Breakfast at the airport (bagel in case you were curious- they do stick to your teeth) and over the snowcapped mountains to Kamloops. It’s a desert environment after the rainforest of Vancouver – not as in cacti, cowboys and tumbleweed but as in arid mountain slopes dropping down sheer to clear lakes – there is so much water and it doesn’t give any sustenance to the bare slopes above it, which feels horribly parabolic: the parable of the sower but Jesus doesn’t mention ground where there is no earth at all. But on other slopes there are thick pine forests (and doubtless bears, beavers, deer, cougar, owls, marmots, coyote, bighorned sheep, moose occasionally, eagles, hawks, hummingbirds, bluebirds). And a budgie in the kitchen here. It’s quite isolated from the big cities in the East, but that of course is part of its appeal. And it’s HOT.
Very interesting, tragic, humbling, heartening, to hear about the residential schools and the church. Out of all the mess of exploitation, abuse, buck-passing by the government for too long, the diocese being liquidated after legal fees, the church here has got a very sound idea of what you need to be church (not material wealth or buildings for a start) and knows more than most of us do about peace and reconciliation and walking humbly with aboriginal peoples. Fresh Expressions has many echoes: not barging in arrogantly assuming we’ve got what people need, but meeting, listening, learning before we presume to speak, and perhaps becoming different people in the process ourselves.
The Dean of the Cathedral, Louise Peters has welcomed me warmly and with huge sensitivity and is also welcoming 35 people for a meal tonight so it’s partytime before the Messy sessions tomorrow.