Friday, November 30, 2007

Naming "evil"?

Being somewhat housebound today, I wandered through blogsphere, even checking on some sites that I normally avoid due to concern about my blood pressure. I should really know better. I can actually get through most of the comments on these blogs without major risk but suddenly there is one that makes me hot under the collar and puts me in the danger area. As I have mentioned before, to get hot under the collar in the middle of winter in the frozen north takes some doing.

So what has me all het up today? I wandered through a post on the Archbishop of Canterbury preaching and presiding at a service with/for gay and lesbian priests. The comments were pretty much what could be expected. I would shake my head in disagreement but no rise in blood pressure. And then one jumped out at me. It was one hoping that various people were just misled – that they were being foolish as opposed to evil.

Now I should know better. I really should. There were link lines under evil and foolish and, foolish me, I clicked on them. Well, the evil one led to a certain blog site of a well-known “liberal” priest and the foolish one led to a blog site of another well-known “liberal” priest.

I am not even going into the wrongs of these particular links. I will however speak to the wrong of the naming of a person as evil. Has the commenter ever truly met evil? I believe if he had he would be a lot more cautious about who/what he names as evil.

I had an experience a few years ago where I was frequently encountering evil centered around one person. I do not call the person evil but rather acknowledge that somehow evil was present with this person. Even having an encounter with this person time and time again, I still would not name the person as evil.

Part of it is that I believe that we are all children of God and I believe that, being created in the image of God, we all have a “spark” of the divine within us. To claim that a person is evil would be to say that there is no element of God in that person. I cannot and will not believe that evil is strong enough to wipe out completely the presence of God. So regardless of the actions of a person and how they manifest evil, I will not call a person evil.

It is interesting that frequently when I am being assaulted spiritually, in unrelated circumstances, this one person with whom I sense the presence of evil, will start appearing in my life again. Note, that I am still not saying that this person is evil only that evil is present when this person is – that somehow evil is around this person.

I have a wise and knowledgeable friend who also has had some experience with sensing evil. He describes it as a sort of energy. That is how I see it, as an energy that is present with this person I keep encountering – almost an aura if you wanted to be sort of new age about it.

With these experiences in mind, I would caution this other poster (if I thought it would do any good) to be careful about the word evil being applied to people. Part of this is from my own experience of evil. The other part is looking at the healing of demons in the gospels. The demons are not the people healed but something separate from the people. The demons influence various behaviours but as soon as they are exorcized the person is on the way to becoming who they are meant to be. I think of the demons entering into the swine and jumping off the cliff. The action is separate from the swine themselves, influenced by the presence with them. I look at the people in the texts in which the demons call out to Jesus. In all these instances the evil is separate from the person themselves.

So I urge that we take caution not to call people evil, not to demonize the “other”. We may disagree with beliefs or actions in any area of the spectrum but we should be cautious about personalizing it with the people holding those beliefs or doing those actions being named as “evil”. Once we dehumanize people in our minds by applying such titles as “evil” it is easier to forget that God also loves these people and desires goodness and health for them. And eventually, that can lead to us doing even more harm than we believe the original person did. It’s a slippery slope that can lead us into doing “evil” ourselves.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Alternative Christmas Market

My fingers are too cold up here in the frozen north to do much typing. The temperature may only be in the -20 range but with the wind chill factor we are actually more in the -30 range. Add being on the open prairies to the mix (not a lot of trees or buildings) and it is not the greatest weather. Of course, just to make my life more interesting, my car is not working so I have to walk wherever I go. Good weather to stay indoors and get caught up on some administrative work. (Except for wandering a couple of blocks to coffee row in a few minutes to get warmed up on the current events and gossip.)

I was visiting Susan Russell's site and came across this Alternative Christmas Market. What a fantastic idea. I'm e-mailing a link to our local diocesan outreach committe as an idea for a future Christmas project.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who hoo

Riders won!!!!!!!!!!!!

What more can I say

Canadian Responses

Primate and Metropolitans

(Update on Friday, November 30
Response to Canadian statement from the Southern Cone)

(Update on Saturday, December 1
Letters of support for the Network [tip of the hat to Simon Sarmiento at Thinking Anglicans])

From Michael Ingham

From Victoria Matthews

Ann Marie's

This morning M brought me a news clipping from the Star Phoenix. It is about what is happening in the wider church. It is about the schism that is occuring. First of all, we need to realize that no one person or group is totally blame. The article tries to blame the "liberals" which we know would include me. However, to me, as I've mentioned before, those calling me liberal are actually radically liberal.

