Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


Leave a comment

Catharine Parr Traill: Pioneering Faith

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Catharine Parr Traill and her sister Susanna Moodie were two of Canada’s most important 19th-century writers.  Catharine Parr Traill College, a campus of Trent University in Peterborough, is named for her.  Catharine was particularly famous for her books: The Backwoods of Canada (1836)and Canadian Crusoes (1852).  A French edition of The Backwoods of Canada, Les forêts intérieures du Canada, was published in Paris in1843.  It was not until 1929 that a Canadian edition of The Backwoods of Canada was published.  She also wrote The Female Emigrant’s Guide, The Tell Tale, The Young Emigrants, and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping.  As Lynn Westerhout put it,  Catharine “wrote to earn money, but her work showed that wonder,courage and faith are most important in life.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica speaks of Catharine who, with richly detailed descriptions of frontier life, was one of the first to praise the beauties of the Canadian landscape. Catharine left England to pioneer with her new husband Thomas in the unknown Canadian backwoods.  She wrote a farewell letter to a good friend, saying that “she (was) willing to lose all for the sake of one dear valued friend and husband to share with him all the changes and chances of a settler’s life.

Catharine faced dire poverty in the early pioneering days: “On examining the state of my purse, I find just $4.30.  This is all the funds I have to begin the year with.  It is true that I have half a barrel of flour,and some meat and I have often been without meat and money.  God will provide as heretofore.”  She wrote in 1852 to her sister Susanna: “`I feel it is a miserable state to be like a vessel without a pilot drifting before an overwhelming storm on every side rocks and shoals and no friendly port in sight, no beacon light to guide us on our perilous way.  Do not think, dear sister, that I lose my faith in God’s gracious providence.  I believe that he can in his good time bring all things to an end of these our troubles…”

Catharine’s husband Thomas was often downcast by the financial  they faced.  Catharine wrote: “I wish that he could look beyond the present and remember that the brightest of earthly prospects endure but for a season – and it is the same with the trials and sorrows of life –they too come to an end.” As Charlotte Gray notes, “Catherine at ninety-five was left virtually penniless…Without Catharine’s knowledge, an urgent plea was sent to the British Prime Minister, at 10 Downing Street, for help…”  Over $1,000 was raised.  Along with the money was sent a letter to Catherine saying: “We cannot forget the courage with which you endured the privations and trials of the backwoods in the early settlement of Ontario, and we rejoice to know that your useful life has been prolonged in health and vigour until you are now the oldest living author in her Majesty’s dominion.”  Catharine responded by saying: “I can only adopt the hearty simple phrase used by the Indian women of Hiawatha village–‘I bless you in my heart.’

May Catharine Parr Traill’s deep pioneering faith and courage be an inspiration to a new generation of women and men who seek to break new ground in the twenty-first century.

 

 

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 


Leave a comment

Mayor William Howland of Toronto the Good

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Why is Toronto, Ontario, sometimes called Toronto the Good?

It goes back to Mayor William Howland of Toronto*, a public servant who was so dedicated to helping the disadvantaged that he gave away most of his wealth.  Son of the Honorable W.P. Howland, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, William was possessed with a bubbly enthusiasm and phenomenal capacity for hard work.

By the age he was 25, William was president, vice-president, or a director of more than a dozen companies in the fields of insurance and finance, electrical services, and paint manufacturing.  When he became president of the Queen City Fire Insurance Company in 1871, he was the youngest insurance company president in Canada.  As well, Howland was President of three influential organizations: the Toronto Board of Trade, the Dominion Board of Trade, and the Manufacturer’s Association of Ontario.  Out of his love for his country, he served as Chairman of the Canada First movement, personally financing its weekly newspaper ‘The Nation’.

At age 32, Howland was led to Christ by his priest, Dr. W.S. Rainsford of St. James Anglican Cathedral.  His life-changing experience gave him a new passion for helping the poor.  He became involved  helping with the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital, the YMCA, the Haven Home for Unwed Mothers, the Prisoner’s Aid Association, the Central Prison Mission School, and the Toronto General Hospital.  Night after night, Howland visited the slums, going from house-to-house, and reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the alcoholic.  He also purchased 50 acres to start an Industrial School in order to steer youth away from the life of crime.  Other initiatives were his building an alternative school for drop-outs, and a Home for the Aged and Homeless Poor. When he began to teach an interdenominational bible study for 100 young men, his new priest J.P. Lewis objected to Howland’s involvement with non-Anglicans.  Out of this rejection, he began the interdenominational Toronto Mission Union, which operated seniors’ homes, convalescent homes, and Toronto’s first-ever home nursing service.

Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city.  Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, “Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain”. Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed ‘Toronto the Good’.  As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad.  With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons.  Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness.

Howland is described in Desmond Morton’s book Mayor Howland: the Citizen’s Candidate as the first reform mayor in Toronto’s history.  Due to bureaucratic corruption, municipal garbage collection was all but non-existent.  Even City Hall’s own garbage was rarely picked up.  Rotting garbage fouled the alleyways, yards, and streets, giving Toronto a reputation for flies, stench, and disease.  With no general sewage system, Toronto lived on the verge of a typhoid epidemic.  Children swam in the same Toronto harbour area into which raw sewage was flowing from the ditches. Toronto’s fresh water supply was sucked through leaking and rotting wooden pipes, half buried in the sewage and sludge of the Toronto harbour.

