Category : Canada

(Northeast Now) Last service said at Watson’s Anglican church, congregation to join nearby parish in Humboldt

It was a bittersweet celebration in Watson over the weekend as the St. Bride’s Anglican Church was deconsecrated.

The final mass was said by Bishop of the Saskatoon Diocese, Chris Harper, Rev. Matteo Carboni, and Archdeacon Alex Parsons on Sept. 12 with members of the Watson and Humboldt congregations in attendance.

Carboni resided over the Watson parish before Sunday’s secularization service and those congregants will now be welcome to attend mass at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Humboldt where Carboni also resides.

While the service was a mixture said Harper of celebration and sorrow, with only four members of the congregation celebrating service at the church, Carboni said they were putting in a lot of time and energy into maintaining the parish.

Margaret Henderson, one of the few members of the Watson church, said it was getting hard to justify the resources being spent on four people.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) A remarkable US Open tournament now features 2 unseeded teenagers in the women’s final

Two teenage women who were barely known to anyone other than the most devout tennis fans before this U.S. Open will vie for the singles championship on Saturday in what has to be the most improbable matchup for a Grand Slam final since the modern era of tennis began more than 50 years ago.

On a Thursday night that would have been shocking had Emma Raducanu of Britain and Leylah Fernandez of Canada not been pulling rabbits out of their hats for the better part of two weeks, the two teenage sensations once again knocked off seasoned pros who exist in a different stratosphere in the world rankings.

First, Fernandez outlasted the second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, in three sets, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, in a nervy, error-filled match that saw both players let go of chances to put the battle away long before Sabalenka finished herself off with one last flurry of double faults. It was Fernandez’s fourth consecutive three-set win over one of the top 20 players in the world.

Then Raducanu took the stage at Arthur Ashe Stadium and did what she has been doing for more than a week — blitzing players far more accomplished and making them play their worst matches of the tournament. Raducanu ambushed the 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-1, 6-4.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, England / UK, Sports, Teens / Youth, Women

(CNA) Coptic Orthodox church in British Columbia destroyed in ‘suspicious’ fire

A Coptic Orthodox church in British Columbia was destroyed in a fire on Monday, July 19, just days after an attempted arson attack damaged the church’s door.

Local police said they were alerted to a fire at St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey around 3:17 a.m. on Monday. By the time the fire was extinguished, the building was almost entirely demolished and only a single wall was left standing. No one was reported injured in the fire.

“While today is a day of sadness, we will not be deterred and we will rebuild,” said Bishop Mina of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada in a statement on Monday. “Our church will always be open for all and continue to be a beacon of light and hope for all in our community.”

Archbishop Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, stated Monday on Twitter that he was “saddened” by news of the fire.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Religion & Culture

(Global News) Up to a billion seashore creatures were cooked to death during B.C. heat wave, researcher says

As many as one billion seashore animals along the Salish Sea may have died as a result of the heat wave in British Columbia.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia say the heat caused a mass die-off of creatures like sea snails and sea stars, as well as mollusks like clams and mussels.

Chris Harley, a professor with UBC’s Department of Zoology, said large quantities of dead sea life were spotted at beaches across Metro Vancouver.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Canada, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

Interesting food for thought from Christ City Church Vancouver BC

The Evangelical Statement of Faith

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the infallible, authoritative Word of God.
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted in Canada, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Theology

Soo-Inn Tan–Klaus Bockmuehl and the God of Verbs

He warned against defining God purely through abstract definitions — the usual listing of His attributes, e.g. omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, etc. He was concerned that if this was the primary way we understood God, we risk making God an exhibit in a museum, and the attributes His labels. But God is no static abstraction. He is alive and acts in history. I thank my Pentecostal and charismatic friends for reminding me of God’s presence and power, but the lesson was first drilled into my heart by a German theologian in a Canadian seminary.

A number of implications arise from this understanding of God as a God who acts. One is that we get to know what kind of God He is by His actions. Talking about Jesus, Dr Bockmuehl said Jesus is from above but we know Him from below. In other words, Christ is part of the Trinity, He is from above, but it is His activity in history, His teachings and His actions, that let us know who He is and, therefore, who God is. The supreme act of revelation is of course His death on the Cross and His resurrection. And Israel was always exhorted to remember the Passover and God’s deliverance through the Red Sea. To take God seriously is to take His actions in history seriously.

