No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Norine Gullons

Spring

Spring is a great time of year! I have been watching the crocus begin to bloom and the lilac bush is already starting to sprout buds. ! A time of renewal!

Many people are re-evaluating and looking at changes in their personal lives, their communities, their work, and their faith communities.  

They are essentially asking the question:  Does something need to grow and develop or does something need to actually die and allow new life to spring forth?

Simple changes, such as learning or developing a skill or implementing new ideas don’t require that anything needs to die. We simply build on the understanding, information and expertise that we already have.

Transformation on the other hand requires that something dies so that new life can be created. If we want to transform our communities, faith communities or organizations then we need to learn to become experts of allowing things to die and we need to learn to become midwives to the new life that is coming into being.

Transformation happens when a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies. The “grain” needs to die so that it will ultimately survive and then a thriving and sustaining plant life is created.

What dies in a grain of wheat when it falls into the ground is its temporal form so that its life-giving essence can be released into a new temporal form. When helping things to die, we need to pay attention to what actually needs to die and what needs to be allowed to blossom forth with new life.

We find metaphors for the Christian life in plants springing from the ground, being drawn outward toward the light, and bearing fruit according to their nature. 

Jesus uses the dead seed coming to life and bearing fruit as a metaphor for his own crucifixion and being raised up on our behalf. Think of the weird conversations he had with a variety of people. These conversations were not about change ~ they were about transforming defeat to a new way of being!

May God bless you in transforming your life this spring! 

Rev. Norine Gullons

South Dundas Evangelical

Lutheran Parish

Morrisburg/Williamsburg

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Clarence Witten

Loving Spring

I just read a cute story about gratitude that I think can teach us something. 

Apparently in San Francisco, on the day after Christmas, the pastor of a church was looking over their nativity scene when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures. “That’s strange,” he thought. “Who would steal Jesus?” 

He hurried outside to try and find the thief and what he came across was a little boy with a red wagon, and in the wagon was the figure of the baby Jesus. 

He walked up to the boy and said, “Well, where did you get Him, my fine friend?” The little boy replied, “I got him from the church.” “And why did you take him?” The boy said, “Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and I told him if he would bring me a red wagon for Christmas I would give him a ride around the block in it.”

I like the story. Well, not that I think it’s cool to steal Jesuses or even to pray to figurines. I like it because of what it teaches us about gratitude. 

I respect the little guy in the story first for being grateful for what he received and for following up on his promise. 

We can learn from that. To be grateful and appreciative for all that people do for us and that we receive. And also to be grateful for all that we receive from God.

It’s spring. The snow is gone, the sun is warm, the bird’s are back, and everything around us is simply glorious. We get out to walk, to bike, even to garden, to enjoy it. 

Our little story can remind us to give thanks to the God who provides all this. This is his world, and it’s him who provides the wonder of spring. And so it’s him who deserves our thanks and praise. 

Have you, have I, given thanks for spring?

One more thing. If we enjoy the beauty and wonder of creation and spring, maybe we could also use a reminder that the One who provides it has something still better for us. Something still more glorious and wonderful, namely, himself.

All the good things God gives are a reflection of what he is like. They’re an invitation to us all to get to know him.

Being a Christian seems to be less attractive these days. People see it as restricting their fun and freedom. Hardly. 

Instead we ought to see it as it is. To believe in Christ is to be reconciled to God and to enter a relationship with him. You see, if you love spring, if you love creation (God’s gift), believe me, you’ll love the Giver.

Pastor Clarence Witten

Community Christian 

Reformed Church

Dixon’s Corners

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Go ahead, speak up

What do you wish were different in South Dundas? Is there something you think the municipality needs, but doesn’t have? I’ve heard that South Dundas needs more options for youth in the area. Children need access to more activities here IN South Dundas. Teenagers need more options for places to hang out, like a youth centre, as well as more options for safe, legal fun.

This week brings an opportunity for every South Dundas resident to have a say and to have their ideas heard. Ignore the internal list of excuses and come out to one of the four planned “Community Vision Cafés”! 

Forget about the “I don’t have the time” excuse and, instead, make time. (I’m a pro when it comes to the “I don’t have time” excuse, but I recognize it for what it is: an excuse, not a reason.) 

Forget the “it won’t make a difference so why bother” excuse and actually make the effort. Seriously, if we didn’t “fight” or “try” for all the things that looked hopeless, where would we be? Wars have been won by people who didn’t have a chance of winning. Games were won by underdogs who were thought to be useless. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but… if you try, you have a 50-50 chance of getting the result you wanted; if you don’t try, you have zero chance of getting what you wanted. Think about it. 

