Water Ceremony

At our May meeting, Salal + Cedar’s Mutual Aid and Solidarity Team decided to contribute funds to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust’s Water Ceremony so that Elders from out of town could attend. Sacred Trust is an initiative of Tsleil-Waututh Nation focused on stopping the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX), a project approved by the Canadian government without the consent of the Nation and this year Salal + Cedar paid our voluntary “land tax” to TWN Sacred Trust.

On June 25th I attended the ceremony which invited the public to connect and deepen their relationship with water in the face of TMX. Rueben George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and manager of the Sacred Trust Initiative, began the day with a welcome to the territory and gratitude to those that had made the day possible. Paddlers were then called to head out on the water in three 35-foot ocean-going canoes that paddled as close as possible to the Burnaby TMX Westridge Marine Terminal. Near the giant oil drums, they rafted the canoes together as the matriarchs voiced powerful words, songs, and prayers to their ancestors and creator and offered sacred earth to the waters.

Returning from the water a circle of 150 came together to join in the ceremony led by Elder Minnie (Grinder) Kenoras, Red Hummingbird Woman (Judy Wilson) and Sun Woman (JoAnne Buffalo), Xaliya (Ta7ah – Amy George), Ts’simtelot (Charlene Aleck) and Roxanne Charles. The women offered powerful and inspiring words to keep moving this work forward, and to never stop protecting the waters and all living beings. Young water carriers such as Kayah George were called to speak and lifted spirits by saying the orca are probably having a rally right now too.

The ceremony included witnesses from/representing the furthest participants south, east, north and west, two of whom I sat with at the feast and got to know a bit better. Jim Leyden, whom we supported with court costs and with presence at his Supreme Court appeal was there, blanketed, and spoke at the feast. Several members of Salal + Cedar attended and Ruth Ruth Walmsley was blanketed with thanks for her work with the Prayer Circle which gathers at the Watch House on Burnaby Mountain on the Second Saturday of each month.

By Adele Finney (Mutual Aid and Solidarity Team) with information from Sierra Club BC

Beltane Confirmation

In a beautiful and complimentary juxtaposition, Salal + Cedar council member Francis Hart D’Emilio was confirmed in the Anglican church on the morning of Saturday May 6 and led the community in a celebration of the cross quarter day Beltane or May Day, in the afternoon. The outdoor service included fire, mead, a may crown, and was attended by a very enthusiastic Anna’s hummingbird. We share a collection of photos for your enjoyment and the order of service for you to adapt and use.


Host/Leader will lay out a simple elemental altar: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water will be represented thusly in a cross formation:

Earth: Stone
Water: Vessel filled with water
Air: A feather (most likely from a woodpecker)
Fire: Candle

Cauldron with a charcoal burner for burning resin-based incense in the centre

Wine and Bread will also be present on the altar. Because we are not having a Eucharist/Communion, the bread,  water,  and wine will be offered to the Earth.

Territorial Acknowledgement

All of Metro “Vancouver” is unceded, stolen Coast Salish land. Most of our work takes place on the ancestral and occupied territories of the x?m??k??y??m (Musqueam), s?wx?wú7mesh (Squamish), and s?l?ilw??ta?? (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations. The Metro Vancouver area is home to nine First Nations communities who have been stewards of this land since time immemorial and whose Rights and Title have never been extinguished: the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Tsawwassen, Katzie, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem, Matsqui, and Semiahmoo First Nations. As advocates of justice, solidarity, and respect, we must always remind ourselves of the historical injustice of colonialism that makes our gathering here possible, and to redress the injustices that continue to pervade our institutions, society, and culture. It is our responsibility to each other and to future generations to go beyond land acknowledgements and confront the ongoing systems of colonial oppression and exploitation in Canada.

Intro to Salal + Cedar’s Work

Through outdoor worship, we seek transformative encounters with the species and geography of the Fraser River to the Salish Sea basin and the wider Cascadia bioregion. We explore wilderness, sustainability, and justice themes in Christian scriptures and Anglican social teaching, and we learn about our roots and roles as individuals and as a church, in the multi-racial, labour, and Indigenous-Settler history of lower-mainland British Columbia.

