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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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John A Macdonald: Nation-Builder

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

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 flaws who looked beyond himself and saw a great dream.

Recently we celebrated BC’s 150th Anniversary.  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 in 2010 promised to send Canadian Astronauts to Jupiter by 2020!  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.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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 


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Catharine Parr Traill: Pioneer Canadian Mother

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

Catharine Parr Traill was a pioneer Canadian mother who made a phenomenal impact on the life of our nation.

England in the early 1830s was caught in a Canada-mania.  In the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, England was thrown into an economic depression.  Thomas Strickland, the father of Catherine Parr Traill, was caught in the economic downturn, resulting in near-bankruptcy and his premature death.  He left behind an impoverished widow and six unmarried daughters whose chances of marriage were seriously limited.

Both Catherine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna married economically-challenged Scottish soldiers who were offered land grants in the colonies.  Canada began to be seen as the land of milk and honey!  Altogether 655,747 people sailed away from British shores between 1831 and 1841 (almost three times as many as had moved abroad during the previous ten years).

The two key Canada-promoters William Cattermole and Captain Charles Stuart were being paid so much per head for every Brit that they could recruit for Canada.  In their glowing description of Canada, Cattermole and Stuart forgot to mention the backbreaking work required to clear the forests, the total absence of household comforts, the aching loneliness, and the grinding poverty of most early Canadian pioneers.  Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna, being gifted writers, were able to record a vital part of our Canadian pioneering history.  In Catherine Parr Traill’s book ‘The Canadian Settler’s Guide’, she insightfully wrote:

“In cases of emergency, it is folly to fold up one’s hands and sit down to bewail in abject terror: it is better to be up and doing.”

Catharine’s book “The ‘Backwoods of Canada quickly sold its first printing of eleven thousand copies, being translated into German in 1838 and French in 1843.

Of the six Strickland daughters including Catherine, five of them became published authors!  Catharine’s older sister Agnes in England was the leading royal biographer of the 19th century.  Sister Agnes caustically commented: “Who in England thinks anything of Canada?” and “Nothing that is first published in Canada will sell well in England”.

 In Charlotte Grey’s book ‘Sisters in the Wilderness’, Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna are described as laying “the foundation of a literary tradition that still endures in Canada: the pioneer woman who displays extraordinary courage, resourcefulness and humour.  This ‘Canadian character type’, as critic Elizabeth Thompson calls her, is a pragmatist who discovers her own strength as she overcomes adversity.”  Sir Sandford Fleming, inventor of one-hour time zones, and the engineering genius behind the Canadian Pacific Railway, said of Catharine: “She has rendered service of no ordinary kind in making known the advantages offered by Canada as a field for settlement, and by her very widely read writings she has been instrumental in inducing very many emigrants from the United Kingdom to find homes in the Dominion.”

Catharine Parr Trail had a remarkable ability to rise above adversity and make the best of every situation.  Charlotte Grey: writes in her book about ‘the stamina, talent and determination that allowed two English ladies to overcome the hardships of pioneer life and leave a powerful legacy to Canadian culture.’  It is hard for us almost two hundred years later to fully imagine the miseries of hunger, disease, cold, and disappointment faced by our early Canadian pioneers.  I was shocked to discover that both Catharine and her sister’s families came down with malaria, a widespread problem in Canada as pioneers were struggling to drain mosquito-infested swamps.

Catharine Parr Traill commented in the early days: “I have not seen a woman except those in our company for over five months….”  As Charlotte Grey put it, “Being wrenched from one’s homeland leaves deep scars in the psyche of every emigrant in any era:  Susanna and Catharine bore these scars for the rest of their lives.”

Catharine’s motto was ‘Hope! Resolution! And Perseverance!’.  She would assure her relatives back home that Canada is the ‘land of hope.’ Her sister Sarah spoke of Catherine/Kate: “Her blue eyes always sparkled with happiness and curiosity about the world.  She had a warm smile and an air of stolid contentment, and even as a baby, Catharine ‘never cried like other children –indeed we used to say that Katie never saw a sorrowful day – for if anything went wrong, she just shut her eyes and the tears fell from under the long lashes and rolled down her cheeks like pearls into her lap.  We all adored her.”

