Inclusivity hallmark of Winnipeg service for Queen Elizabeth
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This article was published 14/09/2022 (267 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The birthplace of the Anglican Church in Western Canada will break with 200 years of tradition when a Jewish cantor reads from sacred texts common to both Jews and Christians at next week’s memorial service for Queen Elizabeth.
During the 75-minute evensong service at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Cantor Tracy Kasner of Congregation Etz Chayim will recite Psalm 90 in Hebrew, with the English version written in the program.
“I am particularly honoured to offer a recitation in the ancient language Hebrew, with the intention of uniting all of us as human beings, jointly mourning, regardless of our faiths,” said Kasner, cantor at the North End synagogue since 2001.
She said the psalm chosen is also used at Jewish funerals and speaks to gratitude for life while acknowledging that all humans return to dust.
Monday’s memorial service will mark the first time a Jewish cantor has participated in a service at Winnipeg’s Anglican cathedral, said Rev. Paul Johnson, dean of the cathedral, adding the memorial service was designed to represent all Manitobans.
“It’s a great opportunity and it’s a rather significant responsibility,” Johnson said about planning Winnipeg’s only religious memorial service for the queen.
“We have to do it right and we have to do it respectfully and we have to be inclusive.”
In addition to Kasner, music will be provided by a 30-voice choir under the direction of Mel Braun, and by two groups from the Royal Winnipeg Rifles — a brass quintet and an Indigenous drum group led by mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette.
Chief Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation will welcome guests, Roman Catholic Archbishop Albert LeGatt of St. Boniface will offer prayers and Anglican Bishop Geoffrey Woodcroft of Diocese of Rupert’s Land is scheduled to preach.
Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon will read the first lesson during the traditional Anglican service, and Premier Heather Stefanson will offer the second reading. As the queen’s representative in Manitoba, Filmon will make a few remarks about the deceased monarch, said Johnson.
“She’s the only guest allowed to say something other than the reading. There will be no political speeches,” he said.
Politicians and dignitaries, including Mayor Brian Bowman, provincial cabinet ministers, Winnipeg-based honorary consuls and representatives from Winnipeg’s faith communities have been invited to attend.
Masks are mandatory at the service and attendance is by invitation only due to space restrictions, said Johnson.
Winnipeggers can watch the service live on YouTube beginning at 6:45 p.m., with the link available on the cathedral website at stjohnscathedral.ca.
Prior to the service, Indigenous elders will offer smudging to participants and the cathedral’s bells will toll 96 times, once for every year of the queen’s life, with a one-minute interval between each toll.
The Winnipeg service is part of a cross-Canada series of memorial services for Queen Elizabeth in Anglican cathedrals to honour her role as supreme governor of the Church of England. The national commemorative service at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa will begin at 10 a.m. CT on Monday. A national memorial service from St. James Cathedral in Toronto is set for 2 p.m. CT on Tuesday.
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Brenda Suderman has been a columnist in the Saturday paper since 2000, first writing about family entertainment, and about faith and religion since 2006.
The Free Press acknowledges the financial support it receives from members of the city’s faith community, which makes our coverage of religion possible.