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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Wisdom from the mysterious Isle of Crete

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My wife and I went to Crete in order to work on my fourth book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit.  Crete is the largest of the Greek islands at 8,336 km² (3,219 square miles) and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean.  As the centre of the Minoan civilization (ca. 2600–1400 BC), Cretan culture was the oldest   form of Greek and hence European civilization. It is not surprising that there are over 2,000 scholars and archeologists on Crete.

Our first Sunday in Crete started with heavy rain, requiring us to take a taxi to the 7am service at Hagios Tito/Titus Church where Titus’ actual head is kept in the side chapel. The Hagios Tito service lasted 3 and 1/2 hours. For the first hour, there were more clergy and robed choir than congregation: about 8 including us. Time is no concern to Cretans. Every hour, more people wandered in, until three hours later the service was 80% full. Even the choir members wandered in and out over the three+ hour service.

There were no instruments. The two miked-singers/cantors who led the choir had excellent base voices. The congregation never sang. At the end of the service, any of the people who did not take communion were invited to receive a blessed piece of bread to eat on their way out. All the children took communion, plus many of the adults who felt spiritually connected that day.

The Greek Orthodox Archimandrite Makarios officially welcomed us to Crete and invited us to have coffee with him after the service. His English was excellent, so we had a great conversation. I was able to give him a copy of ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’ as a gift which he seemed pleased to receive. As he is also a medical doctor, he gave us a gift of his book on Orthodox bioethics.

After Church, we went for lunch with one of the young Cretan couples. It was a great opportunity to learn more about Crete, and how to not butcher the modern Greek language. Quite understandably, Greek has changed a bit in two thousand years.  For example,  the ‘eu’ in Eucharist/Thank you is currently pronounced as an ‘f’ as in ‘Efharista’.

In the afternoon, we went by bus to the famous Knossos archeological palace, where the ancient Minoans had their headquarters. After that, we went to the Venetian Port at Heraklion where the wind on the windbreaker was so strong that it almost blew us off our feet. We can understand how Paul in Acts 27:10 warned the ship captain not to leave Crete because of the winter danger of shipwreck. Even today Cretans do not do much fishing in the winter.

The next day, a taxi driver named Immanuel drove us to the Agaradou Monastery way up on a remote hill where we met the Abbot Erasmus who gave us a memorable tour of the monastery. Later that afternoon, we were fortunate to visit the National Museum of Crete, where we learned about the many times the Cretan people have been conquered, and yet how they reemerged after great persecution. All of their church buildings after the conquest of 1669 were closed, and converted to other purposes. Only 50 people in their main city of Heraklion (Chandax) were left after a continuous siege for twenty years, reportedly the longest siege in the history of the world.

The resilience and deep faith of the Cretan people is a lesson to others facing difficulties in life. My prayer for those reading this article is that we would show the same resilience and faithfulness when we face life’s disappointments.

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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Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Monts: Canadian heroes

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Until Samuel de Champlain over 400 years ago, explorers like Jacques Cartier all had  failed to leave any permanent mark.  Champlain & Sieur de Monts were persevering people of vision and faith who made enormous sacrifices to pioneer this great land of Canada.  God, through the La Danse tour of reconciliation, has given me a deep love for the francophone people who pioneered our nation for 150 years before we Anglais turned up.

 

Samuel de Champlain & Sieur de Monts gave to all of us the wonderful gift of French language and culture in Canada.  In very real terms, Champlain especially helped define who we are as Canadians.  How much poorer we would be in Canada without our francophone brothers and sisters, without their joie de vivre, their music, their dance, and their artistic flair.  As an American poet once put it, Canada is a country almost invented out of Champlain’s single brain.  A while back, there was a Federal Private Member’s Bill C-428 which unsuccessfully attempted to name June 26th ‘Samuel de Champlain Day’.  The sponsoring New Brunswick MP Greg Thompson put it this way: “Most of us know who Davy Crockett was but a lot of us never paid attention to Champlain.”

 

While many Canadians vaguely remember Champlain, few today have any awareness of the man behind Champlain, Sieur de Monts.  Born in Saintonge, France in 1558, Sieur de Monts was a French Huguenot businessman who was given an exclusive charter by King Henry IV for fur trading in the New World.  King Henry IV directed Sieur de Monts “to establish the name, power, and authority of the King of France; to summon the natives to a knowledge of the Christian religion; to people, cultivate, and settle the said lands; to make explorations and especially to seek out mines of precious metals.”  The 1603 charter made Sieur de Monts the Lieutenant Governor of New France, giving him authority over all of North America between the 40th and 46th parallels (from Montreal to present day Philadelphia).

 

One of the conditions of the charter required the settlement of sixty new colonists each year.  In 1604, Champlain and de Monts, as Fathers of Canada, established their first settlement at St. Croix Island, on the border between New Brunswick and Maine, USA.  Predating both Jamestown, Virginia (1607) and Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), St. Croix was the first European settlement on the north Atlantic coast.  Both Huguenot (French Protestant) and Roman Catholics were included among the original 79 settlers, along with a Huguenot pastor and a Roman Catholic priest.  Thanks to the Edict of Nantes, the Huguenot were granted free exercise of their faith, a freedom that lasted until 1625.