I am very worried about some of the modern worship music. They either don’t take history seriously, focusing only on the singer’s subjective feelings about God, or they focus only on the personal histories of the composers; what God did in their lives. They are essentially ahistorical and deprive us of the bigger and more accurate picture of God revealed in salvation history and church history. They end up reductionistic and with a much smaller God.

And if our picture of God is smaller and essentially ahistorical, we end up with a weakened faith, not fully confident in what He will do in the present. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, we know what kind of God He is and what He will do by meditating on what He has done in the past. So if we are praying for healing, for example, we know we are praying to a God who hears, who is concerned, who cares and who comes down to deliver. We know the verbs. Knowing He is that kind of God means we pray with confidence both in His deliverance and in how and when He delivers.

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Posted in Canada, Christology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Wycliffe College remembers and gives thanks for the life and ministry of Richard Longenecker

Alumni, faculty, and staff of Wycliffe College were saddened today to learn of the death of Professor Emeritus Dr Richard N. Longenecker. Dr. Longenecker—who made his home in Brantford, ON—died Monday, June 7, 2021. Predeceased by his wife Fran (2016), he was in his 91st year.

Richard Longenecker taught at Wycliffe College for 22 years (1972–1994) and was our Ramsay Armitage Professor of New Testament. He was instrumental in enhancing the academic credibility of the College so that it became a destination for evangelical students seeking to study at the doctoral level. Moreover, his status as an American Baptist layman opened the doors of the College to students beyond the Anglican Church. Professor Alan Hayes writes, “His appointment represents the turning-point for Wycliffe in enlarging its mission from the narrow focus of training people for the Anglican ministry to a more ecumenical and diverse vision for evangelical theological scholarship. He designed a new program (the Master of Religion degree) for students preparing for a diversity of lay and ordained ministries in the wider Church, including advanced research.” Dr Longenecker was also an Associate Alumnus of the College and received Wycliffe’s Doctor of Divinity degree in 1996. We thank God for his life and ministry, and, with many who called him friend and mentor, we pray for his family as they grieve his death.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

(Wycliffe College) Stephen Andrews on the recent discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children at a former Indian Residential School

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the discovery in British Columbia is the realization that these children were not dignified by the preservation of their names. They were more than casualties of a malign social experiment, they were at one time members of families, each one a beloved child, and child of God. And they had names. As painful as it may be now to hear them, hear them we must. We must spare no effort in helping to discover these precious relics in the wreckage we have created. And when we pray, “those whom we have forgotten, do thou, O Lord, remember,” let us do so shamefully and in the hope that God has recorded for them a new name, shared only by the departed and God alone (Revelation 2.17).

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

(JEC) Michael Snape–‘Anglicanism and interventionism : Bishop Brent, the United States, and the British Empire in the First World War’

Brent himself stands as perhaps the ultimate example of these successful clerical migrants to the United States. Born in Newcastle, Ontario, in April 1862, Brent’s father was an Anglican
clergyman and a first-generation immigrant from England, his mother a descendant of Loyalist refugees from New York.20 Although the infusion of immigrants from Canada was smaller than the stream from Great Britain around the turn of the twentieth century, it was still considerable, as around 450,000 Canadians entered the United States in the quarter century prior to the First World War.21 While Anglicans represented a smaller proportion of the Canadian population, comprising around 15 per cent of all Canadians in 1914 as opposed to two-thirds of all Britons,22 there was already a well-established tradition of Anglican clergymen moving across the porous border between Canada and the United States in search of employment,23 a situation that brought Brent to the State of New York in 1886 while still in deacon’s orders. As Alexander C. Zabriskie emphasised in his concise biography of 1947, Brent’s move to St. Paul’s Church, Buffalo, was entirely pragmatic: with no opportunities available in the diocese of Toronto, ‘it was circumstance rather than conscience or preference that sent [Brent] there. He had not the least intention of remaining permanently under the American flag; rather he looked forward to returning to a Canadian country parish within a few years.’24 In fact, it took a further appointment, as associate rector of St. Stephen’s Mission in the slums of Boston, to persuade Brent to take out his naturalisation papers in 1891, and even then he
appears to have maintained dual citizenship.25 In the event, his years in Boston served to reinforce Brent’s links with Great Britain, for there he developed a formative relationship with the Society of St. John the Evangelist, or Cowley Fathers, a connection that would take him to England on his very first overseas trip in November 1891.26

