Hes the tall gentleman with white hair, a ready smile,
the far-off breath of Ireland in his speech; who sits on
the south side of the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. We gave
out copies of his book, Tales and Tales a collection
of his essays as prizes at last years Westminster
Golf Extravaganza, and recently we attended the launching
of his sixth book, 60 Years A-Growing- a short history
of the Canadian Association of Physicists at McNally
Robinsons book store in Grant Park Plaza.Writing has been
an important part of Jaspers life and most of it has
grown directly from his education, his teaching, and his
work in the public media.
Jasper was born in Belfast, Ireland. He took his earliest
university training at
College in Belfast, and then at Queens University
(Belfast) where he studied nuclear physics and then earned
his PhD. While in Belfast he began his writing career as
a columnist for the Belfast Newsletter and, occasionally,
the Telegraph. His first teaching assignment was as an assistant
lecturer at Campbell College. His subsequent teaching assignments
took him to Birmingham University (England) as a Senior
Lecturer for 17years, then, by invitation, to University
of Manitoba as a Senior Lecturer, followed by a visiting
professorship at University of California (Berkley) and
finally back to U of M where he became Director of the Accelerator
Center (The Cyclotron). Since 1996 he has held the position
of Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics and Astronomy
at U of M. Jaspers first book, A Random Recollection
of a Peripatetic Physicist was a reflection on the
years of this career in teaching.
A friend of mine said to me Of course Ive heard
of Jasper McKee. He used to be on CBC Radio. For 15
years Jasper was the Science Correspondent for the CBC Radios
Morning Show-1979 to 1988.
Then he moved to television on CBCs News World from
1988 to 1990. Jaspers second book, Physics in
The Real World is based on the answers he gave
phoned in by the public to the radio show and later from
studio audience members on television.
His third book The View from Below Cashel Hill
refers to the McKees home at Connamara where Jasper
and his wife visited yearly, enjoying being with her parents
and visiting relatives from Ireland and Canada.
Jaspers first novel The Heroic Failure of Anderton
Snipe was launched in September, 2004, again at McNally
Robinsons. A non-hero, Snipe has a life that is a see-saw
of small successes (as a librarian) and dynamic personal
failures in Winnipeg, in Western Ireland and finally in
County Dorset in England. Even the great love of his life,
Fiona Tidewell, who sets him on the road to a successful
career in library science sours and the two drift apart.
The end of the book suggests a sequel but Jasper hasnt
written it yet!
Beyond the writing already mentioned Jasper wrote several
articles for the journal Science in Action in the sixties,
and is the author of over 220 papers in referred scientific
journals, in addition to chapters of scientific books.
Administrator, teacher, novelist, essayist, journalist,
broadcaster, and Nuclear Physicist, Dr. Jasper McKee.
(Roy Halstead, Editor, Westminster Newsletter)
OF THE MONTH
The Assiniboine Valley Railway run by Westminster's own
Bill Taylor has been a Winnipegger's must see experience
for many Christmas's past. Riding on small but mighty
trains people are treated to one of the finest Christmas
light displays in our city (and it gets better every year!).
There is an entrance fee for the ride. There is also a
collection box for donations to the Winnipeg Christmas
Cheer Board. This season's Christmas Light Display opens
November 25. http://www.swedenfreezer.com/avr/chrismas_at_the_taylor.htm
Church Speaker Sunday, November 27th
The Outreach Committee invites you to an After Church
Conversation with Tom Graham who will be speaking on
the roots of Muslim fundamentalism. Come and join us in the
library after the service, refreshments available and child
care provided. Tom taught Religious Studies at the University
of Winnipeg from 1969 until he retired in 1995, specifically
courses on contemporary religious
and comparative Religions.
SALUTE OUR VISITORS
As many in our congregation grow old, so age and infirmity
keep a number from attending worship services or having personal
contact with Westminster Church. Enter, OUR VISITORS, who,
monthly, visit the sick and shut-ins bringing them a copy
of the monthly newsletter and a warm visit to let them know
we remember them and care about them. Working through the
and Pastoral Care Committee these volunteers deserve a THANK-YOU
from all of us. To Patty Allen, Isabelle & Murray Auld,
Loretta Basiuk, Daphne Burns, Bob Burton, Gladys Comeault,
Beth Derraugh, Susan Fenwick, Elaine Finnbogason, Marjorie
Harvey, Marilyn Huband, Bruce Linney, Keith and Anne Love,
Peter and Maureen Macdonald, Linda Meckling, Donna Parrish,
Pat Richtik, Sigrid Schibbler, Sharen Taevs, Eileen Weir,
Liz Wijtkamp, and Mary Yanke.
