An open letter to the Saskatchewan Government re: Station 20 West
[April 2, 20082 avril 2008]

As the Executive Director of an inter-church agency working in Saskatchewan to promote inter-church cooperation, I am writing to express my surprise and grave concern about the decision to cut $8 million of promised and committed provincial funding to the Station 20 West project. At a time of healthy budget surpluses, I cannot understand the provincial government's reasoning and assume it must be based on lack of reliable information about the project.

This is no "throw-more-money-at-the-inner-city-quick-fix" solution, but rather a very well planned partnership between local community based organizations, social service providers, the Saskatoon Health Region, the University of Saskatchewan, the city of Saskatoon and local businesses. Its purpose is to address the very well documented discrepancies in social and health care provision between different areas of Saskatoon.

Read more ...Texte intégral ...

Community Walk for Station 20 West
[April 1, 20081 avril 2008]

Station 20 WestAll-Community Walk: Lets Keep Building Our Community
Support and Celebrate Station 20 West

Bring friends, family, and neighbours!!

Saturday April 5th, gather at 10am at Station 20 West, 20th Street West and Avenue L South

Station 20 West is a Community Enterprise Centre being constructed in the heart of Saskatoon's core neighbourhoods.

The project will strengthen the economy and create skills and employment, provide much needed services and amenities, reduce poverty and health disparities, use LEED environmental design, and help revitalize the Westside core neighbourhoods.

The Provincial government has pulled their $8 million in promised and committed funding from the project, effectively stopping construction.

We will walk together to show community support to reinstate funding and let this innovative and much-needed community-building project reach its full potential.

Community Walk Poster - download, print, and post in a public location
• Join the Station 20 West Facebook Group - for the latest information on the campaign to reinstate funding
Community Walk invitation on Facebook - send invitations to your friends
Sign the online petition to reinstate funding
• Visit the Station 20 West website to read about the project, see artistic renderings, and contribute to the capital campaign

Prendre un Congé Sabbatique de Carbone
[March 21, 200821 mars 2008Also available in English]

Notre dépendance à l`égard de pétrole tue des personnes et la planète... parfois à petit feu par la dégradation progressive de l'air que nous respirons et des écosystèmes dont nous dépendons toutes et tous, et parfois rapidement à la suite des nombreuses violations des droits humains et des conflits liés au contrôle et à l'usage de l'énergie fossile. Y-a-t-il des alternatives?

Oui! KAIROS - initiatives oecuméniques canadiennes pour la justice pense qu'il est temps que nous réexaminions, à titre individuel et comme societé, notre dépendance à l'égard des combustibles fossiles. Joignez-vous à notre campagne d'action Repenser l'énergie : Il Est Temps de Prendre un Congé Sabbatique de Carbone et servez-vous de notre site Internet pour découvrir comment il vous est possible de changer vous-même, de changer votre milieu et d'aider à changer le monde en repensant tous et toutes ensemble de l'énergie!

March 29 is a Carbon Sabbath
[March 21, 200821 mars 2008Aussi disponible en français]

KAIROS wants you to turn off your lights for an hour at 8 pm on Saturday, March 29!

Why? Because our use of fossil fuels –- symbolized here by a light bulb -- is contributing to global climate change. In 2007, the people of Sydney, Australia, decided that they could send a powerful message for change by turning off all their lights at the same time. More than 2 million citizens and businesses did so. Now, the World Wildlife Fund is taking Sydney’s history–making moment global by encouraging people, businesses, and communities all over the world to turn off their lights and demand action on climate change.

KAIROS asks you, your church, and your community to join in this global effort as part of your commitment to the Re-Energize: Time For A Carbon Sabbath campaign. Use this time to reflect on your use of fossil fuels and their connections not just to climate change but to human rights and conflict as well. Build community around these issues. Advocate with local and federal governments to change their policies and practices related to fossil fuels.

We are Remembering the Children
[March 13, 200813 mars 2008]

Remembering the Childrenby the Rev. Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard,
Director of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism

It all began in the middle of the night, sometime in December. The previous day I had email to say that very senior aboriginal and church leaders were going to cross the country together to promote the work of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This was exciting. The TRC struck me as a courageous way to help heal this wound in our national soul.

