Food Ministry Project: In the Kitchen and Around the Table

This ministry outreach is to connect with neighbourhoods and individuals through basic cooking classes. The goals of the project are:

1) To provide a healthy meal, including leftovers to take home, to those who are in need in several constituencies.
2) To provide education on healthy eating on a budget.
3) To facilitate community among participants and create space for mutual support and encouragement.
4) To provide pastoral care through appropriate follow up with participants / to assist the existing staff and volunteers at Winnipeg Inner City Missions with their own pastoral work
5) To create opportunities for faith, spiritual, and gospel conversations around a common table.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” — Matthew 25:35

Our aim is to operate 4 distinct programs:

a) Fort Richmond - connecting with Food Bank and Families living in Manitoba Housing areas.
b) South Winnipeg Community - Connecting with University Students living away from home
c) Partnership with Winnipeg Inner City Missions - Flora House Teen Day Camp
d) Partnership with Winnipeg Inner City Missions - Single Adults

Not only do we want to provide some meals for participants, we hope to provide education about nutrition and food selection and most importantly how to do this on a tight budget. We hope to be able to bring in some expert speakers, giving participants the opportunity to learn more and also spark their creativity or their interest on areas they may want to further explore. We have a desire to use this opportunity to make community connections beyond the participants. We believe there are potential partnerships to form to support what is currently out there and what we feel called to create.

Dates in July have been tentatively booked for the Flora House and Single Adults groups. Both groups will be held at WICM and will also have a celebration at the end of their classes.

The location and dates for the University Students and the Families are to be determined. We want a neutral space for people to feel comfortable walking into, as well as taking the opportunity to build other community connections.

Discerning Community in Transcona / East Kildonan

This will be a gathering of individuals in the Transcona / East Kildonan area: for worship, Bible Study, discipleship, and conversations around what a new expression of Church might look like for them and for their neighbours. Jen Ostash-Gooch (Prairie’s Young Adults Pastor) along with her husband, Matthew Gooch, has begun conversations with a handful of people who live in the area, and who are not currently connected with Prairie. Together they will have discussions about what vibrant faith looks like in families as the majority of the initial group have children under the age of 4.

While initial gatherings will take place in a home with a shared meal, the hope is to eventually use a non-church space that is neutral for people who may have baggage about “churches” or for those who have never been to a church before and have some preconceived notions about what “going to church” means. The vision and mission is to facilitate a safe space where people can come from all walks of life to encounter Jesus, explore faith, explore what it means to be in community, and engaged missionally in the world.

As well as doing the work of discernment with this small group, Jen and Matthew will also make special effort to become familiar around the community. Attending the Market Garden (farmer’s market) on a regular basis, finding ways to volunteer, and frequenting locally run coffee shops or restaurants will be the main way to achieve this familiarity. It will also help the group discover what God is already doing in the community and guide the discernment process.

Prayer Ministry for the Whole Church

Prairie has had a prayer group for a number of years, but we are now starting a new prayer ministry that anyone can participate in, from anywhere, at any time. The prayer group won’t be meeting anymore, but this ministry allows the whole congregation to be the prayer group! In addition to your regular prayers, we will provide a focus prayer for the season, and a few prayer items.

Prayer for the Season

Please pray the Prayer for the Season daily if possible. We are also asking that every group in the church pray the Prayer of the Season at some point during their gathering or meeting. Whether it is a board or committee meeting, or a Bible study, we wish to work to unity in prayer.  The Prayer for the Season can be a great way to open a meeting or gathering. (see below for the Prayer for the Season of Lent)

Praying the Psalms

For centuries the core practice of Christian spirituality was the daily reading and praying of the 150 Psalms every month. You are encouraged to incorporated daily praying of the Psalms (just 5 Psalms per day) into your own time with God.

Community Prayers

Each season we will provide a few items that we can all be praying about that impact the life of the Church. These may be things that relate to the congregation or to the wider church. (see below for this season's community prayers)

Your Own Prayers

The Prayer for the Season, Praying the Psalms, and Community Prayers are meant to provide a prayer focus for our congregation and for you in your own walk with God. Of course, you will have your own prayers as well. Remember that as you pray the prayers of the Church, that God always hears your personal prayers as well. 


O God, the Fountain of Life, 
who raised Your Holy One from the dead and exalted him to the right hand of Your majesty; 

Cause Your face to shine upon us, and allow us to freely rejoice in His victory with glorious and unspeakable joy. As we remember the empty tomb and the resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ, unite our hearts by faith in Him over whom death has no more dominion. 