 

As my wife and children have Huguenot roots, I have been fascinated to learn that the persecuted Huguenot were at the forefront of the emerging French middle class.

 

It is believed that Champlain chose St. Croix because it shared the same latitude as temperate France, assuming that the climate would be similar.  Instead the churning ice floes separated the colonists from the fresh food and water of the mainland.  That first & only winter on St. Croix was brutally cold, resulting in 35 scurvy-related deaths.  Ironically the bones of the original French settlers have recently been reinterred at St. Croix, after spending half a century in Philadelphia’s Temple University.

 

The Huguenot/Acadian colony was moved in 1605 to Port-Royal (the modern Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia). While at Port-Royal, Champlain founded North America’s first social club the ‘Ordre de Bon temps/The Order of the Good Time’ in an effort to break the monotony of the long North American winters.  Each gentleman in turn prepared dinner and attempted to outdo the others in the meat, wine and song offered.  For their entertainment, Marc Lescarbot, a young Parisian lawyer, wrote and produced the first drama in North America, “The Theatre of Neptune”.

 

Sieur de Monts suffered many setbacks including the revoking of his fur trade monopoly in 1608 and the assassination of his close friend King Henry IV in 1610.  In 1608, Sieur de Monts sent Champlain to Quebec, thus founding at Quebec City the first permanent colony in Canada.  “I arrived there on the 3rd of July,” wrote Samuel de Champlain in 1608, “when I searched for a place suitable for our settlement, but I could find none more convenient or better situated than the point of Quebec.” Champlain stepped ashore and unfurled the fleur-de-lys, marking the beginning of that city and indeed of Canada.

 

My prayer is that those reading this article may show that same pioneering spirit expressed by Champlain & Sieur de Monts.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, 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 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 


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Marie-Anne, Mother of Western Canada

By the Rev.  Dr. Ed Hird

Mother’s Day always bring to mind exceptional mothers who have made a difference.

Well-known author Maggie Siggins holds that the most exceptional Canadian mother of the 19th century was Louis Riel’s grandmother, Marie-Anne Lagimordiere (née Gaboury). Her home town was Maskinongé, a small village near modern-day Trois-Rivières in Quebec. In 1807, Marie-Anne became the first women of European background to permanently settle in Canada’s far west.  It would take another forty years before another European woman joined her.

With the death of her father when she was 12, Marie-Anne spent the next fifteen years as a housekeeper to a priest who taught her to read and write French, Latin, and do basic math.  Such education was rare for women in those days.  Marie-Anne did not marry until late in life, from a 19th Century Quebecois perspective. She rejected suitor after suitor until the grand old age of 26.

Doing the unthinkable, she married a voyageur Jean Baptiste, and then accompanied him back into the hinterlands of western Canada.  They broke the cardinal rule that under no circumstances were Eastern Canadian wives to be involved in the fur trade.  Wives in the fur trade were known as ‘fur widows’, only seeing their husbands every four or five years.

Travelling almost 3,000 kilometres by canoe, Marie-Anne faced violent rapids, portages, and deadly storm on her way west. Upon arriving at Pemina, her husband’s ‘country wife’ tried to poison Marie-Anne with a plum pudding. Her hungry dogs ate the pudding instead of Marie-Anne, and all the dogs died!

Living until age 96, Marie-Anne never returned to see her family in Eastern Canada.  It is said that she was healthy and wise up till the end.  Instead of her dainty dresses, she adopted caribou-skin leggings and embroidered moccasins. Along with learning to make pemmican, Marie-Anne became fluent in Ojibwe and Cree, and helped establish the city of Winnipeg.

She was described in Maggie Siggins’ book Marie-Anne as being ‘one tough cookie’ in order to survive her Western adventures. Shortly after her horse rushed towards a herd of buffalo, Marie-Anne gave birth to her second child in the middle of a prairie field.  Another time when a large bear attacked her companion, Marie-Anne fought back and shot the bear dead.  Once she and her husband were captured by the Tsu Tinna. Upon escaping, they were chased for five days until reaching the safety of Edmonton.

Marie-Anne lived through terrifying conflict between the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company, in which many forts were burned to the ground.  For four summers in a row, swarms of grasshoppers were so thick that the sky was pitch black.  All crops, gardens, and greenery were ravaged within a few short hours.  During the Great Flood of 1825, Marie-Anne’s house was swept away by the river surge. Trees and cattle were swallowed up.  Marie-Anne begged her husband to leave this ‘God-forsaken’ land, but Jean Baptiste replied that if the local clergy refused to leave, they too would hang in there.  Remarkably all of her seven children lived to adulthood, with her four sons becoming involved in the thriving family businesses.

Her favorite grandchild was one of Canada’s most famous leaders Louis Riel.  He was deeply influenced by the passion and courage of his dear grandmother.  She taught him to speak the various first nations languages. She taught him to be willing to risk.  As Marie-Anne was grieved by the alcoholic debauchery that she saw at Fort Williams, Louis Riel likewise rejected alcohol abuse.  Dying in 1875, Marie-Anne lived long enough to see her grandson Louis’ dream come true: that Manitoba become a province, not just a territory in the Canadian Confederation.

My prayer is that like Louis Riel, we may be inspired by our mothers and grandmothers to be pioneers and explorers of Canada’s future.

 

 

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

 -an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-author of the award-winning 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 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 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