September 8,9,10

Our time in Winnipeg has been interesting. The Holiday Inn Express with its hot tub welcomed us with low affordable rates. Tuesday night we soaked in the hot water and let the jets do their healing work. Already my elbow is much better. We need to remember that you can’t beat old-fashioned remedies.

Wednesday morning we slept in again. When we finally got on the road it was after eleven. The night before we had listed the United churches and their locations. There are approx. 35 United Churches in Winnipeg. Wow. Checking them out became an ordeal of navigating traffic trying to follow an inadequate map, only to find no one at the churches. By one o’clock we were tired hungry and, of course, cranky. We gave up and headed down to the Forks – the main tourist center of town in hopes of getting a map with all the city streets marked.

The Forks is grand. We wandered through the market inhaling all the wonderful smells. After munching our cheese and a heavenly biscuit from a vendor we felt much better. I indulged in a carmel ice cream cone. Ice cream fixes everything for me. Fortified, we looked around a little more, picked up a transit map at the tourist center and continued our search for churches. By supper time we had sold just two books. For the first time we were disappointed. We asked ourselves, “What have we accomplished?

To our surprise, we discovered that we had done and seen heaps of great things. The most out standing experience and blessing of the day was our visit to Sturgeon Creek United Church. The church building itself is fabulous. Tom and I decided that it is the most beautiful modern Cathedral-like structure we have ever seen. As we stepped from the spacious foyer into the sanctuary the words of God to Moses found in Exodus 3:5 echoed in my mind, “Take off your shoes. The place on which you stand is holy ground.” Reverence, awe, holiness, peace, the Spirit floated on the air. Prayer, thanksgiving, praise filled my soul.

“The original building burned down,” the minister told us. “When the congregation replaced it, they chose to risk being creative.”

Returning to the narthex, he pointed out seven exquisitely quilted panels that tell the Biblical story from Genesis to the Resurrection. With intricate detail and in vivid colours the quilting artists have lovingly created Biblical images that even the unchurched can enjoy. Yes, our visit to Sturgeon Creek Church is one of the highlights of our trip. Once we identified the wonder and beauty of that experience, our hearts were opened to all the other good things and people we had encountered throughout the day. We luxuriated in the hot tub bringing relaxation to our stressed bodies. We were ready for sleep.

Thursday dawned sunny and warm. Our first stop was Charleswood United Church and a visit with Mike Wilson, a classmate from Emmanuel. His love for his congregation and his pride in their accomplishment in the new addition, reminded us once again that this United Church of ours is God’s gift to the world. Michael pointed out the beautiful modern stained glass windows, another artist’s concept of the Biblical story. The sun shone through illuminating the brilliant colours of the amazing designs. God’s Son shone through Michael and his colleague and many others.

That was just the first stop and the day continued, each moment bringing joy for Tom and I. Even the hairdresser, who squeezed me in for a colour and cut, was a blessing. The day over we had supper at a wonderful Greek restaurant on Portage West called the Olympia. We had sold eight books, our tummies were satisfied, we could rest.

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