May the risen Christ be with us today; fill us, O God, with the divine energy of Christ’s life, working in us according to the power by which He rose from the dead. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(this prayer is adapted from a Prayer of Invocation for Easter, Book of Common Order, Presbyterian Church in Canada 1964, pg. 276)


During this season, please pray for:

  • Our congregational discernment around our overall ministry plans, the partnership with Lighthouse, our staff/leadership model, and our financial and facility needs for our future.
  • The Music and Play Program, especially for Joanne Diplock (instructor), the volunteers, and the children and families who are participating.
  • Rev. Matt Brough during his time of study leave (beginning April 18)

Note: Eastertide is the 50 day season from Easter Sunday to the Day of Pentecost. This year Pentecost is on May 15

Prayer for the Season of Lent

Merciful God,
You created us from the dust of the earth, and breathed your Holy Spirit into us. You recreate us in Christ through the waters of Baptism, that we might share as a people in your fullness of life.
While in these forty days, may our fasting strengthen us to seek your justice, may our prayer lead us to become makers of peace, and may our sharing exalt and magnify your reign.
Be present in all human hearts, as we await with joyful anticipation, the mystery and resurrection of Jesus your Son. In who’s name we pray. Amen.

Community Prayers during Lent

Please pray for:

  • the planning and preparation for the new Music and Play Program.
  • the annual congregational meeting on March 6th and the upcoming budget year.
  • Holy Week (Palm Sunday to Easter) and new people who find their way into Church at this time of year.

Extended Study Leave for Rev. Matthew Brough in Spring/Summer of 2016

In 2012, Rev. Matthew Brough discussed with the session the possibility of an extended study leave at some point in the future. When Rev. Brough’s call was approved by the Presbytery of Winnipeg, it allowed for the following provision.

“To give two weeks study leave annually, plus one further week to be banked toward a sabbatical, and to provide $1,200 per year for the pursuance of study leave, and that these benefits shall be cumulated up to five years.”

In 2013, the session planned for this extended study leave (sabbatical) to happen sometime in 2015. These plans were put on hold through the amalgamation conversations that led to the formation of Prairie Presbyterian Church.

In the spring of 2015, the session of Prairie again discussed the extended study leave plans. Specifics were put in place last fall, and approved by the Presbytery of Winnipeg at their meeting on January 16th, 2016.

Matt’s study leave will be for eleven weeks - this includes all accumulated amounts plus the full three weeks allocated for 2016. He will likely need to use all accumulate study leave money as well.

Keep in mind that as per the terms of the call (and standard for all clergy in the PCC), Matt receives 5 weeks of holidays annually as well. Matt is taking one week of vacation in February, and will likely use some of his vacation time immediately after the study leave. The exact timing of this is still to be worked out.

Throughout the time when Matt is away, arrangements will be made for guest preachers and worship leadership from within and outside the congregation. Arrangements will also be made for ministers to be on call for pastoral emergencies. The session, board, other committees and teams, will of course, continue to operate as usual.

Below is the proposal for study leave that was submitted by Rev. Matthew Brough and approved by the Presbytery.

Purpose: Sabbath and an exploration of preaching and writing.

1) One of the main purposes of an extended study leave is to have an extended break from ministry. I have been serving in ministry for 12 years now and the longest break has been five weeks. I will likely use some of my holiday time to have a longer than 11 week break and to have some needed rest.
2) Both preaching and writing are gifts that I wish to further develop and things that I love doing. Because one of the main purposes is rest, I hope to advance these gifts not through intensive study, but through reading, reflection, and some conferences.

I intend to structure my study leave in the following way:
3 weeks
April 18 to May 7 - Reading, preparation, prayer. This time would be used for reading primarily for the C.S. Lewis program.
3 weeks
May 8 to 13 - The Life and Works of C.S. Lewis: Inspiration, Belief and The Power of Language. Held at Montreat Conference Center, near Asheville, South Carolina.
May 16 to 20 - Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta.
May 22 to 26 - Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference held at at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center, near Asheville, North Carolina
5 weeks
May 27 to July 3 - Reflection, writing, planning.
I plan to use this time to reflect on the conferences attended and to write both fiction and non-fiction. Particular attention will be paid during this time as well to planning how the gifts of writing and preaching might be used in a more fulsome way in the life of the congregation. 