Check-in – names, pronouns, access needs

Host/Leader lights a candle, incense should already be burning


The Beltane Blessing
Originally from the Carmina Gadelica I, 183–185
Taken from Esther de Waal, editor, The Celtic Vision, pp. 26–27

Bless, O Threefold true and bountiful,
Myself, my spouse, and my children,
My tender children and their beloved mother at their head.
On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling,
On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling.

Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
All kine and crops, all flocks and corn,
From Hallow Eve to Beltane Eve,
With goodly progress and gentle blessing,
From sea to sea, and every river mouth,
From wave to wave, arid base of waterfall.

Be the Three Persons taking possession of all to me belonging,
Be the sure Trinity protecting me in truth;
Oh! satisfy my soul in the words of Paul,
And shield my loved ones beneath the wing of Thy glory,
Shield my loved ones beneath the wing of Thy glory.

Bless everything and every one,
Of this little household by my side;
Place the cross of Christ on us with the power of love,
Till we see the land of joy,
Till we see the land of joy.

What time the kine shall forsake the stalls,
What time the sheep shall forsake the folds,
What time the goats shall ascend to the mount of mist,
May the tending of the Triune follow them,
May the tending of the Triune follow them.

Thou being who didst create me at the beginning,
Listen and attend me as I bend the knee to Thee,
Morning and evening as is becoming in me,
In Thine own presence, O God of life,
In Thine own presence, O God of life.
(A shieling is a hut or collection of huts on a seasonal pasture high in the hills, once common in wild or sparsely populated places in Scotland. A Kine is a group of cows

Intro to Beltane

A major Celtic festival to mark the beginning of summer. The festival is associated with fertility. In Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn means May Day, and in modern Irish Gaelic Beltaine is the name for the month of May.

Beltane is a Cross-quarter- halfway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice

Gospel Readingtwo readers (one read, pause for reflection, second re-read)

 John 14:1-14

Reader:  The Gospel of Christ

All: Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ

Time for Contemplative Reflection:

The assembled people are invited to take some time for reflection in the garden however that feels right for them. When people come back, Host/Leader will offer them some small bits of paper to write down something they would like God’s help with. What would you like to bring into existence or let go of? Write that thing down, and drop the little paper into the fire.

After folks have dropped their papers in the fire…

Prayers of the People 

In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.


For all people in their daily life and work;

For our families, friends, and neighbours, and for all those who are   alone.

For this community and the world;

            For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.

For the just and proper use of your creation:

            For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression

For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;

            For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the poor.

For the peace and unity of the Church of God;

            For all who proclaim the gospel, and all who seek the truth.

For John, our bishop, and for all bishops and other ministers;

            For all who serve God in Their Church.

For our own needs and the needs of others.

For everyone who is homeless, refugees, internally displaced persons, people living on the streets and in insecure housing; we pray for and honour the life and memory of Jordan Neely, a talented young black man who, for expressing that he was hungry and tired, was murdered by a group of strangers in New York City on a subway car this past Monday. May his memory be a blessing. We pray for help as we confront organized evil inherent in this capitalist system, which has always sought to divide the people with racism, classism, and fear of the Other.

We pray for members of the Salal + Cedar community (individuals and particular situations can be named aloud)

We pray for all victims of sexual violence, especially those harmed by the church; the people of Sudan; the rights, safety and wholeness of trans and non-binary persons, especially femmes of colour; the worker injured at a Trans Mountain pipeline worksite; for justice for all workers;

We pray with and for: white-crowned sparrows, epidonax flycatchers, ruby-crowned kinglets, dark-eyed juncos, steller’s jays, and black bears. Amen

Host/Leader extinguishes candle and cauldron.
Host/Leader, or any other person pours out the water and wine and places the bread at the foot of a tree.

May the blessing of the Creator be always with us.
Thanks be to God!

