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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Respect each life journey, even in its brokenness and uncertainty, for each person has walked alone at times.  – Doctrine and Covenants 161:3b

There are times when most of us would prefer to simply be alone.  For some, this is because we are introverted personalities who find the noise of humanity becomes more than we can bear; we need to be alone for a while.  Other people need to be apart in order to seek togetherness with God, as in a period of prayer or meditation.  A “Silent Retreat” has become a regular offering at Ziontario Campgrounds for such people who, while they may not be entirely alone, can escape the noise and tumult of socialization for a day,  two, or even a week.

Another time people may ask to be alone is when they are feeling poorly.  This is not true for everyone.  When under the weather, some people want to be constantly cared for and have their pillows fluffed at regular intervals.  For others, the preference is simply for people to go away and leave them to their misery.

There is a more serious occasion when the desire to be alone manifests itself.  It is not unusual for people who are very very ill to request “no visitors”, or even “no contact.”  Such an appeal can be challenging for friends and fellow congregants, especially those in ministry or on pastoral care teams.  It goes against our training to have people seriously ill and not phone or visit them.  Have we not been taught to express our caring this way?  What should we do?   

Above all, it is important that we honour the person or family’s request.  When someone is so ill that they prefer not to have visitors, we must respect their appeal for privacy.  That does not mean, however, that we must do nothing.  There are many ways we can still express  our caring and loving support. 

The first and most obvious thing we can do is to pray.  No matter what form your prayers may take, whether silent or verbal, in words or pictures, expressed alone or in circles, prayer is always a way to uphold another in love.  Second, almost forgotten by many of us in this age of instant, electronic communication is the old-fashioned art of sending cards.  A card says, “I honour your request but I have not forgotten you.”  Third, even when we cannot call or visit, how about sending a bouquet of flowers or a small plant to communicate our warm thoughts and loving concern?  Might that not be a way to quietly and gently reach out to another while still respecting their request for privacy?

You will probably have thoughts on this subject, and if you do I invite them to click on the comments button and share them with the rest of us.  Many heads may be better than one.  Will you share your wisdom and experience?

Posted by Carman

Monday, May 28, 2012


I go for my morning walk with the countryside cloaked in mist.  I cannot see far ahead, and that is blessing.  The farms are hidden from view except for the fields that border my path.  I cannot see the stop sign though I know it is still there, far at the end of road.  I am left to my quiet reverie and the sound of birds unseen somewhere nearby.  From time to time, the fog is penetrated by the warning lights of vehicles, their drivers headed for work or some early destination.  They give me notice to move out of the way.

Our world is small and is brought ever closer.  The clamour of distress saturates our consciousness; there are so many things to see, hear and do.  The mist narrows our focus, at least for a little while.  Think, walk, pray, not about the whole world and all its problems, not about the long term, but only for today; the immediate here and now.

I am grateful for holy Mist that, for a while at least, shrinks my view of the world.  I cannot fix it all, and it is not mine to carry.  Today let me bear grace and hope to the few whose path intersects with mine.  That is my calling and my choice.  That is blessing if not peace.

Posted by Carman

Friday, May 25, 2012


There is none so blind as those who will not see. – John Heywood, 1546

You were there today, but I did not see you.
I saw your cane, and the dog who is your savior, but I did not see you.
I saw your body, and the look of discerning anxiousness on your face,
The outward signs of the life you live, but I did not see you.

Our paths crossed today, but I did not see you.
I saw a person sitting in your wheelchair and the frown you wore on your face.
From these outward appearances I assumed you were not happy.
I saw your grandson approach you, and then I saw you smile.

We were both on the street today, but I did not see you.
I saw your clothes, your body covered with tattoos,
the piercings you wear like armour to defend you
And allowed them to deflect my gaze away.

I saw your clothes today, your beauty worn like a mask.
The image you project of confidence, calm, and complete control
Protected you just as you wanted it to.
I saw your image today, but I did not see you.

You served me today, but I did not see you.
You checked my seat belt on the plane, you brought me peanuts and something to drink.
Who are you, I wonder: a son, a daughter, a mother?
We passed like planes in the clouds, unseen and unknown.

I arrived home tonight, and still I’ve not seen you.
All day long, like ships in the night, we passed.
My eyes were shrouded in blindness, my heart was kept inside,
And it makes me wonder, will ever I see you?

See me, feel me, touch me, heal me 
– (Lyrics from The Who's rock opera Tommy.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Have you ever had the occasion to step over or walk around someone sitting, lying, or sleeping on the sidewalk in a North American city?  Perhaps the person was panhandling, maybe sitting with a coffee cup asking for change.  How did you react?  If you were in Canada, did you reach in your pocket or purse for a loonie or toonie?  Or did you look the other way and hurry on by?  Did you wonder who these people are and how they got to such a state?  Did you assume they had chosen the street life because “There must have been an alternative for them some where!"  Perhaps you muttered something to yourself or someone else about “Why don’t they just get a job!”

At one time or another over the years, I confess I have done most of those things.  On my better days, I have had enough compassion to suspend the questions or judgment and simply give a little help.  At other times the questions or doubts have won out and I have looked or walked the other way.  Sometimes I have even felt afraid, not because the homeless person was menacing (which seldom happens), but because the situation was strange to me and beyond my comfort zone.  I have personally witnessed homelessness in at least four cities; Toronto, New York, Miami, and even my lovely San Diego, in each case with people literally sleeping on the sidewalk.  I must tell you that, of all of those, Toronto in January felt the most desperate with the mercury plummeting to dangerous levels on bitterly cold winter nights.