Read it all (numbers are to footnotes in the original).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, Church History, History, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Henry Brent

Heavenly Father, whose Son did pray that we all might be one: deliver us, we beseech thee, from arrogance and prejudice, and give us wisdom and forbearance, that, following thy servant Charles Henry Brent, we may be united in one family with all who confess the Name of thy Son Jesus Christ: who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Canada, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

An Interesting new Book–‘Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics’

From there:

The global crisis of forced displacement is growing every year. At the same time, Western Christians’ sympathy toward refugees is increasingly overshadowed by concerns about personal and national security, economics, and culture. We urgently need a perspective that understands both Scripture and current political realities and that can be applied at the levels of the church, the nation, and the globe.

In Refuge Reimagined, Mark R. Glanville and Luke Glanville offer a new approach to compassion for displaced people: a biblical ethic of kinship. God’s people, they argue, are consistently called to extend kinship—a mutual responsibility and solidarity—to those who are marginalized and without a home. Drawing on their respective expertise in Old Testament studies and international relations, the two brothers engage a range of disciplines to demonstrate how this ethic is consistently conveyed throughout the Bible and can be practically embodied today.

Posted in Books, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Mail+Guardian) Stop oil and gas drilling in Namibia’s Kavango Basin immediately — Anglican Church

Thirty-four Anglican bishops and three archbishops from around the world have signed a petition that “respectfully” calls on Namibia’s and Botswana’s governments to halt exploratory drilling in the Kavango Basin in northern Namibia immediately.

In their petition, the faith leaders decry the “imminent desecration” of the Kavango Basin in Northern Namibia and Botswana by Canadian oil and gas company, ReconAfrica.

The signatories include the Archbishop of Cape Town, Reverend Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba; Archbishop Julio Murray, the chair of the Anglican communion environmental network; Archbishop Mark Macdonald from the Anglican Church of Canada; and Bishop Kito Pikaahu, chair of Anglican indigenous network; and the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Nicholas Roderick Holtam.

“ReconAfrica claims that drilling the Kavango basin is ‘pretty much a no-brainer’,” the petition reads. “We call it a sin. To destroy life and God’s creation is simply wicked.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Namibia

(AJ) Anglican Church of Canada Council of General Synod hears of ‘transformative change’ across church

A first round of strategic planning consultation sessions with Canadian Anglicans has revealed a sense of profound change at hand in the church, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard at an online meeting Nov. 6-8.

The Strategic Planning Working Group (SPWG) was formed in the fall of 2019 to put together a new long-term plan for the church. Since the summer— with the assistance of Janet Marshall, director of congregational development for the diocese of Toronto—it has been holding “listening groups” to invite thought on the church’s future and strategic direction, and hear how Anglicans are coping with the unusual times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Nov. 6, Marshall and members of the working group presented some of the themes that had emerged from the first round of 11 of these listening groups.

The coronavirus pandemic, Marshall told CoGS, appears to be revealing the church’s values but also its areas of weakness, “helping us see the ways that we’re fragile in new and different ways.” One theme that had emerged, she said, is the sense of a “seismic shift” underway—a perception that the Anglican Church of Canada is “increasingly seeing the inevitability of large, transformative change, Pentecost change, on every level and in every way.”

The sense of change does not seem to equate with crisis, she added; there was an understanding that the change could be for the better.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Religion & Culture

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all Blog Readers!

Posted in Canada

(CBC) Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador running out of cash, selling assets in ‘hemorrhage situation’

The Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has announced it’s running out of money and may need to stem its losses with layoffs, closures and sale of assets.

In an Oct. 5 letter obtained by CBC News, the diocesan finance committee said COVID-19 lockdown measures — which prevented gathering for worship for months — had a “devastating impact” on the church’s finances.

“While a number of our parishes continued to receive offerings and donations via drop-off collections and electronic means, it is clear that COVID-19 has negatively impacted our stewardship,” the letter says.

