have not been politically active since I was a young mother in 1971, but for this
coming election, I feel that it is doubly important that all of us be educated
voters. We’re only two days into this campaign. Most of what we are hearing is
the party leaders slamming each other. Personally, I am more interested in a party
policies than what the other guy did, especially when the policy pertains to
saving our environment.
I received an email sent out by Clayton Thomas Muller, a First Nations
environmental activist. He has compiled a list of thirteen candidates that he
and his supporters have investigated and found to be truly willing to deal with
the climate crisis. He says they are “bold leaders who will take risks,
organize fellow Members of Parliament, and work across party lines to tackle
the climate emergency. And, they’re running grassroots campaigns connected to
movements in their communities.” I wondered if this was a “Green Party
advertisement,” so I followed the link provided. I was surprised to discover
that there were two parties represented among these candidates who want
to save our planet. Here is the link for you to see for yourself. Here’s
our list of candidates from across the country who will champion a
made-in-Canada Green New Deal.
For me, the main message of Mr. Clayton Thomas
Muller is to teach us to be politically knowledgeable voters. His group are
encouraging other independent sources to document and publicly identify any
other candidates worthily committed in a similar manner to the environmental
is my hope: that both you and I will take some time during this election
campaign to check out all of our local candidates. Are they aware that our
earth is in crisis? Are they willing to work across party lines to deal with
this crisis? As voters, we need to let
go of party loyalty. We must each award our vote to the candidate who will stop
the squabbling, the put downs. We need representatives who will get down to the
business of leading us to maintaining our beautiful world. We need
representatives that will put people first, rather than influential corporate
interests. We need representatives who are courageous enough to listen and
debate in parliament rather than yell, and mock, and oppose on principle. There
must be more than thirteen candidates across this country who truly care.
It’s been a long election campaign and I’m glad it’s nearly over. Some of us may have lost patience with all the political rhetoric. Some of us may have enjoyed the entire ride. Regardless of how we are feeling, in Canada we can cast our ballot without fear of violence. We are truly safe. With this blessing comes a big responsibility. There are at least two things we need to remember. “The right to vote is precious.” And “We need to vote intelligently.”
In his prize winning novel, “Best Laid Plans”, Canadian Author Terry Fallis used humour to illustrate our propensity as Canadians to vote party, regardless of who is running either for prime minister or local MP. He made the point that it is important to listen, observe and think about each candidate and party.
How do we do that? A few weeks ago, some BC students launched a website that helps us see when party leaders are stretching the truth and taking the words of their competitors out of context. We all know that can happen in the advertising industry as well. Claims made for a company’s product can be grossly exaggerated. Even scientific studies can be manipulated to persuade the casual observer a particular product is not good for us.
It’s not just politicians that can pull words out of context. We have to be careful when we quote the Bible as well. The better you know the Bible, the greater the temptation to twist its words to support your position. For example, there are places in the Bible that, when taken out of context sound, like its writers are saying it’s ok to beat your child, or that women shouldn’t be ministers or priests. I sometimes think that if I wanted to I could find a verse in the Bible to support anything. In Canada we can read the Bible without fear of violence, therefore, It’s important for us to read the Bible with intelligence, to remember it’s a book about God’s love for God’s creation.
For the next few days, take the time to really think about the issues in this election campaign. Sift through the rhetoric and back stabbing, and look at the ideals and goals of the politicians. Prepare yourself to vote intelligently. Do the same with the Bible. Take advantage of your right to read this precious book. Do the research. Listen carefully
What a lovely day, we’ve had. Ross and Carol Leef are gracious hosts and good friends. We share our faith, our commitment to the church family and our own families, and our love of life. Although we got up at 7:30 (a reasonable hour), we still had a slow start because there was no rush. We were all able to do our own morning routine which for me made my day start off well. About tenish we loaded into Ross’ truck and drove up the mountain behind their home. On the way we saw deer on the meadow. They obviously were as interested in me as I was in them. At the top we had a grand vista that overlooked their subdivision. Many of the trees were scarred by fire. Everything here is so very dry. Coming back down the mountain we saw more deer, this time it seemed as if they had taken over a pasture.
