On Monday March 20, Jeff Kelly, from The Flower Cart, spoke to a group of 25 people at St. John’s. Jeff gave an overview of the work this organization has been doing for 53 years. The Flower Cart supports people of varying abilities in vocational training. They focus on finding and supporting work opportunities. The clients build relationships within this community.
The Flower Cart is known for the Bakery Choice Fine Foods which supplies local businesses such as Joe’s and King’s Common. The Flower Cart blends spice mixtures, packages hot chocolate as well as many other well known products we all can find locally. (About 7 companies)
The Flower Cart has a social enterprise component (SES). They support workers in employment at places such as Walmart, Michelin. The organization helps the clients to find the right amount of work, the ability level of work and travel support, in order to get to work.
The Flower Cart has been creative in Rainbow Pride Bench building, washer toss games, reclaiming pallets from Divert Nova Scotia for crafts and beach clean-up.
In order to expand their facility’s abilities and to create space for community and better accessibility, the Flower Cart has undertaken building a new site. The budget has had to be reset due to the pandemic slow-downs and rising costs. A fundraising program is underway in order to prevent the new site from holding a mortgage. This new building is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.
Opportunity for a new enterprise in the new site, called Bloom, will provide space for the community to bring laptops into a co-working space. Event rental space will also be available. This enterprise provides invaluable support for those who are making contributions in this community.
Our thanks to Jeff for his overview and the work he and his team do.
St. John’s held its Annual General Meeting on Sunday February 26 after a combined service at 10 am. The meeting started with a lovely compilation of music and pictures from the past year assembled by our WAV Manager, Meg Finlay.
And it came to pass that it was the night of the pageant… As the folk gathered into their seats at the 6:30pm Christmas Eve service, each was handed a brown paper bag. What would come to pass was wholly unrehearsed and delightful. Some folks were to be the sheep of the fields and others were the chorus of angels. Things got rolling as Caesar gave his decree with a lighted up sceptre. Mary and Joseph engaged with an Innkeeper who jangled his keys and could only offer his stable and bedding of hay. The angel Gabriel made an appearance sporting a festive light tiara.
All in all the unrehearsed pageant was a warm and inviting affair, most unlike that first night so long age. Thank you to the sheep who baa-ed delightfully and the angels who joined the Alleluia chorus. Thank to to those who read the few short lines and created a warm, magnum mysterium. There were sure to be some memories created on this Holy night.
About 50 people gathered for a screening of the Messiah/Complex. The Against the Grain Theatre Company made it available to the parish of St. John’s. It was shown on an enormous screen, lent by Acadia University, that filled the sanctuary. The sound system, rented from Long and McQuaide enriched the experience.
We experienced the familiar words set to the familiar music against the diverse images of expert Indigenous artists filmed across this magnificent land we call Canada.
For some, breath was taken away. for others, a realignment of what the images can mean today was realised.
The evening was full and enriched us all.
This morning a small group gathered in the Quiet Garden at Kent Lodge. We were there to experience a Theological Tree Walk with Blane Finnie. Blane is a horticulturist who is presently discerning his calling to the priesthood at the Atlantic School of Theology.
Blane gave a brief talk about humankind’s gardening stewardship of the Earth. The lecture can be found as a video here.
We spent time looking at and identifying the many and varied trees within this beautiful place. Blane explained many interesting features and the reasons why certain specimens from as far away as Japan can survive in the Nova Scotia environment.
We are filled with awe at the wonders of God’s creation and our Christian responsibility to be good gardeners.
Watch the Theological Plant Walk lecture above.
St. John’s Church received this wonderful invitation from Jean Morrison earlier this summer:
On Monday, August 29, about 12 people gathered in the Quiet Garden at Kent Lodge, courtesy of Pat Moore. With chairs gathered in a circle and coffee or lemonade to hand out, we settled into a journey exploring various ways of quiet contemplation.
To begin we used our senses to become aware of the things in the garden we could discover from our places. We focused upon things we could see, hear, smell, and taste OR touch. We were invited to think about God’s presence as another sense we could experience. Our reflections were varied but similarly grateful for being together in the Quiet Garden -- where so much is brought to the senses.
Our journey turned to our sense of hearing. Heather’s notes were thought provoking. We were encouraged to accept all that we could hear whether it was pleasant or not in our opinion. The idea of poetic beats in chanting was explored. The science of patterns in speech, breath patterns and music are profound. For a while we listened to Gregorian chant. Our reflections were varied and thoughtful.
We had a brief break and then Jean led us in an exercise of Mindfulness linking to the Buddhist tradition. The addition of Centred Prayer illuminated the difference meditational practice has for Christians. The way one sits, chants, prays, and focuses was a point of discussion as we reflected upon this experience.
Parishioners at St John's were excited to attend the Strawberry Pow Wow which took place on the weekend of July 16-17. Many carpooled to the event, where they were welcomed to watch or volunteer! Here some brief impressions and take-aways they would like to share from the wonderful event.
