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Wednesday Wondering - December 6, 2023


Psalm 46: 5

“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns."

1Corinthians 15: 10

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."


I have been very reflective today, thinking about our world and wondering about how there continues to be so much inequality in society. Today marks the 34th anniversary of the day that misogyny rocked Canada. It was a day when 14 women were murdered and 10 others wounded in a mass shooting at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. I will not name the one who committed this atrocity, but I invite you each now to take a moment and say aloud the names of those who were murdered simply because they were women;

Genevieve Bergeron

Helene Colgan

Nathalie Croteau

Barbara Daigneault

Anne-Marie Edward

Maud Haviernick

Maryse Laganiere

Maryse Leclair

Anne-Marie Lemay

Sonia Pelletier

Michele Ricard

Annie St-Arneault

Annie Turcotte

Barbara Klucznik-Widejewicz

The murders of these fourteen women spurred on the federal government to make December 6th The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. So today we remember these fourteen. But we must do more than just remember.

We continue to live in a world where girls, women, and the members of the LGBTQ and two-spirit communities face unacceptable violence and discrimination. In Winnipeg we know this all too well with the number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We continue to live in a world where women and girls face violence solely because they are women and girls. Gender-based violence continues to be an issue and the pandemic that we have just lived through, and continue to feel that after affects, has magnified this issue. Reports from police agencies, shelters, and local organizations have shown an increase in gender-based violence during this pandemic and following the pandemic. It is a day to remember, a day for us to remember all those who have been lost to gender-based violence, but it is also a day for us to consider action. It is a day for us to commit to educating ourselves about gender-based violence, it is a day when we commit to bringing to the forefront the voices of survivors, and it is a day when we ourselves commit to speaking out against gender-based violence in our communities and in our world.

I invite you to join me as I begin my own journey as I join with the World Council of Churches in honouring “Thursdays in Black.” This is a day when individuals around the globe either wear black or a black pin to stand in solidarity against gender-based violence around the world. This is a global movement that is resisting attitudes and practices the continue to perpetuate gender-based violence around the world. Many times black can be seen to have negative racial connotations, in this campaign black is used as a colour of resistance and resilience. As we commit to wearing black on Thursday we commit to showing our respect and solidarity for women who are resilient in the face of injustice and violence. We have all been created in God’s image, each and every one of us. We are all created with the spark of the divine within us, each and every one of us. It is time for us to end gender-based violence seeing all persons as unique and wonderful creations of Love. Join me as we fight together the attitudes that led the violence and took the lives of those fourteen women 34 years ago and countless more before that time and since. It is up to us to stop this, so that women and girls everywhere can live safely, living into all that they were created to be.

Prayer (adapted from the Taize service on Decemeber 3, 2023, written by Rev. Dr. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd)

God of peace, who grants us the Advent light of hope, our hearts are heavy with the tremendous toll that violence, and gender based violence, has taken on our world. We grieve for all who have been lost. We pray for the courage to stand up against violence in all of its forms. Teach us how to be in solidarity with those who are attacked simply because of their identity. Ease the anger that drives some to acts of hate and violence. Help us to identify the fears that underlie our own anger and allow compassion for the Other to dissipate our anger. God have mercy on us, that we may have mercy for each other. Amen.

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