Remember that that Sunday's collection goes to the Christmas
Cheer Board (Did you know that the Cheer Board has been around
since 1919?) and Christmas L.I.T.E. (Local Investment Toward
Employment) - an organization that collects donations to purchase
supplies for Christmas Cheer Board hampers from inner-city
community enterprises. You can check
out Christmas L.I.T.E. 's website through our own Outreach
brought a pumpkin to show the children.
Let me be the first to tell you: Christmas is coming! That
means celebration and song, family and feasting, candles and
carols ... and Christmas hampers! Over the next 10 weeks,
I will be inviting
everyone to remember the Westminster Christmas hampers as
you prepare for all the other joys of the season. This week,
it's a reminder to knit a warm pair of mitts or a cozy hat.
You don't knit? Great!! Everyone needs socks. (You know what
a relief it can
be for a parent to find matching socks - both clean - for
their little ones in the mad morning rush!) Please purchase
a couple of pairs and bring them along to church. Thanks so
Pamela McLeod Arnould.
Do you own an iPod Shuffle? Don't know where to keep it?
Advertised as the iBelieve your Shuffle connects to a cap
and lynyard which turns this new tech toy into a wearable
crucifix. Just the thing for the Christian techie who is
into the cute and tacky. Check it out at
Crying Room: a TV Alternative
Parents with very young children sometimes have the problem
of dealing with an infant's crying or fussing during a
worship service. The logical solution was to build a crying
room at the back of the sanctuary, an expensive proposition,
where parent and child could retire for awhile and the
parent could still watch the service. And then someone
thought of closed circuit TV (a much less expensive solution.)
We now have a TV camera mounted on the front face of the
balcony that can be remotely operated to focus on anything
happening in the service, in the choir, at the pulpit,
at the baptismal font etc. This camera sends its signal
to a 27" TV monitor located in the day care area
of the church basement where parent and child can be comfortable
while the parent watches and hears the service.
THE WALLS CAME ATUMBLIN DOWN!
dont need no Joshaus around our church building!
Years of weathering and plain old aging both challenge
us to keep our walls standing, and all they enclose
in good repair. For example: If youve been out
the lane recently and looked up at our chimney youd
see scaffolding around the top. Heres the story
When the chimney was built it was divided, vertically,
in half; one half to allow fresh air to be brought into
the building and one half to exhaust the hot air from
the boilers. It needed a cover on the top to keep the
exhaust from being sucked back into the system. The
cover didnt get put on. Consequently, the fresh
air system has never worked properly and the exhaust
air has led to corrosion of the top stones of the chimney.
Result? The mason working up there is now replacing
some stones and recementing others back into place.
One such stone badly out of place and ready to fall
off, could go through the roof, and end up among the
organ pipes. It weighs 400 to 500 pounds. Tens of thousands
of dollars damage if we didnt catch the need before
same friendly mason also points out that we have some
problems with the stonework at the top of the south
tower. Stones toppling onto Maryland Avenue; an eventuality
if we dont get on it. All this stone work is part
of an ongoing project that will take roughly two years
to complete. Necessary? Yes? Costly? Yes, of course.
What else, you may ask. Well the stain glass, for example:
the horizontal bars we placed across our large sanctuary
windows years ago to keep them from sagging is now coming
loose. It needs to be recemented. Some of the stained
glass in the concert hall has been broken and had to
be replaced. The storm windows outside those upstairs
windows had broken panes. Glass replaced, windows re-caulked
and repainted. Now as good as new. Those pews youre
sitting in; the backs are cracking (not yours! the pews!).
Repairs and replacements are an on-going maintenance
We are the inheritors of probably the finest church
building in the city. Handsome and dramatic in appearance,
it is also serviceable in
host of church and community ways. A real asset for
the city, the Province and us. And who ,pays the bills?
You and I, a sizable Westminster Foundation, and the
Culture and Heritage Department of the Province. We
have been fortunate to receive the kind of Provincial
and Grant money and generous donations from individuals
in the congregation that have given us the new wheelchair
ramp and elevator, the Narthex washrooms, the enlarged
and improved daycare facilities, the redesigned and
upgraded basement washrooms. But for much of the basic
and/or much needed maintenance and repairs? Its
up to us through our yearly givings and a yearly infusion
of money from our Foundation.