A surprisingly “ordinary” Sunday afternoon that was just amazing. I felt very
Going to the Pow Wow on Sunday was a wonderful feast for eyes and ears. I was
A lovely afternoon and so enjoyable. The costumes were gorgeous and the
Unfortunately, I did not see any of the powwow competition, but I did see a lot of
On Sunday July 10, we, as a parish, had an opportunity to meet Evan Stewart. He is the son of parishioner Cathy Stewart and grew up here, in the Valley. His career has taken him to the west coast where he works in the forestry industry.
Evan shared a lot of what he has learned and it is clear that his learning has brought him heartfelt concerns for how governments and indigenous nations have understood treaties and negotiation processes.
Evan repeated the words “this is not my story.” Evan was clear that mutual respect, atonement and reconciliation must be in the forefront of resource management; that stewardship and First Nations’ rights must be upheld; that we need to take the time to understand the culture and history of the indigenous peoples and to move forward making safe spaces and mapping knowledge for less one-sided agreements.
Evan says “we have the pen, and we get it wrong.” The power dynamic must change. First Nations have lost trust. There is misunderstanding and the feeling that negotiations are disingenuous. The history of soul-crushing colonisation must be acknowledged. The history of the affect colonisation has had upon the many nations must be understood.
There is trauma in the lives of the peoples we need to work toward understanding and make atonement. The Nations have ancient history and cultural knowledge. Learning about these can help in building for the future.
In a clear manner, we heard how a government clerk meeting a chief to negotiate land use is demeaning.
We learned that in discussions, all should speak, and, at the end, to correct any errors or misunderstanding and to draw things together, the chief speaks with honour.
Colonisers are used to holding the power and have imposed poverty on Indigenous Peoples for generations. The land the Peoples dwell upon have resources, but have not had equitable access to profit from these natural resources. The United Nations have a statement about corporatised running of these industries, which need to be implemented.
In conclusion, the St. John’s Reconciliation Committee Working Group is at learning stage.
Some final words from Evan were:
* Be aware of the authors
* There are layers of complexity
* Trauma is there
* It is time to listen.
At the St. John’s Annual General Meeting, a working group was created to guide the whole parish towards greater connection & reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in our local community. So, where are we now?
The Working Group has met several times to get to know each other, pool learning resources, and discern steps the Parish can take on the path towards reconciliation. As with any new journey, we need to get the ‘lay of the land’ before we know how to travel!
Learning opportunities continue this summer and you are invited to be a part of them:
Following the 10am service on Sunday, July 10th, Evan James Stewart, a Registered Professional Forester, will share his experience of working and consulting with many First Nations in a professional capacity advising on Treaty rights and reconciliation, on natural resources and land claims. Evan was raised in Wolfville and we’re pleased to welcome him back to St. John’s for this informal, conversational time of learning.
On July 16th & 17th, Annapolis Valley First Nation will be hosting its 1st Annual Strawberry Competition Pow Wow. This is a free event, open to everyone – and some folks from St. John’s are volunteering there, too. At the AVFN Ball Field (64 Goo Ow Lane, Cambridge NS).
If you have questions or ideas for the Reconciliation Working Group – or if you’d like to carpool to the Strawberry Pow Wow – contact Nicole Uzans or MaryEllen Finlay.
On Sunday May 15, many members of the newly formed group at St. John’s (Committee for Truth and Reconciliation) attended a ceremony in Wolfville’s Clock Park to witness the placing of a stone by Wolfville Baptist Church, a marker affirming their desire to walk this earth with our Indigenous siblings as One People.
It was a poignant ceremony. Sisters Carolyn Landry and Neenie Melvin spoke about our connection to Mother Earth and the spirit of the Creator. In moving words and action, the stone was acknowledged. It had been moved from its ground (home) to a new ground. The symbolic carving, designed by Steven Slipp and carved by Colin Craig, gives us a way to recognize that: We are One People.
The group from St. John’s are interested in the journey that our Baptist friends have taken and met with Wendy S. And Shon W. on Friday May 27 to learn more. For the past few years, this group of people has sought to understand and acknowledge the pain and trauma the First Nations have suffered. With the discovery of the unmarked graves, they marked the depth of their sorrow with the planting of Sweetgrass to Miners’ Marsh. (Transplanting sweetgrass is not usually acceptable as it is like cutting hair without permission.) They spoke about the importance of building trust and relationship building. The ceremony of laying the stone was another marker along these peoples’ walk.
We learned that small steps must be taken and that we must be understanding when we mis-step. Sometimes there will be silence.
As a step on our journey of learning, we are proposing a gathering on the evening of June 23rd for a viewing of the apologies delivered by Archbishops Hiltz and Whelby on behalf of the Anglican Church & discussion, open to all in the parish (and beyond).
We are continuing our journey together.