stanley Hauerwas and Slow Church

Part 2:

Practicing Presence

Part 3:

Formation in the Church

This is Part 4 of our series looking at the concept of Slow Church and what we can learn from the ideas of Stanley Hauerwas.  The links above will direct you to the first three posts in the series. This video is longer than the previous three. However, it’s worth watching the whole video.

Part 4 breaks away somewhat from the first 3 in that the post is more focused on leadership and leaders rather than on the whole body. Yet this video links well with the other three, precisely where Hauerwas talks about leadership as something that is best raised up through the community. Such leadership is in contrast to the leadership model touted by the book store best sellers.

The video starts off with Hauerwas stating that creative authority is all about persuasion.  While he talks about it in the context of being a leader in a community such as a church or university, one question it raises, is how do churches express creative authority in the communities in which they are situated?

For many years, the church spoke from a position of assumed authority. Within a Christendom model this was considered acceptable and even expected. As that model has disintegrated, can the church learn to speak authoritatively again.

Many people would question whether the church should ever speak authoritatively, but I think if the  church adopts the attitude in the broader community of helping the community to develop their gifts, the church will have something to offer to the whole community.

Hauerwas asks an interesting question: What kind of community do you need to be to choose your leaders by lot? The choosing of Matthias he is referring to can be found in Acts 1:12-26. How does such a question challenge our assumptions of what leadership and decision making in the Church should look like?

Hauerwas also talks about developing a discipline of the ego that will allow any institution that you are part of to continue once you have departed. I think this also fits in with the idea of being able to speak authoritatively in the broader community. Just as individual leaders need to learn the discipline of letting go of their egos, so do churches need to learn the same discipline.

One thing that comes out of this style of leadership, is that it rejects persuasion as a sales pitch. Persuasion under the model talked about in this video, and suggested by the previous videos is an activity that comes with long-term sharing of life and exchanging of ideas.

There is more in the video to consider regarding leadership. In particular the question of how do leaders hold on to power as a fragile thing? If you have any thoughts on any of this, please feel free to share them on the St. Philip’s Facebook page.

Palm-Passion Sunday

This Sunday St. Philip’s will be celebrating Palm-Passion Sunday. This is the opening of Holy Week. Much like the Gospel writers place the bulk of their focus on the last days of Jesus’s life, so too do we as a church.

It may seem odd to celebrate both Palm Sunday, and the Crucifixion at the same time. Especially since we set aside Good Friday to mark the death of Jesus. Some of the more cynical may think this is simply to save people from showing up on Good Friday. Certainly there does seem to be more than a few people who feel this way.

However, Holy Week is also called Passion Week. Passion means suffering. If Palm Sunday is a reminder of Jesus as the conquering Messiah, Passion Sunday reminds us that the coronation will involve a crown of thrones. Not only that, but Jesus will be exalted not to a throne but to a cross.

These are powerful stories. As such, at St. Philip’s Palm/Passion Sunday will not feature a sermon. Instead we will take these longer readings and allow them along with the rest of the liturgy to speak directly to us. At the end of the service we will leave in silence. Passion Sunday isn’t over, it carries on into the whole of Passion Week.

Rethinking our Buildings

The statement below was one of the charges given to parishes at our Synod last fall. One of the best parts of it is that it encourages us to think less about our buildings as places we go to but instead as places we go from.

“How is our physical plant (buildings and land) being used as a staging area for mission and ministry?”  

As a means of helping Vestries understand the ‘why’ behind this resolution, the following is offered as background.

All too often we consider our physical resources (buildings and land) as burdens and pay too little attention to the great gift that those that have come before us have blessed us with.  It is true that there are costs, and often significant ones, that are associated with owning property and buildings.  It is also true that these resources can be a resource to many people and organizations within our neighbourhoods who are looking for ways to improve the quality of life for others. 

For example, within your community there may be a need and willingness to conduct ESL classes but space is unavailable or is cost prohibitive.  Or, perhaps there is a group of single parents who are looking for a place where they can share stories and offer mutual support.  Just recently, one of our parishes began discussing offering office space, at no cost, to a local non-profit organization whose ministry is working with physically and mentally challenged people in our city.  Another parish has offered there parking lot as a ‘safe zone’ for parents to drop off their young children (K-5) going to school rather than them crossing roads. 