Salmon, Cedar, Water

the Sacred Life Spirit that moved us to action is also stirring and moving others to do good

By Galina Freed

Every year, members of my faith community, Salal + Cedar, join members of the Indigenous community in Chilliwack for their annual Salmon, Cedar, and Water ceremony. This year was my first time joining.

There’s something uniquely special about meeting the new year with like-minded people. Not many of us knew each other, but we all gathered to be in this place near the Blue Heron Nature Reserve to acknowledge the past and to greet the uncertain future together by setting our intentions for the new year.

There is so much I could say about this. About how easy it was to imagine a time when humans could turn into animals, a time when humanity saw itself as a part of nature, not as something separate from it. And about how easy it was to believe that, whenever we walk in nature, we do not walk alone, as we are surrounded by our non-human family – all around us, above us, and below us.

But the main thing that stood out to me from Eddie Gardner’s teaching was the invitation to not be fearful or distressed at the state of the world, because other people everywhere are doing good things.  I took it to mean to be a call to trust.

It is, indeed, easy to be discouraged and distressed when we begin to believe that we are the only ones working for justice, or doing the “right stuff”.  However bleak things may seem from time to time, it is important to trust that we are not alone, and to recognize that the Sacred Life Spirit that moved us to action is also stirring and moving others to do good.  

May the new year bring joy, hope, and power to you, your families, and your communities. May God’s Sacred Life Spirit work in you and in people around you, and may we see the fruit of that work in the year to come. 

May God’s Sacred Life Spirit work in you and in people around you, and may we see the fruit of that work in the year to come. 

A Wee Gay Wedding

What a joy it was to be a part of Victoria and Steps and celebrating and blessing their marriage. Steps, Victoria and their little one Marigold are a family who we know through Queerest and Dearest Camp. Sea and sky, wildflowers and hummingbirds, family and friends were witnessed their vows as we gathered at New Brighton Park on the Burrard Inlet.
May God all loving bless Victoria and Steps in their life together.
May we who have witnessed this commitment to love and exchange of vows be encouraged and uplifted by them and may we be given the strength and understanding to support and uphold all those who choose love. In the name of the Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit.
A sweet theme of fruit was echoed in song, scripture, wardrobe, menu.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

For the fruit of all creation,
thanks be to God.
For these gifts to ev’ry nation,
thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
silent growth while we are sleeping,
future needs in earth’s safekeeping,
thanks be to God.

Sacred Cedar, Water, and Salmon Ceremony

In what has become a New Year’s Day tradition, several Salal + Cedar members braved snow and ice this morning to join with roughly 50 others of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance and friends along the banks of the Vedder River in Chilliwack. Observed by an eagle, crows, puppies, and other furred, feathered, finned, and leafed relations, Stó:lo elder Eddie Vedder from the Skwah First Nation, led the assembly in songs and prayers to the accompaniment of drums and rattles. In a circle around a sacred fire, participants prayed for purification and renewal, a fresh start, and a beautiful future, and offered gifts, and gave thanks for the sacred elements of water, fire, earth, and air.

Sacred Water Ceremony on Burnaby Mountain

About 25 people gathered Saturday morning, December 11th, under the tall cedar tree beside Kwekwecnewtxw, the traditional Coast Salish Watch House on Burnaby Mountain, to hold a sacred water ceremony in honour of water’s importance within God’s creation and to request the healing of human beings’ relationship with Mother Earth. The rains temporarily paused during the ceremony, presided over by two local Indigenous leaders, which commenced at the arrival of a party who had walked from Lower Hume Park, in New Westminster, to the site, carrying water from the Fraser and  Brunette rivers. Members and supporters of Salal + Cedar were among the walkers and those participating in the ceremony.

The sacred water pilgrimage completed a journey begun last September at the “Spirit Fast for the Fraser,” when the sacred water was first carried from the Fraser River to Hume Park. A portion of sacred water was poured into nearby creeks, while some was held back for future ceremonies.