Friday, December 31, 2010


Having celebrated the ancient/new coming of the "Partridge in a pear tree," . . .


Bear is going to sleep;
please do not disturb!

I'm rejoicing because
my world has calmed down enough
that I can get a
decent winter's snooze.

I'll see you in the spring
(or on a really nice winter's day,
if I wake up).
Please don't worry.
The intrepid and ever-faithful
Miss Sadie (Her Ladyship)
will be standing guard, as always.

Should anything calamitous
or thrilling occur,
she knows where to find me,
and will alert me
to the development.
What I do will depend on how awake
and mentally competent I am
(things which are always questionable
where the Bear is concerned).

P.S.: If you haven't see the amazing art work I received as Christmas presents,
please see the previous post.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I've been too sick this year to do any Christmas partying with our family. But I have received some really amazing presents.

None better than these from our son and grandkids.

This is from Tim, who bikes everywhere, all seasons, and serves on our City's "Bicycle Advisory Committee" (and who would like like to see his dad biking a bit more).

Big Brown Bear Rides a Trike, December 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 50x40cm

Finnegan, aged 6, did this (he knows I like giraffes).

Finnegan Brown, Giraffe on the Plains, December 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 32x40cm

Keira, aged 4, developed this; can you see the Firebird Dancing?

Keira Brown, The firebird, December 2010, Acrylic and metallic glitter on MDF, 32x40cm

These are all hanging prominently in our living room.

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."  ~ John Keats.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WHEN IN DOUBT, . . . (3)

The day dawned grey and cold,
hoar frosted trees barely visible
in the ice fog;
- 10°C, with a wind chill
almost double that.
"Socked in" as 
the old tyme flyers would say.

By lunch time
Miss Sadie was vocally bored,
and insisted on playing
in the fresh winter air.

And so we did.

Her frozen toy
stung my hands.
Even Her Ladyship
found it cold in her mouth.
she ran to wherever it landed,
and galloped it back —
a flowing keyboard
of black on white
in the frigid yard.

While overhead,
the gutter ravens,
having moved south for the winter,
cried to one another.

Now, Sadie calmly sleeps
in her favourite chair,
by the warm stove,
awaiting another run,
latter on, perhaps,
not knowing the forecast
is for freezing rain,
which will make everything
for travel,
or even play
in our sanctuary.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WHEN IN DOUBT, . . . (2)

Well below freezing.
White upon white,
breath borne on the gentle breeze
above the snow.

Black Sadie running on her well-worn trails;

the stark counterpoint
to the surrounding snow mantle,
forever ready to chase her toy
one more time —

wheeling about,
checking like a hunter,
then leaping like a deer
with the joy of her "find."

All within the sanctuary
of our wind-shielded
back yard,
on a very low day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Last Monday, our congregation held a special congregational meeting. I wasn't feeling well, so I skipped the event. I had other reasons too, which I'll relate later.

At the meeting, the congregation decided to fold. To quit. Go out of existence. To close it's doors and sell the property, probably to a commercial developer.

There were comments on the decision this morning, though it was hardly news. Mostly a sense of sadness, and "Where now?"

I could look at the congregation, Sunday by Sunday, and see this death approaching. Attendance at Sunday worship is somewhere around 60; that's a lot less than in the 1980s. The building is large, old, and thus expensive to maintain. Most of the people at worship are elderly, many on fixed incomes (and often low incomes). Meaning income isn't meeting expenses.

There are a handfull of younger (as in below retirement age) people who come. They have, by and large, not felt willing or able to take on the role of congregational leadership. There are maybe three or four in their teens. This does not bode well for the future.

So, yes; the decision was hardly a surprise.

About my other reasons for not going.

1. I was a pastor of this congregation in the 1980s. When I became disabled, about five and a half years ago, this is where I eventually ended up; in the midst of a very supportive community.

2. That being said, I knew I didn't have anything to offer that wouldn't be said by others at the meeting. And I certainly don't have the energy to lead any new development.

3. This is one of four congregations in our city what I have served. Of those four, this is the third, in the space of six years, which has decided to close. I'm beginning to think that I'm a "bad luck charm." Actually, I'm not, but sometimes I wonder about the future of our denomination, the largest protestant Church in Canada. I feel very sad, and uneasy about that future. Really, it's heartbreaking.

One other thing. If you have not read my "Religion as a Source for Social Good?" post from Tuesday, I would appreciate your taking the time to do so. I'd also appreciate a comment; I'm in a "learning mode" on this topic, and need some help here.