These are only a few examples; We believe the members of your Vestry will have all kinds of exciting ways to answer the question, “How is your Physical Plant (buildings and land) being used as a staging area for mission and ministry?”

Pancake Day is Coming

Although it seems that we’ve barely gotten through Christmas, Lent will soon be upon us. However, before Lent arrives there is that wonderful tradition known as Shrove Tuesday. Last year on Dining with Donald, Reverend Donald a little about the origins of Shrove Tuesday, and how pancakes became part of it.

This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on February 17th. As has been our custom for many years, St. Philip’s will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday by offering a pancake supper. Last year the Pancake Supper was a terrific evening, and we hope to make it even better this year. The supper is still in the planning stages, so you will need to keep your eyes tuned to this site for information as it becomes available.
Pancake DayLast year there were pancakes, sausages, syrup, whipped cream, and a berry compote on the menu. This year we hope to make the menu even bigger. Tickets are $6.00 per person and $15.00 per family.  We will be including gluten-free pancakes as part of the supper.

Tickets are available by calling 204-237-3650 and leaving a message on extension 2. Or, you can email us at

Also this year, Reverend Donald will be in the church on Tuesday from 11 am – 1 pm to meet with anyone who wishes to participate in making private confession.


Advent Through Christmas

This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. During the four weeks before Christmas there will be a variety of opportunities to celebrate Advent at St. Philip’s. All of the Sunday services start at 11:00 am.

Advent 1 – November 30:

Our service will be at 11:00 am, with Rev. Donald preaching.

Advent 2 – December 7:

Sean Carlson, a parishioner of St. Margaret’s, will be making a presentation on the Ugandan Orphans Fund. This will take place during our 11 am Eucharist (BAS). After the service there will be a hot & cold potluck in the memorial hall. We invite you to stay for that. Hopefully Mr. Carlson will be able to speak more at that time, but if not, we can still share our thoughts, dreams and visions on how we can work with this fund.

Advent 3 – December 14:

St. Philip’s will be holding a service of Advent Lessons and Carols. Deacon Tanis and the choir have already been making their preparations for this morning.

Advent 4 – December 21:

Rev. Tanis will be preaching at this service. As part of the sermon she will be sharing some stories that will give us a glimpse into her work with Open Circle. As a deacon, Tanis helps the parish to take it’s place in the outside community. It will be exciting to listen to what has happened to Tanis, and where she has encountered God already at work in the lives of the people she meets.

About the Nave of St. Philip's, advent

Christmas Eve – December 24:

Our Christmas eve service begins at 7:30 pm. However, we invite people to arrive at 7:00 pm and join with us in a time of carol singing.

Christmas Day – December 25:

As with our Sunday services, our Christmas Day service will be held at 11:00 am. If for some reason you were able to make any of the Christmas Eve services available, we would be most happy to have you join us for Christmas morning.

As usual, we will have our Wednesday 1pm Eucharist each week during Advent. For any questions, please call 204-237-3650 line 2, or email the church at


Service of Remembrance

Yesterday was Remembrance Day. As we have for many years in the past, St. Philip’s played host to the Norwood-St. Boniface Legion for our annual Remembrance Day Service. This year given the tragic events in Ottawa and Quebec over the last few weeks, the service was even more poignant.

Wreathes for the service
Wreaths ready for the service.

The service itself was quite solemn. There were so many people there, that the aisles were full of people, dozens of whom stood for the entire service. There were representatives of all levels of government present, along with Donald Phillips, Bishop of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land.

It was also really encouraging to see large groups of children from Scout and Guide troops at all levels of those organization. Rememberance Day is about recalling the sacrifices that our ancestors made, but also about looking to a peaceful future. Peace though, is hard and costly, and it is good to see that message being passed on to future generations.

There were many people who worked hard and contributed to yesterday’s service. St. Philip’s would like to thank Nick Kolisnyk for his efforts on trumpet. The U 0f Winnipeg dancers under Stephanie Ballard’s leadership. Leslie MacCorby and the flute ensemble from Nelson McIntyre Collegiate, and all of the members of the youth service agencies who assisted before, during and after the service. Continue reading

N T Wright on Life After Death

N T Wright is the former Bishop of Durham and one of the leading theologians writing today. This interview sponsored by Calvin College was done a couple of years ago. In this video talks about what resurrection and what it meant for the earliest disciples of Jesus, and what it means for us as Christians today. If this video raises any questions for you, please feel free to post them on the St. Philip’s Facebook Page.

