TOGETHER IN CHRIST: LUTHERANS AND CATHOLICS COMMEMORATING THE REFORMATION
JUNE 20, 2017
On June 20, 2017 a group of Lutherans and Catholics came together at the 1st Lutheran Church to celebrate the fifth and last session in this series of dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics.
The evening began with a Bar B Q hosted by Pastor Michael Kurtz and the members of 1st Lutheran Church. After a relaxing supper we moved into the church and the program for the evening began. It was an evening of music, scripture, video presentation and prayer. During the evening the group broke into five discussion groups and discussed the video on the Five Ecumenical Imperatives.
These discussions provided an unusual opportunity for people to come together and share their faith perspectives. Groups were very animated and judging from the laughter and earnest voices emanating from the discussion clusters it was very much enjoyed – so much so that people demonstrated a reluctance to break up their dialogue and return to the larger assembly. In the reporting session the following themes were articulated by the discussion leaders: A need and desire to work on projects together; there is more held in common than divides us; desire to break down unnecessary barriers; a receptivity to learn and a need to get beyond ourselves.
In a candle ceremony closing the evening, the participants affirmed the following five ecumenical imperatives:
To begin from a perspective of unity
To be transformed by encounter
To seek visible unity
To rediscover the power of the Gospel
To witness together
As was indicated above, this session was the last in this series. It is fitting therefore to now express gratitude and appreciation to the five faith communities who hosted these dialogues; to the participants in the dialogues who took the time to attend and engage; and for the leadership of Bishop Elaine Sauer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, RichardGagnon Archbishop of Winnipeg and to Albert LeGatt Archbishop of St. Boniface.
MANITOBA MULTIFAITH COUNCIL – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
TUESDAY, MAY 16, 2017
SAINT JOHN XXIII ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
After conducting the formal business of the Annual General Meeting there was a presentation on:
Belle Jarniewski, President of the Manitoba Multifaith Council, introduced Anita Neville of Shaarey Zedek Congregation, who opened the discussion of Operation Ezra.
Operation Ezra is a comprehensive Yazidi refugee relief project whose current goal is to sponsor and welcome, house and support ten (10) Yazidi families . It began as an initiative of the Jewish community currently headquartered at the Jewish Child and Family Services. However, Operation Ezra has evolved into a mutifaith endeavor and is now supported by a wide range of partners – faith communities, business, medical and educational. – as well as a cadre of 50 volunteers coming from all parts of the Winnipeg community.
One of the oldest religious and ethnic minorities in the world the Yazidis have faced religious persecution for over 700 years. The Yazidis are seeking to bring their families out of segregated refugee camps that are often life threatening to them and their children. They are hungry for a normal and safe life here in Canada free from persecution.
Three members of the Yazidi community addressed the meeting as did representatives of the volunteers, Jewish Child and Family Services, the Salvation Army and Grant Park School. In their remarks the community representatives made the following critical points:
- That they have come to understand that working with the Yazidis is an investment not a cost – a strengthening gift not a deficit;
- The Salvation Army representative reflected on the fact that it is amazing what can be done when faith communities come together and work collaboratively – a good example of “side by side” faith dialogue;
- The Vice Principal of Grant Park High School reflected on his experience as a newcomer to Canada and now, a short time later, is in a place to help others.
The Manitoba Multifaith Council has declared that the Yazidis are being persecuted and killed on the basis of faith alone. Operation Ezra is a community response to this tragic situation.
Multifaith AGM (left to right): Mohammad Rezai, Vice Principal Grant Park High School; Belle Jarniewski, President Manitoba Multifaith Council and two gentlemen from the Yazidis community.
Muslim-Catholic Dialogue: God Desires the Heart
In September 2016 two faith communities - Mary, Mother of the Church and the Manitoba Islamic Association - met for two sessions of dialogue on the topics of - 'The Name of God is Mercy' on September 14 and the 'Problem of Suffering', September 21. The conversations were led by Father Peter Genger of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface and Dr. Nazir Khan of the Islamic community. Read complete story.