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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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The Flying Gaglardis of CLA

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Image result for Phil Gaglardi

On this 150th Celebration of Canada, we remember a remarkably dynamic couple, Phil and Jen (nee Sandin) Gaglardi.  Jen with her co-worker Laurene Schneider (Drury) started the 80-year old Christian Life Assembly (CLA) megachurch in 1937 with street meetings in front of Fullers Meat Market in Langley. Jen played guitar while Laurene led the singing with her accordion.  Jen’s favorite scripture which she quoted at every street meeting was ‘Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.  Call upon Him while he is near.’  They invited onlookers to evening meetings at a rented Sunday School hall.  Initially no one turned up.  Finally one or two would join them. Eventually many more would follow.  Eleanor Mark, their first convert, said “The Lord honours small beginnings that have been watered with tears, much hard work, and faithfulness.”  Claude Adams, who played his accordion at the street meetings, said that ‘you couldn’t say no to Jennie’.

Phil & Jeannie Gaglardi, 1971Someone else who couldn’t say no to the Swedish Jennie was Phil Gaglardi, who later became known as King of the Road as BC Highway minister under Premier WAC Bennett.  Of Italian Roman Catholic background, he came to personal faith in Christ through Jennie’s earlier ministry in Mission BC.  Phil had been a hard-drinking logger and construction worker who would fight at the drop of a hat.  Jen particularly appreciated Phil’s ability to both preach and fix their Model ‘A’ Ford.  She agreed to marry Phil on the condition that he became an ordained minister as well. “My mother was the drive behind my father,” son Bob Gaglardi remembers. “It’s hard to understand that considering how strong a personality my Dad was. She was the boss at the end of the day, but she allowed my father to be at the forefront.” Phil and Jen were both passionate about missions, prayer, and revival: “Are we calling for fasting and prayer? We know that we need a revival more than all others know. Come! Let us break up the fallow ground.  This is a clarion call to prayer and consecration.  Let us move forward on our knees.  Pray as you have never prayed before for revival! Revival! Revival!”

Image result for Christian Life Assembly LangleyA major breakthrough for CLA occurred in 1942 when the Gaglardis brought in Dr. Charles Price for a series of meetings, described by Dr. Price as ‘the most outstanding he had ever seen in all of his ministry throughout the world’.  Phil and Jennie Gaglardi went on in 1943 to pastor a booming congregation in Kamloops.  Jennie’s cofounder Laurene and her husband Bill Drury became the second-generation Pastoral Couple at CLA.  Phil Gaglardi was elected as a Kamloops MLA in 1962, serving for twenty years as the Minister of Highways. He miraculously spent five days a week at the Legislature while still leading a thriving congregation two days a week.  Phil established the BC Ferry Service, the Deas Island Tunnel, and the Rogers Pass. Gaglardi Way, a major thoroughfare in Burnaby, British Columbia connecting the Trans-Canada Highway to Simon Fraser University, is named for him.  In his rushing back between Victoria and Kamloops by car and plane, he became known as Flying Phil, perhaps because of a number of speeding tickets.  Jennie had an amazing gift of ministering to children, birthing burgeoning Sunday Schools in both Langley and Kamloops, with a fleet of eleven buses to pick up 9000 children, the largest in Canada at the time.  Phil, while pouring more blacktop than any other politician in the world, also managed to help plant new churches throughout the province.  He ironically said: “If there are two things I hate in life, it is a minister of the gospel and a politician, and I ended up being both.” Whatever Phil did in church life or politics, he did it fast and got tImage result for Phil Gaglardihe job done.  Phil and Jen never let the naysayers stop them.  Phil saw his duty to keep the highways “in such shape that motorists will avoid the language which would deny them access to the highway to heaven.” What an amazing team that Phil and Jen were!  May they inspire us to fly to the altar of revival.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the Light Magazine

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book 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 we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 



The Unforgettable Benjamin Franklin

100 top blogs awardBy the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I remember as a young child being taught Benjamin Franklin’s proverb: ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.’  As my father and I were both early to bed, early to rise, I have a lot of happy memories of time spent together aro

und the breakfast table together at 6am.

Benjamin Franklin picture

Benjamin Franklin had the common touch. As a brilliant philosopher, he shared wisdom through short pithy sayings like ‘He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.’  Many of Franklin’s sayings are so well known that people confuse them as coming from the Bible. ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is from Benjamin Franklin, not from Jesus.

