Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fire & Grace Contemplative Service November 24th

(I was so busy protesting Stephen Harper's Crime Bill I forgot to post Thursdays service. (hugs)

Fire & Grace Contemplative Prayer Service
Living Spirit United Church – November 24, 2011


Opening Reading  (spoken together)

O my Beloved, You have searched me
 and known me!
You know when I sit down and
when I rise up;
You discern my innermost thoughts.
You find me on the journey and
guide my steps;
You know my strengths and
my weaknesses.
Even before words rise up in prayer,
Lo, You have already heard
my heart call.
You encompass me with love where’er
I go,
And your strength is my shield.
Such sensitivity is too wonderful for me;
It is high; boundless gratitude
is my soul’s response.
          (from Psalm 139 trans Nan C. Merrill)

Spirit of Truth, enter my mind,
Soul of Wisdom, enter my heart.
1st reading – listen, what word or phrase draws you.
2nd reading – listen, for an image that relates to your life.
3rd reading – listen, what might God be calling you to?

“As our idea of God expands, there is no word, no way, no gesture that can articulate it anymore.  Hence, we fall into silence, the place we should have been in the first place…
Through contemplative prayer, we are moving into a realm of reality that influences the past and the future perhaps more than anything else we could do.”                                                                          (Fr Thomas Keating)

Spirit of Truth, enter my mind,
Soul of Wisdom, enter my heart.

Silent Meditation (15-20 minutes ended by a bell)
Prayers of the people followed by Our Father.

If you will, if you will, if you will, if you will.
You can become all flame,
become all flame, become all flame.
You can become all flame… become all flame!
(Darlene Franz, Seattle)

Closing:  (spoken together)

“I have a capacity in my soul for taking in God entirely.  I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God.  God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God.”                                 (Meister Eckhart)


Friday, November 25, 2011

Protest the Crime Bill C-10 Now!!!

If you have still to find out about this ugly bill C-10 (or S-10 in the Senate) that is going to be pushed through with very little public input while you are going about your Christmas shopping... please do some research... for instance... 
Each one of us, however, can make our voices heard.  
A new friend of mine shared with me her letter to Prime Minister Harper.
I am now sharing it with you anonymously because I didn't ask her permission to use her name.
later man, jan

Dear Mr. Harper,

I have never been politically active, but this crime bill is so wrong-headed and destructive that I felt I had to do something.

Too many people think this is all about murderers and child molesters, but most people who run afoul of the law are ordinary, decent people like you and me.  We are all fallible human beings, we all make mistakes, and some of these mistakes get us into trouble with the law.  This does not make us monsters, beyond redemption.  Almost all of us deserve a second chance, and most of us will go on to lead productive lives as good citizens.  Why take away that chance?  It will cost everyone more in the long run, and not just financially.

Two points I particularly take issue with are mandatory minimum sentences, and the elimination of pardons.  Firstly, the mandatory minimum sentences have been tried elsewhere and failed.  Why expect them to work magic here?  There are already too many people in prison for the wrong reasons, people who need treatment not punishment.  Prison will not make them better citizens, rather the opposite is more likely.

As to the elimination of pardons, do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a job with a criminal record?  Most people with records are not monsters, and given the chance will become hard-working, productive members of society, even taxpayers!  With a record, many will languish and be a drain on the system.  The economic cost is huge.  People who want to work and are qualified should be encouraged, not shut out.  All of society would benefit.

Revenge is not justice, it is simply revenge, and has no place in a modern civilized society.

Respectfully yours,

(name removed as I am posting this without her permission)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tried to serve a petition to Prime Minister Harper's office today...

I arrived at 10:50 and was met by a nice young policeman in the blue and white van.  
He wanted to know if I was the organizer of this protest.  I swallowed and said yes.  
(while inside I was thinking, who told him we were coming??? )

I was so glad when the first people began to arrive... Here are my new friends that found the event I posted on and I was so very glad to share my clipboards and printed information. The sun came out and we began to enjoy the day.

We had a lovely day with the security guy, Marty.  He didn't appear to have ever met Mr Harper and certainly hasn't seen him visit the office in 7 years. 

We were joined by more friends from Occupy Calgary and then from the 420 group here in town.  Some of my Facebook friends arrived and conversations were animated.  Arran, from Occupy Calgary gave a truly awesome credible interview to CTV, did anyone see him on the news? Sorry I didn't get your photo Arran, perhaps Geoff will have one I can edit in here.  Anyway, that was all the media who visited but I didn't advertise to the media and we did have the company of 3 police vans and one cruiser car circling the parking lot at one point. 

