Anglican Alliance launches Freedom Year, a global focus on anti-slavery initiatives

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The Anglican Alliance, which helps coordinate Anglican churches and agencies to work for a world free of poverty and injustice, has launched Freedom Year, a year-long focus on anti-slavery initiatives.

“Human trafficking is a grave crime against humanity,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reminds us.”It is a form of modern-day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings. This outrage should concern each one of us, because what affects one part of humanity affects us all.

“If we are to combat this evil then we must work together to prevent the crime, support the survivors and prosecute the criminals. The knowledge that churches have of their local communities puts them on the frontline in this campaign.”

It happens abroad we know, and even in many communities close to home. We must pray for change, learn more about human trafficking and modern slavery in the world today, and take action to end it.

A Freedom Year booklet, available here, contains monthly themes and activities to “help us to take action, and encourage us join the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, both locally and globally,” the Alliance says.

With sympathy for and solidarity with Quebec City Muslims

By Fred Hiltz

In a Québec CIty mosque full of devout muslims gathered for prayer Sunday evening, their chanting was shattered by the crack of gunfire, leaving six people dead, scores of others injured, a neighbourhood traumatized, and a nation horrified.

My heart, indeed the hearts of all people of good will, goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack. We hold in our prayers those who have died, for their families and for their imams who care for them in their grief. We also pray for those who have been injured and for those tending them. We remember too the police, and all others whose daily work is to "serve and protect".

At moments like this, people of faith must stand together in solidarity for those values common to our respective religious traditions: the adoration of God, the respect we owe one another as fellow human beings, and the care with which we tend the earth, our common home.

In the Readings for Sunday past we heard the call of the prophet Micah – "what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God?” (6:6-8).  We also heard Jesus teaching in the Beatitudes, that we are called to be merciful, to hunger and thirst for right relations with one another, to do what makes for peace among all.

These are the values that make us children of God, friends in faith, and citizens of the world. Please join me in praying for the people of Ste-Foye and especially for our Muslim friends in this very difficult time.

Fred Hiltz is the Archbishop and Primate of The Anglican Church of Canada.

Update on the Way family and their mission in Zimbabwe

After spending the last eight months living and working at Eden Children’s Village in Zimbabwe, Jeff and Carole Way remain as convinced as ever of their call to serve God among the orphans and villagers there. They have been doing tremendous work serving, building, re-building (when fires destroyed several buildings), teaching, and simply being powerful Christian witnesses. Carole, now trained as a midwife, assists at the birth of many babies in the area. Their two young daughters live and go to the school with the locals.

Early this year, the family returned to Canada as part of their continuing attempts to satisfy the Zimbabwean authorities’ demands for acquiring long-term visas. The only one available is a Business Investor Visa, so on their last stay in Zimbabwe and with the help of their  Dutch and Shona partners, they worked hard and successfully to have their business licensed and approved by the various government authorities. 
 
They now need to prove they have US$100,000 in assets.  That amount can be in funds or goods for their business and home and are their own—not a fee to be given to the Zimbabwean government.  

Can you help by providing any of the following? Needs range from large vehicles to office, shop and home supplies. Once these are collected, an American charity has pledged to send a shipping container for them. When they reach their goal, the Ways will apply for the visa from here and, once granted , will return to Eden Children's Village

Pickup truck; dump truck; tractor; backhoe; ATV/four-wheeler, six-wheeler
Gas-powered cement mixer, gas-powered compactor, gas-powered cement saw, gas-powered cement floor finisher, table saw, mitre saw
Chisels, hand saws, hammers, socket sets, pouches, screwdrivers, cordless tools, angle grinders, scaffolding, ladders, trowels, wheel barrows, tool boxes, auger drill bits, wood lathe and chisels, spoke shaves, wood planes, metric tape measures, levels, squares, mallets, air nailers and nails, plumbing tools, shovels, picks, rebar bender, pipe bender, hydraulic jacks, chain, wrenches, vises, woodworking vises, carving chisels, sand paper, chain saw, drill bits, router bits, paint brushes
Welder and equipment
Generator
Office furniture: chairs, computer, printer, white board and markers, filing cabinet, 
Propane fridge, stove, freezer
Solar-power equipment, solar hot water heater
Sofas, dining room set, bed frames, dressers, rugs, desks, curtain material, duvets, blankets.