Are We Doing as a Concert Hall ?
Pretty well, indeed. With recent improvements to the facilities
such as more, and easier accessed, washrooms, the wheelchair
ramp and elevator, and with our excellent acoustics and the
use of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra stage Westminster is
an affordable and commendable place for community groups to
hold concerts. In November
December alone, this year, there are 10 public concerts scheduled
for the Sanctuary. Three well known choirs are with us; Canzona,
The Mennonite Festival Chorus and The Winnipeg Singers; two
schools, Westgate Mennonite Collegiate and Balmoral Hall and
a school division, Pembina Trails will present their Christmas
concerts; MCO will be here twice in November; our own presentation
of Amahl and The
Visitors happens December 11th, and we will finish the
year, December 31st, with a Peace Concert.
In the new year we already have bookings for a concert from
the Winnipeg Symphony New Music Festival. In March we will
once again be a major venue for the Manitoba Music Festival
including their famous Rose Bowl and Gala final concerts.
Now, if we just had padded pews.......!
AND DECISION-MAKING IN THE CHURCH
Since its earliest days, the church has found it necessary
to make critical decisions affecting its life and identity.
Among them: Who would be eligible for membership in this community
and under what conditions? What would be the core beliefs
to which members of the community would be expected to adhere?
What practices and behaviours would be accepted within the
community and what would not? Who would make decisions for
the community and how would decisions be enforced?
On many issues the infant church did not have the benefit
of the obvious guidance of scripture or tradition. They needed
not only to make decisions but to develop faithful practices
for making decisions. We see such practices evolving in the
15th chapter of the Book of Acts which describes the first
great conflict about what the church would look like. The
early church grew out of Judaism and some of its first leaders
were teaching that, in coming to Christ, one had to embrace
Jewish ritual, practice, and outward marks such as circumcision.
On the opposite side, the apostle Peter argued strongly that
such obligations ought not to be placed on non-Jews since
Ain cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction
between them and us@(Acts 15:9). Salvation was in fact not
by any outward work but only by the grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ. The apostle Paul, whose main ministry was to the Gentiles,
clearly believed in God=s favour to the Gentiles as Gentiles
as manifested by the many signs and wonders God had done among
Acts 15 describes a meeting of the apostles and elders of
the church in Jerusalem to moderate and resolve this issue.
Through a time of debate, testimony, and study of scripture,
the assembly discerned that no stumbling blocks should be
placed in the way of Gentiles converting to the faith and
gave Paul its blessing for his mission to the Gentiles. The
nature of this mission had occasioned deep conflict which
could have proved destructive to the early church; but the
church had found a way to discern the will of God on the issue
and to arrive together at a decision all could support. We
at Westminster Church may be entering a time in which ways
of decision-making practised in the early church could serve
us well. Last fall, the issue of whether or not marriage ceremonies
for persons of the same gender might be performed at Westminster
was placed on the agenda of the Board. At the time, I offered
the hope that the period leading to a decision by the congregation
would be one of discernment about the nature and purpose of
marriage. I used the
to get at the notion that what needs to happen is more
than just a debate lifting up opposing points of view - though
there will need to be debate - and that the result needs to
be more than just a vote in which the majority prevails C
though in the end a decision of some sort will need to be
means that we are not simply trying to persuade others to
our side, but that, together, we are trying to seek out the
will of God on the issue. If we follow the model of the early
church, we will engage in a number of practices. We will pray
together over this. We will study scripture together for its
insights. We will think theologically together about how to
bring to bear on this practical question the foundational
message of the gospel that all are saved by grace through
faith alone. We will listen to each other as we tell the stories
of our spiritual experience so that we can benefit from how
God is working in other members of the community. And we will
do all of this over a sufficient period of time to give breathing
room for the Holy Spirit to do its work within and among us.
A New Testament scholar, Luke Timothy Johnson, has written
about the role of discernment in decision-making in the church.
I think his words can be helpful to us as we seek to bring
our Christian faith and experience to bear upon this
issue and other challenging issues:
The key element in decision making as a theological process
C that is, as an articulation of the church=s faith in the
Living God C is discernment. It is an essential component
at every stage. Discernment enables humans to perceive their
characteristically ambiguous experience as revelatory and
to articulate such experiences in a narrative of faith.