Karen and I went up the elevator to the office on the second floor. Locked.  No answer to the bell.  No answer to pounding on the door. I called out that I had a petition to deliver, but no luck. We went back outside and phoned the office only to recieve the answering machine, so I left a message saying what I wanted and for them to please phone me with a convenient time. It was quite obvious that Prime Minister Harper has no intention of opening himself up to the concerns of his constituents.

People came and went and we had between 4 and 6 people at any given time.  We had some very good conversations with people passing by and a few confrontations that provided good experience to all of us. 

So what were we protesting, you say?  Today was the day Prime Minister Harper was to launch his tough-on-crime agenda.  I think our criminal justice system is by no means perfec, but this omnibus crime bill will send us back to a 19th century punishment model.  The cost will be colossal, and I think that money would be much better used in prevention rather than picking up minor offenders and putting them in prison and throwing away the key. 
I was there because my church, the United Church of Canada has strong reservations about Mr Harper's Omnibus Crime Bill C-10.  Today, I received this press release announcing the United Church's letter to Prime Minister Harper.

For Immediate Release  - Thursday, November 24, 2011

 United Church Urges Caution with Regard to Omnibus Crime Bill

Toronto: In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The United Church of Canada has urged the government “to reconsider the provisions of Bill C-10 dealing with the imposition of minimum sentences; and to separate the provisions of the omnibus bill to allow for consideration of the potential impacts of its component parts.”

The church’s letter notes its appreciation for improvements to certain aspects of the criminal legislation but also expresses grave concern with some parts of the bill—particularly its impact on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

“The Government of Canada shares culpability with The United Church of Canada and other historic mission churches for the legacy of residential schools and the lasting effects this legacy continues to have on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples,” writes the church.

Part of the lasting and damaging impact of the legacy of Canada’s residential schools lives on in the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal people in our country’s prisons, explains the church.

Echoing concerns raised by other organizations about the proposed legislation, the United Church’s letter highlights curtailing conditional sentencing and imposing mandatory minimum sentences as two aspects of Bill C-10 that would have a particularly negative impact on Aboriginal offenders.

The church concludes its letter by asking the prime minister to “please drop your arbitrary 100-day deadline to pass this omnibus bill, and agree to break it into its component parts so that each may be considered on its own merits.”

tired now, and ready for bed...
later man, jan (hugs)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gates Yardley is an orator...