You can read our original story on the Way family here: Love in action: the Way family's adventures at Eden Children's Village, Zimbabwe.

A life filled with Life and song: that’s our Bill!

This year, Bill Gliddon marks his 55th anniversary as St. George’s celebrated organist. But anyone who knows Bill knows there’s far more to the man than organ playing.

Composer, teacher, radio show host, all-round good guy, Bill has played and continues to play a significant role in many lives and community events in the area. What’s not to love?

Born and raised in Haliburton, he became the assistant organist at Haliburton United Church when only 12. After graduating from the University of Toronto specializing in musical composition, he taught music in Haliburton County schools for 35 years.

Over the years, Bill has provided music for literally all of the churches in the Haliburton Highlands. In addition to preparing and hosting his weekly radio show, he’s involved in many concerts and stage productions. In the summertime, he tends a large vegetable garden on his property, giving most of the produce away.

Last year, the Reverend Colin R. Johnson (Archbishop of Toronto) officially recognized him as someone “whose light shines, whose works glorify” in awarding him membership in the Order of the Diocese of Toronto. The Order recognizes and honours those laypersons who have given outstanding service over a significant period of time in volunteer ministry.

“There are, I guess, three things in my life that I love so much, and they’ve motivated me and inspired me,” he recently told the Haliburton Echo.

“My Christian faith is the big thing, and my love of music and my love of this community—this community where I was born, grew up and love. If the Lord has afforded me to live here and bring happiness and joy through music, that’s my dream come true.” 

And that’s our Bill.

[You can read an excellent profile of Bill Gliddon by The Echo's Chad Ingram here.]

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett launch new faith-based television network: LIGHT TV

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Acclaimed actress Roma Downey and her husband, producer Mark Burnett, have launched a new free broadcast network featuring family-friendly programming including movies, series and short form content.

"This is the beginning of our new, multi-platform faith and family network, where the demand is greater than ever for family-friendly entertainment," Downey explained.

"As we have already seen from the success of 'The Bible' series and our 20 million social followers, this audience is looking for inspiring and uplifting programming that they can watch in a trusted and safe environment on any platform."

Burnett added that the new network aims to become the "ideal platform to reach the enormously under-served family audience."

Downey starred in the popular 'Touched by an Angel' TV series (and appeared in many other shows and movies); Burnett, also President of MGM Television and Digital, has produced several hit TV shows. Together the power couple have created many well-received feature films and television series.

As their website states. “LIGHT TV is your destination for positive, wholesome entertainment. There is something good on.” Visit them at LIGHTtv.

Need help feeding yourself or your family?

Once a year, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, in partnership with Haliburton County Foodnet, updates the Food for All pamphlet, an inventory of local programs and services that promote access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and personally-acceptable food for people in the community who could benefit from knowing where to get free and low-cost food. For more information, please call the Health Unit at 705-457-1391, ext. 3238. You can find a list of nearby food banks and how they operate  here.

The enduring mystery, wonder and JOY of Christmas

by the Reverend Canon Anne Moore

I came across this quotation recently. So many of my senses are involved in reading it that I found it quite delightful.

"Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Saviour! The angels called it ‘Good News,’ and it was.”  (Larry Libby, "The Angels Called it Good News" in Christmas Stories for the Heart)

I think I like it because it reminds me of the King James Version of the Christmas story as Luke records it:

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:9-11)

Our little human brains can’t describe that night in the kind of precise adjectives that our computer-obsessed society is comfortable with. This is mysterious stuff! So we have to resort to pictures that aren’t as well defined. That shouldn’t be so surprising. After all we are dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime event—the birth of the Saviour of a world gone wrong. Those unschooled, illiterate shepherds did a fine job of getting their story across. I think it was more in the joy on their faces than in the communication through their words. Each time they told the story, to their families, to their friends, to anyone who would listen, that joy must have looked like a bonfire, rays of hope radiating from their whole beings. Good News! Sing it out!

