Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Great Election in Missinaba County

It's federal election time in Canada - there's a debate among the main party leaders tonight, and we vote on October 19th. All United Church Conferences and Presbyteries have been sent a reminder during this election period that as registered charities we are prohibited by the Canada Revenue Agency from devoting any resources to partisan political activities, including making any statements that could support or oppose a candidate or party. So I don’t want to blog anything that could be interpreted as applying to a particular Canadian party or leader.

But elections always remind me of The Great Election in Missinaba County, chapter 10 in Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, published in 1912. This is one of the funniest stories in the book, describing what is probably the 1911 Canadian federal election in the fictional town of Mariposa and the surrounding Missinaba County. I will likely be quoting from Leacock when I preach about anything election-related (without endorsing a candidate or party, of course).

Everybody in Mariposa is either a Liberal or a Conservative or else is both. Some of the people are or have been Liberals or Conservatives all their lives and are called dyed-in-the-wool Grits or old-time Tories and things of that sort... But the one thing that nobody is allowed to do in Mariposa is to have no politics. Of course, there are always some people whose circumstances compel them to say that they have no politics... So with the clergy in Mariposa. They have no politics - absolutely none. Yet Dean Drone round election time always announces as his text such a verse as: "Lo! Is there not one righteous man in Israel?" or "What ho! Is it not time for a change?" And that is a signal for all the Liberal business men to get up and leave their pews.

Similarly over at the Presbyterian Church, the minister says that his sacred calling will not allow him to take part in politics and that his sacred calling prevents him from breathing even a word of harshness against his fellow man, but that when it comes to the elevation of the ungodly into high places in the commonwealth (this means, of course, the nomination of the Conservative candidate) then he's not going to allow his sacred calling to prevent him from saying just what he thinks of it. And by that time, having pretty well cleared the church of Conservatives, he proceeds to show from the scriptures that the ancient Hebrews were Liberals to a man, except those who were drowned in the flood or who perished, more or less deservedly, in the desert.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Big church win!

...or something like that. Our county is hosting the 2015 International Plowing Match (I usually spell it Ploughing, but I seem to be in the minority). It's not well known, it seems, but the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo will be one of the biggest events in Ontario this year, and certainly the largest undertaking in this county for decades. Local farms, businesses, schools, churches, and homes have been decorating as part of the Match's Beautification Contest: the display has to include scarecrows, sunflowers, and the Plowing Match sign.

Winners were publicized tonight, and first prize in the Schools/Churches/Senior's Residences category went to St. Andrew's-St. Mark's United Church in Long Sault! I think that the John Deere tractor, which belongs to one of the members (who is also principal of North Stormont Public School, which took the third prize), probably clinched the award.

International Ploughing Match and Rural Expo near Finch in South Stormont Township, Ontario, September 22 to 26, 2015!