What we need to remember is that regardless of what happens, this changes nothing for St. Paul's. We will continue to meet as Anglicans, as members of this diocese, and as members of the Anglican Church of Canada. We will continue to worship each Sunday and we will continue our mission in the larger community. For us, nothing changes.

Our new Primate, Fred Hiltz, has said that he will issue a pastoral response sometime this week to be read next Sunday. I will get this and read it to you then. In the meantime, if there are questions or you hear anything that troubles you, please do not hestitate to call me. Although I have not been bringing this to your attention over the last number of years, partly because it does not affect what we do here and it's one added tension I did not believe we needed to deal with (and if I chose wrongly then I apologize), I have done my best to keep up with it. I won't be blaming anyone but I will try to help you understand what is going on.

(At least that is the gist of what I said to my congregation this morning.)

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

And now the finger pointing (Updated)

I don't get the local paper. I keep up by watching the news on TV and listening to coffee row. A parishoner told me there was an article in the city paper about the schism. Most of my people are trying to figure out how you pronounce the word let alone being worried about it. I asked to see the article and the parishoner brought it to church this morning.

I just glanced at it before the service. I didn't get into what the whole thing said. At first glance what struck me was the fact that people like me are to solely to blame - the horrible liberals. I'm not "liberal". My theology prof informed me (and I take great pride in this) that I never made it through the Reformation theologically. My theology stops at the time leading up to the Reformation. So to me, the people accusing me of being liberal and to blame for the current schism are the radical liberals.

I'm not going to point a finger and point to the more extreme conservatives and say that they are to blame. I was brought up to understand that there is more than one side to any issue and that we all contribute to conflict and crisis. But I deeply resent being held solely (as part of a group) responsible for the present situation and the judgemental language that surrounds the blame. I apologize, I don't have an on-line subscription to be able to access the article but I am going to look at what it says.

The first exciting thing this article has to say is that the Anglican Church of Canada has been poisonsed by liberalism and is the real cause of schism now underway. Pretty strong wording if you ask me. Nothing like demonizing the "other". I usually find that when such hyperbole is being used there is shaky ground underneath.

"Those who are unfaithful to the heritage are the schismatics. It is not we who are the schismatics." At least if you are going to act on your convictions, have the courage to do so. Don't hide behind posturing and words. Who is taking the action of separating from the rest of the Anglican Church of Canada - which, by the way, is still very much a part of the World Wide Anglican Communion. I'm not saying that they are wrong in their doing so. I happen to believe they are but I acknowledge that they see no other options and I can respect them acting on what they hold to be true doctrine. But I don't respect them for casting full blame on the "other" with a total disregard to the fact that we hold equally strongly to our convictions and sincerely believe that we are being true to our heritage.

"the Anglican Church of Canada has been poisoned by a liberal theology that 'knows nothing of a God who uses (the Bible) to tell us things and knows nothing of sin in the heart and in the head." I beg your pardon. That's pretty judgemental. I may not agree with how this person understands the Bible and sin but I would never say that they know nothing about God or sin. We may understand and interpret differently but to say one of us knows nothing ... that's not facing reality. At times I get so frustrated at my lack of ability to use language. I think and write in pictures and words often fail the visions I have in my head. I'm sruggling to put into the words the picture I have of the hand flick that totally discounts anything one doesn't want to acknowledge or think about - that sort of "whatever" attitude that does not engage seriously with the conversation. The sort of - what you say can have no worth because you are wrong and I am right so that anything you have to say doesn't not need to be heard and certainly has no validity- attitude, the brushing off of me (and those who share my beliefs) as of no account, no value, as of little worth as a fellow child of God.

If I had no knowledge of sin, I would not have such a strong sense of God's grace. That sense of God's grace comes through my reading of the Bible and through my own personal experience of God.

" ... the Anglican Church of Canada is being ruined by its attempts to 'play catch-up with the culture' by adpoting whatever 'is the in-thing.'" I think that what frustrates me the most about this statement is that it totally negates the years of study and meditation that I did when I came to support full inclusion. At first I didn't support it. Gradually, as I looked at the scriptures and meditated on what I had read and learned, I came to understand that God was calling us to continue to grow in our understanding of God's work in creation. Certainly if I was following the prevalent attitude of the society around me, I would continue to be against full-inclusion. I just had a discussion with one of my of my parishoners on the very issue last night well aware that I am a distinct minority in this particular community and within this diocese. I'm not adopting a whatever "is the in-thing" attitude. I'm very much bucking the in-thing around here. After all my years of studying, I find I cannot go back and embrace what is the "in-thing" in this community.