In all the times I have encountered homelessness and street begging, one thing I have never done, and probably never even considered, is to take the time to make the acquaintance of the street person and get to know them.  But that is exactly the strategy of Toronto street worker, Tim Huff as described in his 2008 book Bent Hope: A Street Journal published by Castle Quay Books.  Huff invests the hours, days, weeks, and often months it frequently takes before the person is able to trust him enough to let him in. 

The experiences chronicled in this little book provide a brief glimpse into Huff’s daily encounters with the homeless.  The author works with youth, so most of those he introduces us to are young; often in their mid-teens.  It is both enlightening and chilling to learn exactly what their former life was like that made this desperate and dangerous existence preferable.

One might expect stories of homelessness to be depressing.  While it is true that many of the stories do not have a happy ending, the overall impression one receives from reading this little book is one of hope; albeit a hope that is often "bent" just as the title implies.  Yet hope is real, and sometimes Huff’s nights of listening and talking result in new beginnings and lives saved.

I encourage you to find and read this little book, available here from Amazon.  It will warm your heart and bring you hope.  What's more, you will never look at homeless people the same again.

Posted by Carman

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The Corinth ladies hosted their annual Mother and Daughter Banquet on May 9, 2012.  We were hoping to have 30 in attendance, expecting maybe 20, but were happy to welcome over 50!  Ages ranged from 12 - 101 years. Costs were kept low as the meal was a delicious pot luck and our clean-up crew was free: the guys of the congregation.

Dottie Burdette of Wiarton shared ideas on abundant living, expressing that God wishes us to live in a healthy manner.  She shared thoughts on how the Word of Wisdom (Section 86 of the Doctrine and Covenants) encourages us to live wisely and well today.  

Drinking green or white tea we learned, is just like giving your body a dose of vitamins.  We were introduced to the wonder drug garlic; natures penicillin and cancer preventative. Ground flax seed has shown benefits for treatment of cancer, diabetes and liver disease as well as helping to lower cholesterol.  We were advised to eat meat sparingly. Dottie suggested we try using extra virgin coconut oil in cooking as most liquid oils become carcinogenic when heated to a high temperature. She uses it for frying foods and in her smoothies.

Jean Bradley, also from the Wiarton congregation, shared the importance of living green, especially in using environmentally friendly cosmetics and cleaning products.  Jean cautioned us to examine ingredients in our cosmetics as many such as DEA, MEA and TEA are not only harmful to the user but also to the environment and to wildlife. She suggested we go to the green department of our grocery stores to find more environmentally friendly products.

These were topics that we all can use to make a difference in our health and that of the planet.
We also learned that with vibrant speakers sharing on current topics and being invitational as a congregation, people come!

Kim Veldhuizen

Monday, May 7, 2012


Since attending St. Thomas congregation’s 135th Anniversary celebrations this past weekend, I have been reflecting, not for the first time, on our legacy.  A legacy, simply put, is that which is handed down from previous generations.

On Saturday evening of the St. Thomas weekend, time was spent recounting stories from the congregation’s founding period, or more accurately, “periods” since there were more than one.  Names were recalled that are famous to those familiar with Community of Christ history in this part of the world, including Daniel MacGregor, J. J. Cornish, and R. C, Evans among others.  Meetings began in a house with just a few people.  Later, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall was rented and used for preaching until it could no longer hold the crowds.  Then the first church building was constructed.

During the weekend, historic figures from the past were recalled, including those who sacrificed and took extraordinary risks so the church could be established.  The story was told of a man who allowed the use of his house so missionaries could hold church gatherings.  This generosity was met with threatening letters, undoubtedly from a  religious person or persons in the community warning him not to do this, asserting that his house and furnishings would be put at extreme risk of being destroyed by mob action.  The letter also held out the prospect of the man being tarred and feathered.  The missionary offered to cancel services, but the man courageously insisted on going ahead, and nothing appears to have come of the threats.  The church in St. Thomas exists today, in part because of the legacy of such brave persons.

A few generations later in 1970, there was a need to build a bigger church, and a new generation of heroes stepped forward.  This group gave the money to buy a nice lot, and then worked evening after evening, Saturday after Saturday, to build the new church.  These were members who worked at their day jobs, then went to the site to work on building the church until it was dark.  The lovely building we see today on Fairway Avenue was built by the sweat and sacrifice of those members, many of whom are still alive and were present at the Anniversary.  They are elderly now; walking with canes often held in arthritic hands, but they pass to those who are younger, a legacy of honour and love.  Of course they did more than build a church; that is just one of their accomplishments.  They also served their community with equal dedication.  I find them greatly to be admired.

This is just a sample of the great legacy that has been bequeathed to us; a history of love and generous sacrifice.  I find it both moving and remarkable.  It makes me wonder, what will our generation pass down to those who follow after?  How will they look back at us?  Will they see lives invested in the future?  If our stories of faith are considered worthy to be recounted, will  our successors listen with equal wonder and admiration?  I do not know the answer.

I can only speak personally here, but I have invested my life in this cause because of the legacy provided by generations of heroes who have gone before us.  The breadth of their sacrifice and the fervency of their testimony are powerful.  Now I look for those who will follow after us, and seek to instill in them a desire to love God and bless God’s people with equal diligence. 

May our legacy be worthy of the honour bequeathed to us.

Posted by Carman