No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Janet Evans

 

A few short days ago, we celebrated Easter–one of the most glorious days of the Christian year

The resurrection of Jesus lit a flame in the hearts of men and women which has never been extinguished. It confirms forever the teachings of the man from Nazareth who said: “Because I live, you shall live also. I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Easter is a radiance, caught and passed on from believer to believer. It is the credential for that potent power which created the universe and the power by which human beings keep turning the world’s values upside down.

In this Easter season, may we indeed turn the world on its edge with the guidance of our Lord Jesus Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

May we seek to do the will of God instead of conforming to the ways of the world. Let us uplift the downtrodden and care for the rejected.

As Christ’s faithful disciples, may we strive not for prestige or social status, but work for justice and mercy in our communities where so many are hungry or ill.

God has promised us resurrection, new life, new beginnings, in Jesus’ resurrection–what will we do as our part of keeping that promise/covenant?

We receive the new life God gives and asks us to share with others. We proclaim “Hallelujah–Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed.”

Jesus gives meaning to our often empty lives, and we can give thanks.

We are the blessed sons and daughters of the Saviour. We are to pass these blessings on to our sisters and brothers everywhere.

And if ever we feel drained and defeated, may we allow ourselves to be used by God.

We will then be renewed and revitalized.

Our interest and ability to create are reawakened.

We rise again!

Rev. Janet Evans, 

Iroquois United Church

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Looking for help to save the ‘400’

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter in regards to the South Dundas council’s decision to  liquidate our (the taxpayers) public recreational land. South Dundas Township has many large pieces of recreational land such as golf courses, beaches, outdoor rinks, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, boat launches, dog parks, and parkland that line then northern shores of the St. Lawrence River.

 There is only one large piece of public land in this township, however, that is suitable for the activities in which it is currently used. This piece of land is what we call around here: “the 400”. I am writing this letter as a concerned citizen of this township and this country.

South Dundas stretches approximately 30 kilometres along the river. Now, a good portion of that is owned by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (Ontario government) and is designated as a sanctuary. From the end of the sanctuary land just east of Morrisburg to the end of the township just west of Iroquois (which is 11.9 kilometres from Morrisburg) is approximately 15 to 20 kilometres. 

In this small stretch of waterfront there is a park in the Village of Morrisburg. There is also a dog park on this site. It is a fenced environment and is complete with tow large separate caged areas, interlock brick walkways, lighting, there is even a hose and water at the site to clean the… well, you know what I mean off your shoes. 

Across the road from the dog park is a beach. Further west, there is another waterfront park in the hamlet of Mariatown. Continue down Lakeshore Drive a couple kilometres and you will come upon Loyalist Park, which again is waterfront property.

A few kilometres later down County Road 2 you get to Iroquois. This town holds some large waterfront properties. These consist of: an 18 hole golf course, a beach and an airstrip. 

Recently, the Iroquois Gold Club came up for lease. It was a controversial issue. On one side, many wanted to sell the golf course and its property. The shared opinion was that the golf course did not generate enough revenue to justify keeping it open. It was felt that if we sold this land to a developer of sorts, we would benefit greatly from, first, the initial revenue generated from the sale of this mass waterfront property and, for the long term, that the construction and operations of whatever was built there would keep the money flowing for years to come. 

On the other side, were the citizens who felt that the land should remain public, and that development would ruin the natural beauty of the landscape in this village. In the end, the public’s opinion was heard. The township had asked the public’s opinion, and although there was much controversy, the final decision was to see the golf course remain in public hands. So, council made the decision, and a new 20 year lease was signed, case closed.

You’re probably wondering exactly where I’m going with this. What I’m getting at here is that last week I opened up the local paper, as my eyes scrolled their way down the front page, I suddenly stopped and swallowed hard as I read the title of an article. It stated: “Forested land and wetland declared surplus by council.” 

Immediately, I knew the location! A location very familiar to me. Coincidentally this “surplus” land, is but a few feet from forested land that has been in my family for two generations. This “surplus” land is a place where I’ve grown up, I’ve walked, rode, and hunted this land my entire life. It is a playground of a different kind, a playground without monkey bars, swings, or slides, but a playground none the less.