My heart sank, however, when I read the proposed itinerary. No mention of Saskatchewan. “How typical”, I thought, the chip on my prairie-girl shoulder well in place. I thought: it doesn’t matter to those people ‘down east’ that Saskatchewan has a very large native population, that many residential schools were located here. With a fatalistic sigh, I went to bed.

And woke up in the middle of the night. There was no question: I had to write to the organizers and urge them to come to Saskatchewan. A few minutes on the internet brought up the email address. I wrote at once, urging our case and offering the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism as the local partner.

How could I make such a commitment in the middle of the night, with no hesitation and no consultation? It was simple: the amazing PCE network. 24 years of building inter-church partnerships paid off. The PCE’s Restorative Justice Committee usually just do one workshop in November, but 2007 was different. Our focus was the continuing racial divide in our region. The question we asked was how can we, as native and non-native people, walk together to heal our communities? It was clear that this would not be a one-off event, but a process. We began to seek aboriginal partners and found them. There was a growing sense that God was taking us somewhere, well out of our comfort zones. The stage was set.

On January 11 we got word that the national tour, impressed by the strength of our invitation, was coming to Saskatoon on March 9. Hastily the Restorative Justice committee assembled, and others were invited on board -- including Ethel Ahenakew of the Saskatoon Native Ministry, Alan Jacques, who ministers on the Dakota Whitecap First Nation, Mary Ann Assailly, of the Anglican diocesan outreach network.

We were excited. Someone asked how many people will come. I said I wasn’t sure, but we should prepare for up to 400. There was incredulous laughter. (We are used to disappointment.) But we persuaded ourselves to think big, and got to work -- especially Carol Zubiak our chair, and Carol Penner, our office manager. We were delighted when FaithLife Financial stepped up to the plate and gave us $1,000 to help.

Four churches ran residential schools on behalf of the federal government -- Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United. Their local church leaders were enthusiastic about the March 9 visit, and promoted the event among their people. Chief Lawrence Joseph, head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, flew to Ottawa to check out the national launch of the tour. That convinced him that the churches were sincere. He agreed to speak in Saskatoon, and promoted the event with Saskatchewan native leaders.

Invitations went out far and wide -- oh the wonders of email. The press releases went out. We held our breath.

Then the phone began to ring. The computer went crazy. Media said they were coming. By the week of the tour, we were arranging overflow seating and urging the Western Development Museum to squeeze in more seats and stand by with extra food.

On the day we counted 471 going past the registration desk. People were streaming in, white and native, old and young. There was a line-up of those wanting to smudge. The perfume of sweetgrass filled the air. People sat at round and long, tables, filling the hall. Expectant and a little nervous.

On stage the national tour’s display featured a young native boy’s face, with a very institutional haircut. His face appeared on the podium as well. When Ted Quewezance, residential school survivor and head of the survivor’s society, stood at the podium and told his story. I felt I was time travelling, for Ted -- a man in his fifties or sixties -- bore an uncanny resemblance to that little boy.

Each church leader spoke well, with words of clear apology for a very serious wrong. Chief Joseph had called it a ‘holocaust’. The uncomfortable truth, new to me, was that many children never came home from those residential schools. Many died or disappeared. We must remember. There is so much that most non-native people don’t know.

The program ran long, but the audience stayed with it. There were tissues placed on each table. They were needed. Many were touched -- the audience, the museum serving staff, the media people, the local sound technician. A young Métis prison worked shared her sense of delight about the event. A school survivor in her sixties told me about the great sense of lightness and peace that had come upon her as the afternoon unfolded.

We finished with a meal and a round dance. When I went to the microphone and asked “Who’s ready for some singing and dancing?” there were whoops and shouts and applause. As ‘Young Thunder’ drummed and sang, a circle of people formed, holding hands, dancing around the edge of the hall. Native and white together, moving to the drum, a ring reaching not just once around the hall, but in places two lines thick. A moment of declaration. A moment of hope.

People asked me, “Are you coming back next year?” The question was about whether the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, when it shapes its itinerary for the major city events, will remember to come to Saskatchewan. We need them to come.

At the PCE, we’ll be standing by for the phone call.


• For background on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission go to
• The tour website is
A Most Holy Day - The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, reflects on the Saskatoon stop of the tour.

Exodus. Numbers. Judges
[by Nicholas Jesson, February 22, 2008par Nicholas Jesson, 22 février 2008]

Perhaps this is a sign of how long the struggles over human sexuality have monopolised our attention. The following note was posted on our blog in 2004. It is still a helpful contribution.

