Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


Leave a comment

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. 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

 


1 Comment

Christmas is Inescapable….

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the most entertaining book/movies about Christmas commercialization is ‘Skipping Christmas/Christmas with the Cranks’ by John Grisham.  As Christmas commercialization will likely always be with us, it is good to have a sense of humour about the silliness that can overtake us.  My favorite scene is Luther Crank trying unsuccessfully to drink his tea after an over-the-top Botox session.

For many years, John Grisham has been one of my favorite living authors.  Born on February 8, 1955, Grisham is a retired attorney, an ex-politician, and a novelist best known for his works of modern legal  drama.  Publishers Weekly described Grisham as “the bestselling novelist of the 90s,” selling 60,742,289 copies. Grisham is one of few authors, including Tom Clancy, who have sold two million copies on a first printing. His novel The Pelican Brief sold over eleven million copies just in North America.  There is no other person who has authored a number one best-selling novel of the year for seven consecutive years (1994-2,000).

Many people do not realize that Grisham is a committed Christian who has spent time in mission service in Brazil. “I started going out in 1993 with a church group from my home church in Oxford, Miss.,” he told USA Today. “We went down there for the purpose of constructing a church in this little town sort of in the outback and it was such a rewarding experience that I’ve done it several times since.”

With over 110 million books sold, John Grisham and his wife, Renee, “measure the success of the year on how much we give away,” Grisham told USA Today. They have set up a foundation to oversee their giving — “the bulk of it goes to church and related activities” — to which “the kids have said, ‘Look, don’t give it all away.'”

Grisham now wishes “I’d joined the Peace Corps … for a couple years out of college.” He added, “As my years go by I think I’ll spend more and more time doing … mission work, probably in Brazil.”

Fittingly, Grisham in his book ‘The Testament’ makes a heroine of an illegitimate daughter Rachel Lane, an unknown missionary in the deepest jungles of Brazil.  Troy Phelan, the 10th-richest man in America, outrages all his greedy family by giving Rachel his $11 billion fortune. Ironically, Rachel leads a simple life and couldn’t care less about money. The interaction between Nate O’Riley the recovering alcoholic lawyer and Rachel Lane reveals the depth of Grisham’s spiritual convictions. “Nate closed his eyes … and called God’s name. God was waiting. … In one glorious acknowledgment of failure, he laid himself bare before God. He held nothing back. He unloaded enough baggage to crush any three men. … ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered to God. ‘Please help me.’ As quickly as the fever had left his body, he felt the baggage leave his soul. With one gentle brush of the hand, his slate had been wiped clean.”

Grisham explained to USA Today, “Nate tried power and women and booze and drugs and the fast life and all the good things that money can buy. He’s crashed and burned four times in 10 years and it’s obvious he can’t save himself. I wanted to take a guy like that and sort of follow him on a kind of spiritual journey, his quest for a spiritual cure. … I was challenged by the goal of seeing if I could make such a spiritual journey work in a popular novel, in commercial fiction.”

This Christmas, I encourage each of us to make a spiritual journey that goes far beyond Christmas Commercialization.  May this Christmas be an encounter with the humble manger.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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

-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


Leave a comment

AB Simpson: An Unsung Hero

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

A.B. Simpson is an unsung  hero who has had a remarkable lasting impact on millions of families not only in Canada, but throughout the world.  Simpson was a man of vision.  He once said that people “must always dream dreams before they blaze new trails and see visions before they are strong to do exploits.”

 

Albert Benjamin Simpson was born on Prince Edward Island on December 15th, 1843 of Scottish Covenanter heritage.  The Simpson family had emigrated from MorayShire, Scotland to Bayview, P.E.I.  After the collapse of his father’s shipbuilding & export business in the 1840’s depression, his family moved to a farm in western Ontario.  Rev. John Geddie, on his way to the South Sea Islands as Canada’s first missionary, baptized baby Albert and in prayer committed him to future missionary service.