This property has provided recreation of a different variety to many outdoorsmen. ATV/dirt bike/skidoo riders, cross-country skiers, nature enthusiasts, and families from in and out of this township who prefer the serenity, seclusion, and natural beauty of this property to the other public parks and recreation areas in the township. Pretty much all of which are located in towns and villages close to roads, homes, and businesses. 

There is an unmaintained road that runs on the south side of this 397.31 acres of land, which has served as an absolutely amazing walk/ride through nothing but forest, for everything from ATV’s and snowmobiles to hunters or just someone out for a walk.

The impact on the folks who use this public property could be potentially devastating, for it is truly the last large piece of bush that exists in this township (as the satellite imagery will confirm). All that is left after this are small plots of bush scattered between vast plains of corn and soy and these small plots are disappearing more and more every year, cut away for expanding farms and the ever increasing demand for corn, essential for the production of ethanol fuel.

 But an even bigger concern than losing a favoured recreation spot, is the certain potential for the complete annihilation of a vast ecosystem that exists in our last standing forest. Articles stated that an environmental study will be done. However, this study is only in place to detect the presence of two fish, four birds, and three plants. Well you can be certain the fish will not be there. So what happens if none of these nine species are found? 

This forest is home to thousands upon thousands of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plant life. These lands are a safe haven for these animals. When winter comes, the mammals seek refuge deep in these thick cedar swamps, the only place that they really have to shelter themselves from the bitterness of winter. They feed off the buds of the coniferous trees to stay alive, as any other source of food (ex: grass, crops) is dead, frozen, and buried. 

So what do we expect those animals, who are not considered endangered, to do when their food and shelter is taken away from them? They will move to survive. Accidents caused by “road kills” will rise, the food source will be gone, eventually the smaller animals will die off and larger, predatory animals (like coyotes, which are very much present in this township) will move elsewhere to find food to survive, whether that be prey in another habitat or somebody’s house pet.

Now, I realize there’s potential for someone to buy the land and not clear cut the entire bush, however, myself and many other residents share the opinion that odds are, this bush will be non-existent in the not so distant future. If you need proof of that, I recommend that you go and visit Google Earth and take a look at this area for yourself. I can’t even count the number of forests I saw being clear cut in the last year there were so many, can you? 

I just find it very odd that all of this is happening so fast. When council was considering selling the Iroquois Golf Course, it was publicized from the very thought to the final decision. The 400 was not. A short article stating that this property has been deemed surplus and will be sold. Also, I was only able to find notification of this in the Morrisburg Leader and the Standard Freeholder. 

I have met regular visitors of the 400 during all my time spent at this public land. A lot of these people are not even from South Dundas. I have met people from Russell, Embrun, Ottawa, Montreal, Brockville, Cornwall, Alexandria, the list goes on and on. I’m sure that all of these people from those areas would be just as upset about the sale of this property as we are. In fact, I’m sure some of them would even make an offer on the property to have for sporting purposes. However, they will probably not find out about the sale of this property until long after it has been sold.

I’m not writing this to cause an issue, nor am I comparing town to country, but I have to say that it is extremely unfair that the decision to sell was already made before we were even informed that the land was deemed as surplus. 

This land is virtually maintenance free to this townhsip. The road that runs through it is unmaintained, it is overgrown, and tore up from years of riding and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not a tree-hugger or environmentalist. I’m not a do-gooder or someone on a mission to save the planet. I’m an average citizen of this land just like anyone else born here. I’m defending this land so that my children and grandchildren can enjoy it for what it is, just as my generation and generations before that have enjoyed it just the same.

When the citizens of this township spoke out against the sale of their golf course and town waterfront, many who didn’t even use the golf course lent their support and signatures to keep the course in public hands. I support recreation of all kinds in this township, so I believe I speak for most users of the 400 land when I say… would you please support us in keeping this land the way it is, and in the hands of the citizens of this land. 

The final day for bids on this land is April the 16th. We don’t have a lot of time, I urge you to please voice your concerns to Mayor Steven Byvelds and Clerk Brenda Brunt as their names were the only two mentioned in the statement given to newspapers.