The story hasn’t changed. When we tell it, do we express that same joy, wonder, certainty? Remember this joy doesn’t have to be limited to just Christmastime. The overflowing joy of knowing Christ’s presence in our lives was one of the themes of Jesus’ final teaching with his disciples the night before he died on the cross. He told them of his extravagant love for them—that he loved them as the Father loved Him (John 15:9). After sharing what this eternal relationship looks like, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (v.11). What a promise! Through Jesus Christ our hearts can be filled with joy—real joy!

May you experience real joy this Christmas and always.
 

Love in action: the Way family's adventures at Eden Children's Village, Zimbabwe

UPDATE (Jan. 2017): The Way family have returned to Canada, hopefully briefly, to raise more funds to be able to return to Zimbabwe. Please visit their sites and consider a generous gift to help them continue their amazing work.

Jeff and Carole Way spoke recently at St. George’s on their ministry to orphans in Zimbabwe. With their house, car and most of their belongings sold, they plan to live and serve at Eden Children’s Village in Doma, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe.

To learn more about the ministry of Eden Children's Village, please click here. To get updates on Jeff and Carole's work, adventures, ministries, and needs in Zimbabwe, please visit their Facebook site, The ZimbabWays

."Right now we are receiving about $800 Canadian a month and we budget for $1200 American," Jeff explains. "With the exchange rate as it is now, we are quite a bit short of what we need.  So whatever you can do to help is great."

You may donate online, or mail a cheque (payable to St. Croix Vineyard) to St. Croix Vineyard, 8 Main St, St. Stephen, NB. E3L 3E2, c/o Lorna Jones. To arrange for a pre-approved debit, contact Lorna at lornajones@ssu.ca. Jeff and Carol may be contacted at thezimbabways@gmail.com.

Open arms and hearts in Haliburton Highlands join in Canada’s welcome to refugees

A refugee sponsorship committee has been put together from members of our community and parish, with plans to sponsor a refugee family some time in the spring.

It is amazing to hear of all the volunteers offering such diverse gifts as driving, advertising, fund-raising, providing help with finding health services, and teaching English. Donations are already coming in.

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Outfitted in new winter coats and clutching their yawning 16-month-old daughter in the wee hours of Friday morning, a Syrian refugee family on the first large government flight began their new life in Canada—or, as they call it, ‘paradise.’

"We really would like to thank you for all this hospitality and the warm welcome and all the staff—we felt ourselves at home and we felt ourselves highly respected," Kevork Jamkossian told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "You are home," Trudeau said. "Welcome home."

from Allison Jones of The Canadian Press

If you would like to donate (eligible for a tax receipt), you can do so online at Canada Helps, or with a cheque made out to St. George’s. Please include “refugee sponsorship” on the memo line.

.To learn more about The Haliburton Refugee Sponsorship Committee’s goals, ways to donate, and upcoming meetings, click on the link above, or here for their Facebook site.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD: Haliburton Highlands does it again

Needy children from around the world thank you, Highlands individuals and churches! You filled 600 shoe-boxes, soon on their way to children in Africa, Central America, South America, needy Caribbean countries, and the Ukraine.

               Some of the 600 shoe boxes collected in the highlands, with brenda watson and chief coordinator, kathy burk

               Some of the 600 shoe boxes collected in the highlands, with brenda watson and chief coordinator, kathy burk

A hands-on project of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child has been bringing help, hope and joy to children in the developing world and areas of conflict for years. Each shoe box communicates the simple message of God’s love to the child who receives it. Operation Christmas Child also opens doors for Samaritan’s Purse to provide further assistance to children, their families, and communities.

