Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sir Sandford Fleming: Inventor of Time

by Rev Ed Hird

When Sir Sanford Fleming first came to Canada, he was told “Go back to Scotland”. The need for engineers was over. Some were convinced that we would only need sixteen miles of railway in Canada. Fortunately for us, Fleming loved a challenge. He was passionate about railways, once driving a bear off the railway tracks with nothing but an umbrella and a loud cry.

Fleming has been described as the outstanding Canadian of the nineteenth century. Prime Minister John A Macdonald appointed him as chief surveyor and engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Fleming knew that he needed to see the route first-hand. With the Rev George Grant, he canoed and portaged across Canada in 1872, creating a best-selling travelogue ‘Ocean to Ocean’. The beauty and ruggedness of Canada’s wilderness spoke to the depths of his soul.

Our most recognizable Canadian photo is ‘The Last Spike’, celebrating the completion of our national railway on November 7th 1885. Fleming, our most famous Canadian engineer, was right there at the centre of the photo.

To complete the Canadian Pacific Railway in just ten years was an astronomical task, but Fleming always made time for God in his busyness. Fleming only missed attending church twelve times in his entire life. Sometimes ‘church’ was simply kneeling by the Rocky mountain railway tracks and giving thanks. On all his surveying trips, no work and travel was done on Sunday if he could help it. He even wrote a worship service that his busy construction crews could use.

After the frustration of his missing an Irish train, Fleming went on to create Meridian Standard Time in 1878. Standard Time replaced the dangerous chaos of 144 different North American time zones. Every city had its own unique time, none of which agreed with any other city. Standard Time went a long way towards keeping locomotives from crashing into each other because of different clocks.

Fleming founded the Canadian Institute which grew into the Royal Society of Canada. He published a dozen books, served for thirty-five years as Chancellor of Queen’s University. Canada’s very first postage stamp: the three-cent beaver, was the creation of Fleming. Fleming was knighted in 1897 by Queen Victoria for building the world-circling sub-Pacific cable. For the first time in history, the world could communicate instantaneously around the globe. With membership in over seventy international societies, he was Canada’s preeminent voice on the world stage. Everyone looked to Sir Sanford Fleming.

Fleming was often snubbed, sidelined, criticized but he never let the nay-sayers stop him from accomplishing his life-goals. Fleming knew that God had put him here on earth to make a difference, to help raise up the nation of Canada from sea to sea. Fleming’s strength came from a deep sense that God would never abandon his children.

The Reverend Ed Hird+
Rector, St. Simon’s North Vancouver
Anglican Coalition in Canada
-a North Shore News article

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Please join us on July 24th-27th with Pastor Dave Carson

Dear friends in Christ,

We are so blessed that our good friend Pastor David Carson has agreed to be our keynote speaker for the 36th Annual BC Christian Ashram retreat on July 24th-27th. The Rev Rod Elllis of the Church of our Lord will still be our Bible teacher for the Christian Ashram. The Rev David Rich was forced to cancel unexpectedly, in light of an unavoidable need for a hip replacement, making it impossible for him to fly. David Carson's theme will be "Jesus the High Priest: The New and Living Way" from the Book of Hebrews. David is a very dynamic and insightful speaker who will leave you with many fresh insights into God's Word. You are encouraged to register today by e-mail or phone 604-533-5509.

David Carson has been a Pastor for 30 years both in the UK and Vancouver, having previously had a career as a chemist in the dairy industry. He has pastored in Metrotown for the last 11 years and is currently with Central Christian Assembly, and is also the director of Intercessors For Canada. He is a Canadian with family roots in Saint John, New Brunswick. David and his wife Beth have been married for 41 years, and have one son Tom. David tends to bring pioneer vision and energy to a project and is currently chairing the prayer working group for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
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