Howland believed that we didn’t usually need more laws; we just needed to enforce the ones that already existed.  He shocked the city bureaucrats by enforcing the already existing bylaw which forbid the depositing of garbage within the city limits.  After he threatened to send the city commissioner to jail for breaking this bylaw, garbage miraculously began to be collected!  Howland also worked hard in the construction of a trunk sewer system, to redirect the sewage away from the Toronto Harbour.  He had such a dramatic impact in reducing the crime rate that other mayors began visiting Toronto, hoping to imitate Howland’s miracle.

During his re-election campaign in 1887, all the taxi cabs were paid off by Howland’s opponent so that they would refuse to take Howland’s supporters to the polling stations.  Women however (2,000 widows and single women with property) had just been given the vote.  So they held up their long Victorian dresses, and trucked through the snow to give Howland the moral reformer a second term.  When Howland was re-elected by a landslide, over 3,000 of his supporters at the YMCA hall spontaneously burst into singing ‘Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.’

After he unexpectedly stepped down as Mayor after two terms, Howland became the founding President of the Christian Alliance (which later took the name C&MA: Christian and Missionary Alliance).  The unique interdenominational nature of the early C&MA allowed Howland to be its president, while still remaining an Anglican.  When he died unexpectedly at age 49, his funeral involved Anglican, Alliance, and Presbyterian clergy.  With more than a thousand mourners on foot from all social classes, it was the largest funeral procession that had ever been held in Toronto.  A poem published in the Toronto Globe said of Howland:

And not Toronto mourns alone; All Canada his fame had heard; His name is dear, a household word, And far and wide, his worth was known.

May William H. Howland continue to be a living symbol of the difference that just one Canadian can make.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

* My Torontonian interest stems from being the great-great grandson of Thomas Allen who served as Toronto Alderman  for 19 years during the late 19th Century.

-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 


2 Comments

Head-over-heels in love…

DSC_0621By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 In the spring of 1975, I fell head-over-heels in love with my future wife.   Janice and I used to take the bus home together from UBC.  I noticed that something was different. Her eyes sparkled.  It turns out that she had been powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit at the previous BC Christian Ashram retreat.

That year on the bus, we discussed the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  She would often let me ‘win’ the conversation.  Seeing her as just a good friend, I had no idea that Janice was pursuing me. When Janice invited me to attend the Summer BC Christian Ashram retreat, I naturally said yes.  Being young and impetuous, the discipline of the Christian Ashram of maintaining silence from 11pm to 8am was difficult.

Over the years, I have read all 28 books of the Christian Ashram founder Dr. E. Stanley Jones.  Initially I wondered why Dr. Jones seemed to take a while to get to the point. Later I realized that like Nicky Gumbel of the Alpha Course, his focus is helping the unchurched to find Jesus at their own pace.  Because Dr. Jones spent over fifty years as a missionary in India, he learned how to be gentle and respectful to other religions without compromising on the essentials of the Gospel.

BC Christian Ashram pictureJones’ first book was called ‘Christ of the Indian Road’. In 1930 he organized the first Christian Ashram with just three people in attendance. Since then, the Christian Ashram has spread all around the world, especially in North America.  The largest Christian Ashram in the world in held in Berwick, Nova Scotia with over 800 participants.  The theme of every Christian Ashram is ‘Jesus is Lord!’

In Canada, we have six Christian Ashrams from coast to coast, including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.  There are many renewed Anglicans that take part on an interdenominational basis.  My wife and I DSC_0623have had the privilege of either speaking at or attending four different Canadian Christian Ashrams. While all Christian Ashrams are unique, they share a common framework of   Christian community and the disciplines of the Holy Spirit.

Our original speaker, The Rev David Rich, an Anglican priest from Mississippi, was forced to cancel unexpectedly, in light of an unavoidable need for a hip replacement. We were so blessed that our good friend Pastor David Carson stepped in at the last minute as our keynote speaker for the 36th Annual BC Christian Ashram retreat.  David Carson’s theme was “Jesus the High Priest: The New and Living Way” from the Book of Hebrews. David is a very dynamic

Rev Rod Ellis & Pastor David Carson

and insightful speaker who left us with many fresh insights into God’s Word.  The joy and power of the Holy Spirit was bubbling from David the whole weekend. I have never met anyone so contagiously excited about Melchizedek, and how it relates to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  The Rev Rod Ellis of the Church of our Lord, Victoria, our Bible teacher, taught on Nehemiah. He made Nehemiah come alive, showing us how we all need to play our part in ‘rebuilding the walls’.

Throughout the entire four days, there is a 24-hour Prayer Vigil that everyone is invited to take part in for an hour at a time.  This non-stop prayer focus seems to really soften DSCF3266our hearts to God’s Holy Spirit.  The two ‘pillars’ of the Christian Ashram are the initial ‘Open Heart’ session where people are invited to share three things: “Why have I come? What do I want? What do I need?”  At the end of the Ashram, we have the ‘Overflowing Heart’ session where people are invited to share what Jesus has done for them during the retreat. In their testimonies, the adults, youth and children were overflowing with love and gratitude to Christ. Many had experienced significant physical and/or emotional healings through the work of the Holy Spirit.  I have never been to a Christian Ashram where people were not powerfully healed in body, mind and spirit.

DSCF1675As Director of the BC Christian Ashram retreat, I am so grateful for God’s sovereign hand from coast to coast, renewing and refreshing his people. You are encouraged to click on our BC Christian Ashram website.

 

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

author of best-selling book Battle For the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Anglicans for Renewal Magazine

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 be done by PAYPAL, using the email 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