Here's but one amazing story of how a shoe box gift had a powerful and lasting impact on Lejla, one of the first children ever to receive an Operation Christmas Child gift box:

The people on the front lines of EVERY world tragedy before the media, according to renowned journalist

by Brian Stewart

I'M NO THEOLOGIAN, forgive any blunders on that ground; but what has truly surprised me over many years is not the triumph of trends, which flicker and fade like shadows at summer twilight, but rather the survival of spiritual hunger. This spiritual hunger, and a religious 'force-field' that springs from it, is the human drive to serve, and to help others. It's so very much greater than I had imagined, and I've seen it blaze forth in places far darker, more threatening, than I could have imagined.

The surprise, I suppose, was my surprise. For this 'force' has been there, after all, from the very beginning of Christianity ­ and mysteriously, seems never to weaken nor grow weary. But I do wish to tell you something of what I have observed as a reporter, and [have] finally come to believe very deeply.

For years I've been struck by the rather blithe notion ­spread in many circles, including the media and taken up by a rather large section of our younger population, that organized, mainstream Christianity has been reduced to a musty, dimly-lit backwater of contemporary life, a fading force. Well, I'm here to tell you, from what I've seen from my 'ring-side seat' at events over decades, that there is nothing further from the truth.

Christianity in action

I've found there is no movement, or force, closer to the raw truth of war, famines, crises and the vast human predicament, than organized Christianity in action. And there is no alliance more determined and dogged in action than church workers, ordained and lay members, when mobilized for a common good. It is these Christians who are right 'on the front lines' of committed humanity today ­ and when I want to find that front, I follow their trail.

It is a vast front, stretching from the most impoverished reaches of the developing world to the hectic struggle to preserve caring values in our own towns and cities. I have never been able to reach these front lines without finding Christian volunteers already in the thick of it, mobilizing congregations that care, and being a faithful witness to truth, ­ the primary light in the darkness, and so often the only light.

Now this is something the media and government officials rarely acknowledge, for religion confuses many ­ and anyway, we all like to blow our own horns. So front line efforts of Christianity do not usually produce headlines, and unfortunately this feeds the myth that the church just follows along, to do its modest bit.

Let me repeat, I've never reached a war zone, or famine group or crisis anywhere where some church organization was not there long before me: ­ sturdy, remarkable souls, usually too kind to ask 'What took you so long?'

I don't slight any of the hard work done by other religions or those wonderful secular NGOs I've dealt with so much over the years. They work closely with church efforts, they are noble allies. But no, so often in desperate areas it is Christian groups there first, that labour heroically during the crisis and continue on long after all the media ­ and the visiting celebrities ­ have left.

Now I came to this admiring view slowly and reluctantly. At the start of my career, I'd largely abandoned religion ­ for I, too, regarded the church as a rather tiresome irrelevance. What ultimately persuaded me otherwise ­ and I took a lot of persuading ­ was the reality of Christianity's mission, physically and in spirit, before my very eyes. It wasn't the attraction of great moments of grandeur, ­ although I admit covering this pope [then Pope John Paul II] on six of his early trips abroad, including his first one to Mexico and then epic returns to Poland, certainly shook any assumptions I had of Christianity as a fading force.

No, the millions upon millions gathered was impressive; but I was more moved by quiet individual moments of character and courage that seem to be anchored to some deep core within Christianity.

Communism cracks

I remember a dim stairwell in Gdansk, Poland. As many of you remember, the first unbelievable crack in the mighty Communist empire, which had so often proclaimed triumph over religion, occurred in Poland in the early 1980s ­ when the Solidarity Movement, supported by the church, rose to challenge tyranny under the leadership of a most unlikely little shipyard electrician, Lech Walesa.

Later he'd win the Nobel Prize and become president of Poland; but when I met Walesa he was isolated, had been jailed, and his life was so often threatened I thought he was a dead man walking. We all assumed security forces were arranging one of those convenient 'accidents,' that really did happen in that frightening climate of oppression ­ just like the movies.