Considering all the flack those who support full-inclusion are getting from many different sources - the demonizing, the discounting, the threats of loss - of salvation, of connection, of communion - this has to be more than just going with the flow. It is certainly a hard road that we are travelling going against what many in our common faith hold to be true. We have to have the courage of our convictions, and that courage does not come by taking the scriptures or our faith lightly.

(The quotes in bold were from the article "Anglican Church divided over liberal theology" found in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Friday, November 23, 2007. It was written by Charles Lewis of CanWest News Service. (It probably also appears in the National Post as that is in brackets and italics at the bottom of the article.) The theologian quoted is J.I. Packer.)

(Update: I have now found a link . The article in the Star Phoenix only went as far as "Officlas said Thursday a new North American Anglican province, which would include Canadian and American parishes, is now being discussed. It did not include anything about Michael Ingham.)

I disagree with a number of the priests in this diocese on the issue of full-inclusion (but certainly not all as I am definitely not alone in my understanding), but at no time do I discount what they have to say or demonize them or their beliefs. I accept that there are different experiences, different teachings, different understandings of things as basic as our image of God, lying between. I do not discount or flick my hand at what they have to say. I listen seriously to their concerns and I do consider their conversations when I reflect on the scriptures and meditate on full-inclusion. I continue to disagree with them, but I don't blame them for what is happening.

I think that schism is enevitable because our very basic understandings cannot be reconciled. Maybe schism is life-giving for all of us, I don't know. I respect them for sticking to their convictions and holding on to their integrity. I am sorry that we cannot continue our journey together because I think we each hold a key to the mystery of God. But I cannot respect or accept the blame that is being placed on those like me. I cannot respect or accept the discounting of something I firmly and sincerely have come to hold true. I cannot respect or accept the continuous accusations of secularism and heresy and non-biblical teachings when I know that what I hold to be true has come from scripture and from prayer and meditation whose source is the very God they claim I do not acknowledge. At the base of everything I hold to be true is the source of all life, the source of all that is, the source of all that I am and all that I will come to be as I grow further into the knowledge and love of that source - what we, as Christians, call God.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reign of Christ - Darkness and Light

I am struggling this week with the contrast of darkness and light. I am trying to get my sermon done for Sunday. I have read the lessons and picked out key words. I looked at the Benedictus – the canticle in place of the psalm and see that:

“1:78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."”

I looked at Colossians and read:

“1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
1:13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,”

Until recently I have really valued the contrast of darkness and light. Because I have been so prone to depression, light has very real meaning. There is another level spiritually. I would lie in bed at night trying to get to sleep (I’m definitely not one of those who falls asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow – I could still be awake 3 or 4 hours later.) There would be this black pit open up before me. I would be terrified, something waited for me in that pit and I was afraid of it. To escape falling into the pit, I would envision Christ – starting out as a pinpoint of light and growing until the light covered the darkness.

I shared this with my CPE group a few years ago. It was suggested at the time that I go into the darkness and see if it was there to teach me something. At the time I was too afraid. Lately, I have been praying, with caution, for the opportunity. And if it happens and I go into it, it will be with prayer.

But why the change? Darkness and light rather than darkness versus light. Before only bad was in the darkness – only bad could be in the darkness. Witness the above quotes from the scriptures for this Sunday.

Two things have changed me. I read, a few years ago, an Advent litany on darkness. It paired the down side of darkness with an up side. I began to look at darkness as something to be embraced – in the right circumstances. The nurturing element. How we need the darkness for rest. Plants not only need light to grow, they also need the absence of light – darkness – to grow. In our mother’s womb we are in the dark and being nurtured. There were a number of other postives about darkness but the nurturing ones stand out the most. So darkness, rather than something to be avoided, is to be embraced in its life giving form.

I have also, as mentioned before, being doing some feminist studies on my own. I feel a real pull in this direction. I have been reading Carol P. Christ’s “Re-birth of the Goddess”. In it she explores the transition from a more equal society to the patriarchal societies that influence the writings in the Bible. She speaks of worship being in caves, the womb of the mother, – in the darkness. At first, I kept thinking how frightened I would be. I’m claustrophobic as well as having a deep rooted fear of the dark. As read and thought more, I began to embrace this womb/cave idea more.