Fresh out of seminary in 1865, Simpson had accepted the call to pastor Knox Church in Hamilton, a congregation with the second largest Presbyterian church building in Canada. Over the next eight years, 750 new people joined the congregation.  Dr. William McMullen, another Presbyterian minister, said that Simpson “stood out at that time as one of the most brilliant young ministers of our church in Canada…”

Out of the blue, Simpson was called to lead a Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  The recently ended Civil war left bitterness and division between the various churches.  As a neutral Canadian pastor, Simpson was used to bring racial reconciliation and forgiveness among the churches. At Simpson’s encouragement, the pastors went to their knees and poured out their hearts for such a baptism of love as would sweep away their differences.  From reconciliation among the clergy came two months of continuous nightly gatherings across the denominations.  As the pastors joined their hands together in unity, over 10,000 local residents joined them in prayer meetings lasting for a year.

Simpson’s success led him to being invited to lead 13th Street Presbyterian Church, a prestigious New York congregation.  Simpson loved to reach out to those who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable in a traditional church setting.  When 100 Italian immigrants responded to Simpson’s message, he asked his church Board to admit them as new members.  His Board “kindly but firmly refused”, for fear of being overwhelmed by immigrants and poor people.  Out of that rejection came Simpson’s vision of a fellowship of Christians where everyone was welcome, regardless of race, income, denomination, or social class.

Simpson decided to abandon his security and reputation, in order to start a community where all were welcome in Christ.  He began afresh with just seven other people, in a poorly heated dance hall.  But Simpson had recently discovered an inner strength  and resilience that kept him from slipping into discouragement.  In the past he had been such a workaholic that he had destroyed his health.  Simpson’s medical doctor had given him 3 months to live.  But upon meeting an Episcopalian (Anglican) physician, Dr. Charles Cullis,  at Old Orchard Camp in Maine, he experienced a remarkable healing of his heart.  The next day, Simpson was able to climb a 3,000 foot mountain, and successfully pray for his daughter Margaret’s healing from diphtheria- the very disease which had earlier killed his son Melville.

Word spread fast in 1881 of these healings.  He was besieged by many with pleas for help.  By others, he was vilified and ridiculed as another quack miracle worker.  Despite such criticism, Simpson received strong support from medical doctors like Dr. Jenny Trout, the first female doctor & surgeon in Canada, Dr. Robert Glover from Toronto,  and Dr. Lilian Yeomans, a Canadian-born surgeon in Michigan.  He also received much encouragement from well-known Canadian Anglican priests like Dr. Henry Wilson, & Dr. W.S. Rainford. Simpson started Friday-afternoon healing & holiness meetings, which quickly became New York’s largest attended spiritual weekday meeting, with 500-1,000 in attendance.

Simpson had a real love for the whole Christian community, regardless of denomination or nationality.  He said: “I want to enjoy the broadest fellowship possible myself, and I want my people to receive the benefit of the ministry of all God’s gifted servants, regardless of whether they agree with me in everything or not.”  Many of Simpson’s strongest supporters were Canadians, like William Fenton, Albert Thompson, & E.D. Whiteside, who had been remarkably healed from diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, and epilepsy.

Canadian-born Dr. Henry Wilson was first healed through Simpson’s prayers, and then received permission from his bishop to become A.B. Simpson’s associate pastor!  He was even allowed by his bishop to erect an altar at the Gospel Tabernacle, and conduct an Anglican service of Holy Communion each Sunday morning. In a show of interdenominational unity, Dr. Simpson the (C&MA) Alliance pastor would preach and Dr. Wilson the Anglican priest would serve communion.  Another Anglican priest, Dr. Kenneth Mackenzie, actively participated in Alliance Conventions, taught at the  Alliance Missionary Training Institute, and contributed articles to the Alliance magazine.  Simpson publicly stated that he would prefer to have Dr. Mackenzie’s presence and teaching as an Anglican clergyman than as an Alliance worker.  A.B. Simpson had a passion for interdenominational Christian Unity and Missions that is only now beginning to be appreciated by other churches.

I thank God for heroes like Albert Benjamin Simpson, who have helped tear down the walls of misunderstanding, bitterness, and mistrust between the churches.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-bestselling author of the book 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