The total time for study leave will be from April 18 to July 3

Advent and Christmas 2015

Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24th

Two Candlelight Services Celebrating the birth of Jesus

5:30pm and 7:30pm

590 University Cres. Winnipeg

Wednesday Nights in Advent - 7:00pm

Nov 25 - The Advent Candles
This night we will explore the symbolism and significance of the Advent Candle and discuss how we can focus this sometimes hectic season around the themes of hope, peace, joy, love, and ultimately Christ.

Dec 2 - A Night of Worship with the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church
Rev. Karen Horst, moderator of the PCC, will be preaching on “Sustaining our Faith” at this special worship service. Some of the young adults from Prairie are providing leadership for the service.

Dec 9 - The Real Meaning of Christmas
“Jesus is the reason for the season” - It’s true, but does this tell us the real meaning of Christmas? We will look at the Christmas story as told in Scripture and discuss why the incarnation is so important.

Dec 16 - Decorating and re-Gift Exchange Party
A fun evening of games and decorating the Church for Christmas. Bring a wrapped gift to exchange as well - but there’s a twist. Don’t buy anything. Find something you already have, wrap it up and re-gift it. It can be something funny, quirky or meaningful.

Sunday Mornings in Advent

Nov 29 - A Branch Will Spring Up - Hope
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David.  Jeremiah 33:14-15a

Dec 6 - Prepare the Way - Peace
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.   Luke 3:4b-6

Dec 13 - Ready for the Awaited One - Joy
John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  Luke 3:16

Dec 20 - Children’s Presentation - Love
The Children of the Church will be presenting something special for the congregation this day.

Support for Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road

The session of Prairie has decided to support the Churches for Freedom Road campaign by placing a sign outside our building. The campaign is being supported by many churches across different denominations as a way of supporting the construction of a road for the people of First Nations Shoal Lake 40, and to promote just relations between the City, Province, Federal government and Shoal Lake 40. We take note that the city and province have committed funding for the road and the Federal government has agreed in principle to supply funds as well. We wish to commend the levels of government for the steps they are taking, but also wish to show our support until the time when the funds will actually be in place and construction can begin.

You may be interested to know that the Presbyterian Church has a long history with Shoal Lake. One of the two Presbyterian run residential schools was originally located there. The Presbyterian Church in Canada made a confession to the First Nations people in 1994 and we continue to look for ways to work toward reconciliation, particularly in our support of Winnipeg Inner City Missions and the Kenora Fellowship Centre.

More information about Churches for Freedom Road can be found here:

Other helpful links:

Steve Bell's blog - Winnipeg singer/songwriter, Steve Bell, has been instrumental in raising awareness about the road needed at Shoal Lake 40. He posts regular updates on his blog.

What's with the Sign? - By Stephen Swan, pastor of the King's Fellowship.  A very helpful discussion of why their congregation is supporting Churches for Freedom Road. Swan provides good context and some excellent links for learning more. He describes the campaign as "political in the sense of concern for the polis, the city in which we live," something which he argues is part of our Christian imperative to love our neighbour.


Congregational (Pastoral) Care Team

In the last few months, the session of Prairie Presbyterian Church has been discussing the best ways to provide good congregational pastoral care. In the past, within the Presbyterian Church, the minister was the central person providing pastoral care with the elders each having a list, or “district,” whom they were to visit as a way of offering spiritual care and support.

The session has tried this model, and after considering some other models, believe we ought to try a model that has been implemented at Knox Presbyterian Church in Milton, ON. Here is a slightly edited explanation from their Web site…

We believe that although the [elders’ district] method has served the church admirably for many years it is predicated on an outdated model.  The urbanization of our nation, the mobility of the workforce, the dual income family, the integration of multi-ethnic communities have all conspired to change our social fabric. The church, however, is still practicing its pastoral care as if the social situation was a pre-industrial agricultural community.

We believe this puts extraordinary pressure on the people elected to be elders in the church, requiring a skill base and time commitment that is too great. Therefore, we desire to separate the two primary responsibilities of an elder. The ruling elder will be elected to provide spiritual oversight of the congregation as outlined in our Book of Forms; including pastoral care.  

However, the actual delivery of this pastoral care will not be the direct role of the ruling elder.  Instead, we will develop a team of trained pastoral visitors whose sole responsibility will be to provide this function within the congregation. They will be selected on the basis of possessing the gift of care-giving, and they will receive training for this responsibility. The team of visitors will report through its leadership to the Session on a quarterly basis.

