14 Feb 2017

Try a Little Kindness

Lately I've been thinking about kindness.  I've noticed a distinct edginess in the air.  It cannot simply be attributed to recent political events  or "he who must not be named" in the United States of America.  The general tenor of public discourse has taken a turn toward coarse intolerance and impatience with one another that makes life more difficult than it needs to be.  Next week February 17-24 is Kindness Week and this is one voluntary day of recognition that I am going to celebrate.   

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6 Jul 2016

Sir John A. McDonald – A Dubious Beginning

July 1 is Canada Day, a day during which many Canadians celebrate the achievements of the founding fathers of this country. Sir John Alexander Macdonald, as the first Prime Minister of Canada, July 1, 1867 – November 5, 1873, (and again October 17, 1878 – June 6 1891) will be one of those whose achievements will be celebrated.
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5 Jul 2016

I Lost A Friend Today – Abruptly and Again

I lost a friend today – abruptly and again. This friend and I were a team for a few years when we worked together in ministry. Then in a moment of great need on my part, she abruptly stopped supporting me. It has been three years, and yet, my heart lurched when I heard of her passing.
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11 Jan 2016

Thinking about Vulnerability

Yesterday I had surgery.  It wasn’t a big deal – the procedure was easy…due to the miracle of modern pharmacopeia I slept through it.  The next day, today, is a lot worse.  As I stumble around the house I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability.  It’s interesting that there is hardly a soul alive that likes being vulnerable.  Yet, as Christians, we follow one who, like us, came into the world as a babe – one who was completely dependent on others for everything.
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9 Nov 2015

The Seasons, They are A-Changin'

I love this time of year.  This morning air is crisp and cool, the sky is a brillant blue, the vibrant and varied fall foliage transform our landscape with hues of red, orange, and yellow.  And change is afoot, not only in nature.  In various ways, our corner of the world is preparing for a changing season.  It means closing up the cottage, settling back into the school routine, preparing our gardens for the snow, putting on our winter tires.  We are right in the midst of a season of transition and change.
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9 Nov 2015

What are we Remembering?

Remembrance Day is a challenge for Christian preachers.  For most of us our permanent default is to be peacemakers.  And that makes it difficult to stand before a congregation and praise the work of soldiers.  At first glance, Remembrance Day is all about war…and thus is presumed to be the opposite of peace,  But I’ve never met a soldier who hasn’t been all about peace.  They, who have seen the worst humanity can do to one another, are passionate about ending the violence of war even as they know that sometimes war is inevitable.  Albert Camus once wrote:  “peace is the only battle worth waging.”  The soldiers I’ve known understand that and have committed their bodies to following it up.
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16 Aug 2015

Whatever Happened to the Comprehensive Review at General Council?

After several days of discussion, the General Council has passed a reworked version of the Comprehensive Review Task Group (CRTG) recommendations.

The omnibus proposal passed with 95 percent of commissioners voting in favour and 4 percent against. The omnibus motion was moved by Cathy Hamilton, who chaired the CRTG, and seconded by Larry Doyle, who co-chaired the CRTG Sessional Committee.
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11 Jun 2015

New Ministry, New Challenges

Hello Friends,

I’ve moved from native ministry on Christian Island to a wonderful congregation in the heart of Ottawa – Glebe-St. James United Church.  GSJ is an Affirming Congregation in the United Church of Canada – which means that they are deliberate in welcoming everyone who comes in the doors.  What particularly interested me was their commitment to social justice and, in particular, their desire to understand and support the neighbouring First Nations communities.
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7 Jul 2012

Cross-Cultural Issues - Pow Wow Etiquette

Summer is the time for the Pow Wow Trail.  Throughout North America different nations are celebrating their annual pow wows and most are open to visitors.  These events are wonderful opportunities to drink in the best of the culture.  While things seem pretty free and open, there are rules to observe.  Like anything else, it is hard to know what to do unless you are told – so consider the following before heading out to your local pow wow.
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28 May 2012

Practical Ecumenism

Ministry on the island is intimately pretty practical.  I was planning to head to the Indian Fellowship Meeting at Rama First Nation today but last night one of the Roman Catholic women on the island stopped by.  One of her relatives had passed away and was being brought home to the island today.  Unfortunately, the priest, not understanding the need for his presence at this time, was not able to be available for the “welcome home to the island” ceremony.  So…I threw on my clerical collar and went down to meet the ferry, then vested and led the service at the Catholic Church.  As a former Catholic myself it was a little strange to be vested and leading worship in the Catholic Church in place of the priest!  (But I kind of liked it!)  The family isn’t sure whether the priest will be there for the wake tonight so I have to be prepared to lead that too…  And be ready to play and sing as well.
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