Deacon says hope comes from applying gifts we’ve been given to share

| January 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Deacon Winninger

Deacon Thom Winninger recently offered a preliminary look at his upcoming presentation at the “Fire of Hope: A Girlfriends Getaway for God” event for women Jan. 20 and 21.

The author of “Get Out of the Boat,” Deacon Winninger said his primary message is that hope comes from applying the gifts that each person is given to share.

“In the discovery of those gifts and the application of those gifts to give to people around us, we gain hope in our journey of life,” he said. That also has been the theme of his ministry as a deacon at St. Olaf in Minneapolis and of his book, published in 2010.

As one of the male speakers at the women’s gathering, Deacon Winninger said he sees the beauty of the two natures of Mary: as a woman and the mother of Christ.

“I often pray to Mary that ‘I’m not hearing from your son, check in with him today for me will you,’” he said. “The role of women in life — both to themselves and those around them — is so unique.”

The beauty of the upcoming event is to see faith from different perspectives, the deacon said.

‘Fire of Hope’ weekendWhen: 5-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20; 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21.

Where: State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

Tickets: $99 for both days, $59 for Friday, $79 for Saturday.

Visit the Fire of Hope website for more information or to register. Groups of 10 or more, call (650) 503-4673, or email

Getting to know self

“To really know yourself is to know what hope is about, because we were created with gifts to share that bring us to the journey of our purpose,” he said. “Christ says, ‘to get to know me is to get to know self.’”

Deacon Winninger said hope is Christian in its very nature.

“Hope can only be fueled in faith. And faith, by its nature, is spiritual because faith is bigger than reality,” he said. “I believe faith is fueled by grace because I’m human and the reality of faith is divine, it’s something I can’t understand.”

It is impossible to have faith in a secular world, he said, because secularism calls for a scientific fact that can be proven. Faith calls for someone to cross the line into grace and a belief that things happen in life that make no sense in the present, but will in the future.

One way to fuel faith and develop hope is a concept he calls the “loop of daily prayer.”

“The loop of prayer says that in my morning prayer, I ask Christ a question, and, at night, I reflect on where that answer came to me during the day,” he explained. “Reflect on the same Scripture in the morning and in the evening. That’s tuning yourself in to what I call ‘encounters with Christ’ during the day.”

In his own practice of the concept, Deacon Winninger said he has become cognizant of events that happen during his day that have “obviously” been brought to him by Christ.

The two-day conference for women, billed as “a girlfriends getaway for God,” is a celebration of faith, family and friends. It includes inspirational speakers, a marketplace with materials of general interest to women and entertainment.

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