The primary role of the pastoral visitor will depend upon the type of visiting they are asked to undertake. There will be four types of visits and three types of visitors as outlined below:

  1. Urgent Care:  will be provided by our pastor or designate in attending those in hospital, or in emergency care situations.  At times this level of care will require discernment to refer to professional support and care.  If the situation warrants ongoing care, members of the congregational (pastoral) care team may be engaged.
  2. Care for Elderly:  will be provided by a team of trained visitors whose primary responsibility will be institutional or independent seniors visiting.  The team will visit on a regular basis and follow up with a quarterly review of their visits.  The team will report to Session quarterly on their activity.
  3. Congregational Visits:  These visits will be carried out by a team of pastoral visitors. An attempt will be made to visit each home in the congregation annually to share the ministry/mission of Prairie through the Annual Report—plans and programs. Home visit will also be conducted when requested.  In all cases, we will respect that some congregants don’t want a pastoral visit unless they initiate it.
  4. Newcomers/Returnees:  will be visited by the pastor or designate within two months of showing interest in our church.  The purpose of the visit will be to share programs, opportunities for involvement at Prairie, and if possible, to engage the newcomers in a smaller ministry context (group, bible study, etc.)

We are looking for anyone interested in being part of the Congregational (Pastoral) Care Team or being a visitor who simply reports to the team. If you are interested please let Reverend Matthew Brough know(

There will be an initial information session for those who wish to be part of the team or be a visitor in the next few months, so that the team can begin its work in the fall.

The Lord's Prayer Series

Worship is each Sunday at 10am at 590 University Cres.

On Sundays this summer Prairie will be exploring The Lord’s Prayer over 5 weeks.  

The key themes to be explored are:

July 12th: Holiness;

July 19th: Temptation;

July 26th: Provision (potluck lunch following worship)

Aug 2nd: Forgiveness;

Aug 9th: The Kingdom of God.  
There will also be a “Prayer Challenge” booklet available to guide you through different types of Prayer. Thoughts and experiences of the Prayer Challenge will be shared each week as part of worship.

Origins: A Series on Genesis 1-3

June 7 to July 5, 2015, we will be looking at the first three chapters of Genesis.

Worship is each Sunday at 10am at 590 University Cres.

June 7 - The Good Creation  Genesis 1:1-25

We need reminding that even apart from human beings God is pleased with creation. God called everything good as it was created. We will also celebrate communion this Sunday.

June 14 - In God’s Image  Genesis 1:26-2:3

What does it mean for human beings to be created in the image of God? Following worship this day is a picnic lunch and games for kids.

June 21 - The Garden   Genesis 2:4-24

The first declaration of something not being good in God's creation is "it is not good that the man should be alone." Genesis 2 describes paradise, which is only complete with animals, Adam and Eve. 

June 28 - The Original Sin  Genesis 3:1-8

Adam and Eve tasted the fruit from the forbidden tree and hid from God in shame. What might this first act of discord teach us about our own lives?

July 5 - Truth and Consequences  Genesis 3:8-24

Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent, and God curses them all. As the truth comes out about Adam and Eve's actions, they must face the consequences. Is this a tragic end to the paradise story, or just the first act of humanity's walk with God. Can our alienation from God ever be fixed? Can we ever return to the garden?

Holy Week
March 29 to April 5

Below are times when the Church is open for Palm Sunday, Stations of the Cross, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday

March 29 - Palm Sunday Worship Service at 5:00pm

a joint worship service with Lighthouse Evangelical Arabic Church. No service in the morning.

March 30 to April 2 - Stations of the Cross

The Church will be open for anyone to come and pray following the tradition of the Stations of the Cross. This ancient way of praying through the story is a powerful way to prepare for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. 14 stations with imagery and instructions on how and what to pray will be set up in the Church for anyone who wishes to take this journey.

Times the Church will be open for prayer:
Monday, March 30 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Tuesday, March 31 - 8:00am to 9:00pm
Wednesday, April 1 - 8:00am to 9:00pm
Thursday, April 2 - 8:00am to 4:00pm

April 2 - Maundy Thursday Communion Service at 7:00pm 

April 3 - Good Friday Worship Service at 10:00am

April 4 Easter Sunday Celebration Service at 10:00am

Easter Sunday is the great celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. But Easter is in fact an entire season, in the same way Advent, Christmas and Lent are. Eastertide, is the 50 day season that begins at sundown the night before Easter Sunday and includes seven Sundays right up until the celebration of Pentecost.