Part of our itinerary had to be Ross and Carol’s church, Okanagan Falls United church more commonly know as “The Blasted Church”. Their love for this church and it’s tiny congregation touched my heart as we wandered through the building. It began its life as a Presbyterian Church in the mining community of Fairview. When the town’s fortunes declined, the church was not being used. The Okanagan Falls congregation and their minister decided in 1929 to dismantle the church and bring it to their community. It is the “dismantling” part of the church lore that is shared as a great story, and that named a winery.
The practice in those days was to board over the windows and seal the doors of a building in which a stick of dynamite was suspended. The resulting force loosened all the nails so that removal of the boards was accomplished more easily and with less damage to the wood. The material was then brought to Okanagan Falls, reassembled, and the church was reopened with a dedication service on January 19, 1930, with Reverend Feir officiating.
It was an interdenominational church for several years. Many of the furnishings and stained glass windows are dedicated from and to the pioneers of the area. The pews were originally made circa 1902 for use in Elliott’s Hall in Fairview, and were in place for the visit of the poet Pauline Johnson. They were sawed by hand, the bench from one solid piece of lumber, and the backs of two pieces. When Elliott’s Hall closed, the pews were given to the church in Fairview, and subsequently came to Okanagan Falls. A beautiful baptismal font, made from a tree stump and roots grace’s the front of the church with the wonder of creation.
Next we drove to the “Hidden Chapel Winery”. While we sample a number of their wines, we heard the story of the “Hidden Chapel”. The former owner was a solid woman of faith, who loved to attend worship. Her son, had the tiny chapel built and moved to her property as a special gift of love. When the present owners developed the property into a vineyard, they retained the beautiful little chapel hidden in the woods behind the main buildings. Intrigued by it’s story of love they decided to make the chapel the theme for their business. Each kind of wine is named with the same theme. They make Nun’s on the Run, St. Vincents, Merry Monk, Soul Sister and more. I like St. Vincent the best. After we had tasted and purchased we rambled over the grounds and up to the chapel. I went inside and prayed for the winery and gave thanks for the wonderful visit we are having here with our friends. We walked past the wine cellar built in the place of an old swimming pool. Our eyes squinted in the sun, as we looked out over the lake and mountains. This is truly beautiful country.
Our winery tour wasn’t over. Ross took us to the Silver Sage Winery where we enjoyed the exquisite rose garden. We did no more tasting there as we’d already bought our wine and our tummies were beginning to feel empty.
The last stop on our wine tour was the Infinity Vineyard for lunch. Wow, it too was very impressive. We had a delicious, gourmet lunch and we enjoyed the art work. Two pieces that I particularly liked were “The Shattered Sphere” by Brent Comber of North Vancouver, BC, and the Mountain Dandelion by Mark Baltes &Ken McCall of Boise Idaho. Brent Comber used wood from old growth trees that had fallen during a heavy storm in Vancouver’s renowned Stanley Park to create a dynamic Shattered Sphere, symbolizing the transformation of a community’s sadness into reverent artwork.”
Lunch over we headed back home to Ross and Carol’s. On the way we saw more beautiful deer. They are truly a joy to watch. We rested a while until our lunch had settled somewhat and then we drove down to Tinkleberry’s for ice cream. What better way to end a day of sight seeing.
This evening we watched and listened to the leader’s debate on television. Carol and Ross’ son, Ryan, is the incumbent for the Whitehorse Yukon riding. We decided that not one of the three leaders said anything that would help us decide how to vote. After some lively discussion and great conversation, everyone but me went to bed. I still had my blog to do.
Where was God today. I started with God, as I had time for prayers and journaling. The sweet beautiful deer, wild and yet not afraid, kept me focused on God’s creation. We stood on the mountain looking down at the blackened tree stumps and the parched brown earth, and still we were surrounded by the beauty of God’s spectacular creation.
God’s Spirit danced with us as we listened to Carol and Ross talk about their lovely little country church and congregation. And, every time I take communion I will remember that lovely little chapel in the woods, a gift of love for a cherished Mom, that was part of our winery tour. Through it all we were led by our dear friends, Carol and Ross, faithful and committed. Even the leader’s debate, reminded me our intention as a nation is to care for people both here and abroad. Of course, the meal and the ice cream, delicious ice cream brought joy and laughter. Jesus said, “I came that you might have abundant life.” Today we have had abundance.