One of the most powerful services for me spiritually is the Easter Vigil as we did it at Emmanuel and St. Chad’s. We would start in Rugby Chapel. The windows had all been blacked out. We would light the new fire and do the readings by candles which had been lit from that fire. We would then move from there into the full light of St. Chad’s chapel. I realize we could look at this as a move from darkness (to be avoided) into light (the desired place) except that in the darkness as we read, I felt nurtured with the life force flowing through me. It wasn’t a move from darkness to light but a move from one life-giving space to another.

What do I think about my fear of the dark now? I’m am still dealing with a deep-rooted fear of the dark. But sometimes I wonder if this is not a fear of the feminine – of fully embracing my femininity. Strangely enough, my fear of the dark lessens the more I celebrate being a woman. Traditionally the light has been associated with the male – something to be greatly desired – and the dark with the female – something to be avoided.

I look back to those moments when I would struggle to get to sleep and see that black pit. It happened at a time that I was struggling with my identity. When I answered the call to the priesthood, I began to embrace the female within me. Since that time, I haven’t experienced the sense of the black pit. Could it be that all the time I was being called to embrace myself as female? Could it be that the pit, that I actually now yearn to experience, is no longer because I have embraced myself as female?

This business of darkness versus light, which appears in our lessons for Sunday, leaves me struggling. I understand and embrace the concepts of moving from that darkness of oppression and death into the light of freedom and life. But, I am also aware that darkness is life giving and freeing and that light can be life-denying and oppressing. So as I prepare my sermon, I am trying to find a balance of darkness and light rather than a skewed vision of darkness versus light.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I highly recommend the blog – Desert’s Child. Not only is Katie Sherrod a very articulate writer, she gives us a view of what is going on in Fort Worth. My heart and prayers go out to all those in the Diocese of Fort Worth who are experiencing what Katie is.

I’m not often moved to get heated up about comments on other blogs but let’s face it, my current studies have definitely been in the feminist area and I am getting a little hot under the collar (not a real easy thing in Saskatchewan in winter) about those who believe women should not be priests based on the writings and understanding of men who haven’t got a foggy clue about the reality of what the feminine is. Many of our church fathers based their objections on the Plato’s understanding which is so full of misconceptions as to be almost funny. I would laugh except people take it all so seriously and then that does far too much harm in restricting women.

I was at a men’s breakfast last weekend. It was an interesting time and the men I work with to put on the breakfast (which was a tradition before I arrived) are wonderful. There a few that I work with on other things and we have developed mutual respect for each other. It was interesting talking with one of the pastors that I don’t usually work with. He’s from a denomination that does have female pastors (including some senior pastors – he tells me) but it is far from common. This pastor is a wonderful person and he was trying to be supportive of me and I really appreciate that. Fortunately, I was in a good mood so I didn’t take exception to the words he used which could have been heard as patronizing. I realize his intent and I thank him for it.

A few years ago, I attended a two day workshop on church development at one of the big evangelical churches in the city. It is not a tradition that accepts the ordination of women – although I do believe it is coming. Fortunately, the first day I was at a table with a ELCIC pastor who was able make sure that I was included and listened to (although, I often don’t have a problem especially when my back is up). The next day I was at a different table. Not quite as easy being accepted as an equal. I later found out that even the workshop facilitator had a few problems with my presence as it meant he had to revamp some of what he was saying (I was the only female, let alone the only ordained female. My registration application must have really thrown them for a loop. I'm not too sure what he modified either.). It wasn’t even that this workshop was only for those ordained. It was also for church elders – and none were women. I will give credit where credit is due though and say that in general they did treat me with respect and acceptance. I could see their struggles to do so and I really appreciated their attempt.

Over all, in spite of the good will and acceptance involved, it marks us. Even in these two situations where the men were honestly trying to be supportive, I was aware of that there were tensions and struggles within the men over my being an ordained women. I love them dearly for taking on those tensions and struggles, but there will not be full acceptance or equality until our interactions are not marked by them.

What does all this have to do with the opening paragraph? It was on Desert’s Child that I read the following response.