Discernment enables others to hear such narratives as the
articulation of faith and as having revelatory significance.
Discernment enables communities to listen to such gathering
narratives for the word of God that they might express.
Discernment enables communities, finally, to decide for
But what is discernment? We use the term for that gift
of the Holy Spirit for which Paul uses a number of Greek
terms. Sometimes he used cognates of krino, which have the
connotation of Ajudging.@ Other times he uses cognates of
dokimazo, which have the connotation of Atesting.@ In 1
Corinthians 12:10, Paul calls discernment of the spirits
(diakrisis ton pneumaton) a specific spiritual gift, and
when he speaks of the speech of prophets in the community,
he says, ALet two or three prophets speak, and let the others
weigh what is said (diakrinetosan)@ (1Cor.4:29). By Athe
says, ALet two or three prophets speak, and let the others
weighwhat is said (diakrinetosan)@ (1Cor.4:29). By Athe
others,@ Paul clearly means all the others in the assembly.
Discernment is a gift to be exercised by all believers.
Likewise in 1 Thessalonians 5: 19-20, Paul tells the entire
community, ADo not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying,
but test everything (dokimazete).@
From the contexts in which he uses such terms, it appears
that Paul regards this capacity of judging, testing, or
discerning to be a gift of the Holy Spirit that works in
and through human intelligence. Like prophecy itself, it
is a gift that uses the mind. We would not go far wrong,
then, if we were to regard discernment as similar to the
virtue of prudence ... which the New Testament ... regards
as the capacity to make proper practical decisions (see
Rom. 12:3, 15:5; 1Cor. 13:11; Phil.2: 2-5; 3:15, 19: Col.
3:2; and Eph. 1:8). We might, therefore, define discernment
as that habit of faith by which we are properly disposed
to hear God=s Word, and properly disposed to respond to
that Word in the practical circumstances of our lives.
- From Scripture and Discernment: Decision Making in the
Church, by Luke Timothy Johnson, (Nashville: Abingdon, 1966),
Judy Hill, Phyllis & Fred Boyling
& Len La Rue, Fred Simpson
Mavins & Mary Anne Taylor
& Keith Love with Loretta Basiuk
A message from the Stewardship Committee
Westminster Church is home to a congregation of about
300 households and 600 individuals. These numbers have
fallen significantly since the 1950s but have stabilized
over the past few years. The congregation is now relatively
small for a church the size of Westminster.
The congregation has repeatedly demonstrated, however,
its determination to remain viable and vibrant. And why
not? Westminster is a lovely building filled with beautiful
music, fine preaching, Christian education for children,
youths and adults, pastoral care and important initiatives
in the community.
It takes sizable financial resources to keep an operation
the size of our church going. We cannot simply tighten
our belts, as our basic operating costs put us in
a deficit. The fixed costs of running Westminster Church
are increasing every year. For example the total cost
of our staff (ministers, secretary, caretakers, and the
music team) consumes 59 cents of every dollar we spend.
Just keeping the building operating costs another 24 cents.
Of course, we belong to a larger National Church. We also
believe strongly in participating fully in Mission and
Service. These last two items together consumer another
13 cents. The cost of our committees is more flexible,
but what kind of church would we be without them? In any
case, their cost comes to a grand total of 4 cents of
every dollar we spend.
Our costs increase as well. We now have a full complement
of ministerial staff with Robert Campbell and Joan Jarvis.
As a result staff expenses will increase 9% in 2006. We
all live with increased home and business heating costs
these days and with no end in sight. Westminster Church
is no different. We expect our heating bill to increase
significantly in 2006. It increased by 6% in 2005.
The financial resources of our church have traditionally
been buoyed by a small number of exceptionally dedicated
and generous members. Their numbers are decreasing as time
thins our ranks. While its is extremely unlikely, in this
present day and age, to have a single individual or family
match their levels of offering, it should be possible for
a number of us, collectively, to fill our financial gaps.
Finally a strange phenomenon has displayed itself since
we have been tracking such things. Fully 25% of the congregation
who make annual pledges do not fulfill them completely.
This missing money over the past five years averages about
$16,000 annually. With it, we would not have experienced
any annual losses. For those who have difficulty tracking
their offerings over the year, PAR (pre authorized remittances)
would be a good solution both for you and for Westminster.
