JASPER MCKEE

He’s 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 year’s 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 Jasper’s 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

Campbell College in Belfast, and then at Queen’s 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. Jasper’s 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 I’ve heard of Jasper McKee. He used to be on CBC Radio”. For 15 years Jasper was the Science Correspondent for the CBC Radio’s Morning Show-1979 to 1988.
Then he moved to television on CBC’s News World from 1988 to 1990. Jasper’s second book, “Physics in The Real World” is based on the answers he gave


to questions 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.
Jasper’s 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 hasn’t written it yet!
Beyond the writing already mentioned Jasper wrote several
feature 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)

WEBSITE 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



After 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

movements 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
Membership 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.

Christmas Communion,
December 18th.

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 page.
Joan brought a pumpkin to show the children.
Christmas Hampers

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 much, everyone!

Pamela McLeod Arnould.

What Next! Department:
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 www.devoted1.com.

The 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.

AN’ THE WALLS CAME ATUMBLIN’ DOWN!

We don’t 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 you’ve been out in the lane recently and looked up at our chimney you’d see scaffolding around the top. Here’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t catch the need before hand. Our 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 don’t 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 you’re sitting in; the backs are cracking (not yours! the pews’!). Repairs and replacements are an on-going maintenance task.
We are the inheritors of probably the finest church building in the city. Handsome and dramatic in appearance, it is also serviceable in
a 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? It’s up to us through our yearly givings and a yearly infusion of money from our Foundation.

How 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
and 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 Night 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.......!

WE HAD A GREAT FALL


The Evancio Family at Fall BBQ

Cherub Choir starts rehearsals

Sigrid and Verna at Fall supper

DISCERNMENT AND DECISION-MAKING IN THE CHURCH

By Rev. Campbell

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 them.
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












word
discernment 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 reached.
Discernment 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 God.
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 others,@
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), pp. 109-110.




 


Judy Hill, Phyllis & Fred Boyling

Helen & Len La Rue, Fred Simpson

Lynne Mavins & Mary Anne Taylor

Anne & Keith Love with Loretta Basiuk
 

It’s Your Choice
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 1950’s 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 continue effectively.

Audrey Beaudry & Brad Kirbyson and Lynn & Lawrence Heise

Pat and Jim Richtik

Jim and Teresa Young

Advent and Christmas at
Westminster United Church

November, 27
First in Advent

December 4
Second in Advent
White Gift Sunday

December 11
Third in Advent
3:00 pm ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

December 18
Fourth in Advent
The Sacrament of Communion
After service – Fellowship Luncheon
4:00 pm - Blue Christmas Service
A service for those experiencing loss.

December 24

Christmas Eve
7:00 pm. Family Christmas Service
10:30 pm. An Organ Recital of Carols given by Don Menzies
11:00 pm. Choral Candlelight Service

December 25
Christmas Day
"AMAHL 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 Fund'.
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





were 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.




IN MEMORIAM

Kathryn 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 Kathryn’s married life was devoted to the raising of her four sons and in taking active interest in their education.

Phyllis Reader, Westminster Refugee Committee, said this of Kathryn’s 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." Kathryn’s 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 Managemen
t 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.
 

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