August 13, 2011
By Reverend Ed Hird
As you are reading this Deep Cove Crier article, my wife and I are still in Rwanda (note: we have since returned to Canada). This is our first time to Rwanda. Our former youth pastor for fourteen years, the Rev Ken Bell, now the rector of St. Timothy, recently returned from Rwanda with a team from his congregation. This seems to be the year for the North Vancouver/Rwanda connection. Having met with Ken Bell+ before I flew to Rwanda, I became more excited about this trip that I have dreamed about for many years. My wife Janice as a professional musician and director will be meeting with Rwandan musicians to share resources. As a priest, I will be both listening to and preaching in congregations throughout the Anglican diocese of Kigeme which is led by Bishop Augustin Mvunabandi. Many Canadians don’t realize that most Anglicans, in fact most Christians, now live in Africa and the Global South. The African Church is growing at an unprecedented rate that no one would have imagined thirty years ago.
Hilary King, our Rector’s Warden for St Simons’ NV, has lived in the Seymour/Deep Cove area for years, being very active in the North Shore Health Region. Currently in Rwanda with eleven people on our sixth Mission trip to Rwanda, Hilary is having a powerful impact on the health of the mothers of Kigeme, Rwanda. Hilary began initially with the Healthy Mum’s Project where people bought goats for single Rwandan moms so that they could use the manure for fertilizing their kitchen gardens. The results have been very impressive with these mothers being able to give birth to healthier, full-term babies. With the broader name Embrace Rwanda, Hilary has birthed a number of projects, including supporting a Rwandan nurse to work with the local Mothers Unions in their aiding single moms. A film producer made a striking movie entitled Mothers of Kigeme telling this good news story. It looks at the lives of three women living in Kigeme, Rwanda. The film tells about a community nurse that seeks to improve their lives by teaching women how to improve their health while they are pregnant. As they battle poverty, the mothers participating in the project are discovering new skills within themselves, and a new hope emerges as they begin to support one another. This film can be accessed on the Embrace Rwanda website.
So many good things have happened during these six mission trips. In partnership with the Schmidt Family Foundation, two chapels have been built in the Kigeme Diocese and three more are under construction. These buildings will be used for worship as well as providing a much needed facility for the development of pre schools. It is also hoped to use one of the new chapels as a facility where teenage boys will be taught construction skills.
Hilary King’s remarkable leadership proves that a congregation does not have to be a mega-church in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others. We can partner together in doing good for others. You are invited to consider how you might play your part in helping Rwandans rebuild their lives and families through Embrace Rwanda. For more information, please contact the Embrace Rwanda Canadian Office at Unit 301 – 3980 Inlet Crescent, North Vancouver BC, V7G 2P9: Tel. 604.929.1837
The Rev. Ed Hird, Rector
St Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)
-an article published in the August 2011 Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’
-In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail email@example.com . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99CDN/USD.
-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada
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May 23, 2010
Why is Toronto, Ontario, sometimes called Toronto the Good?
It goes back to Mayor William Howland of Toronto*, a public servant who was so dedicated to helping the disadvantaged that he gave away most of his wealth. Son of the Honorable W.P. Howland, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, William was possessed with a bubbly enthusiasm and phenomenal capacity for hard work.
By the age he was 25, William was president, vice-president, or a director of more than a dozen companies in the fields of insurance and finance, electrical services, and paint manufacturing. When he became president of the Queen City Fire Insurance Company in 1871, he was the youngest insurance company president in Canada. As well, Howland was President of three influential organizations: the Toronto Board of Trade, the Dominion Board of Trade, and the Manufacturer’s Association of Ontario. Out of his love for his country, he served as Chairman of the Canada First movement, personally financing its weekly newspaper “The Nation”.
At age 32, Howland was led to Christ by his priest, Dr. W.S. Rainsford of St. James Anglican Cathedral. His life-changing experience gave him a new passion for helping the poor. He became involved helping with the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital, the YMCA, the Haven Home for Unwed Mothers, the Prisoner’s Aid Association, the Central Prison Mission School, and the Toronto General Hospital. Night after night, Howland visited the slums, going from house-to-house, and reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the alcoholic. He also purchased 50 acres to start an Industrial School in order to steer youth away from the life of crime. Other initiatives were his building an alternative school for drop-outs, and a Home for the Aged and Homeless Poor. When he began to teach an interdenominational bible study for 100 young men, his new priest J.P. Lewis objected to Howland’s involvement with non-Anglicans. Out of this rejection, he began the interdenominational Toronto Mission Union, which operated seniors’ homes, convalescent homes, and Toronto’s first-ever home nursing service.
Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city. Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, “Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain”. Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed “Toronto the Good”. As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad. With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons. Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness.
Howland is described in Desmond Morton’s book “Mayor Howland: the Citizen’s Candidate” as the first reform mayor in Toronto’s history. Due to bureaucratic corruption, municipal garbage collection was all but non-existent. Even City Hall’s own garbage was rarely picked up. Rotting garbage fouled the alleyways, yards, and streets, giving Toronto a reputation for flies, stench, and disease. With no general sewage system, Toronto lived on the verge of a typhoid epidemic. Children swam in the same Toronto harbour area into which raw sewage was flowing from the ditches. Toronto’s fresh water supply was sucked through leaking and rotting wooden pipes, half buried in the sewage and sludge of the Toronto harbour.
Howland believed that we didn’t usually need more laws; we just needed to enforce the ones that already existed. He shocked the city bureaucrats by enforcing the already existing bylaw which forbid the depositing of garbage within the city limits. After he trunk sewer system, to redirect the sewage away from the Toronto Harbour. He had such a dramatic impact in reducing the crime rate that other mayors began visiting Toronto, hoping to imitate Howland’s miracle.
During his re-election campaign in 1887, all the taxi cabs were paid off by Howland’s opponent so that they would refuse to take Howland’s supporters to the polling stations. Women however (2,000 widows and single women with property) had just been given the vote. So they held up their long Victorian dresses, and trucked through the snow to give Howland the moral reformer a second term. When Howland was re-elected by a landslide, over 3,000 of his supporters at the YMCA hall spontaneously burst into singing “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.”.
After he unexpectedly stepped down as Mayor after two terms, Howland became the founding President of the Christian Alliance (which later took the name C&MA: Christian and Missionary Alliance). The unique interdenominational nature of the early C&MA allowed Howland to be its president, while still remaining an Anglican. When he died unexpectedly at age 49, his funeral involved Anglican, Alliance, and Presbyterian clergy. With more than a thousand mourners on foot from all social classes, it was the largest funeral procession that had ever been held in Toronto. A poem published in the Toronto Globe said of Howland: “And notToronto mourns alone; All Canada his fame had heard; His name is dear, a household word, And far and wide, his worth was known”. May William H. Howland continue to be a living symbol of the difference that just one Canadian can make.
Reverend Ed Hird
St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
* My Torontonian interest stems from being the great-great grandson of Thomas Allen who served as Toronto Alderman for 19 years during the late 19th Century.