Westminster is a fine church that does important work. We
need to support it properly if its many activities are to
Beaudry & Brad Kirbyson and Lynn & Lawrence Heise
and Jim Richtik
and Teresa Young
and Christmas at
Westminster United Church
First in Advent
Second in Advent
White Gift Sunday
Third in Advent
3:00 pm Amahl and the Night Visitors
Fourth in Advent
The Sacrament of Communion
After service Fellowship Luncheon
4:00 pm - Blue Christmas Service
A service for those experiencing loss.
7:00 pm. Family Christmas Service
10:30 pm. An Organ Recital of Carols given
by Don Menzies
11:00 pm. Choral Candlelight Service
and the NIGHT VISITORS" by Gian-Carlo Menotti
The Westminster Church Choir along with community choirs
Brochan Lom and Fair Warning will present this one act Christmas
opera on Sunday, December 11, 2005 at 3pm in Westminster
Church. Tickets are $10 and children under 12 are free.
Tickets are available from choir members, from the office,
or at the concert. Proceeds to the 'Betty Halstead Scholarship
One of the most popular of American operas, "Amahl
and the Night Visitors" was the first opera commissioned
especially for television. It was premièred by the
NBC Television Opera Theatre in New York City on December
24, 1951. It was replayed on NBC every year until (as is
generally believed) the original video recording was lost.
Other sources suggest the television broadcasts
discontinued due to technical difficulties with the original
production and a dispute between Menotti and NBC.The story
centres around Amahl, a crippled but mischievous shepherd
boy who lives in poverty with his mother. One night Amahl
excitedly tells her that he has seen a star with a long
tail. His mother does not believe him since he is always
inventing stories. Still less does she believe him later
when he gets up to answer a knock at the door and announces
there are three kings outside! Amahl and his mother welcome
the king into their humble house. The king tells them that
they are on their way to worship a very special child, bringing
him rich gifts, and that they are following the star Amahl
saw earlier. Amahl also wants to send a gift, but all he
has is this crutch... What ensues is a heart-warming prologue
to the traditional Christmas story of the three kings who
visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
Bracken died on October 27, 2005 in Toronto. She was
born in Worcester, Massachusetts, obtained her BA at University
of Pennsylvania, worked for a year in England and then returned
to Boston and worked at The Center for International Affairs
where she met her future husband, Richard. They were married
in 1972 and moved, that year, to Winnipeg. A major part
of Kathryns married life was devoted to the raising
of her four sons and in taking active interest in their
Phyllis Reader, Westminster Refugee Committee, said this
of Kathryns work on our church Refugee and Outreach
Committees: "Kathryn Bracken was intent on making a
difference and assisting those less fortunate. She was passionate
about was she was doing and compassionate to those from
other countries who have suffered so terribly." Kathryns
most recent contribution had to do with a Westminster sponsorship
of a husband and wife and their seven children from Egypt.
She dealt with all the paperwork and communications regarding
this sponsorship including making presentations to the Westminster
General Board and to the United Church in Toronto.
Kathryn will be lovingly remembered by her family and her
many friends in Westminster Church.
Campbell Wright passed away on November 6, 2005 at
the age of 45. He leaves to mourn his passing his wife,
Lynne Arnason, his sons, Kirk and Thomas, his parents, Scott
and Sonya Wright, his sisters and numerous other family
members and friends.
Campbell, a fourth generation member of the Westminster
United Church, graduated from the University of Manitoba
with a BA in 1981 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1984. In 1993,
he obtained an MBA in International Business and Export
from City University in London, England and began his professional
life in 1984 when he was called to the Bar in Manitoba.
He was a partner in the firm of Pitblado in 1995, where
he continued to practice law until his death.
Campbell was a member of the Advocates' Society of Manitoba
and various committees of the Law Society of Manitoba. He
was a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, and participated in
teaching many Law Society Bar Admission and continuing education
courses. Campbell was a Member of the Board of Directors
Jocelyn House Inc. He served as a Member of the Board of
Governors of the Y.M./Y.W.C.A. of Winnipeg. He was a Member
of the Board of Directors of The Canadian Club of Winnipeg
(past chairperson). He was a Member of the Board of Directors
of Westminster Housing Society Inc. and a member of the
Board of Trustees of the Manitoba Theatre Centre.
Campbell demonstrated kindness, generosity, zest for life
and commitment to family and community throughout his lifetime.
He will be sorely missed by his family and many friends.