 Charlotte Grey commented how Catharine loved “the wild and picturesque rocks, trees, hill and valley, wild-flowers, ferns, shrubs and moss and the pure, sweet scent of pines over all, breathing health and strength.”  Nature, for Catharine, was saturated with divine meaning – its splendor and concord displayed the authority and goodness of its Creator.  That is why Catharine wrote many “books that reflected sheer love of nature’s bounty and admiration in God’s handiwork.”  The flowers of the field, for her, were good reminders of the teachings of Christ.  Catherine often illustrated her dried specimens with biblical quotes, particularly from the Psalms or the book of Revelation.

Charlotte Grey commented that in future years, Catharine would rely on her love of nature, the beauties of which she saw as the expression of God’s will, to carry her through one disaster after another:
“Strength was always given to me when it was needed.” As she dug and weeded in the kitchen garden, or lifted heavy cast-iron pans of porridge from the stove, she would pause briefly, straighten her aching back, close her eyes and utter silent prayers.  She noted at the end of her life: “In great troubles and losses, God is very Good.”

In the midst of her very busy writing and pioneering, Catharine never neglected her family.  As Charlotte Grey put it, “Motherhood came as naturally to Catharine as breathing.  It was the most meaningful activity in her life.  She was always prepared to give more love than she took, and she saw no conflict between her family and her impulse to write.”

My prayer is that every mother reading this article would receive that same strength as Catharine Parr Traill in the challenges of life.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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 


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Tilley and Tupper Our Founding Fathers

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, a Father of Canadian Confederation and twice the Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, rose each morning to start his day with prayer and Scripture reading.  As the 33 founding Fathers gathered in 1864 at Charlottetown, PEI, there were many suggestions on what to call this new nation. That morning, as Tilley read from Psalm 72:8, he became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God, that when he came down to the Conference session, he presented the inspired name “Dominion of Canada”.  Our National Motto on our Coat of Arms “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (from sea to sea) was drawn once again straight from Psalm 72:8. “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.”

Tilley came to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1839 through his Anglican rector, the Reverend William Harrison. His life was so dramatically transformed that he even became an Anglican Sunday School teacher and a Church Warden (Elder).  Tilley’s son Harrison became a well-known Anglican priest.

One day, an 11-year old girl ran to Tilley for help, after her drunken father brutally stabbed her mother to death.  Because of this tragedy, Tilley went from being a quiet pharmacist to becoming the Premier of New Brunswick in his campaign for alcohol reform. When Tilley brought in actual alcohol legislation, he was burned in effigy, his house was attacked, and his family’s lives were threatened.

 Tilley the ‘dry’ Anglican was good friends with Sir Charles Tupper the ‘drinking’ Baptist Premier of Nova Scotia.  Both shared a passion for railways which they believed were the key to the Maritimes’ future.  Sir Charles Tupper eventually became the Federal Minister of Railways, bringing the CPR railway line to Vancouver, and BC into Confederation. Before the arrival of the railway, traveling to Vancouver would take all summer by riverboat and stagecoach.

The 1864 Charlottetown meeting was originally intended to bring a Maritime Union of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to defend against the threat of American invasion. But Tupper and Tilley dreamed bigger, inviting Ontario and Quebec to join them in a new Confederation. Tupper believed in the greatness of Canada, saying: “The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin’d, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men.”

Tupper read the Bible fully from cover to cover by the age of eight. His father Charles Tupper Senior, a prohibitionist, was one of the founding fathers of the fast-growing Maritime Baptist Churches. While training as a medical doctor in Edinburgh, Charles Jr discovered Scotch from which he never recovered.  Tupper served as first president of the Canadian Medical Association.

In 1867 the Halifax Morning Chronicle had described Tupper as “the most despicable politician within the bounds of British North America.”  Throughout his career Tupper was variously described as “the Boodle Knight,” the “Great Stretcher” (of the truth), “the old tramp,” the “Arch-Corruptionist,” and “the old wretch.”.