Mayor Steven Byvelds

613-652-2271

613-897-1617 (cell)

mayor@southdundas.com (email)

Brenda Brunt – clerk

613-535-2673 (township office)

1-800-265-0619 (toll free)

bbrunt@southdundas.com (email)

Southdundas.com

Facebook.com/southdundas

 

Sincerely,

Tyler Mills

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Arlyce Schiebout

 

When the Parade Is Over

We all know about mob mentality.  We know what has happened when people do not like the outcome of sports games.  We know what can happen when peaceful marches get sidetracked and become violent or destroy property.

Jesus and his followers did not have any idea what was ahead for him or them after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday.  Disciples and the crowd joined in praise of God, and thought Jesus would be the one to save them from the oppression of the Romans.   Now that is a real celebration of Passover.  

They did not realize how soon all of that activity would change. But Jesus had set his face toward Jerusalem.

A few days later the same crowd would shout, “Crucify him, Crucify him!”

That is what convicts me. 

I can look pretty good on Sunday, but when Jesus examines my life, he likely is upset because he can find no fruit, like no repentance, no brokenness, no forgiveness, empty words seeking after God, no desire to grow in faith, and just the same old lukewarm worship practices.  

Would Jesus cast me aside just as the fig tree that bore no fruit?  Like honouring God with lip service but having a heart that is far from God’s heart of love?

I am thankful that this Holy Week engages me in that intentional time of naming and claiming the many ways that I have traded God’s love, compassion, mercy for the ways of the world.  The empty ways of the world that do not produce fruit or abundant life.  

I am also thankful that when the worst happens to me, like the tragic death of a loved one, or a broken relationship, I know that Jesus didn’t have to go to Jerusalem.  He goes there because he came to show us what real life is about.  

If that is true, then real life is about facing the difficult courageously and emerging from it a better person than you are now.

If that is true, then it means that God walks with us through all of life, and most closely through great suffering and great pain.

If that is true then it means that God triumphs over all the evil in the world, even death.  

Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said, “You will find your life only by losing it.”  Losing it in service to others so that all may be fed, so that all the differently-abled may leap for joy, and so that all those oppressed by injustice and rigors of life may be freed to new life.  

“Just when I thought there would be no more light in the Jerusalem sky, the Bright and Morning Star appeared and the darkness has not overcome it.”  (Ann Weems, Kneeling in Jerusalem)  

Thank God that we can rise again to be the community of resurrection.  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  God’s steadfast love endures forever.” 

Blessings for Holy Week and Easter.

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Wind turbine overrun

 

What is a “wind farm” exactly? The term sounds rather harmless, doesn’t it? Does it make you picture the colourful cartoon-sized windmills of yesterday? If that’s true, you’re probably in for a horrifying surprise.

The industrial wind turbines being erected all over Ontario do not come anywhere close to such an idyllic picture. In fact, they  look more like something you’d see watching War of the Worlds. In truth, they’re gigantic machines that are invading rural Ontario, (thanks to Premier McGuinty). Machines. Gigantic. Think about it please. Visit Wolfe Island and see for yourself… it’s a relatively short drive from South Dundas. (Or, watch the documentary, Windfall.)

And, if you’re one of those people who think that “wind farms” aren’t your problem, think again! The South Branch Wind project is on the verge of taking physical shape. There are at least two wind companies (that we know of) targeting landowners for land leases in and around Dundas County. The South Branch project is “small-scale” compared to reports about the other two companies’ plans… there could be close to 100 turbines when all is said and done. Sure, they may be five to ten years in coming to fruition, but if we don’t do anything to stop them… they will come and all anyone will see are wind turbines.

MPP Jim McDonell and MPP Steve Clark are holding a public information session for the South Branch project opponents at DC Community Centre in Dixon’s Corners on April 10th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Please, come out, ask questions, learn about wind turbines and their effects on communities. Find out what you can do before it’s too late… before the turbines arrive to take over our land, our communities and our lives. And, remember that a cause isn’t ‘lost’ until there’s no one left to fight for it. Add your voice. -S.C.

[…]

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.

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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

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

[…]