Every time I spend ten dollars, I come face-to-face with Sir John A Macdonald, our first Prime Minister. As “the most famous of all Canadian leaders”, Sir John A. was a nation-builder, a man with many serious flaws (1) who looked beyond himself and saw a great dream.
The Province of BC celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2017. Without Sir John A, there is no doubt in my mind that BC would have been lost to Canada. The vast majority of BC settlers were Americans drawn from San Francisco by the 1858 Gold Rush. John A’s promise of the Canadian Pacific Railway won over the hearts and mind of ambivalent BCers. This extravagant promise almost bankrupted Canada and nearly destroyed Sir John’s A. Macdonald’s political career. Imagine if the Federal Government promised to send Canadian Astronauts to Jupiter within the next decade! A railway all the way to BC was just as unthinkable in 1870. Some cynics joked that Canada was not a nation, but a railroad in search of a nation
John A was not only a nation-builder but also a bridge-builder. He commented: “We should accept as men and brothers all those who think alike of the future of the country, and wish to act alike for the good of the country, no matter what their antecedents may have been.” He saw Canadian Confederation as a spiritual marriage between francophones and anglophones. Unlike many of his fellow party members, John A could read French, understand it, and speak it reasonably well.” Sir John A commented: “God and nature have made the two Canadas one – let no factious men be allowed to put them asunder.”
After the tragic death of his first wife Isabella, he married Agnes Bernard, just before the national ‘marriage’ of the Dominion of Canada on July 1st, 1867. Agnes wrote in her diary: “I have found something worth living for – living in – my husband’s heart and love.” As a devout Anglican, Agnes had a significant impact on her husband’s life, causing him to cut back on his drinking and start attending church on Sunday. John A was deeply impressed by the Beatitudes, and made a practice of reading his bible every night before bedtime.
In 1888, during six weeks of Hunter-Crossley renewal meetings in Ottawa, Prime Minister Macdonald had a deep encounter with Jesus Christ. As one journalist put it, “When the well-known form of the Honorable Prime Minister arose in the centre of the church, many strong men bowed their heads and wept for joy.” After dining at the prime minister’s home several days later, Rev John Hunter confirmed that “Sir John is a changed man.”
May we all, like Sir John A. Macdonald, have the courage to change the things we can.
Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.
Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…
A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.
I was the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C for 31 years, from 1987 to 2018. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials
For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to write over 500 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to speak at conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Uganda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Ontario.
My book For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship, coauthored with Janice Hird, can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Better-Worse-Discovering-lasting-relationship/dp/0978202236/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535555614&sr=8-1
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The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life.
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January 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm
This is one impressive piece of Canadian History I didn’t know about and now I know since I’m studying Canadian History in University. Sir John A. MacDonald was one the greatest Prime Ministers in Canadian History.