A few of us met him alone on this stairwell, as he slipped out to Mass. "Are you frightened?" one of us asked. He stopped, looked surprised at the thought, then answered in a voice of steel: "No, I am afraid of no one, and nothing ­ only God." And he walked out alone into the night.

It was a transcendent moment. Here in this dingy stairwell was the purest courage and conscience ­ backed by Christian faith that I suddenly realized no force of empire or terror could ever extinguish [full article here].

Former CBC TV journalist Brian Stewart covered many international crises as a foreign correspondent, reported from ten war zones, and has won countless awards. He is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He gave this as a convocation address at Knox College, University of Toronto, in 2004. 

Hallelujah Haliburton! Sizzling Summer Service 2015

Heavens opened over Haliburton and the rain held off for another glorious ecumenical service in the park. We joined in lively choruses, kids enjoyed a meaningful presentation by Youth Unlimited's Dana McMahon, and Baptist Church Pastor Paul Graham spoke, appropriately, of our unity in Christ and the need to reach beyond the boxes of our church buildings. 

          Paul preaches to the multitudes

What are the common characteristics of growing churches?

A recent report on church growth and decline could prove to be a treasure trove for leaders seeking both facts and ideas.

Kirk Hadaway, chief statistician and researcher with the Episcopal Church, compiles dozens of contributing factors in the piece, and Victoria Heard, head of church planting and congregational development for the Diocese of Dallas, has
done an excellent job crystallizing his work down to what she considers the essentials. Heard assumes first a “robust proclamation” of the Nicene Creed,  and then presents a six-pack of fundamentals. 

1. A kingdom road map

2. The children go up front

3. Sunday school still works

4. A culture of learning for adults

5. Hospitality that counts

6. Add a service, stir up the sound

You can link to her excellent and challenging full article here.

Anne's Reflections on the Christmas Season

by the Reverend Canon Anne Moore

What happened to autumn? It’s really beginning to look, and feel, a lot like Christmas. Snow, cold, blustery winds, early darkness, pretty-coloured lights—all together remind us of our need to prepare for Christmas

For some, this is a wonderful time of year. It brings a lot of happiness to decorate, bake, buy gifts, entertain family and friends, and continue the yearly rituals we have known for decades.

For many others, this Christmastime may not be so wonderful. It could be a painful reminder of a loss in our lives. The loss may be of a loved one, so that one wonders how joy could ever return; but the loss may be of something else: a job, a home, a marriage, one’s health, or independence. We discover that life can sometimes interfere with our traditions, and that discovery is not a pleasant one.

All of us need to be reminded of the Christmas angel’s message: “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people.” The angel goes on to tell of the Saviour who has been born. You might be tempted to ask, “So what? What does that have to do with my pain or happiness?

The answer requires knowing the whole story—not just the birth of a baby, but a life lived. This life had much pain that included: hurrying into exile in another country as a young child, settling in an area far from close relatives, living in obscurity for 30 years in spite of several prophecies seeming to indicate just the opposite would happen, and finally, being rejected for no reason by the authorities, abandoned by his closest friends, and then dying a cruel death on a cross without the benefit of a legal trial

Where is the “good news” in that life? Where is the hope? Christianity is the only religion that worships a God who knows, from human experience, the depths of the pain we suffer. Jesus chose to leave life with the Father in heaven to live a human life with all its physical, emotional, and social pain. And He did it because He is love, because He knows and loves each one of us

It never ceases to amaze me that God loves even me. Christmas reminds us that, regardless of our circumstances this year, our ‘sure and certain’ hope is in Jesus, and that is enough

May each one of you have a hopeful and blessed Christmas.

The power and lasting effect of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes

Operation Christmas Child honestly does bring hope and joy to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes as well as the Good News of God's love. It's such a simple way to be part of a hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ.

If you have the slightest doubt that such a small gift helps or has much if any effect on a child receiving one, please take a few minutes to watch Damaris’ story:



As Damaris explains, you cannot impact one child without impacting her or his family and wider community: the proverbial gift that keeps on giving.

