Full-steam ahead to honour faith, keep Shabbat on track5 minute read Yesterday at 2:00 AM CDT
In the religious home I grew up in, Sunday was viewed as a day of rest (and going to church). Play was allowed, but no work. Except homework, strangely enough. That was not only permitted, but encouraged, much to my chagrin.
These days, I don’t worry about not working on Sundays. Nor do most Christians I know. Which is why I am fascinated by Jewish friends who ardently observe the sabbath, or Shabbat, as it is known in Hebrew.
This includes my friend Jason Shron of Toronto.
Shron, 47, is an Orthodox Jew and successful businessperson who lives in Toronto but has close ties to Winnipeg (he married a Winnipeg girl).
29°C, A few clouds
Author explores trauma of shattered home life5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
The first memory Arthur Boers has of his father was when, in a rage, his father threw a potted plant at his wife — Boers’ mother.
Only three, Boers saw his mother duck. The potted plant sailed past her, hitting the living room window and shattering it into hundreds of pieces.
When thinking about that experience, “What could I understand?” asked Boers, 66, in his book Shattered Glass: A Son Picks Up the Pieces of his Father’s Rage. (Eerdmans.) “No one told me that smashing windows is outlandish — a troubling, dangerous infraction of civility, family life, simple good sense, thrift, safety.”
In the book, called a “poignant, compelling, redemptive cry of the heart,” Boers describes growing up in a severe, strict and theologically conservative Christian Reformed home in southern Ontario.
Berkowitz, Steinkopf, Katz: Jews had big impact on rock3 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 23, 2023
Dialogue circle seeks to bring communities closer3 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 23, 2023
BREAKING down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is the goal of a truth and reconciliation dialogue circle at St. Kateri Indigenous Parish.
The event, which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 at 265 Flora Ave., will be an opportunity for both communities to come together to get to know each other better, said Thomas Novak, who does Indigenous and Métis outreach for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
“We can fear each other because we don’t sit down and talk to each other,” said Novak, who is helping to organize the circle. “We can learn a lot by listening to each other’s stories.”
The circle will include a presentation of TthaNárEltth’Er: Our Dene Hero, by Lucy Antsanen.
Jewish Heritage Month celebrates accomplishments3 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
My father-in-law used to love watching TV show credits. As the names scrolled by on the television screen, he would point his finger at every Jewish name and proudly say, shelanu, the Hebrew word for ‘ours.’
It is not uncommon for people to take pride in the accomplishments of those from their ethnic or cultural group, even when they don’t know them, but it seems to be particularly common for Jewish people to do so. With only 16 million Jews worldwide, Jewish people tend to feel like they are part of one big family, and family members, usually, are proud of one another’s achievements and eager to boast about them.
Canadian Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity to boast a little more publicly. It is also an opportunity for non-Jews to learn about and gain a greater appreciation of the various ways in which Jewish people — who first settled in Canada in 1760 — have helped to shape Canada and enhance its way of life.
The federal government officially recognized May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month through an Act of Parliament in 2018. Since then, it has relied on a series of programs, panels and the website jewishheritage.ca to educate other Canadians about the contributions that their Jewish neighbours have made to Canadian society in such arenas as law, politics, academia, sports, culture and philanthropy. While that education naturally focuses on the achievements of such Canadian Jewish luminaries as Leonard Cohen, Mordechai Richler, Heather Reisman, Frank Gehry, Naomi Klein, and Winnipeg’s John Hirsch, Monty Hall and Louis Slotin, it also turns the spotlight on lesser known individuals, as well as on the long history of the Jews in Canada, and Jewish customs and concepts.
Differing views on assisted dying5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Should clergy be condemned or supported if they accompany people who choose Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)? Some Christian groups in two countries are taking markedly different approaches.
In Canada, the head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) doesn’t believe pastors should walk alongside members who choose MAID.
In a column in the May-June issue of Faith Today, EFC president and CEO David Guretzki, acknowledges its natural for clergy to want to be with people dying a natural death. But MAID is different, he said.
“My moral conviction is that any intentional ending of a person’s life apart from divine permission is a form of murder,” he stated, adding “Even though pastors aren’t the ones carrying out the procedure, they will need to answer, before God and their flocks, whether their presence is a form of permission or blessing to the person opting to have their life ended.”
Your opportunity to support faith coverage at the Free Press2 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 13, 2023
As I was thinking about this year’s spring crowdfunder appeal for the Religion in the News Project, I wondered: What would an artificial intelligence chatbot say about why a newspaper like the Free Press have a religion beat? So I asked ChatGPT that question.