Gates Yardley is an orator...   I just shook his hand today :)  
I must share all of his words and almost printed this whole thing in bold because he feels so strongly.   
I had to get this off my chest: Today it is inescapable that one realize we live in a global environment. Every facet of social consequence operates on a global scale. Global politics, global economics, global trade, global communication, and the list goes on. The happenings of one nation directly link to the happenings of the next and of others around the world. If there is a flood in thailand, countries all over the world find themselves short of hard drives for computers. After the Nuclear crisis in Japan we find ourselves short of other commodities like ipad and car parts. It becomes apparent that finances are globally interlinked when we look at the scale of currency and debt crises across europe and the rest of the world that have followed the american meltdown. On CBC Radio the other day I heard a report about gold mines in South Africa. In parts of South Africa there are very very large gold mines owned by multinational corporations. The South African people work in these mines under terrible conditions, and can barely survive. This is the only option for survival for these people. Those who work in the mines are considered lucky, the rest die in poverty. There are 750,000 cases of tuberculosis reported each year in this region. In South Africa, tuberculosis is a deadly disease. The people contract it from inhaling tiny particles of silicate in the mines, which they are not protected from. Forget HIV/AIDS, forget hunger, forget the other thousand reasons that African People die from by the thousands, millions year after year, decade after decade. This one number alone is staggering. This is all happening at a time when gold is in highest demand, it's selling for more than it ever has before, a time where western currencies are being sold off in return for gold and other real assets. People are buying gold to protect their wealth which is threatened by the currencies of many nations losing value at something more than historical norms. I argue that tremendous wealth of people in the west is directly and inextricably linked to tremendous poverty of people in other places, I contend that expendable wealth invested in gold is directly linked to this giant health and humanitarian crisis in South Africa. Just like our demonstration at Olympic plaza here in Calgary is one of thousands worldwide, this issue is but a a single thread in a complex interlinked, and interdependent tapestry of thousands of humanitarian and environmental issues facing our civilization today. In thousands of cities worldwide demonstrations are being made, civil unrest is growing because people recognize the magnitude of these injustices and inequalities among human beings, among members of our human family. People are recognizing that super wealth and super poverty, like everything else now operate on a global scale, and that these two things are dependent on and perpetuate eachother. Today in the world there are 1 Billion people that don't have enough to eat. And as of 2008 there were 10 Million people classified as US dollar millionaires. Even in the united states, poverty joblessness and homelessness are reaching critical levels. And in a world of finite resources, I argue that it is plainly unjust that some people can have so much while so many others suffer, I personally believe that it's unjust, unfair, and unethical for someone to have any more than he needs while another goes hungry, goes cold, or goes sick. I feel like if I don't work for these people and if I don't buy from these people, I am left without job prospects, I am left without a house, or a car, or gas. I find it cruel that my participation in these injustices is assumed and required so that I can find success in the world today. In thousands of cities worldwide demonstrations are being made, civil unrest is growing because people recognize the magnitude of these injustices and inequalities among human beings, among members of our human family. People are recognizing that super wealth and super poverty, like everything else now operate on a global scale, and that these two things are dependent on and perpetuate eachother.
When I was a kid my mother always told me that I can never blame circumstances for the way I feel, and that I can never be filled with depression or hatred or darkness and say 'the world made me this way.' She taught me to take ownership of my feelings and my life. Well for a long time I have felt a deep, crippling darkness in my heart in recent weeks it has gotten deeper and deeper, I started to feel I was drowning, it kept growing in intensity. And I hung on to my mothers wisdom and I searched, and I grasped for answers within myself, within my life. I was so lost knowing that with my BIG heart, and with my GREAT mind, and with all my wonderful intentions, and all my tireless will to help others, and my efforts to improve the world in what small way I can I was still plagued by this darkness. I realized today that the darkness in my heart is the very darkness of the world, it is the recognition of the suffering of others all over the world, and on a massive scale. With all of our advancements and achievements in knowledge, science, and technology it is uncanny that human beings still suffer the way they do. When I realized this I was in the car, and I wept. I wept for the world, and I wept uncontrollably. I stopped the car and drafted this message for the world. The world did make me feel this way, but my mother was still right, because beyond that, together as a people we created this world, we all participate, and we need to take ownership now. We need to set things right.
I demand immediate, mandatory, global, systematic, redistribution of resources that I KNOW is possible to such a degree that every man, woman, and child, brothers and sisters of mine on this planet are ensured real and enduring access to the BASIC necessities of a good life, PROPER food, PROPER shelter, PROPER health care, PROPER education and PROPER access to culture and fine arts. I may not have camped at Olympic plaza, but I believe in those protesters, and in all the others around the world. I stand up for them, and I stand with them, and I will not be satisfied until these conditions are required by international law, just as they have been required by the universal laws of humanity and ethics and decency for all time. I submit that it is criminal to have more than you need while others suffer for want and lack.
We Support Occupy Calgary,  later man, jan

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frustration setting in...

Why oh why do they talk about tents and the damaging of bits of grass?
I think it's because they all live in fear. 
Fear that Occupy the World just might be right!
Fear that they know deep in their hearts that so much is wrong with our society.
Or just plain fear that they have been found out and may have their toys taken away?

Some days I just get frustrated at the mainstream media.  
What happened to honest investigative reporting? 
What happened to listening to both sides.
I think the CBC has been the fairest however even there I've seen them picking and choosing who and what to show in their news.

so... when I get frustrated...

I have this link on my toolbar...
I click it and just say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Try it, you might like it.
later man, jan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Remembrance Day was busy...

I met a couple of friends downtown by City Hall and we began the day by checking in and having conversations with the nice folks at Occupy Calgary in Olympic Plaza. We then gathered at 12 noon for our Women in Black vigil that happens every 2nd and 4th Friday of each month by the Statues of the Five Famous Women.
... then a few of us left the vigil circle to join the Occupy Calgary Remembrance Meditation held in the beautiful, but cold Olympic Plaza amphitheatre.
Our final Remembrance service was at the other end of downtown. We took a quick C-Train ride to the Calgary Community Peace Pole for the innovative Remembrance Day sponsored by the Project Ploughshares organization. The highlight of this followed candlelighting, wreath laying and chanting. I am sorry I didn't get a photo of the circle dance formed around the Peace Pole. It was one of the most moving experiences I have had the fortune to be part of.
Founded in 1976, Project Ploughshares is the peace centre of The Canadian Council of Churches, mandated to work with churches, government, and civil society, in Canada and abroad, to advance policies and actions that prevent war and armed violence and build peace. Project Ploughshares carries out its mandate by undertaking resarch, policy development, and public engagement to: -prohibit the use, possession, and manufacture of nuclear weapons; -prevent the weaponization of space; -control the supply and reduce the demand for weapons; -reduce the resort to military force; and -build sustainable peace.

