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By Rev. Doug Martindale

Matthew 20: 1-16

Marcel Pelletier, his real name, used with permission, lived in the early 1980’s on Stella Avenue in the hardscrabble North End of Winnipeg. At the age of 12 he loved hockey but his family of two parents and four kids, didn’t have much money. Some of his hockey equipment was donated to him, by me. Every week he would walk about two blocks to practices and games at Centennial Arena and every week the coach would say: “Marcel, I need your registration money.” Marcel would say, “OK, next time.” Finally, the coach said: “If you don’t bring the money to the next practice, you can’t play hockey.” The next week Marcel trudged down Stella Avenue with the $85 in his hand and a heavy heart. After one block he turned around and walked home and gave the money back to his mother. You see, that $85 was the family grocery money for the week.

Marcel had a younger brother named Culley, who joined the Indian Posse, an aboriginal street gang. As a result of crime, he spent time in the Remand Centre, Headingly Jail and Stony Mountain Penitentiary. I offered to go and visit him, but Marcel said: “Don’t waste your time. He will never get out of the Indian Posse.”

Two brothers were also in my Boys Group at North End Community Ministry, an outreach ministry of Winnipeg Presbytery, almost entirely funded by our Mission and Service Fund. These brothers were raised mostly by their grandmother since their