What do you wish were different in South Dundas?

Where do you see South Dundas in 10 years?

What ideas do you have that you feel are worth pursuing? 

What do you want council to hear? 

Make your mark. State your case. Push your idea.

And, if you’re one of those people who aren’t comfortable expressing your opinions in public… then do it online! It’s easy. It’s quick. It’s anonymous.

Whatever method you choose, whether in person at one of the cafés or online via the survey… 

Speak your mind. Say what you have to say. Share your ideas. Be heard. Be accounted for in the history of South Dundas.

If you woke up tomorrow to find yourself in South Dundas in the year 2022, what would you want to see?   -S.C.

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives with Rev. George Frey

Revival of the Tongue

I said, “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue;

I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, – Psalm 39:1

When I read of our brethren from bygone days it strikes me that there is a great distance between the Christian’s commitment to “the faith” in their day and in our day. 

Of course writers seldom chronicle the lives of the unfaithful or the lukewarm in their Christian faith, and perhaps we may safely assume that our more outstanding brothers and sisters are just that, outstanding in their generations. 

Still I am stirred and encouraged by the accounts of the lives of the faithful, who reserved nothing of the old self in their commitment to Christ; men and women who did in fact, put of the old man being renewed in the spirit of their minds. (Ephesians 4:20-24)

Today it seems that we are in desperate need of revival; in desperate need of the return of Christ like living in the Church. Perhaps we may in some way understand this need of our day in an analogy provided us in The Epistle of James: Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. – James 3:4

In the passage where this verse is found, James is arguing for a quality of faith that may not be found where the old man still lives (James 3:1-4:10).

He cites as a determining factor the tongue (the analogical very small rudder), not the physical organ but the ideas articulated by it as they proceed through the desires of the pilot from some initial source; either heaven or hell, these being the only options identified in the passage. 

When the Lord designed man the tongue was “so set among our members.” (James 3:6) That is, the tongue in its role of articulating ideas, is divinely determined and placed, to affect man and society in a particular way. 

But we see in this passage of James’ a graphic picturing of the effect of sin on the tongue; resulting in the abuse of the tongue, and abuses by means of the tongue, even in the Lord’s Church to whom James is writing. 

I have no doubt that those brethren who have been outstanding examples of faithfulness among us have governed their tongues in an outstanding way. It is through such government of the tongue that we employ the rudder, to turn the ship of ones life according to the will of God. 

If there will be a revival in our day it will begin with an abhorrence of the abuses of the tongue, and actual repentance thereof. If there will be a revival among us today there must be a burning of the lips of saints. (Isaiah 6:5-7) 

Christians, especially the teachers (James 4:1), must be restored to the divine determination of the power of the tongue as a conduit of that which originates in heaven for blessing on earth. 

By means of the tongue the life of Christ must again flow freely through His Church so that the Christian, the Church and the world may have a proper rudder for directing the ship of life. (John 6:63)

David writes in Psalm 109:17, “As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; As he 

did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him.”

And James affirms, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

It seems that many prefer a lukewarm church, but for those of us who do not, for those of us who would have a restoration of the life of Christ in the Church, let us submit our tongues, only and always, to those wholesome words confirmed by scripture. (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

I will be honored to share your comments on this article in my personal blog “The Christian Mind,” thechristianmind.org. You may also email me directly at pastor@faithchristiancenter.ca.

Rev. George Frey

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Letter: Freedoms taken away

Dear Editor,

We have had for many years in our country, Canada, had loads of freedom. Too many to list here. 

As of late we are having those freedoms taken away from us through our present Federal Government. One through the spy fiasco as to our freedom of speech on the internet. Now the government is trying to take away the freedom of the Elections Canada to properly investigate the wrong doings of one of the parties in power, to take away the freedom for us to vote without any hindrance. 

It is evident that the powers in control of the present government are trying to stall and even disallow Elections Canada do its job properly by not allowing it to expand the investigation.

There are constant demands by the opposition parties to have the Conservatives show the rest of Canada that it was not their party that did the dastardly deed of robo-calling. 

Even after accusing the opposition of doing the deed and then when they came clean the present Leaders still stall by sounding like a broken record.

One would think that Mr. Del Mastro should know the words he is going to speak by heart. But no he still has to read them from a piece of paper, no doubt the one the PM gave him, just in case the PM has inserted another word or two  to try to dissuade the Opposition from trying to get to the bottom and let Canada know who the culprits were.

