Talk About Spiritual!

By Penny Connell

On April 29th I participated in Salal + Cedar’s third training for improving wildlife habitat on church grounds. The Rev. Laurel Dykstra, Gitxan and Nisgaa herbalist Leona Brown, and Rev. Elizabeth Mathers presented this workshop at St Clement’s in North Vancouver. It easily made the point of spiritual riches emanating from a native garden. At St. Clement’s Elizabeth and others have been at work rewilding the grounds for nearly seven years. 
We at St. Bart’s in Gibsons have been awarded a grant of $550 to undertake the rewilding/restoration of our grounds so that they mesh with the undisturbed areas of the land we live on—land we have marred by our “civilization/acculturation” of it over the last 150 or so years here on the coast.
At the workshop we were given a great planning document and a list of resources, a list which does a lot of initial leg-work for us. These resources also open the door to more money in the form of grants. A further, charming take-away is a Bug Hotel and the materials and information with which to furnish and place it. As well, we enjoyed the company of wise, engaged, informed people and time to talk with them. We also received their assurance of support.
The great gift I received personally was the experience of sitting and walking in the gardens. Talk about spiritual!—and yes it was spiritual—and, I would say, religious! I participated in my very first smudge. I am so grateful that I could attend. I’ve come away with an abiding sense of peace and positivity!

Does your prayer have roots?

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.

Outdoor Eucharist

Join us as we listen for God’s word in scripture and in nature and celebrate communion, the meal of bread and wine that Jesus taught.
All ages, all bodies, all genders, all families are welcome. Dress for the weather.
We will meet in the Rose Garden at Queen Elizabeth park, south west of the main parking lot. Look for the Salal + Cedar banner. or text 778 885-9453 to find the group.

A Visit to Holy Cross

By Atsumi Nakao
The visit of Rev. Laurel on March 27 started with a bit of stir. Our beloved musician Seira had to be absent on the day, and we were seeking an alternative way to deliver beautiful music to welcome Rev. Laurel. Then Laurel offered a song without printed lyrics or music. I sensed that Laurel must be a person who has so much up their sleeve. That turned out to be true.

Rev. Laurel brought us two guests: Salal and Cedar in a jar. We decorated our church with Salal at our wedding last year August, yet we were not aware of the Indigenous meaning of them. Decolonization starts in a way we center the value and view of how indigenous people steward this beautiful land. I thus really appreciated that Laurel shared such a deep meaning of Salal and Cedar.

Rev. Laurel started the sermon by acknowledging our history, resilience and faith in the face of racism then, I wondered, what value and view we can offer as a community. I have always been healed and empowered when I encounter Indigenous people’s spirituality and culture, and I have been blessed by the warmth and kindness of this community. As Covid restrictions are loosening and our church is opening to the neighbourhood, maybe it is a good time to think about how we can walk the way of Jesus in our own ways.

Speaking of the culture, Rev. Laurel joined our Japanese language class after church. We learned numbers and had a number bingo game together. It was a pure joy that we shared the time.

One of the things we kept talking about after the church was how Rev. Laurel had done a queer reading of the prodigal son, which was a huge takeaway point so I would like to share the story here (You can watch Laurel’s sermon here as well.) Before Sunday, I thought the father was the God figure and the prodigal son was celebrated because he had repented. Rev. Laurel said their father is not good because he is not as macho as he is supposed to be. Father embraces his son and kisses him, almost like a mother. Then I thought, what would be the masculinity that could encompass this loving, forgiving nature.

I am not a Japanese Canadian descent whose family immigrated to Canada before the war, but a new immigrant who just arrived here six years ago. As I researched the history of the Holy Cross, I realized there is a resonance with this story.

The previous Holy Cross church was confiscated and sold by brothers and sisters who shared the same faith. Japanese Canadians lost the cultural and social hub when they returned — this distraction deeply impacted their lives. However, we gather here today as we are gifted this St. Peter’s church by the same sisters and brothers. As Rev. Laurel preached, the “failed” father, prodigal brother and everyone is welcome to the feast. We can always come back together at the same table to celebrate this gift of abundant opportunities.

S + C on Sunshine Coast

On Saturday March 5, the first week of Lent, Salal + Cedar joined our friends for worship on the Sunshine Coast. We met at Porpoise Bay Park under bright blue skies. We read about Jesus’ testing in the wilderness and asked questions about what wilderness means to us -danger, adventure, untamed wildness, away from creature comforts, places that are threatened, resilience. We were joined by dogs, eagles, ducks and a manx cat on a leash.
There was such enthusiasm for our visit and so many people mentioned folks who would like to come, or couldn’t come this time, that we plant to make visits to this area a more regular part of our itinerant worship pattern.