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:
Water: Vessel filled with water
Air: A feather (most likely from a woodpecker)
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.
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 Reading: two readers (one read, pause for reflection, second re-read)
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!
Salal + Cedar community gathers for worship on Saturday afternoon rather than Sunday morning. This year the calendar offered us the opportunity to reflect on the tradition of the Holy Fool as we celebrated Palm Sunday, The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem -or street theatre that makes a joke of all our messianic, redemptive violence expectations- on April Fools’ Day.
This mash-up of readings and art highlights some themes that hopefully keep us from taking ourselves too seriously as we cram ourselves into the the clown car of holy week.
The theme of this art work, JESTER, developed from my earlier drawings and paintings of the Dream of Jacob. I wanted to give the feelings of dreams and imagination a visual form, apart from a traditional representation of the Dream of Jacob. I wanted to include in this the spiritual theme of the fool or jester, which is seen in many traditions. It reflects on the scriptural passage “God has chosen what the world holds foolish so as to embarrass the wise.” -John August Swanson
Within Christianity there is a strange subset of the prophet called the Holy Fool – a figure who defies social conditions in bizarre ways, provoking deep reflection, challenging social sensibilities and cultural assumptions, exposing what lie beneath. -Ashe Van Steenwyk
Jesus Ben Joseph fit right in, preaching to the poor, the prostitutes, the scum, scratching his lice and calling himself the son of God—and the ultimate absurdity, God’s only son strung up and executed with the other criminals: a royal diadem made from a branch of thorns, his only public mourners a few outcast women with nothing left to lose. Then, to cap it off, Christ the original fool is decently clothed in purple, his crown traded for one of gold, he is restored to the head of his Church, and the transformation is complete.
But what consequences, when the jester assumes the throne? Someone must take his place in the hall, lest the people forget that the essence of Christianity is humility, not magnificence, that in weakness lies our strength. -Laurie King
In pondering a few words for this occasion, I happened on Paul’s First Letter to the Church at Corinth….”We are fools on Christ’s account” (1 Cor. 4:10). In a modest fashion, I have sought membership in this company of fools….Through over 39 months in prison, through long fasts and bouts of solitary confinement, through two indictments while in jail, I have been reckoned a fool, by pharaohs and friends alike…. Let no one find our foolishness puzzling. It is as simple as honoring the 5th commandment, and rejecting official legitimations of murder. It is obedience to the truth and compassion of Christ; or recognizing no enemy in the world….It is as simple as respecting the planet as common property, as common gift and heritage. That is the idiot vision – that is the summons and task. For that, as Paul promised, one risks becoming the world’s refuse, the scum of all (1 Cor. 4:13)…. [T]he fools will never abandon hope, nor cease to live it.
-Phil Berrigan pre-sentencing statement (1976)
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
‘Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
by Melanie Delva
This community is resurrection run rampant in the best possible way.
Throughout the last year and a half, Erin and I have been painfully honest about the many systems that failed us after the fire, and again after the floods – governments and charities and NGOs and ….Where the systems failed us, individuals and communities of radical generosity based in respectful relationships emerged and held us up. Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community – both as a community and the individuals who make it up is one of them. In fact, S+C were already showing us the ways they were willing to show up in real time – driving up from Vancouver to show solidarity with our Auntie Vivian who called us to shut down Hwy 1 in honour of the 215+. They stood with us – literally – in 39° Lytton heat. The community rallied around us after we lost everything in the Lytton fire. They started a fundraiser for us, managed all contact for us in the early days after when we were too traumatized to answer anyone.Months later, as we sat on the train bridge in Tl’kemtsin (Lytton) to prevent trains from interrupting a gathering in protest of climate injustice where elders and youth were speaking, members of Salal+Cedar were standing in the cold rain in downtown Vancouver holding signs in solidarity with #nlakapamuxstrong#lyttonstrong. When given the opportunity to speak at a major climate event, they raised up local Indigenous voices. Members of the community have bought us a solar panel, sent us gift cards, arranged donations (and that’s just us!)…and we are now learning how to be part of giving back. I support this community because I know what they are doing with what I give and it aligns with what Jesus said I am supposed to do..tend to the sick, feed the hungry, protect the vulnerable, seek justice for prisoners, protect the earth and all creatures. Friends and relatives (particularly those of privilege), I invite you to check out their work and support it. Feel free to reach out to me if you want more info. In solidarity! Melanie
Go here to support Salal + Cedar’s Mutual Aid and Solidarity Fund https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/help-salal-cedar-raise-7500-for-mutual-aid-and-sol/
For the month of September, Marineview Chapel joined in the celebration of Seasons of Creation. As a church we desired to encounter God as the Creator, to celebrate the goodness of His Creation, and to attune our ears to better listen to the voice of creation. A friend directed us to Salal + Cedar as a good compliment for the children in Sunday School. As a small church, it can be difficult to find curriculum that appropriate for a wide range of children. Currently our Sunday school program includes 10 children ranging from grades 1-7.
Salad + Cedar graciously loaned us “The Trees” and “All the Birds of the Air” curriculum. The children enjoyed the interactive and hands on opportunity to explore creation through these two programs. They particularly enjoyed guessing the various types of fruit as part of the Tree Fruit Salad activity and marveled at the wide range of variety of fruit God created and how even similar looking seeds would yield very different fruit at maturity. Leaves collected from the church property and nearby forest provided wonderful material for leaf rubbing, and they all diligently worked to create their own works of art with the flower press that was provided. When it was time to work through the “All the Birds of the Air Curriculum”, they so enjoyed foraging around the outside to look for additional material to compliment the material already provided to build a bird’s nest. Building a nest is apparently hard work for the birds! We also studied the various types of feathers, guessing that type of bird they belonged to; all the children left the station wishing they could take home a feather or two.
We were very pleased with the detail of the above wonder box curriculum, the quality and quantity of the material and even the care taken to refresh the boxes after use. In fact, one child saw the large bin labeled “Birds” and exclaimed, “There’s so much stuff just about birds?!”. Although we were only able to use a portion of the curriculum due to time constraints, I could see how the program could be extended into a longer period of time, or possible several sessions to reinforce the original lesson. Our hope is that the children left the two sessions with a greater appreciation and wonder at the created world around them.
Blessings to all those at Salal + Cedar for developing and sharing this wonderful resource.
Salal + Cedar is pleased to welcome Namita Prakash (she/her/hers) to our communications team. Namita will assist in coordinating weekly and quarterly mailings, and managing web content on the Salal+Cedar website. We are excited to spread the word about our community’s good work helping Christians respond faithfully to the climate crisis.
Namita has experience working in Vancouver’s environmental non-profit sector, specifically in grizzly bear conservation. Namita’s work in the conservation sector is inspired by a connection to these majestic creatures.
Matching funds to hire Namita came through a federal grant administered by Nature Canada and she will be with us until the end of March.