According to the AI chatbot, a newspaper should have a religion beat in order to provide in-depth coverage of religious news and issues; to do a more nuanced job of reporting faith and spirituality; to better serve readers interested in faith; to foster understanding and dialogue between faith groups; and to cover stories not usually covered by other media.
Overall, it said, “having a religion beat can help a newspaper to provide more comprehensive coverage of an important aspect of society and to better serve the interests of its readers.”
I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a pretty good answer! And it’s what we are trying to do at the Free Press through the project.
We must do whatever we can to alleviate human suffering5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 13, 2023
Why do bad things happen to good people? That is the question Rabbi Harold Kushner set out to answer in 1981 in a book with the same name.
Kushner, who died April 28 at the age of 88, wrote the book after the death of his son, Aaron, from a rare genetic condition called progeria. The illness affects one in four million children and is fatal.
In an interview, Kushner said his son’s death at age 14 gave him “a deep, aching sense of unfairness. I had been a good person and always tried to do what was right. I had assumed my side of the bargain, so how could this be happening to my family? If God existed, if He was minimally fair, let alone loving and forgiving, how could He do this to me?”
He went on to wonder how to reconcile his belief in an all-loving and all-knowing God with the enormity of suffering in the world. “Can I, in good faith, continue to teach people that the world is good, and that a kind and loving God is responsible for what happens in it?” he said.
Minister’s pandemic missives published5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 6, 2023
In March 2020, Michael Wilson, the minister at Charleswood United Church, decided to send his members a letter.
“We are approaching the first Sunday since the decision to suspend all gatherings was made,” he wrote, adding the only other time he could recall church being cancelled was during the April blizzard of 1997.
This, he went on to say, “was a threat of a different kind.”
At the time, Wilson — like most everyone else — thought the shutdown might last a few weeks. But that turned out to be the first of two-years worth of letters, sent each week to the 500 or so people on the church’s email list.
Christian university faculty ratifies union5 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 29, 2023
Growing up in an evangelical church many years ago, I was taught that unions were wrong. There was worry about militancy and strikes, but also about pledging allegiance to something other than God and being “yoked” with unbelievers.
When I joined my first union in my 20s, it was with a sense of trepidation. Was it a Christian thing to do?
Today, I no longer have that feeling. And evangelicals today don’t seem to have the same apprehension about unions as they did back then. And yet it was still significant when faculty at Trinity Western University (TWU), an evangelical school in Langley, B.C., decided to unionize — the first Christian university or college in Canada to do so.
The vote about unionizing actually took place in 2021. But it was delayed until this year while the administration challenged the union’s application for certification before the B.C. Labour Relations Board. The board dismissed the challenge and shared the results of the vote on March 10. Sixty-four per cent of the school’s 176 full-time faculty voted in favour of unionizing.
Spotlight on Canadians’ religious beliefs5 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 22, 2023
While many Canadians today still hold religious beliefs, a declining number feel the need to be part of a religious community where those beliefs are preached and shared.
That’s the finding of new research by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies and reported by the National Post.
The research, conducted online in February and March, suggests that for many Canadians there is a “decoupling” of belief from participating in or affiliating with a religious body. That is, they believe in God but no longer attend worship services.
At the same time, it found some other Canadians remain connected to a religious group, but question that group’s central tenets and beliefs — like whether there really is a God.
Canadian groups disappointed about foreign-aid cuts4 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 15, 2023
“Budgets are moral documents. They reveal priorities and values, and as a society, they are the primary way that we care for one another, especially for the vulnerable. That is why the church takes them so seriously.”
Two Torah scrolls now housed in Winnipeg share a common message5 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 15, 2023
Artist recreates stolen St. Bernadette statue for St. Malo shrine3 minute read Preview Friday, Apr. 14, 2023
Parish nurses valuable for congregations, take pressure off health system5 minute read Preview Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2023
Moroccan festival follows Passover celebrations3 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 8, 2023
At the end of Passover, as Ashkenazi Jews, or Jews of Central and Eastern European descent, begin putting away their kosher-for-Passover dishes and unwinding from the eight-day spring holiday, Jews of North African descent begin celebrating one more festival.
Winnipeg church voted out of Mennonite denomination4 minute read Preview Saturday, Apr. 1, 2023
A North Kildonan church plans to stick to its policy of inclusion even if it means membership in their denomination will be revoked this summer.
Mental health of clergy a matter of life and death5 minute read Preview Saturday, Mar. 25, 2023
Clergy suicide — two words you don’t expect to see in the same sentence. But that was the news making the rounds this month after the death of much-loved minister in Great Britain.
A few thoughts for Christians as Good Friday approaches5 minute read Preview Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023
Jews were in a state of high alert on Feb. 25, the so-called “day of hate” against members of that community. That was the day extremist and antisemitic groups called for violence and harassment against Jews in the U.S.