(hugs all round)
later man, jan

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fire & Grace Contemplative Prayer Service

Fire & Grace Contemplative Prayer Service
Living Spirit United Church – November 10, 2011

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
(from 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943)

Opening Reading (spoken together)

O Compassionate Teacher,
You are our merciful Counselor;
in the Silence,
You make yourself known
to all who take time to listen.
Would that those in power would heed your Voice:
“How long will you misuse power
that oppresses the poor?
When will you learn that to act justly and with integrity
will bring mutual blessing to all?”
Psalm 82: 1-4 trans. Nan C.Merrill)

O God, we call. O God, we call.
From deep inside we yearn;
From deep inside we yearn
From deep inside we yearn, for You
(VU #411) (repeat to bell)


1st reading - listen… what word/phrase/image draws you.
2nd reading - listen… how does this image relate to your life.
3rd reading - listen… what might God be calling you to?

Love never disappears for death is a non-event.
I have merely retired to the room next door.
You and I are the same;
what we were for each other, we still are.
Speak to me as you always have,
do not use a different tone, do not be sad.
Continue to laugh at what made us laugh.
Smile and think of me.
Life means what it has always meant.
The link is not severed.
Why should I be out of your soul
if I am out of your sight?
I will wait for you, I am not here,
but just on the other side of this path.
You see, all is well.
--St. Augustine

Contemplative Silence (15-20 minutes ended by a bell)

Prayers of the people followed by Our Father.

And Love says, I will, I will take care of you…
And Love says, I will, I will take care of you…
(repeat to bell)

Closing: (spoken together)

Arise! Awaken to the new dawn!
Come into the Light; shed darkness like skin on the snake!
For the foundations of the cosmos are shaking with injustice.
I say, “Within you dwells the Beloved, the Breath of your breath.
Open your heart in the Silence and know the One in the many!
Arise! Join in the new creation!
Let harmony reign among all the nations!
(Psalm 82: 5-8 trans. Nan C.Merrill)


Contemplative worship is somewhat different from a traditional church service and includes prayers, chanting, readings, and a 15-20 minute period of silence. We gather together and welcome people from all spiritual paths and will draw from any ecumenical sources to which the Divine leads us. Whether you are new to spiritual journeying or are already well along on your chosen path, you are welcome to join us as we sit as companions and join our hearts with our Source.

“Seek and you will find,..
…knock and the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7
Please Join us for Fire & Grace Contemplative Worship

Wednesdays 6:15pm at either Wild Rose or Hillhurst United.
1st and 3rd Thursdays 9:30am - St Laurence Anglican
2nd and 4th Thursdays 9:30am - Living Spirit United

For more information on detailed dates and times please call Jan Bacon at 403-242-2115 or email

later man, jan

Monday, November 07, 2011

Occupy Calgary serves notice that Paul Hughes does not speak for the Occupy Calgary Movement

Published by Occupy Calgary Facebook Group November 7th, 2011:

Occupy Calgary is sending out this statement to serve notice that Paul Hughes does not speak for the Occupy Calgary movement.

Paul Hughes separated himself from the movement far before this date by his repeated actions, which damaged the unity and effectiveness of Occupy Calgary. From the first organising efforts Paul refused to work collectively and took it upon himself to speak to the Calgary Police regarding setting up camp at St. Partick’s Island. He only brought it up to the General Assembly (GA) after the fact.

Paul refused to accept the General Assembly’s decision to occupy Olympic Plaza. The GA agreed that if he wanted to set up another camp, he had every right to do so, but informed him that he should not presume to speak in the name of the GA of Occupy Calgary, but for himself as a member of the movement. He did not do that and repeatedly presented his camp at St Patrick’s island as THE Occupy Calgary camp.

He ran the St Patrick’s island as a one-man dictatorship, completely contrary to the ideals of the international Occupy movement. For example, recording of their General Assembly was not permitted, preventing any transparency. Also requests for the minutes of that GA have been repeatedly denied.

Contrary to the agreed upon consensus model and adherence to principles of respect for all he has insulted different members of the movement. He has and continues to censor members of the movement who are critical of him. He assaulted a member of the movement and destroyed their cell phone in a fit of anger.

He set up a community page on Facebook , claiming to be THE Occupy Calgary page which it is not, and did the same with the OccupyCalgary Twitter handle. Neither of these represent, nor are related to the Occupy Calgary movement. Paul Hughes represents his interests alone and should not be regarded as a spokesperson for Occupy Calgary.

For more information visit the central Occupy Calgary Facebook page which represents the Occupy Calgary general Assembly

And also our blog

and as for me, I support the Occupiers of Olympic Plaza and the rest of the Occupy Calgary Movement. Keep up the good work guys, you're getting people talking :)

later man, jan