Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

Leave a comment

On Our Way to Uganda and Rwanda…

janice and ed back cover photoBy Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

On May 5th to 22nd, my wife Janice and I will spend three weeks in Uganda and Rwanda speaking on marriage and renewal. We will first be speaking, by invitation of Canon Medad Birungi, at the Healing for the Nations Conference in Rwentobo, Ntungamo, the site of the East Africa Revival. Last year there was 25,000 people attend this annual renewal conference.  We met Canon Medad through our good friends Pastors Giulio and Lina Gabeli of Westwood Church in Coquitlam. He came to visit our St. Simon’s people at a midweek gathering held at one of our congregant’s houses. After our time in Uganda, which will involve a brief safari, we will go 100 miles south to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda where we have been invited by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini to lead a five-day marriage conference.

We will be bringing our new marriage book with us. The title for our new book is ‘For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship.” The book is a popular reworking of my doctoral thesis produced five years ago.


Here is an excerpt from our new book to whet your interest:

Kneeling at the communion rail with her ex-husband, Linda said to her priest, Ed, “Someday I would like to marry Lloyd again.” As Linda had said this several times before in previous sessions—and Lloyd had said the same—Ed said “Why not now?” She replied, “Sure, why not?” Everyone was thrilled that the communion unexpectedly concluded with a romantic marriage service. Linda and Lloyd had been divorced for six years before remarrying that day.[1] We will never forget that wedding celebration.  Linda and Lloyd later took part in our Strengthening Marriage Workshop, and discovered new ways to improve their relationship.

What if we told you that this book, if you put its principles into practice, would send you on a romantic adventure with your beloved? What if we told you that, by reading and applying this book, you would discover the keys to a lasting satisfying relationship?  Marriage is very important to Ed and Janice (authors of this book and organizers of the Strengthening Marriage Workshop).  We have learned much in forty years of marriage, for better and for worse at times, and want to help other couples benefit from our discoveries about how to have a lasting, fulfilling marriage.  We have made many painful mistakes in our marriage. In For Better, for Worse, we pull back the veil on our imperfect marriage and share some of our embarrassing and often humorous moments.  Authentic, non-judgmental story-telling is one of the keys to healing of relationships, especially in marriage. Too many marriages nowadays crash and burn. It doesn’t have to be that way.  Are you willing to try an experiment on how to do relationships in a whole new way?  Would you like to end the cycle of broken relationships and marriages among your family and friends? Healing can start with you. You may remember how Jesus asked the probing question “Do you want to be well?”[2] Do you want your present or future marriage to be whole and healthy?

This book is written for married couples, engaged couples, and those interested in being married one day.  Ed and Janice learned extensively about Family Systems Theory while Ed was doing his doctorate. This book integrates family and biblical wisdom about how to strengthen one’s marriage and relationships. Each of the seventeen chapters unpacks key elements of what a healthy marriage can look like. The first four chapters cover the four weeks of the Strengthening Marriage Workshop, developed during the doctoral studies.  The four-fold focus of these four weeks is on strengths, differences, conflict, and intimacy. Even if you read and apply just the first four chapters, you will gain new eyes to understand your marriage relationship in a brand new way.  Are you tired of seeing your partner with the same old eyes?  Would you like to discover who they really are, beyond the mask?

To say “for better, for worse” sounds very romantic on the wedding day. To live it out ’til death do us part is much more challenging. Many couples naively think that because of their loving feelings toward each other, they won’t face the “for worse” part. Do we have the courage to radically embrace the gift and challenge of the marriage vows “for better, for worse”? Marital joy is a deep joy that spills over into every corner of a family. Marital pain, likewise, is a deep family pain. We know of few families who have not experienced both joy and deep pain in their primary relationships. Has this been the case for your family? This book is about coming alongside people who long for more stable and satisfying marriages. Throughout the book, questions are asked that you can work on, perhaps through journalling and, at the right time, through sharing with your partner.  Thoughtful questions can take your relationship to a whole new level of intimacy.  If you even half-embrace the principles in this book, your marriage will never be the same.

[1] Names have been changed. It was not a coincidence that our St. Simon’s North Vancouver congregation had just the day before taken a bold and costly stance for marriage. We believe that this wedding was a token of the Lord’s favour on our new adventure in which we as a congregation joined the Anglican Mission in Canada, which is covered by thirteen African Archbishops and bishops. To learn more about this journey, you are invited to read Ed’s earlier book Battle for the Soul of Canada.

Dancing Photo of Clines


1 Comment

Returning from Kigeme

By Rev Ed Hird

In our last two days in Rwanda, we travelled with Pastor Paul, Dean of Kigeme Cathedral, to visit Bishop Nathan in Butare. He shared about the way that the Holy Spirit touched lives at the recent Christ Awakening/Butare Convention where Rev William Beasley of Chicago and others spoke. Staying again at the Kigeme Cathedral guesthouse, we visited Bishop Louis, Pastor Samuel, and Rev Ron Browning and team with the All Saints AMiA Church in Pensacola, Florida. We also visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial site before we flew home from the Kigali International Airport.


Bishop Nathan of the diocese of Butare was very gracious in his welcome to us, even showing us his cows.


Pastor Paul also attended the Butare Diocesan Convention that so deeply touched so many lives. Click to view Bishop Nathan’s account of the Christ Awakening.


It was such a blessing to have my wife Janice with me on the Rwanda trip.


Rwandan hospitality is a great blessing.


We met with three of the Rwandan Anglican bishops during our visit.


Passing the Cathedral on our way to the bus station heading to Kigali.