If people are thinking about going to see the “Left Behind” movie, this video is a good choice to watch before going or shortly thereafter. While there are no explosions, and N T Wright isn’t a CGI creation (as far as we can tell), it would be a good idea to listen to or watch this video and discover how far from both the Biblical text and from early church thought and practice, the “Left Behind series wanders.

Church Growth Movement

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last post looking at Stanley Hauerwas and the idea of slow church.  This is the third post in the series. The first post was on prayer. The second was on practicing presence. In this video Hauerwas addresses a couple of aspects related to the Church Growth Movement, and how they work not only to keep us from true discipleships, but also how in the end they contribute to the decline of the church.

The main disagreement Hauerwas has with the Church Growth Movement is how it produces congregations that are homogeneous, particularly, in Hauerwas’s view as it relates to age. We could also add socio-economic and often ethnic background as well.

All of this is not to say that growth is a bad thing. After all, parishes are living organisms, and all organisms that don’t grow begin to die. However, the Church Growth Movement tends to view growth as that which is measured best in the number of people in attendance on Sundays and the amount of offering in the basket.

As a result, churches following the strategies of the Church Growth Movement place an emphasis on entertainment in the liturgy. Two things happen as a result of this. One the people no longer are participating in the worship, particularly the prayer life of the church. Two, when it comes to entertainment, television, and one might add movies and the internet, can do it much better than the church.

Questions for Church Growth Movement:

How do you find that the liturgy helps to prepare you for life once you leave the confines of the gathered community?  If your answer is that it doesn’t, what part of the liturgy should be strengthened? Or, conversely, if perhaps you haven’t given much thought to the liturgy, what new insights might come from thinking of it as preparation or training for life outside the confines of the parish family?

If as a parish St. Philip’s or whatever church family you are part of were to pursue growth in an organic fashion, how do you think this might effect the way in which we worship together?

Hauerwas uses the example of digging a ditch to spread the flow of water, as what is meant by liturgy. Are there ditches parishes could dig that would help the water of life given to us in and by Christ flow out to the rest of the world?

Hauerwas and Slow Church

Over the past few months St. Philip’s has been discussing what it means to be the Church.  This has been a repeated theme in our sermons.  During Lent a small group of parishioners also took the time to study Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together.  Life Together came out of Bonhoeffer’s time as leader of an underground seminary in Germany. While the seminary focused on life lived in community on a daily basis, it can also serve as a role model for the life the Church lives together.

Also during the summer, Reverend Donald, read and reviewed a new release entitled Slow Church, by C. Christopher Smith and Jon Pattison. The Slow Church movement is one of many that display signs of new life in a North American Christianity that is largely in a state of decline. Slow Church encourages us to take more time and be more intentional in our life together as the Church. In addition to being involved with Slow Church, Christopher Smith is also the editor of the Englewood Review of Books.  Recently, they featured a post on Theologian and Ethicist Stanley Hauerwas, and how his thinking has influenced Slow Church.  The post featured ten short video clips covering ten different topics.

Over the next several weeks, Rev Donald is going to be posting these videos with a little bit of commentary and some some questions. We hope that you can take the time to watch them. Hauerwas is a thinker who provokes strong reactions. You might find there is a lot of material in the videos that you agree with. You likely find things in the videos you disagree with. If there are things in the videos that you find interesting or questionable, use the contact form at the bottom of the home page of this site, to send your comments to Rev Donald. There has been a slight change in plans.  There will only be seven videos rather than ten. One of the companies that made some of the videos will not let the material be used online (even if purchased).  As a result those three videos won’t be used.

In this video Hauerwas talks about prayer teaching him how to wait. Is waiting one of the things that comes to mind when you think about prayer?

Hauerwas talks about L’Arche operating on God’s time. How might reflecting on God’s time change the way in which we as individuals and as a church live our lives together?

Hauerwas states that prayer has taught him that “God is God and I am not.” Have you learned this same lesson in prayer? What other lessons has prayer taught you?