I would imagine this will go on for some time, and I hope the Opposition will not let it drop. Some papers have kept this important news in the headlines. 

Our public radio has decided to drop this news from most of their news broadcast in lieu of headlines about the fiasco down south concerning their election for a leader in the Republican party. It seems almost likely that the Government has asked them to lay off broadcasting the story.

This is the very first time in our history that anything of this nature has happened. I am just waiting for the PM to pirogue the parliament! Is that next?

 David Taylor,

 Williamsburg On.

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Duncan Perry

 

Are you a Fan or a Follower?

A friend of mine told me of a book he was reading. The title of it is, Are You a Fan or a Follower?

I haven’t read this book, but I understand from my friend, that it has to do with our relationship with Jesus. According to what I have understood, the writer of the book sees a great difference between a fan and a follower. In his view, a fan is one who has some interest in a thing but no real commitment to it. This is in contrast to a follower, who is more dedicated to that particular thing. Let me illustrate by looking at the sport of hockey.

If you were to ask me if I am a fan of a particular hockey team, I would tell you that I am a Montreal Canadiens fan. Ask either of my sons or my daughter, and they will tell you they are Toronto fans. So far, we all seem to be on the same level, just two different teams. 

But let me be honest. I know maybe two players on the Canadiens team. I have no idea what their standing is or if they have any hope of making the playoffs.

Now my sons can tell you anything you want to know about the Leafs. They are probably as knowledgeable about the Leafs as anyone on Hockey Night in Canada. My daughter is more of a fan like me, but my sons, they’re followers. They are sold out Leafs fans.

No matter who wins the Cup, no matter how bad the Leafs play, they support the Leafs. We can rightfully say they are followers, and it’s quite easy to see the difference between their view of hockey and mine.

Now, may I bring that reasoning over into the spiritual realm and consider what I believe the author of the book “Are you a Fan or a Follower” is trying to get across? Many people profess to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today, and where they are in their relationship to Him is no doubt between them and Jesus.

But, Jesus makes an important statement about this in Matt. 7:16. There He talks about knowing a tree by its fruit. For example, He says, “You do not gather grapes from thornbushes”. He goes on to say that, “A good tree will only bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit.” He then uses this illustration to show us the truth about people who profess to follow Him and those who truly follow Him. In verse 21 of this chapter Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

I’m not here to judge. That is not the intent of this column. But, may I ask you, “Would you dare to consider your own life? Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ?”

A fan may be one who believes Jesus Christ is a good person and may even like what Jesus taught. A follower is one who acknowledges that Jesus is God and commits to being obedient to what He taught, and who endeavors to imitate in his or her life, by the help of the Holy Spirit, the life that Jesus lived.

Jesus says, “If you are not willing to take up your cross daily and follow me, you are not worthy of me.”

I pray when all is said and done, and your life is evaluated by God, that He will judge you fit for His kingdom.

He then uses this illustration to show  

Rev. Duncan Perry,

Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Township budget choices, sure glad it’s not me

 

It’s budget time in South Dundas and the process – at a government level rather than a personal level – is quite eye-opening. Until Monday, when South Dundas started budget deliberations, I’d never been to a municipal budget meeting. 

For those of us who try to live by a budget in our personal lives, it is very similar, yet also very different. In very basic terms, it comes down to calculating expected revenue minus expected (necessary) expenses and determining what should or could be done with the leftover… if there is any. 

In case you haven’t guessed already, I’m not a financial genius and numbers aren’t really my thing. (I prefer words.) I do, however, understand the basic concepts of financial planning and budgeting. From what I could see on Monday, our township council, with the daunting task of planning our financial future, is committed to doing what they think is fair and what they think is best for South Dundas.

In personal finances and budgeting, most people only have to consider themselves and their own family when making choices. Municipally, the township council must take into consideration department requests, public requests, residential tax increases and the financial future of the township itself.

I have one car to budget for… the township has to consider vehicles for the roads department, the fire department, the recreation department, and so on. Nothing is simple. How much will a new vehicle cost? Is it necessary? Is one department more needy than another? 

These are just some of the questions council is faced with when making spending decisions at budget time. If they say ‘yes’ too much in one area, how much will they have to cut in another area in order to keep residential tax increases at an ‘acceptable’ percentage?

In an effort to push the township forward, how much can council comfortably spend if it means going in debt?  Will it be worth it?