Many of his sayings were published in Poor Richard’s Almanack, a book series that has had a profound impact on North American culture and identity. Some would say that the middle class dreams and ideals can be traced back directly to Benjamin Franklin’s homespun philosophy. Many of us unknowingly quote Benjamin Franklin on a regular basis: haste makes waste; no pain, no gain; and nothing is certain but death and taxes. Most of Franklin’s sayings were about encouraging diligence, honesty, industry and DH Lawrencetemperance.  Franklin saw the Judeo-Christian ethic as “the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

Not everyone liked Benjamin Franklin. DH Lawrence said: “I do not like him….that barbed wire moral enclosure that Poor Richard rigged up….Benjamin Franklin tried to take away my wholeness and my dark forest, my freedom.”

Benjamin Franklin’s father had intended that his son Benjamin train to be a clergyman, but lacked the resources to do so. Instead Benjamin became a printer and an inventor.  Benjamin Franklin is world-famous for his kite experiments with lightning, proving that lightning was made up of electricity. Some see him as the world’s first electrician.  While visiting England, he attached his latest invention, the lightning rod, to St Paul’s Cathedral.  He also created hot-water pipes to warm up the chilly British House of Commons. Other significant Franklin inventions were bifocals and the Franklin stove.

Benjamin Franklin was far ahead of his time in terms of understanding workplace toxicity.  As a printer, he discovered that newspaper workers were being poisoned through handling hot lead type, causing stiffness and paralysis. Franklin found out Benjamin Franklin lightningthat this lead poisoning was also affecting glazers, type-founders, plumbers, potters, white-lead makers and painters.

Benjamin Franklin was so successful in business that he retired at age 42 and devoted the rest of his life to public service. He moved to England twice in order to help the relationship between England and its American colonies. While in England, Franklin wrote most of his autobiography at the home of the Bishop of St. Asaph, Jonathan Shipley. His book became the world’s most popular autobiography, and has been translated into most major languages.  Franklin’s autobiography was the one book which Davy Crockett had when slaughtered at the Alamo.

Despite his being a strong Royalist, Benjamin Franklin ended up being resented by the British House of Lords who publicly humiliated him for his efforts to bring reconciliation between England and its American colonies.  This was Franklin’s tipping point where he became a strong advocate for Independence. As America’s first postmaster general, Franklin was also put in charge of establishing the first US currency.  In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, Franklin recommended that Americans give up tea drinking as a way to fund their new government. The constitution’s phrase ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ was the direct result of Franklin’s editing.  Franklin was the only one to sign all four of the USA’s founding papers: the Declaration of Independence, the treaty with France, the Benjamin Franklin Great Sealpeace accord with Britain, and the Constitution.  His unsuccessful proposal for the American Great Seal was to have Pharaoh being swallowed by the Red Sea, along with the words ‘Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.’

Franklin’s greatest popularity was among the French who lined the streets when he entered Paris as the USA’s first foreign diplomat. The French saw him as a simple frontier sage, and promptly put his likeness everywhere, causing the French King to become very jealous. Without Franklin’s winning the moral and financial support of the French, it is doubtful that the United States would have survived.

Franklin was a very complicated, even tragic individual with strong approach/avoidance tendencies. He loved the United States but spent most of his last years in England and then France. His relations with the opposite sex were muddled and confused.  He loved his wife and family but was away more than at home and suffered a painful split with his son William over politics.

Despite Franklin’s reputation as a religious skeptic, he went out of his way in his newspaper to promote the Rev George Whitfield who led North America’s first Great Awakening in 1739-1741.  As a scientist, he was amazed that Whitfield’s voice could be whitfieldpreachingheard without amplification by over 30,000 people at one time.  Franklin published all of Whitfield’s books and posted his sermons on the front page of his Philadelphia Gazette.  Whitfield wrote to Franklin, saying: “As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mystery of the new-birth. It is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains.”

After jealous clergy closed their pulpits to Whitfield, Franklin and other trustees built a large hall where Whitfield could preach. Franklin commented: “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants.” After the revival ended, Franklin converted the hall into the Academy of Philadelphia which later became the University of Pennsylvania.

As Governor of Pennsylvania, Franklin in 1748 proposed a day of fasting and prayer. In 1778, Franklin wrote to the French Government, saying: “Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principals of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.”, recommending that every French home have a Bible and newspaper, and a good school in every district.

Benjamin Franklin 2 pictureAt the 1787 American Constitutional Convention, Franklin commented: “the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” On that basis, Franklin arranged that prayers led by local clergy would be held each morning before Assembly business. Franklin said: “If I had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the Being and government of a Deity!”

Franklin memorably commented: “Think of three things: Whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must give account.”  May each of us, like Benjamin Franklin, be willing to be accountable to God in the midst of life’s challenges.



The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

 St. Simon’s North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide