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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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Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts

par le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Avant Champlain, les explorateurs comme Jacques Cartier n’avaient pas réussi à laisser leur marque. Champlain et Sieur de Monts étaient des personnes persévérantes et visionnaires de grande foi qui ont fait d’énormes sacrifices pour frayer un chemin dans cette grande terre du Canada. Avec mon expérience lors de la tournée de réconciliation de La Danse cet été passé, Dieu m’a donné un amour profond pour les personnes francophones qui ont développé notre nation pendant 150 ans avant l’arrivée des Anglais.

 

Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts nous ont donné le cadeau merveilleux de la langue et de la culture française. Champlain, en particulier, a aidé à définir qui nous sommes comme Canadiens. Nous serions bien plus pauvres au Canada sans nos frères et sœurs francophones, sans leur joie de vivre, leur musique, leur danse, et leur flair artistique. Comme l’a déjà dit un poète américain, »le Canada est un pays presque inventé par le cerveau simple de Champlain ».  Un projet de loi privé fédéral C-428 fut rejeté. Ce projet voulait nommer le 26 juin le « Jour de Samuel de Champlain ». Le MP Greg Thompson du Nouveau Brunswick qui présentait ce projet de loi disait: « la plupart de nous savons qui est Davy Crockett, mais plusieurs d’entre nous n’avons jamais porté attention à Samuel de Champlain.

Tandis que beaucoup de Canadiens se rappellent vaguement de Champlain, aujourd’hui peu de personnes ont une idée de qui était l’homme derrière Champlain: Sieur de Monts. Né à Saintonge, en France en 1558, Sieur de Monts était un homme d’affaires français Huguenot à qui avait été accordé une charte exclusive du Roi Henri IV pour le commerce de fourrure dans le nouveau monde. Le Roi Henri IV chargea Sieur de Monts d’établir le nom, la puissance, et l’autorité du roi de la France; d’amener les indigènes à une connaissance de la religion chrétienne; de peupler, de cultiver, et de coloniser les dites terres; de faire de l’exploration et plus particulièrement de chercher des mines de métaux précieux. La charte de 1603 nommait Sieur de Monts comme Lieutenant Gouverneur de la Nouvelle-France, lui donnant autorité sur toute l’Amérique du Nord entre les quarantième et quarante-sixième parallèles (de Montréal à Philadelphie actuelle).

 

Une des conditions de la charte exigeait la colonisation de soixante nouveaux colons chaque année. En 1604, Champlain et de Monts, pères du Canada, ont établi leur première colonie sur l’île de Saint-Croix, sur la frontière entre le Nouveau Brunswick et le Maine, aux États-Unis.  Précédant Jamestown, Virginie (1607) et Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Saint-Croix était la première colonie européenne sur la côte nord de l’Atlantique. Des Huguenots (protestants français) et des catholiques romains étaient inclus parmi les 79 premiers colons, avec un pasteur Huguenot et un prêtre catholique. Grâce au décret de Nantes, on a accordé aux Huguenots l’exercice libre de leur foi, une liberté qui a duré jusqu’en 1625. Comme mon épouse et mes enfants ont des racines Huguenotes, j’ai été fasciné d’apprendre que les Huguenots persécutés étaient au premier rang de la bourgeoisie française naissante.

 

On croit que Champlain a choisi Saint-Croix parce qu’elle partageait la même latitude que la France tempérée, supposant que le climat serait semblable. Au lieu de cela, les banquises de glace ont séparé les colons de la nourriture fraîche et de l’eau du continent. Ce premier et seul hiver sur Saint-Croix fut brutalement froid, ayant pour résultat 35 décès causes par le scorbut. Ironiquement les os de ces premiers colons français ont juste été ré enterres cette année à Saint-Croix, après avoir passé un demi-siècle à Temple University, à Philadelphie.

 

La colonie de Huguenot/Acadienne a été déplacée en 1605 à Port-Royal (l’Annapolis moderne royal en Nouvelle-Écosse). Tandis qu’il était à Port-Royal, Champlain a fondé le premier club social de l’Amérique du nord « l’Ordre du Bon temps » dans un effort de briser la monotonie des longs hivers nord-américains. Chacun leur tour, les messieurs préparaient le dîner en essayant de surpasser les autres avec son choix de viande, de vin et de chanson. Pour leur divertissement, Marc Lescarbot, un jeune avocat parisien, a écrit et produit la première pièce de théâtre en Amérique du Nord, « le théâtre de Neptune ».

 

Sieur de Monts a souffert plusieurs revers, y compris le retrait de son monopole du commerce de fourrure en 1608 et l’assassinat de son bon ami, le Roi Henri en 1610. En 1608, Sieur de Monts a envoyé Champlain a Québec, de ce fait fondant la ville de Québec, la première colonie permanente au Canada. « Je suis arrivé là le 3 juillet» a écrit Samuel de Champlain en 1608. « J’ai cherché un endroit approprié à notre colonie, mais je ne pouvais n’en trouver aucun plus commode ou mieux situé que la pointe de Québec ». Champlain y a mis à pied et déploya la fleur de lys, marquant le début de cette ville, ainsi que du Canada.

 

Ma prière est que ceux qui lisent cet article puissent démontrer ce même esprit de pionniers exprimé par Champlain et Sieur de Monts.

 

le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Recteur, 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 

 


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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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Sir Alexander Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sir Alexander Mackenzie ranks as one of the most remarkable persons of North American wilderness history and, indeed, as one of the greatest travelers of all time.  His transcontinental crossing predated (and indeed inspired) the more famous Lewis and Clark American expedition by twelve years.  Even Bernard De Voto, the well-known Utah-born historian said of Mackenzie, “In courage, in the faculty of command, in ability to meet the unforeseen with resources of craft and skill, in the will that cannot be overborne, he has had no superior in the history of American exploration.”

Mackenzie realized the dream of a Canada stretching from sea to sea.  Beneath the lion and the unicorn supporting the coat of arms of Canada are the Latin words: A MARI USQUE AD MARE, taken from a Biblical text, ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. Without Alexander Mackenzie (and his Nor’Wester friends Simon Fraser and David Thompson), Canada would have lost her entire Pacific Coast, being shut off from any access to the sea.

In 1764, Alexander Mackenzie was born in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, a windswept, rugged island in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.  When Alexander was ten, his mom died.  Neighbours, knowing he had memorized long passages from the Bible, predicted that Alexander would become a clergyman. Through the local pastor’s library, he learned about astronomy and the use of telescopes.  At age 13, Alexander tabulated all the animal and plant life in the Hebrides, and he and his pastor tried unsuccessfully to get it published in London.

To escape the grinding poverty, his family, like thousands of other Highlanders, moved to the New World, only to become caught up in the American Revolution.  His father, like Simon Fraser’s dad, joined a United Empire Loyalist regiment near New York, before escaping with his family to Montreal. In those days, every one of Montreal’s 4000 inhabitants was involved in some way with the fur trade.  To young Alexander Mackenzie, the Montreal-based North West Company fur trade signified adventure, a chance to travel and explore new territory.

The heart of the fur industry was the voyageurs, who were the heroes and athletes of the 18th century.  As with the NHL, a voyageur was an old man at forty and forced to retire.

 

A good voyageur paddled 40 strokes to the minute and could keep up that pace from dawn to dusk with brief stops.  They had the reputation of being the finest canoeists in the world, who could travel anywhere.  Most of the North West Company’s 1,100 voyageurs were Canadians, which in those days meant that they were Quebec-born francophones.  The Northwest Company brought together a unique blend of Canadians and Scots like Simon Fraser and Alexander Mackenzie.  At the height of the North West Company, it had eight times as many men in Western Canada as the more cautious Hudson’s Bay Company.

While looking for the Pacific Ocean, Mackenzie discovered and charted the largest river in Canada, the 2,500-mile long Mackenzie River .  He reached the Arctic Ocean on July 14th, 1789 –the same day as the angry Paris mobs stormed the French Bastille. Mackenzie was so heartbroken over ending up at the wrong ocean that he named his river ‘The River of Disappointment.’  The Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin renamed it the Mackenzie River.  Over 200 years later, there are 11 different places named after Alexander Mackenzie in BC and the North West Territories, including the Mackenzie Delta, the Mackenzie Mountains, the Mackenzie Highway, and the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park.

Mackenzie the Scottish Bulldog was above all things resilient.  Rather than give up his Pacific quest, he went to England to improve his knowledge of astronomy and geography.  Upon returning to Canada, Mackenzie once again struck out towards the Pacific Ocean, known by some First Nations as the ‘Stinking Lake’.  This time he traveled down the Peace River and the Parsnip River before trekking the final distance over the ‘Grease Trail’, traveled by the First Nations for countless generations.  Once again his victory was bitter-sweet. Yes, he had succeeded in reaching Bella Coola on the Pacific Ocean.  But like Simon Fraser, he too had discovered a route that was useless as a fur-trading canoe highway.

Following his two epic journeys to the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans, Mackenzie wrote an instant best-selling book called Voyages.  His book was so popular with the English and Germans that the publisher could not print enough copies to keep up with the demand.  During this time, he went back to England, became friendly with the Prince of Wales, and was knighted by his father King George IV.  That winter and spring, Sir Alexander was the most popular man in London. No social event was considered a success unless he attended it.

Between his book sales and his fur trading, Mackenzie became one of Canada’s wealthiest men. He even spent a brief period in Canadian politics which ‘bored him to tears’.  He also founded his own fur-trading ‘XY Company’ and tried unsuccessfully to do a corporate takeover of the failing Hudson’s Bay Company.

Few people in Canada realize that Mackenzie was an unwitting ‘accomplice’ in Napoleon’s planned re-conquest of Canada.  Napoleon had Mackenzie’s book smuggled from England and translated into French.  Mackenzie’s description of the Western Canada river system was so precise that Napoleon had set up a scheme during the War of 1812 to use Mackenzie’s book to invade Canada.  Canada would be conquered by a surprise attack from New Orleans, up the Mississippi River.  Fortunately for Canada, Napoleon ended up invading Moscow rather than Ottawa.

My prayer is that Jesus may raise up many more Alexander Mackenzies, people with bull-dog persistence, inexhaustible energy, and insatiable curiosity.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-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.

– 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