Archdeacon Sam Rose told CBC the pandemic has exacerbated previous financial struggles resulting from a reduction in church attendance.

“Like most organizations the onset of COVID accelerated this rapid decline,” he said Thursday.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Wilfred Grenfell

Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him: Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the ministry of Wilfred Grenfell to the sick and to seafarers in Labrador and northern Newfoundland, our actions may witness to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Canada, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(AC) J.I. Packer: A Remembrance

Already in his 70s at the time, he preferred not to travel on a Sunday, but to travel earlier and serve a local church on Sunday, preaching to and teaching the faithful gathered in that place. He would fly in on a Friday, spend the weekend relaxing and recreating with us, preach and teach on Sunday, and then head off to CT Monday morning. He was always the perfect houseguest.

The first visit was arranged by my friend and parishioner Mark Galli, then editor at Christianity Today. It was thrilling to have him as a guest and to introduce him to my parishioners. The epistle for that Sunday was from Philippians 4, and he urged us not to neglect the important Christian work of rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness. But it was his second visit, rather the arranging of that visit, that opened a particular window onto his character.

I was in my office at the church one afternoon when the phone rang. I answered and heard a soft, British voice say, “Hello Chip, this is Jim Packer. I hope you remember me…”

I hope you remember me? Are you kidding me? But there you are, Jim Packer was perhaps the least presumptuous person I have ever known. He never felt that the renown his work had earned him was his entitlement to any special recognition or treatment.

Here’s another thing about Jim Packer: that man could eat! I never remember him turning down seconds at a meal, or refusing dessert because he was full. Oddly, he didn’t drink water, didn’t like it at all, but ate his food as spicy as he could get it. Once, at the airport in Dallas, we shared a breakfast of eggs and bacon. Lots of folks, myself included, like a bit of hot sauce on a scrambled egg. I remember Jim drowning his eggs in Tabasco Sauce, creating what looked like a sort of Tex-Mex Egg Drop soup.

Another time, driving from Columbia, SC to Tallahassee, FL for a Prayer Book Committee meeting, we stopped at an old Boarding House restaurant in south Georgia for lunch. At those places, you don’t order, they just bring what they have prepared that day: a variety of vegetables and rolls, and a choice of three meats. Jim chose all three. And when the two dessert options were offered, he asked if he might be permitted to have both.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Canada, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education

Monday Mental Health Break–Dizzy – Roman Candles

Posted in * General Interest, Canada, Music

(CT) Bruce Hindmarsh–J.I. Packer Was the Robin Hood of Evangelicalism

J. I. Packer was my teacher at Regent College when I was a young graduate student. Some years later, he became my colleague and next-door neighbor in the hallways at the college and a fellow church member at St. John’s Anglican Church in Vancouver. I will forever be grateful to have known him. He shaped my life and thought in many ways, and I am not alone in this experience.

In light of his recent passing, I have been thinking more about his wider legacy and especially his significant contribution to evangelicalism as a whole. In the present political culture, however, the word “evangelical” or “evangelicalism” is freighted with a good deal of baggage that’s worth shedding immediately.

We can do so by going back in time. The Old English word “gospel” never got a proper Old English adjective and had to steal a Greek one: “evangelical.” But the noun and the adjective belong together. And as the great Bible translator William Tyndale put it, “evangelical” is a word that “signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy.”

This vibrant relationship between word and life, message and experience, doctrine and devotion was absolutely central to the evangelical movements in Germany and English-speaking lands that emerged at the beginning of the modern period.

Evangelicals today claim some sort of genealogical or theological continuity with these movements. But wherever we see the preaching of Jesus Christ generate new life and set people in joyful motion, that is where we properly use the adjective “evangelical” in its most important and basic sense. It is why we cannot, I think, abandon the term. Again, the words “gospel” and “evangelical” ought always to be kept together. Indeed, Jim Packer played a significant role in evangelicalism over the past six decades precisely because he helped those who identify as social evangelicals to be theological and spiritual evangelicals as well.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education

JI Packer RIP

Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet — which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! — declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.)

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 ESV

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. J.I. Packer, a treasured faculty member, author, churchman, and friend.

