“The little yellow house that is like the North Star to me.” This is how one student poetically described the Centre for Christian Studies, referring to the historical Woodsworth House on Winnpeg’s Maryland Avenue that has been the home of CCS since it moved from Toronto in 2000.
Woodsworth House will continue to be the home of CCS; however the location of the house has changed. Due to plans to convert the nearby Armstrong Point into a beach, City officials demanded that the Woodsworth House (so named because famed Canadian politician, missionary, General Strike leader, and social justice advocate J.S. Woodsworth lived there for a time) be torn down, along with many of the surrounding home and buildings. Plans for the land haven’t yet been released, but some of the possibilities being floated involve the construction of change rooms for beach patrons and/or a restaurant complex specializing in hot dogs and fruit smoothies.
Because of the historical significance of Woodsworth House, which nicely dovetails with CCS’s focus on the intersection of faith and justice, staff of the Centre were reluctant to let the building go. That’s when a surprise benefactor appeared out of the blue with an “uplifting” proposition.
“I heard about what was happening with the CCS people, and I thought, ‘These folks could use a pick-me-up,'” said Karl Fredricksen, a local contractor and retired circus clown.
“It’d be a shame to just tear down a great old place like that. So I thought, why don’t we move it?”
And move it they did. Early on Monday morning, with a crew of forty, and more than three hundred helium-filled balloons, they hoisted Woodsworth House straight up into the sky for relocation.
“That’s really cool,” said one passer-by, gazing up at the little yellow house floating into the Winnipeg sky. “They should just keep it up there.”
The CCS Central Council has not yet decided where the building will eventually set down. “We’d prefer to have a plan,” said co-chair Jim Boyles, “rather than just letting the prevailing winds make the decision for us.”
In other news, today is the first day of April. Which means that all of us at CCS are busy preparing for two learning circles, a face-to-face Council meeting with volunteers from all across the country, and our annual graduation banquet and service of celebration. Whether any of these events will be taking place in flight or on terra firma is still, as they say, “up in the air.”