saint benedict’s table

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Anglican Church of Canada

Guiding theological question: As the world continues to shift, what is God calling our community to be and how will we respond in a way that is both faithful to our identity and open to change? 

Guiding Scripture passage: We are going to take our inspiration from 1 Chronicles 12:32 in which the men of Issachar are described as people who “knew the times and knew what Israel should do.” 

Signs of change:

  • We noticed an increase in people wanting to meet one on one to explore ideas connected to their own vocations.
  • We began to overhear people incorporating the images and language of vocation we introduced into conversations outside of scheduled activities.
  • Our church leadership began to develop a greater sense of ownership over the project.

Year 2 Activities

We are going to continue our work on the digital commons.  To compliment that work, we are going to focus on creating a series of workshops to help people deepen in their understanding of why we do what we do in worship and to feel more confident and competent in their participation. All workshops will be designed to be offered in person (when possible) and also online. The online components will be made available to the wider church through the digital commons. 

Year 1 Learnings

  • Our congregation is energized by conversations about our collective vocation.
  • Our congregation engages when they have access to robust language and images.
  • Our call to engage digitally beyond our walls is bigger and more important that even we realized.

Resources Developed by saint benedict's table

  • Community of Calling webpage — the webpage on the larger saint benedict’s table website offers resources, updates, and timelines regarding the congregation’s involvement in the CCI. A selection of resources will be posted here, but check out the website for more! 
  • Weaving ProjectThe team used the metaphor of weaving to explore callings with the congregation. Resources developed from this initiative include: a comic book connecting the weaving project and calling; a sermon from Rev. Rachel Twigg; a “Tangled Up in Vocation” podcast interview; and an introduction to Samantha Klassen, artist in residence. A celebration of the project took place in November 2020. The video “The Weaving Project Unfurled” offers a reflection on the community’s experience of the project and learnings about calling. 
  • Lent 2020 Podcast Seriesinterviews with community members sharing stories of vocation and calling.
  • Advent 2020 vocational seriesincluding video meditations, prayer, and discussions with “monastic visitor” Cathie Caimano.
  • Eucharist Order of Servicewe celebrated Eucharist at our February retreat day, which explicitly explored and celebrated the truth that we are all called. 

Recommended Prayer & Study Resources

We find that a song by Gord Johnson—one of our music leaders—speaks to the theme of calling, expressed through the language of the 23rd Psalm:

Gone is the darkness
Now comes the dawn
O good shepherd
Lead me on

Lead me on
Lead me on
O good shepherd
Lead me on

Green are your pastures
Where I belong
Tender your mercies
Lead me on

When in my weakness
You are made strong
Saviour and keeper
Lead me on

Soft is your calling
Sweet is your song
Willing I follow
Lead me on

We would strongly recommend Kathleen Cahalan’s The Stories We Live, which we found to be an accessible and congregation-friendly introduction to the whole area of calling and vocation. Specifically, the three-fold model of Acorn, Pilgrimage, and Surprising Discovery offered a really useful starting point when we were first introducing the congregation to the Communities of Calling initiative. We also found that her use of prepositions — called to, called as, called through, etc. — was very helpful for many of our people, as it provided a more fluid way in which to think and discern the sort of callings we might all hold.

Notably, due to Danielle’s recommendation of the book, The Stories We Live is currently being used as the guiding text in a masters level course on vocation and calling at Canadian Mennonite University.

In addition, we would commend Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable Plant, particularly for clergy. While it is an older book (1992) and somewhat dated in places, it issues an all but timeless call for clergy to attend carefully to the heart of the pastoral life. Like all of Peterson’s writing on pastoring, it is sane, wise, and eminently readable.

Congregation Story

Share one story that illustrates your congregation living out your mission.

Up until very recently, the church where we meet was also home to a soup kitchen, Agape Table. When we first moved to this location, our priest met with Agape Table’s Executive Director to see how we could best become involved with their work. Through mutual discernment we began collecting fresh fruit, and eventually warm socks and other items, in baskets at the back of our sanctuary that are carried up with the communion elements and placed by the altar each Sunday. Since the move of Agape Table to new quarters, we’ve continued in the practice as we see it as a simple yet symbolically important expression of our need to remember the hunger of the world.

While we know that these items alone don’t solve the problem of hunger or homelessness, they are a tangible reminder of the need to extend our experience at the Eucharistic table into our everyday lives and reflect our communities’ value of coming alongside, rather than duplicating services that are already in existence. This “coming alongside” ethos is further expressed through our Mission Fund (10% of our offering income) and our commitment to supporting congregational members in their own ministries and vocations.