The GC43 Pilgrims learn about human rights movements, Métis culture, and community in Winnipeg.

The group of GC43 Pilgrims gather around a huge Winnipeg sign during their visit to the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario
Credit: Courtesy of the GC43 Pilgrims
Published On: September 14, 2018

The GC43 youth pilgrims made their way across Canada this summer, with the goal of visiting every United Church conference, including a stop at the 43rd General Council meeting in Oshawa, ON. Read all the blog posts from their journey and see more pictures on their Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Fourteen people in one house. To most this may seem like an absolutely ludicrous place to be, but for some of the GC43 Pilgrims it was our home away from home for our time in Winnipeg visiting the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. And it was awesome!

To start this blog post, we would love to give our thanks and appreciation for the incredible hospitality of those who put us up in our billets in Winnipeg.

While in Winnipeg, we were able to see some of the different forms of ministry in our United Church. The people at West Broadway Community Ministry provided the opportunity for everyone to go to Bird’s Hill Provincial Park for a day on the beach. It was during this beach day that we were able to talk to the people involved and take part of a unique community. We were able to play Scrabble with a skilled wordsmith, a fantastic game of Go Fish, and even be led on a medicine walk to see the sacred medicines in the park.

On our bus travel to the beach with them, they were so intrigued to hear about our travels and mission as pilgrims in the United Church. Being in a community setting with this group of people was a blast! Lots of laughter and community bonding was shared.

That night, we headed to the Métis pavilion at Folklorama to enjoy the show. Folklorama is an annual festival that happens in Winnipeg to celebrate a variety of cultures. We were able to watch an enjoy the festivities, watch traditional dancing performances, and eat foods like bannock, bison smokie, pickerel chowder, and bison stew. It was a fascinating experience as we saw the incredible talent of the dancers, including some crazy moves that none of us could recreate even after trying to many times.

Our final day in Winnipeg brought us to the Canadian Human Rights Museum and The Forks. On our tour we were able to learn more about the changing human rights movements through time and the long history of human rights violations. These events in history are so important to recognize and to grow from. There were many times throughout our walk that chills filled the room. During our time there, we travelled up to the “Beacon of Hope” which gave up a spectacular view of the city around us.

The Forks was our last stop in the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. The Forks is a meeting place of two rivers and has long been a place of gathering and trading. Here we were able to explore the market and area together in little groups. It seems fitting that it was at this meeting place we gathered with many of our friends and billets from the group and shared our final time in community together before leaving for our next stop.

— by Ian MacGregor, the GC43 Pilgrim from London Conference, and Isabella Barbeiro, the GC43 Pilgrim from Manitou Conference.

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