James Innell Packer died July 17th in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was ninety-three, and humorous, gracious, and prayerful even in his final days.

One of the most widely-respected systematic theologians of the twentieth century, Jim drew his inspiration primarily from Scripture, but was deeply influenced by the works of John Calvin and the English Puritans. Jim brought seventeenth-century Puritan devotion to life for his twentieth- and twenty-first-century students. While named as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals by Time Magazine in 2005 and author of one of the best-selling Christian books of all time, Knowing God, Jim Packer’s description of himself was as an “adult catechist.” “Theology, friends, is doxology” is a phrase students recall, and in many respects, the adage that shaped his lengthy career.

From his youth as the son of a railway clerk in Gloucester, England, Jim won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was noted as a remarkable student with a brilliant intellect. Growing up in a nominal Anglican home, Jim became a Christian early in his time at Oxford, largely through the InterVarsity Fellowship Christian Union and St. Aldate’s Anglican Church.

Following his undergraduate degree, Jim taught Greek at Oak Hill Theological College in London. He quickly felt drawn to further study, and commenced his studies in theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was awarded an MA and DPhil, writing his dissertation on Puritan Richard Baxter’s doctrine of salvation under Geoffrey Nuttall. “It was the Puritans,” Jim noted, “that made me aware that all theology is also spirituality.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Happy Canada Day and 153nd Birthday to all Canadian Blog readers!

Posted in Canada

(Regent College Vancouver) A new language for the sexual crisis of our generation- with Dr. Sarah Williams

Dr. Sarah Williams addresses the current sexual identity crisis that we experience today by advocating for 1) a better understanding of history and 2) a more nuanced use of language that can help us have better conversations about marriage, sex, and identity.

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality, Theology

(CBC) Toronto to make face coverings mandatory on public transit, will hand out 1M masks to riders

Mayor John Tory announced the updated regulations for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on Thursday.

“This will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city,” Tory said.

“As the restart and reopening begins, we know that more people will be back on the TTC… at the same time, physical distancing will become a greater and greater challenge.”

The TTC board will need to approve the recommendation at its meeting next week, though TTC CEO Rick Leary has already said he supports the plan.

“I want to make sure people know our system is safe for both customers and employees,” Leary said.

Toronto also announced on Thursday a plan to give out one million non-medical masks to transit users, with a focus on low-income and marginalized communities.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Travel

A Terrific NYTimes profile of British Columbia’s Bonnie Henry–The Top Doctor Who Aced the Coronavirus Test

After high school, Dr. Henry joined the naval reserves, drawn by the camaraderie, naval navigation and communication techniques, and the lure of the open ocean. She enlisted in her third year of medical school and graduated to become a fleet medical officer in Esquimalt, B.C., not far from where she lives now.

“I look back on it now, a lot of the work I was doing with a group of captive men was prevention. They would tease me about always telling them to wear sunscreen and use condoms,” said Dr. Henry, who stayed with the navy for almost 10 years, meeting her husband there. (They separated five years ago, after 20 years of marriage, and never had children.)

During a gastrointestinal outbreak onboard, Dr. Henry used basic epidemiological legwork and a microscope to trace the source of the sickness to contaminated bottled water they’d taken on board in Tahiti.

One day at her job at a clinic in San Diego, a man burst in with a gun, demanding to talk to someone. Dr. Henry stepped forward. “I said, ‘I’m somebody. Let’s talk,’” she recalled. “He burst into tears. He was in pain and distraught.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine

In Flanders Fields for Memorial Day 2020

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve; KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

(NYT) Doing the Bump With the Belugas in Manitoba

Beneath the waves, two smoldering coals for eyes watched me with an intense, unyielding stare. Pristine white bodies floated up elegantly from the depths, one after another, surrounding my kayak in the open water. Their ghostly pale faces with wide, Joker-esque smiles pushed closer. A long, powerful sound burst up through the air, like a slowly deflating balloon, followed by silence and more expectant staring.

I was having a one-sided conversation with a pod of curious beluga whales. The mouth of Churchill River in northern Manitoba, Canada, was calm and quiet on this chilly, overcast July day, but these bright white whales were not. Belugas, nicknamed “the canaries of the sea” thanks to their song-like sounds, are social, playful and highly communicative. They repeated their shrieks and tunes, floating around me in anticipatory silence. There was only one thing left to do: sing along.

In response, raucous clicks and squeals drifted upward out of the dark water, like someone tapping on a microphone for attention, broken by steady streams of blowhole bubbles. I got the distinct feeling that I was being discussed.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Canada

(CTV) ‘I would do anything for a do-over’: Calgary church hopes others learn from their tragic COVID-19 experience

Members of a Calgary church ravaged by COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic are sharing their stories of grief and healing, after Alberta’s chief medical health officer cited them as a cautionary tale.

“I had the opportunity recently to talk to a faith leader whose faith community gathered together in mid-March before many of our public health measures were in place,” Dr Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. “The congregation had a worship service and then gathered together for a celebratory social event. There were only 41 people present, and they were careful to observe two meter distancing and good hand hygiene. They followed all the rules and did nothing wrong. ”

Despite that, 24 of the 41 people at the party ended up infected. Two of them died.

Rev. Shannon Mang is the minister of Living Spirit United Church.

“One of our most beloved members was having a very important birthday and we wanted to celebrate that,” Mang said of the post-service celebration. “Under the circumstances, we thought we were going to be safe. We were very diligent about physical distancing, very diligent about hand hygiene.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(AJ) Canadian Anglican Primate: ‘We are building resilience’

A few years ago, “zoom-zoom” referred to a Mazda car commercial. Today people are more likely to think of an online screen filled with small squares of virtual people holding a meeting. In the Anglican Church of Canada, this is especially true for all of the bishops and the Primate!

Prior to the imposed isolation, my calendar was filled with travel to different parts of Canada to share in parish and diocesan celebrations, present the Award of Merit to last year’s recipients, and meet with diocesan leaders, clergy and parishioners to talk about their mission and ministry. Suddenly I was confined to home in London, Ont., with my cat, feeling disconnected and unsure what I could and should do now.

Over these past weeks a new rhythm of life and ministry has emerged—and with it, reflections on what the future might hold. First, many activities prior to COVID-19 have been transformed into virtual meeting opportunities. Church House staff meet regularly online to continue the work General Synod is called to fulfill. This even includes a weekly coffee break to stay in touch with one another in our relationships and share coping strategies. It is good to see and hear colleagues, though it can be mentally exhausting to engage online for hours every day. We are learning to pace meetings, provide breaks and even have online breakout groups for discussion. Our technological learning curve is steep, but new skills are being mastered!

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Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(Globe and Mail) At least 19 dead in Nova Scotia shooting rampage

New details of the violence and chaos of a deadly rampage in Nova Scotia emerged on Monday, as the death toll swelled to at least 19 victims and police worked at 16 crime scenes around the province – while warning the number of victims in Canada’s worst mass shooting is expected to rise further in the days to come.

“We have had five structure fires, most of those being residences, and we believe there may be victims still within the remains of those homes which burned to the ground,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said in a press conference in Dartmouth on Monday afternoon. “That part of the investigation is still very much ongoing.”

Among the victims who have been publicly identified are RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force and a mother of two; correctional services managers Alanna Jenkins and Sean Macleod; elementary school teacher Lisa McCully; Heather O’Brien, a nurse from Truro; and three members of the same family, Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck and Aaron (Friar) Tuck.

The killer has been identified by police as Gabriel Wortman, a 51-year-old denturist and owner of the Atlantic Denture Clinic in Dartmouth. He is among the dead.

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Posted in Canada, Violence

(CBC) Physical distancing has halved rate of spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia, official modelling suggests

Health officials say physical distancing restrictions in B.C. are successfully beginning to slow the rate of spread of new COVID-19 cases in the province, perhaps by as much as half.

But despite the “glimmer of hope,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and other officials stressed that the province is not out of the woods and the health-care system still needs to be prepared for an inevitable surge in hospitalizations.

“I’m trying not to over-call it, but I do believe we’ve seen a flattening, a falling-off of that curve,” Henry said Friday, referring to the growth of new COVID-19 patients in B.C.

“What we need, though, is for everybody to continue to pay attention to these [physical distancing] measures so we can continue to prevent transmissions in our communities … for the coming weeks.”

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Posted in Canada, Health & Medicine