Corie from H-E-B said...
“Okay... So, here's something to think about, seeing as how the Catholic Church also does not ordain women to the priesthood (or the diaconate for that matter, which at least Bp Iker allows that). The priest represents Christ as the bridegroom of the Church. The Church is female, and so the bridegroom (Christ) is always represented by a male. It's not because the guys are better than us, but simply because the spouse of the Bride of Christ (the Church) is male. This is why Jesus was born in a male body, and not a female body. And yes, the Catholic Church teaches that the spouse of a female must be a male. I personally think that is a beautiful thing that is represented by a male priesthood that could never really make sense if the priest was a woman.”

Okay there are days that I just shake my head and cannot honestly think of a reply. Or I can think of so many that I just don’t know where to start and my words become a jumble.

First of all, it's a metaphor or analogy or whatever. It points to something - the relationship of the church to Jesus, using the example of marriage. It does not say that the relationship is completely like a marriage. There are elements of it that are like a marriage. It is not male to female that it is like but like the relationship of wife to husband.

Which brings me to the second point. It is about an understanding of marriage as marriage was at the time it was written -- a patriarchal marriage. The comparison would fall completely apart if one considered a marriage such as my husband and I have - a partnership - rather than one where the wife is subservient to her husband.

“And if you don't think it is fair, then remember that what God, our heavenly Father, considers right and proper just sometimes doesn't seem fair to His children. We don't always see the big picture, and it's not our place to change His rules.”

Whose flippin’ rules are these – God’s or man’s? I would venture a guess that they are entirely man’s when it comes to anything to do with women. Paul, for all that people like to misquote him does not appear (when looked at without major blinkers) to have a problem working with women or even naming women as apostles. EG Junia. Of course men had a problem and changed her name to Junius and then claimed she was a man.

By the way. I have absolutely no problem with changing men’s rules.

“But in the same vein, a church that decides a female can represent the bridegroom of the Church is always just a short step from allowing same-sex marriages. I'm not real surprised the Episcopal Church headed in that direction, and I think it is a shame.”

All I can respond (with the exception of the last phrase) is – YES!!!!!!!!

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Friday, November 09, 2007

Remembrance Day, 2007

It's been awhile since I've had time to write anything. A number of things have happened but I'm not touching those right now. I need to be more at peace within myself. But today I made my annual trip up to the First Nations school north of me. It is a K-12 school. I get asked back because, for some reason (and I think it has to do with the Spirit answering my frantic prayer) the children will sit still to listen to me. I try not to sermonize but to tell stories that teach. I am very conscious that I am white and that I represent an institution that has done great harm to the First Nations people and their culture. So although I try to find touchstones within their culture, I do not try to pretend to know their culture or to be anything but who I am.

I found this resource on the web: United for Peace; from the United Church of Canada. On page 20 of the resource for the all ages worship service there is a story called The Egg. I thought it had a good message but felt it was to old for the children to whom I was talking. So, with Shawn's help, I used the basic idea as well as some points of the story and came up with the talk that follows. I painted a special egg last night for the telling of this story. This is not word for word as I did not have a script. This is from my somewhat faulty memory of the morning.

First of all I want to thank Mrs. S for inviting me to talk here again. This is the third year that I have been here. When I went to college to study to become a priest we had a saying that once something happened three times, it was a tradition. So, coming here to share in your Remembrance Day service has become part of my tradition and a part I value very much.

You may note that as a priest, today, I am not wearing a cross. I am wearing a watch (I held out the watch on a chain around my neck. This watch was my Grandma's. My grandfather gave it to her in 1927. It was passed on to me because I was given her name. I will pass it on to my daughter because she also shares my grandmother's name. It is going to be part of our traditions.

Years ago, many cultures passed on their traditions through stories. They would gather together and share stories about their past. We've kind of lost that today with TVs and computers. But I would like you all to imagine gathering with my family around a fire on a nice warm evening and listening as I tell I story.

Once there was a Mother Canada Goose and a Father Canada Goose. And they laid a very special egg. There was nothing special about the Mother and the Father Canada Goose. They were ordinary parents, like me, like your teachers, like your parents. But the Creator who made us knows that in ordinariness there is something special in each one of us. The Creator knows that each of us can do some special things. So the Creator gave Mother and Father Canada Goose a special task. They were given a very special egg.

Now this was not an egg like those of other Canada Geese. No, these egg had many colours. It was white and black and red and yellow. These are special colours because they are the colours of the all the races of the earth. They are also the colours of nature. And they are the colours of the Medicine wheel where there is inter-relationship and peace. So the egg had some very important colours to mark it as special. It also had the word, "peace" written on it.