Boxes from Eastern Ontario go to children in Africa, Central America, South America, needy Caribbean countries, and the Ukraine.

You can find more information on Samaritan’s Purse and its Operation Christmas Child here.

A divinely-orchestrated day for the Archbishop to visit

On a perfectly beautiful recent fall Sunday, St. George’s choir and congregation gathered at the Haliburton docks to greet Archbishop Colin Johnson. They sang out a special 150th anniversary song written by organist-extraordinaire, Bill Gliddon, as the bishop arrived by boat.

Accomplished actor and St. George’s member Curtis Eastmure—playing the role of Charles Stewart—spoke eloquently, welcoming the bishop. Stewart had been a manager for the Canadian Land Emigration Company who, after first spying the land from the lake, later oversaw the building of the small wooden 16-by-24-foot building which would become the first church.

After the speech, choir, clergy, parishioners and visitors filed across the street and up the scenic stairs to St. George's for the anniversary service. The choir sang out Te Deum Laudamus (We praise you O God)—an anthem also written by Bill Gliddon.

Colin Johnson’s sermon on ecumenism fit and sat well with the attendants and atmosphere. Members of the various Haliburton churches came forward as the service wrapped up, with greetings and congratulations from their congregations.

“What a marvellous time we had!” reported rector Anne Moore in her Thanksgiving letter. “The weather was perfect; the colours at their prime; the food tasty; the choir and Highland Brass in splendid form; and good friends gathered to celebrate our history and our future. Thanks to the anniversary committee for a well-planned and very enjoyable day. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy is everlasting.

“Giving thanks is good for the soul. It gets our minds off ourselves and our personal worries and onto the One who created each one of us, on purpose, and Who loves us constantly and unconditionally. Praise You, Lord. May we all have thankful hearts.”

(Photos by Darren Lum)

Shout it out! Jesus is alive!

by the Reverend Canon Anne Moore

Margaret Sangster Phippen wrote that, in the mid-1950s, her father, British pastor, W.E. Sangster, began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg. When he went to the doctor, he found that he had an incurable disease that caused progressive muscular atrophy. His muscles would gradually waste away, his voice fail, and his throat become unable to swallow.

Sangster threw himself into his work in the British home missions, figuring he could still write and would have even more time for prayer. "Let me stay in the struggle, Lord," he pleaded. He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer cells throughout England. Gradually Sangster’s legs became useless. His voice went completely. But he could still hold a pen, shakily.

On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter. In it, he said, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, 'He is risen!'—but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."

The worst situation, however, would be that there wasn’t anything to shout about! But there is! Regardless of the weather, regardless of tragedies, both personal and world-wide, regardless of the booming or sinking economy, regardless of anything you can think of, Jesus has overcome the grave.

Jesus is alive!

That truth changes everything. No matter how devastating, overwhelming, frightening, or hopeless our situations might seem, we Christians have hope. Because Jesus is alive, we have access to our heavenly Father, through His Holy Spirit. God has “called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” as Peter put it (1 Peter 2:9). John says that Jesus has “overcome the world” (John 16:33). That means that we can face the future, whatever it might bring, knowing that we are not traveling there alone, knowing that God will not allow anything to overcome us. In the end we will have victory in heaven.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

May resurrection joy be yours this Easter season.

This song by Jesus Culture gloriously brings Anne's Easter message to musical life

Strengthening families one dad at a time

Executive Director Jule Goodwin and her volunteers at the Highlands Community Pregnancy Care Centre (HCPCC) have been quietly but tremendously helping in the community for years. Many of us are only aware of their existence with their yearly baby bottle campaigns, or perhaps on a trip to the downstairs loo in the Stedmans building!

The Highlander recently ran the following story, by Lisa Harrison, on a successful new HCPCC program focusing on the importance of healthy male role models for families.


             Julie & Terry Goodwin, NFP grad  Gary Jenkins, Doug Ross

             Julie & Terry Goodwin, NFP grad Gary Jenkins, Doug Ross

Gary Jenkins smiles broadly as he holds up his graduation certificate. It’s the first one he’s ever received, and now he’s keen to get many more.

What’s truly unique is his choice of course to achieve it: the Nurturing Father’s Program (NFP) created by Mark Perlman, a Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator. The county’s first 12-week NFP was run by the Highlands Community Pregnancy Care Centre (HCPCC) this spring. Single father Jenkins and four other dads graduated in June.

Jenkins, 26, is by turns quiet and exuberant. He has two sons and would like a bigger role in their lives. “I’m beyond patient now,” says Jenkins. “I do everything different now. My whole life’s kind of changed in a way.”

HCPCC provides pre- and post-delivery support to women faced with an unplanned pregnancy and support for post-abortion trauma. Executive Director Julie Goodwin says clients often wish similar versions of some support programs were available for fathers. Goodwin recently took a webinar featuring the NFP and found it was designed for a wide audience – not only single dads, but also perhaps a teacher who recognizes he’s a role model, or a grandfather raising his grandchild.

NFP topics include discipline without violence, managing anger and resolving conflict, communication and problem-solving, teamwork with spouse/partner, and the joys of fathering. Goodwin proposed the program to the HCPCC board. Director Ron Mahler watched the webinar and recommended purchasing the curriculum. The board approved. The course and materials were free to participants thanks to several community partners.

When the non-profit HCPCC sent out letters requesting support, “I was blown away by the response,” says Goodwin. “It was a tremendous encouragement.”

Mahler and Goodwin’s husband Terry, who has 25 years of social services experience, served as trained facilitators. “For me it was a no-brainer,” says Terry. “The program uses a lot of the same premises that different cognitive behavioural approaches use – anger management, partner assault.”

The group found space at Haliburton’s Full Gospel Lighthouse. Pastor Doug Ross dropped in halfway through the program and stayed on.

“I saw the reaction of the young men as they were just readily receiving all this information, that they could change their lives, they could become better dads, and they were so willing to accept the responsibility,” says Ross.

Jenkins was seven when his father died. Essentially he was raised by his grandfather. “He taught me to be responsible,” says Jenkins. “I guess I was just too young and arrogant. I wasn’t listening, but I never forgot.” Jenkins was recently released from jail after 11 months. He moved away from his old friends and accompanying temptations, settled in the county, took the NFP program and joined a 12-step program.

Ross and the Goodwins talk about the connections that developed among the program facilitators and participants despite age differences.

“Men being men, they don’t talk about this stuff,” says Terry. “This was sort of a safe place, and it took a while to get there where they would talk, but then they would see the other two facilitators [Doug and Ron] had some of the same struggles as they had, so they would relate and open up and talk about it.”

“Take the program,” Jenkins recommends. “It’s very, very worth it, and you’re going to see some changes, very good, big changes in your life and your family’s life. It’s definitely going to make a difference for the kids, and guaranteed that the mothers are going to be ten times better,” he continues. “We do the program, we understand the program … she just sees the change that you are doing [for] you and your children.”

“You’re wise beyond your years, young man,” says Ross. “It took me 40 years to realize that.”

Jenkins says he plans to take the course again. Goodwin and Ross are also planning a monthly get-together to provide continued support and fellowship for the grads.

"Please spread the word to the men you know who are fulfilling this role," says Julie. "Whether a new dad, a teen dad, a grandfather, an uncle, a nurturing father is one who actively provides guidance, love and support to enhance the development and growth of children he cares for."

For more information on this or other HCPCC programs or services – which receive no government funding and rely entirely on donations from the community – please call 705-457-4673.

Being changed to be community and world changers

by Louise Sisson

The Highlands were blessed to have Dr. Steve McEvoy visit area churches and teach on fulfilling the Great Commission. He was brought to Haliburton by Sandy Stevens of Put the Word into Action Ministries , a local charity aiming to strengthen and encourage the Body of Christ.

Steve pastored Shepherd’s Heart Prayer Centre in Truro, Nova Scotia for 13 years and now heads up Steve McEvoy Ministries. He also teaches leadership skills to both government agencies and the business community. His seminars are totally scripture-based, even though he cannot use the Bible as a reference in business settings. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his workshops/seminars, I would encourage you to do so.

St. George’s, Lighthouse Pentecostal and Lakeside Baptist churches partnered with Put the Word into Action for various of the seminars, and members of all local churches were invited and encouraged to attend. Although I had been a Christian for many years, Steve took passage after passage of scripture and opened them up to a whole new dimension. For me, it was a life-changing revelation.

The first seminar held at St. George’s (Standing Close to God) emphasized that Jesus did everything required so we can enjoy a relationship with God. He always stands between us and God so that God does not see us as sinful. When I sin, which I will do, it is my responsibility to stand back up, turn to God and receive the forgiveness He offers. This is a new day in my walk with God. We are worthy!

In the next seminar (Walking by Faith), Steve emphasized the fact that faith was given to us by God and only grows as we grow as Christians. How do we grow in faith? By hearing! How do we hear? Through reading the Word! The development of faith is like a newly-developed muscle; at times it will be uncomfortable. God will sometimes lead us into situations beyond our present place of faith, causing us to turn more intensely into the face of God and forcing our faith to grow. Will we stay where we are or will we allow God to lead us forward? The choice is ours!

The third seminar (Running by God’s Strength) spoke to me in two different ways. Firstly, when God created the earth and all that was in it, He gave immense responsibility to humans—similar to when you give someone a gift, you hand over the accountability for the gift to the recipient. Humanity, through choice, relinquished responsibility to the prince of darkness, and so opened the door and allowed evil to come in. So while we sit waiting on God to do something about the state of the world, God waits for US to take our part and do something about it.

Secondly, as we read in John 17:4, Jesus prayed on the mountain before he went to the cross, saying, “Father, I have finished the work that you sent me to do." FINISHED! COMPLETED! There was a work that was finished before he went to the cross. That work was ‘making disciples’ so that what he started here on earth could continue after he opened the other door allowing redemption for humanity.

Each one of us has been equipped and empowered to work as the Lord’s disciples. I asked myself and the congregation, “Before we walk through that door, have we finished the work that He sent us to do?” I challenged the congregation to help raise up the warriors to fight this battle, starting with our children and young people. Although many of us are seniors, we can put new meaning to the word ‘Gray Power’ if we step out of our comfort zone—in faith!

This is the generation where change can begin. It is time to turn the corner! We are working for the Church of Jesus Christ—not the Anglican Church, the Pentecostal Church, the United Church, the Baptist Church, the Community Church or the Catholic Church—although they may be the buildings we meet in. We have to finish the work Jesus sent us to do!

Holy Chutzpah! Viewing Israel from the inside with the movie 'Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference'

As we approach the most important time of the Christian year—the death and resurrection of our founder/friend Jesus—it may be good time to also honour and celebrate the roots of our Jewish Jesus, as well as his own Jewish brothers and sisters in the land of his birth and elsewhere.

First the bad news: A BBC poll spanning 22 countries suggests people view North Korea and Israel equally negatively. The utterly cool movie Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference (link below) may change some naysayers’ minds … then again, maybe not. Closed minds are just that.

Narrated by New York Times bestselling author and former Harvard lecturer, Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, the film uncovers how despite incredible challenges, Israeli creativity, innovation and chutzpah have triumphed over adversities ranging from geographic to unspeakable.

Israeli-born and American-raised, Dr. Tal taught Harvard’s most popular course ever, 'Positive Psychology', and his international best sellers Being Happy and Happier have been translated into 25 languages.

Hundreds of TV networks and programs have profiled the brilliant, personable PhD and family man, including 60 Minutes and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Tal now consults and lectures around the world to executives in multinational corporations, Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and for the general public. His topics include leadership, education, ethics, happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal-setting, and mindfulness.

You can view a ten-minute version of the movie here: Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference.