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Journey to Covenant

While for some, the connection between McClure United Church and Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church may appear to be very recent, it does, in fact, stem from the early days of both congregations.  In 1966, the almost new areas of Brevoort Park and Eastview saw the formation of two new churches, Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church which met in Holy Cross High School and McClure United Church which met in Walter Murray Collegiate.  In the late sixties, both congregations started conversations about the possibility of building a facility that would house the two congregations.  The final decision was not to do so.

Each congregation then concentrated on their own vision for a few years.  McClure chose not to build and instigated and carried through quite a number of outreach projects.  Holy Spirit decided to build and they opened their new building in Lakeview in 1981.  In the early 80’s, the McClure congregation started to think once again about building and, in 1989, the first service was held in the present building.  The first residents moved into McClure Place a few months later.

In 1990, Carol Pek, from Holy Spirit Church, contacted the churches in the neighbourhood and invited them to meet.  Each church told something of the history and the theological perspective of their particular congregation and denomination.  This group eventually gave themselves the name of, “The South-East Saskatoon Inter-Church Group” and the group continues to meet five or six times each year.

During the last decade, the relationship between Holy Spirit and McClure has continued to grow.  Carl Pek preached at a service in McClure during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 1992, the there was an exchange visit of congregational members.  Joan Brown, from McClure, led the meditation at a World Day of Prayer Service in Holy Spirit Church in 1994.

In December 1997, it was decided at a coffee gathering to explore the possibility of a closer relationship between the two congregations.  McClure executive was invited to meet with Holy Spirit Pastoral Council in February 1998, and during Lent that year a study series “Christian Perspectives on Suffering” was co-sponsored by both churches, with an average attendance of seventy people each week.

Other happenings during this time were the prayer requests for churches in the area, and prayer requests for our two churches in particular, both of which are published in our bulletin.  In the Fall of 1999 a second joint Bible Study series took place.  Both congregations at the executive Board and Pastoral Council levels made a commitment to work towards a “Covenant” between the two churches.  While the Steering Committee and its Education Committee continued to meet and to work on the covenant, there was pulpit exchange with congregational visitors when Rev. Ron McConnell went to Holy Spirit and Father Bernard de Margerie came to McClure.  Holy Spirit seniors later visited McClure seniors and there was cooperation between the two congregations when tools were gathered for the inner city “Quint” project.  Holy Spirit’s Social Justice and McClure’s Outreach committees jointly sponsored two workshops in March of 2000 on the theme of Jubilee.

In the mid-1990’s the Saskatoon Council of Churches initiated a project called “Covenanting 2000”, which was then taken to the church leaders in Saskatoon who gave the covenanting initiative their support.

In February 1999, four members of the Joint Steering Committee from the two congregations were given the task of writing the first draft of a covenant between McClure and Holy Spirit.

This group researched what a covenant should include and studied existing covenants.  As a result of this research, it became apparent that our covenant would be different; it would be at the congregation/parish level between two denominations that had very different governing structures.

When the first draft was completed, input and comments were received from all members of the Joint Steering Committee and also from other groups in both congregations.  Then the Joint Steering Committee met three times; the final draft is the result of their work.  The Committee felt that it was important to keep the wording of the covenant as simple as possible and yet be meaningful for both congregations.

The covenant also needed to be a “real” and a “living” document; “real” in the sense that it acknowledge the fractured Church and “living” in that the ten pledges would be general enough that they could be interpreted in different ways at different times.

This was not an easy task; but it was a learning and very spiritually moving experience as we learned what was important for each other.

On Monday, February 14, 2000, appropriately St. Valentine’s Day, a special evening was held at the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism to celebrate the Covenant.  Bishop James Weisgerber of the Saskatoon Diocese and Grace Tannahill, Chairperson of the then Saskatoon Presbytery, were in attendance, and both signed the Covenant as an expression of support from the Diocese and Presbytery.  The official Inauguration of the Covenant between Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish and McClure United Churches took place at a great service of celebration at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 5, 200, at Holy Spirit, followed by a reception at 12:00 noon at McClure.

We the people of McClure United Church and Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish, as Covenant Partners for the past eight years, have continued to grow in our love for and understanding of one another.  Each year we hold joint prayer services to mark the beginning of the Church seasons of Advent and Lent. Every second year we go on a weekend retreat together, and the alternate years we hold three evenings of study on various themes, as well as other occasional education events and of course potluck suppers. Every other September we hold a joint meeting of the Holy Spirit Parish Council and = McClure United Church Board, at which time we reflect upon the Covenant and its pledges and how well we are doing in living up to our calling. The Joint Search Committee continues to meet every six weeks to plan events and to share in times of study and prayer. Each year on the Sunday before and closest to March 6th, our two congregations mark in Sunday worship our Covenant Anniversary. The chairpersons of the McClure Board and Holy Spirit Parish Council bring greetings to the other congregation during worship. On March 6, 2005, a special joint services of both congregations was held at Holy Spirit to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Covenant, followed by a pot luck supper at McClure.

We are thankful to God for the gift of this “Covenant.”  There have been many poignant moments as we have diligently sought God’s guidance each step of the process. May God continue to guide us as we seek to respond faithfully to the prayer of Jesus Christ for his followers: “that they all be one, so that the world may believe.” Amen.

A Covenant

In the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,we the people and clergy of McClure United Church and Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish, in response to the call of Jesus “that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me”    (John 17: 21 – 23)

join in a covenant of Christian love, understanding and faithfulness to the Gospel.

In witness to the wider Church and to the world:

We acknowledge the fractured Body of Christ and the need for healing.

We rejoice in the gift of unity that Jesus Christ gives us and celebrate the real, though imperfect communion that we share.

We recognize the value of our respective traditions and pledge to encourage each other to grow in them in a manner that unites rather than divides.

In joyful thanksgiving and with prayerful deliberation, we commit ourselves to live out and grow in the unity that Jesus Christ wills for us and we pledge to:

  1. Engage in regular public prayer for each other and for the unity of all Christians.
  2. Come together from time to time for shared prayer.
  3. Invite members of either faith community as welcome guests at the worship services of the other, with participation according to the current discipline of each denomination.
  4. Engage in an exchange of preaching, music or other worship ministry at least once every six months.
  5. Enhance communication by sharing Sunday bulletins, newsletters, and bullet board material.
  6. Plan joint educational activities to broaden our understanding of the theology of the Church.
  7. Share in joint social justice action on an ongoing basis.
  8. Promote and celebrate fellowship through social gatherings.
  9. Support and encourage the Joint Steering Committee of our two faith communities in proposing creative ways to further enrich our common life and faith and in facilitating the review and renewal of this Covenant.
  10. Reflect on and celebrate the Covenant on each anniversary.

A Covenant Prayer

In the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, and in response to the call of Jesus “that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me,” we ask God to enable us, as sisters and brothers in Christ, to live together in a covenant of Christian love, understanding and faithfulness to the Gospel.

We ask God to help us bear faithful witness to the wider Church and world:

  • acknowledging the fractured Body of Christ and the need for healing;
  • rejoicing in the gift of unity Jesus Christ gives us and celebrating the real, though imperfect communion that we share;
  • recognizing the value of our respective traditions, and pledging to encourage each other to grow in them in a manner that unites rather than divides;
  • committedly living-out and growing-in the unity that Jesus Christ wills for us.

We pray that our covenant with one another will serve the full communion of the Church as willed by Jesus Christ, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. And we pray for God’s blessing that we might be faithful to this covenant, to the honour and glory of God. Amen.

  • This prayer text is based upon “A Covenant” between McClure United Church and Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish, signed March 5, 2000, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This covenant, by the grace of God, continues to be lived-out by these two communities of Christ’s people.

Our prayer & vision

is that this Covenant will serve the full communion of the Church as willed by Jesus Christ, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

We ask for God’s blessing on this solemn agreement between Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish and McClure United Church.

May we be faithful to this Covenant to the honour and glory of God.

Dated this 5thday of March in the year of our Lord 2000 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Banner Story

An artist from each congregation was approached to design a banner to illustrate and celebrate our Covenant.  Mary Davidson from McClure United Church and Peggy Hergott from Holy Spirit Parish presented preliminary designs for consideration.  Simplicity and meaningful symbolism for both congregations were most important during the development of the design.  The banner design was completed and presented to the Joint Steering Committee.  Quilting was done together by members of both congregations.

The rainbow connecting the logos of McClure and Holy Spirit symbolizes the Covenant signed by our two congregations.  A stream of blue water is used on the lower portion of the ellipse to indicate our union through the waters of baptism.  Central to the banner, to our Christian faith and to our unity is the cross—a symbol of reconciliation and hope.  The figures are representative of all people sharing in the joy of and giving of their support to this remarkable journey of faith.  The radiating quilting lines show Christ’s love going out to our congregations and beyond to all of humanity.