Tupper has the distinction of being the shortest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history, even beating out Joe Clark and Kim Campbell (67 days!). His marriage, despite allegations of philandering, lasted longer than any other Prime Minister: 66 years!

Tupper, the longest-surviving Father of Confederation, served in six federal cabinet portfolios. If there was something that was really difficult to get done, somebody who needed to be won over, Macdonald often said: ‘Call Tupper.’ Tupper could make things happen.

In 1883 a British Columbia contractor close to Tupper was awarded a two million dollar job, even though rivals submitted lower bids. The opposition suspected a payoff. Tupper faced a legal challenge and demands for a full inquiry. He promptly left his retirement home in Vancouver and sailed for London, far from the cry of scandal, to take a diplomatic posting.

Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Leonard Tilley remind us that God can use the most unlikely people in building a nation.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Light Magazine and the North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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 


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Remembering Dear Nana

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Nana Allen, my maternal grandmother, died with her prayer book and bible by her bed. I was never successful in talking her out of using the “old-fashioned” Book of Common Prayer, and ‘getting with the program’.  Nana to me symbolizes the deep Judeo-Christian roots of our beloved Canadian nation.  She knew in her heart that I would one day become an Anglican priest, even when I was running from God on the top of Mount Seymour ski hill.  Nana, while outwardly a very gentle and proper ‘English’ lady, was inwardly a prayer warrior who never gave up on her family or her nation.  Nana’s passionate love for our nation came out most strongly when she watched Hockey Night in Canada, fervently cheering for her favorite team ‘The Montreal Canadiens’.

I love Nana very deeply, though she passed away 18 years ago in March 1982, just before my throat operation where I received my voice back.  It was hard for Nana to watch me lose my voice, as she was so deeply committed to my calling to the Anglican priesthood.  I remember her saying that she wanted to live until I became ordained as a deacon. Then after my first ordination, she decided that she wanted to live until I became priested which she did as well. Within a year of my priesting, she had gone to be with the Lord.

Why am I an Anglican priest today?  I believe in my heart of hearts that I am a priest because of my Nana’s powerful prayers and personal witness to a biblically faithful Anglicanism.  Nana’s life embodied to me the heart and soul of genuine Anglican Christianity.  Sadly most of the faithful congregations that my Nana attended have since been swallowed by other agendas.

Nana was also a devout Anglophile and royalist.  Though she had never been to England, it very much functioned for her as ‘the mother country’.  Nana was probably more English than the English.  My parents finally persuaded her at age 80 to fly to England with them.  While she enjoyed the trip tremendously, she felt that England had changed!

As someone who has been an ordained Anglican clergyman for 30 years, I must say similarly to my grandma’s comment that the Anglican Church has changed.  I value healthy, necessary change, but I grieve when the core values of the Anglican Church are discarded in the relentless search for temporary relevance.  I have sadly had to face that we are now often dealing with another gospel, another religion, another faith than the biblical Anglican Christianity that my dear Nana stood for.

I believe that the Anglican Church is the ‘canary in the tunnel’ for our great nation of Canada.   Our Canadian passivity has made us vulnerable to serious cultural meltdown of everything that made Canada great.  My grandparents’ and parents’ generation put everything on the line to defend our great nation in World War I and World War II.  How can we do any less in the current battle for the soul of Canada?

We say in the pre-amble to our Constitution that we acknowledge the Supremacy of God.  It is time for us as Canadians to turn our words into actions.  Our founding forebearers were determined in the words of Psalm 72 that ‘he would have dominion for sea to shining sea’.  Our original name “The Dominion of Canada” was chosen to deliberately reflect that spiritual commitment as the core of our nation.

My cry is that God would keep our land glorious and free, that God would have mercy upon our rebellious land, that mercy would triumph over judgement.  God’s heart of love is that we would repent of our turning away from our godly Judeo-Christian heritage and turn back before it is too late.

When I remember my dearly beloved Nana, I am reminded that we have a great heritage as Canadians.  Let’s not squander it.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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,102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– 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, Canada 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