Budget time, more than any other time, I think, shows just how much courage it takes to be a political representative. One bad choice and council will be ‘taking heat’ for months, possibly years to come. (For council members who may be reading this… no pressure!) 

All that’s really left for me to say on the subject is this: I’m really glad it’s not me! (In the ‘hot seat.’) -S.C.

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Letter to the Editor

 

Dear Editor,

This past week, we visited our daughter and her family on Lake Huron in Kincardine. This was reading week for their daughter, home from university.

For her thesis to get her master’s degree she chose the topic “Community Response to Turbines”. She had interviews set up all week with people, both “for” and “against”.

The one interview especially interested me. This interview was with a farmer’s wife. Her dairy farm had been greatly affected by a turbine which was 560 metres across the road.

After the turbine was working, the cows’ production went down 500 litres every pick up. This was every four milkings for approximately 60 cows.

Following a great deal of observation and investigation, they discovered the cows were not getting enough water. Why? The metal water tanks in the cows’ free stall enclosures had become electrically charged.

More on Windfarms

This happened to the dry cattle, the heifers and the milking cows. They all got a shock trying to get a drink. This affected, not only milk production but the health of the animals. Stray voltage was coming from the turbine, underground, to the metal tanks. Rubber tanks had to be installed.

Another interview was with a lady who had a beautiful bed and breakfast on the lake. Her adjoining neighbour, unbeknownst to her, had optioned his lot to erect a turbine. She fears she must move as her livelihood is in danger. Needles to say, she and her neighbour are no longer friends.

After hearing and reading my granddaughter’s reports, I realized that it will take years to truly determine the varied effects wind turbines will have on our communities. It seems there is little consideration as to whether they are the right way to go or not.

Money has the final say. 

June Herriman

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Sue McCullough

 

Lent–What's it all about?

Lent – taken from the German or Dutch word Lenz; known as the season between winter and summer; a time of 40 days before Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday, the seventh Wednesday before Easter.

The Christian Church called the season before Easter lent. It would have been awfully confusing to tell people that the church season of Lent was in lent. 

So to ease the confusion somewhat the term “spring” was introduced many centuries ago. It literally referred to the springing up of plants and other life as the temperatures warmed up.

Lent in the Christian tradition is that time when we are charged to reflect on our lives and a take stock of who we are. It is a time for preparation for Easter, a time of rededication of the faithful and a time to teach those who are new to Christianity about the faith and to prepare them for baptism. 

This is the time in the church year when I am reminded – and not all that gently – to recommit myself to a lifestyle that is essential to me being a faithful Christian. The liturgy that we Anglicans follow on Ash Wednesday spells it out very plainly. 

We are invited to “observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God.” 

Some of the items in this list aren’t all that onerous… especially praying and reading the word of God. 

It’s the self-examination, penitence, and fasting with which most of us struggle.  The question that arises is how can I possibly do all of this?

If we are intentional about observing Lent we will find ourselves being more fully engaging with the path that Jesus walked as he spent 40 days in the wilderness. That time in the wilderness gave him the chance to do all of the things that we are called to do in Lent.

It was the time Jesus needed to prepare for his ministry with the people and ultimately to prepare for his death and resurrection. It is our time to prepare for our own ministries – whatever they might be – and to enter fully into the joy of the resurrection. 

So, my friends, are you up for the challenge??

Blessings, Sue+

P.S. To all of you out there who get to celebrate on the actual date of your birth, Happy Birthday!

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Janet Evans

 

Count Our Blessings

“Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians”

Having had some major surgery on January 26, I try to remind myself of these words  when I feel a little frustrated.

Being housebound has, however, granted me the opportunity to reflect upon how God walks with us on life’s journey.

These weeks have also reminded me of my many blessings.

I give thanks for:

•my friends and parishioners who have sent over casseroles, soup, cookies etc.

•those who have had flowers delivered to my door

•Betty and Bill who have taken me to my doctor’s appointments in Ottawa

•chocolates and prayers

•my husband who is now doing all of the dog walking and most other household chores

•cards and phone calls saying – “just checking in”

It is good to give thanks for those people who touch our days–who are our “angels” here on earth.

Sometimes, life is sad and gray, and we neglect to praise God for His grace. We fail to respect the day. Yet God loves us and will guide us as we greet each new dawn.

This week, I urge everyone to count their blessings. Share of God’s love with another person. Forgive one who has wronged you. Confess your wrongdoings and be reconciled with your neighbour.

And have hope–that in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are never alone.

Praise be to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Amen.

Rev. Janet Evans

Iroquois United Church

[…]