"Exodus. Numbers. Judges. As conservative parishes leave the liberal Episcopal Church, who shall inherit the real estate?"

This is an excellent article from LegalAffairs by Elizabeth Austin. It provides some insight into the role of bishops, hierarchy, and conciliar government in the Episcopal Church. It is a little different in every Anglican province, but Canada will have some similarities. The legal precedents will also be different. In Canada, many of the major legal precedents regarding church property were established following the 1925 church union that resulted in the United Church of Canada.

Remembering the Children
[February 7, 20087 février 2008]

Remembering the Children: Aboriginal and Church Leaders prepare for Truth and Reconciliation

Cross-Canada Promotion Tour
Saskatchewan stop is March 9, 2008

Senior aboriginal and church leaders are crossing Canada this March to promote the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which is being set up as part of the healing process set out in the Indian Residential Schools Agreement.

Read more ...Texte intégral ...

A source of joy: Sacramental sharing in Saskatoon
[February 2, 20082 février 2008]

It is a source of joy that Catholic pastors may, in particular circumstances, administer the sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. On such occasions, we acknowledge the importance of the sacrament as a source of grace for all the baptized.

On December 16, 2007, Bishop Albert LeGatt of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon announced the release of Pastoral Directives for Sacramental Sharing between Catholics and Baptized Christians of Other Denominations. The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has reviewed the Directives and found them worthy.

The Pastoral Directives were created to bring awareness to both clergy and laypeople of the occasions when sacramental sharing is possible. Bishop LeGatt desires a sound pastoral and consistent response across the diocese to requests for sacramental sharing.

Saskatoon Diocesan Commission for Ecumenism

For further reading and understanding of the Pastoral Directives, please review the following resources:

Bishop Albert LeGatt's letter (December 16, 2007)
Pastoral Directives (revised February 13, 2007) [PDF 99 Kb]
Directives Pastorales (13 février 2007) [PDF 94 Kb]
Pastoral Notes (January 31, 2005) [PDF 67 Kb]

US Baptists gather to forge new covenant
[January 30, 200830 janvier 2008]

More than 20,000 Baptists from across North America will gather in Atlanta January 30-February 1, 2008, in an unprecedented demonstration of Baptist unity. The history-making event will culminate months of planning by leaders of more than 30 Baptist organizations who laid the groundwork for a new era of cooperation during a series of meetings at The Carter Center in 2006 and early 2007.

The New Baptist Covenant is an informal alliance of more than 30 racially, geographically, and theologically diverse Baptist organizations from throughout North America that claim more than 20 million members. Representatives of these Baptist organizations have reaffirmed traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality, as well as their obligations as Christians to fulfill the biblical mandate to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.

Read more ...Texte intégral ...

Pray without ceasing: 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
[January 9, 20089 janvier 2008]

Pray without ceasing: 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity"Pray without ceasing" is the theme of the 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Celebrated in Canada from January 20 to 27th, this year the theme is drawn from the St. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians (I Th. 5:17). Paul's encouragement to pray without ceasing is particularly apt for this year's Week of Prayer which commemorates the 100th anniversary of this annual observance.

"... we appeal to you, brothers and sisters... Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Th. 5:12a, 13b-18, NRSV)

The materials from the 2008 WPCU international resource package are available for download in PDF format. Adapt these materials in your own settings, and print the worship service freely in your own church bulletins.

The "Ecumenism in Canada" WPCU page includes a number of suggestions for observing the week. The following resources might be of particular help.

A Model for Visits to Neighbour Churches during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
An article by Angelika Piché in Ecumenism (no. 151, Sept. 2003)
• « Un modèle pour la semaine de prière pour l'unité chrétienne »
Une article par Angelika Piché pour la revue Oecuménisme (numero 151, sept 2003)
A brief history of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Prepared by Nicholas Jesson, this text may be freely duplicated in church bulletins or newsletters.

Worship services and other events are scheduled across Canada and around the world. Events are listed on this website for Calgary, Edmonton, Humboldt, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Montréal, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Toronto, Victoria, and Winnipeg. If you would like us to list your WPCU event in Canada, please email the .

Daily reflections on the theme for each of the eight days are found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.