The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 14. We invite you to participate in an intentional spiritual practice during these six weeks; these practices are “pauses” in our days, when we stop to pay attention to the presence of God wherever we are, whatever we may be doing. In her book sevensacredpauses, Macrina Wiederkehr writes:
The mystical possibilities of every moment are revealed to us in our intentional pauses. There are, of course, times when we are startled into pausing because grace takes hold of us in an unexpectedly profound manner... Suddenly we see the aura, the holy light exuding from all things. More often, though, we need to practice living in such a way that our pauses become treasured anointings in the midst of our work. If we practice living mindfully, we slowly begin to see the holiness of so many things that remain hidden when we choose to rush through the hours, striking tasks from the list of things we must accomplish before day’s end. It will be a happy moment when we remember to add the wise act of pausing to our to-do lists (20).
There are many ways of pausing, many spiritual practices. Here are a few that some Home Streeters are practicing during Lent; we invite you to join us, or to adopt a practice of your own:
Lenten walks: 10:00 am Saturdays during Lent., beginning Feb. 17. A one-hour outdoor walk in locations to be determined. Optional brunch afterwards.
Men's Prayer Group. Join us for Lenten readings, songs and prayers from Take Our Moments and Our Days--An Anabaptist Prayer Book. Each Friday 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. in the prayer room.
Listening to Today’s Contemplative Voices: Listen – while you drive, while you cook, while you clean, while you relax in the evenings – to one podcast a week from modern contemplatives who invite us to deepen our spiritual lives. You’re also invited, if you like, to engage in some weekly online conversation about the podcasts.
Praying a Shawl: Knit or crochet a shawl during Lent, and fill the stitches with prayers. When it’s done, pass the prayer shawl along to someone who needs to be wrapped in prayer. Or give it to the church, and pastors will share it where needed.
Musings on Faith – Come grab a cup of coffee or tea and join in some conversations about faith and doubt; about God as Creator and Christ and Spirit; about what authority and relevance the ancient texts of the Bible can possibly have today; about what the church is anyways; about what makes a Mennonite. Come become you’re curious; or come because you want to wrestle with questions of faith; or come because you might consider baptism and membership.
Praying the Colours: Take some time to reflect on the colours of your day. Pick up a bag of coloured beads on the back table; each colour invites you to reflect on part of your day and to remember God’s presence with you. This is based on St. Ignatius’ practice of the Daily Examen. It’s a wonderful practice for people of all ages, including families with young children.
Contemplative Lenten Photo Journey: Making images with a camera is, in Howard Zehr's words, "seeing with wonder, respect, and humility" ("The Little Book of Contemplative Photography" available from commonword.ca). Those three words can also represent our human experience as we once again figuratively walk with Jesus toward the cross... In these weeks, wherever you go, be conscious of your surroundings and have your phone/camera at the ready to freeze a scene that inspires your soul.
Call the church office (204-783-1721) if you’d like more information about these Lenten practices at Home Street.
Can you imagine?
This is the reality for hundreds of Palestinian parents and their children, mostly boys, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank each year. At any one time, between 300 and 400 Palestinian minors between the ages of 12 and 18 are being held in Israeli military detention.
Their crime? Usually, throwing stones. Sometimes, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Studies by human rights groups and organizations like UNICEF have documented that ill-treatment is widespread and systematic. In 97 percent of cases, children are interrogated without a parent or legal representative present, and in 75 percent of cases, they experience some form of physical violence from soldiers or police.
The military detention of Palestinian children is part of a larger system of occupation which subjugates, humiliates and denies Palestinians their basic rights. That system includes: the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories; the demolition of homes; the restrictions on movement through walls, checkpoints, and a permit system; the suppression of nonviolent resistance; the decimation of hope.
There is a growing public outcry about the issue of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. Not only is the military detention of children and youth morally wrong. It also violates many internationally-recognized human rights and child rights.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has joined a movement called No Way to Treat a Child, urging protection for Palestinian children. MCC is calling on the federal government to honour international law commitments and hold Israeli authorities accountable for widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees.
Please join this effort!
Watch a video and read a story about Jarrah, a 15-year-old Palestinian youth who spent 9 months in detention.
And please sign the petition which says Military detention is no way to treat a child.
The last few years have been a time of both soul-searching and hope as Canada comes to terms with its colonial history. The Idle No More movement and the Missing Indigenous Women and Girls initiatives have raised awareness of continued injustice and racism in our society. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission collected a great deal of data on the Residential School System and offered concrete suggestions for healing—including calls to the churches to help facilitate reconciliation.
On January 7, we celebrate Epiphany, the light of Christ revealed to the whole world. At that time, to honour the spiritual and cultural gifts of our Indigenous neighbours, we will dedicate two pieces of art by Lawrence Beaulieu, donated by our Indigenous friend Raymond Olson. These will remain on display as reminders to work and pray toward healed Indigenous-settler relationships.
Through this art, we acknowledge that we live and worship on Treaty 1 territory. The government of Canada and the Anishinaabe and Cree peoples of the area signed the treaty on August 3, 1871 at Lower Fort Garry. For the Indigenous people, the treaty meant the formal recognition of a long-standing friendly relationship. For the government, the treaty meant the ceding of land in return for reserve land and for assistance with education and health services. At HSMC, we confess the pain and brokenness resulting from Canada’s failure to honour the terms of the treaty. We also acknowledge with gratitude the hospitality extended to us as settler people.
Accompanying the artwork will be a plaque with the following text:
This church is located on Treaty 1 territory, traditional land of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Dakota people and the homeland of the Métis Nation. We are grateful to the Indigenous peoples for their stewardship of this land and the hospitality which enables our congregation to live, worship, and serve God the Creator here. We acknowledge the harms that we in the settler community have brought upon the Indigenous peoples of this land. These pieces of art symbolize our commitment to be people of reconciliation in word and deed.