God is moving powerfully in the Kigali Cathedral, as they recover from many challenges in the past.


It was great to meet with the Rev. Ron Browning and team from All Saints AMiA Church in Pensacola, Florida.  They are in a sister/sister relationship with an Anglican congregation in a very poor part of Kigali where 250 children and others worship in a building that doesn’t have a roof. Rev. Browning is hoping to raise the $10,000 needed to put a roof on that burgeoning work. Click to view the Greeting to Canada from Rev. Ron Browning.


Janice meeting with one of the Anglican Mother’s Union workers.


Visiting the Kigali National Genocide memorial site where over 260,000 victims were buried.


A memorial to the children who were killed in the genocide 17 years ago.


The mass graves from the Rwandan 1994 Genocide


A photo at the Kigali Diocesan office of Archbishop Rowan Williams meeting with the African Primates.


A closer look at the African Primates, including Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. Click to view the Greeting to Canada from the Kigali Anglican Bishop Louis.


The UN is very visible in Africa.


Stopping but not getting out at the Entebbe Uganda International Airport.


The bright Ugandan colours.


Technically Janice and I have been to Uganda 😉


The Ethiopian Airlines was a great place to be for the exhausting 22-hour flight back to Canada. We met on the airplane the only American Carl Wilkens who stayed in Rwanda during the 100-day Genocide. He just wrote a book about it, “I’m Not Leaving” which he signed for me on the airplane.

While on the Ethiopian Airlines plane, we were able to read in their inflight magazine about the Royal Honeymoon of Will and Kate which took place in Africa on the Seychelles Islands.  There were unlimited movies on the Ethiopian Airlines to help you deal with the stress of flying so long and far. We both watched again the moving Christian-based movie “Soul Surfer” which tells the story about how Bethany Hamilton lost her arm through a shark attack, but did not let that stop her from becoming a championship surfer.  The film reminded me that our Christian faith makes a practical difference when tragedy happens. Click to watch a short video clip of the movie.


We loved Rwanda and miss it. But it was good to be back home in Deep Cove on the North Shore of Vancouver.

Rev Ed Hird

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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 

Leave a comment

Fanny Crosby: The World’s Most Prolific Songbird

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Fanny Crosby was blinded, while only six weeks old, by a quack unlicensed doctor.  He permanently scarred her corneas by applying hot mustard poultices to her mildly infected eyes. When her father died while Fanny was only 12 months old, her mother had to become a maid to support little Fanny.

Despite these tragedies, Fanny never fell into self-pity. “Don’t waste any sympathy on me”, she said. “I’m the happiest person alive.”  Fanny went on to become one of the best known women in North America.  She taught for 23 years at the New York Institute for the Blind, becoming the personal friend and confidante of every sitting American President during her lifetime. As the first woman to ever address the U.S. Congress, Fanny left a lasting impact wherever she went.

One of the keys to her becoming so well-known was her partnering with the famous ‘DL Moody/Ira Sankey’ team.  Sankey (who was also blind for his last five years) would often provide the tune, and Fanny Crosby would write the words.  After the infamous Chicago fire that burned down Moody’s premises, Moody and Sankey went to England, speaking and singing their way into the hearts of the British people.  Even Queen Victoria and the Princess of Wales came to hear Moody preach and Sankey sing Fanny Crosby’s songs.  As one writer commented, Fanny Crosby ‘set more hearts and voices to praising God than any other women who ever lived.  Fanny’s approach to life and music was “Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”

Fanny Crosby had a photographic memory, memorizing five chapters of the Bible every week.  She knew by heart the first five books of the Old Testament, the four Gospels, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms.  Some of her most well-known songs were “To God be the Glory, Great Things He hath Done”, “Draw Me Nearer, Precious Lord”, “Blessed Assurance”, and “Praise Him! Praise Him!”.

Fanny lived until age 95.  When she was 83, she said: “I believe myself to still really be in the prime of my life.”  When asked about her longevity, she said that her secret was that she guarded her taste, her temper, and her tongue.

Fanny actively supported the Water StreetMission in New York, the first Rescue Mission in North America.  It had been founded by Jerry McAuley who himself had recovered from alcohol and prison.  She did not focus on pointing out other people’s faults. “You can’t save a man by telling him of his sins. He knows them already. Tell him there is pardon and love waiting for him. Win his confidence and make him understand that you believe in him, and never give him up!”  One of her best known songs “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour” was written specifically for a prisoner who cried out at her meeting: “O Lord, Do not pass me by!”

Fanny was married for 44 years to Alexander Van Alistine, her former student and fellow instructor at the New York Institute for the Blind.  With Alexander being a top organist and Fanny an accomplished harpist, they must have been quite a duo.  Sadly their only child, Frances, died as a baby.  It was this tragedy that inspired the writing of one of Fanny’s most famous songs: “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”.

Her song “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” even reached Uganda in 1885.  The Anglican Bishop James Hannington was captured by King Mwanga and put for a week in a filthy rat-infested hut. Bishop Hannington’s last words in his diary were: “Go tell Mwanga that I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood.” As they speared him to death, Hannington was joyfully singing “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”.  His courageous death inspired 32 servants of King Mwanga to accept being burnt alive rather than renounce their faith and moral convictions.  Such sacrifices have produced the second largest Anglican Church in the world, with over eight million Ugandan Anglicans attending church each Sunday.

I thank God for Fanny Crosby, the world’s most prolific songbird, who has shown tens of millions in every continent how to be ‘safe in the arms of Jesus’.



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

-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, #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.