Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt. 28:18-20)
These words spoken by the Lord before His glorious Ascension speak volumes as to the responsibility that those who call themselves Christians are entrusted with. We are commissioned to let our “light so shine before men, that they may see (our) good works and glorify (our) Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).
In the same way that the sun shines it warmth and light on this planet continually as it rotates on its axis (there is always a dawn somewhere, even if we are in the middle of the night), because that is what that giant ball of fire in the sky does; our lives as men women and children who have “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27) also ought to be manifesting the light of Christ, that eternal dawn, to the world around us. In short, to be a Christian is to bear that light, to be mission.
The temptation is to see this mission in terms of a task or command, but as Fr. Alexander Schmemann observed, “Christian mission is not to preach Christ, but to be Christians in life.”
This “life” is wherever we live, work and struggle, raise families and have friends; this“life” occupies the whole world around us… Including Winkler Manitoba and the surrounding communities. .
In 2014, the parish of St. Nicholas in Narol received one resident from Winkler (2 hrs south of Winnipeg) into Orthodoxy, and then another, and another, and another. What started out as one individual making a long trip to Liturgy on Sunday became a number of families and individuals making their way to St. Nicholas.
The idea of having a mission in Winkler which has been an abstract dream, became a tangible possibility within a year. With the blessing of Archbishop Irenee (Archdiocese of Canada, Orthodox Church in America) the Mission Station of Christ the Saviour was established in the early winter of 2016 as a mission of St. Nicholas in Narol.
Since those early days in Winkler, a beautiful (and portable) Iconostas has been build, with dedicated members singing and working to provide hospitality and love to the communities of Winkler and Morden. On the eve of Pentecost in 2017, the Mission received their Archpastor Vladika Irenee. In Great Lent, 2018 the Mission hosted pan-Orthodox faithful at Saturday evening Vespers, as part of the Winnipeg Orthodox Clergy Association lenten Vespers series.
Little by little this community is growing into a full-time parish, with regular services lead by clergy from St. Nicholas and the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Deanery, as well as hosting bible studies and catechism classes. With the support of the parish of St. Nicholas in Narol, and the guidance of Archbishop Irenee, the community of Christ the Saviour Mission Station in Winkler brings the light of Christ to those around them, making real the eternal dawn of God’s love. Truly it is a mission in every sense of the word.
May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen their resolve.
For more information about the Mission please visit their Facebook page, or contact Reader Wesley Isaac Giesbrecht at 1-204-362-1372 or Fr. Gregory Scratch at 204-890-8057