Mother and Father Canada Goose saw that their egg was special and they were determined to do the best they could for their egg. Unfortunately, something bad happened to the marsh where the egg was laid and Mother and Father Goose had to leave. Some nice spiders wove a web that Mother and Father Goose could push their egg on and carry it as they flew to find a new place to nurture and hatch "Peace".

So Mother and Father Canada Goose flew, looking for a safe place to raise "Peace." After awhile they flew over a military base like Dundurn or Wainwright. This camp was in the middle of war exercises. Mother and Father Canada Goose did not think that this looked like a very good or safe place to raise "Peace". So on they flew, looking for a safe and secure place for "Peace".

After awhile they flew over a green park in the middle of the city. They thought that this looked like a good place to look after "Peace." But as they got closer they noticed that there were insecticides and pesticides and they thought that these were pretty dangerous for their egg. So on they flew.

They had been flying for quite awhile and the web was getting weak. Soon it began to fall apart. Mother and Father Canada Goose had to land the middle of a town. This was a town just like this one, just like where I come from and just like the town where my husband and children live. An ordinary town. They landed in a playground full of children.

Mother and Father Canada Goose had nothing to make a nest. They had just landed in the park and hadn't had time to gather anything to make a nest for "Peace." And "Peace" was about to hatch. A little girl noticed Mother and Father Canada Goose. She had been having a fight with her best friend over something or other but saw the geese land. She stopped fighting and noticed that the geese needed help. She picked up a twig and brought it over to them. Her best friend saw what she was doing and stopped being mad and gathered some soft grass and brought it over to the geese.

One by one, the children in the play ground stopped what they were doing and gathered twigs and grass for the geese to make a nest. They saw that "Peace" was a very special egg and wanted to help. Even when "Peace" hatched they continued to help Mother and Father Canada Goose to look after "Peace." Soon they were so busy helping raise "Peace" that they forgot about fighting and bullying.

After awhile, their parents noticed the change in the children. They saw what the children were doing and they stopped yelling at their children, at each other and at their neighbours and helped the children care for "Peace." And then the governments noticed the difference in the parents and they started to take care of "Peace."

It's a story. And it may seem farfetched but I believe it can happen. That if we all work together, we can have peace.

This Sunday, on November 11, at 11:00, we will gather to honour those people who gave so much for us in the World Wars. We haven't done well in our honouring of them. My generation has not worked very hard at caring for peace. We can see this with Afghanistan and Iraq. We have failed to honour the sacrifice of the soldiers. We have failed to create a tradition of peace.

My faith tradition has a line which states that "a little child shall lead them." With my generation having failed to bring about peace, it is now up to you, as the children of this world, like the children in my story, to help lead us into a tradition of peace. The men and women who fought in the wars are the warriors on the outside of the circle protecting us so that we can do the important work of creating that tradition of peace.

On Sunday, when we have that minute of silence let us give thanks to those men and women - those who died in the war, those who have died since, and all those who sacrificed physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have talked to a number of vetrens who speak of their struggles to make sense of the wars - to make sense of what happened, of what they saw and they did. Let us honour those people and give meaning to their sacrifice for us by saying thank you and by finding ways that we can care for "Peace" and by working to bring about the world for
which they fought so bravely.

Thank you.

I have for years struggled with the minute of silence on Remembrance Day. My father's oldest brother died night flying over Britain. According to Dad, Uncle Norman was the brother who had it all - the good looks, the smarts, the athletic ability, the personality. I figure that this is largely a younger brother hero-worshipping his older brother because I believe my dad is pretty special. I will never know for sure because I never had the chance to know my unlce - he died 15-20 years before I was born - a gifted man whose life was cut short. So in the minute of silence I pay tribute to my uncle and, through that, to all the men and women who fought in the wars.

In the '90's I watched a documentary series put together by the War Amps. Ever since then I have understood that we truly honour those men and women when we work to ensure that no one has to go to war again. Their theme song was never again. You can access it here. Since that time I have added to my thoughts during the minute of silence. I no longer struggle to keep focused. I am now focused on the thoughts of how I can honour the men and women by working to ensure that the negatives they experienced are not expereinced in the future. For me, working to nurture peace is a better way of saying thank than to spend just one minute a year saying thank you.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie