Skip to content

Finding faith for the future

This past weekend was one spent in sacred places. On Friday I visited the Sechelt Longhouse for the first time.

This past weekend was one spent in sacred places.

On Friday I visited the Sechelt Longhouse for the first time. Over a hundred people were there to acknowledge the young people who had taken part in the Sechelt Nation Summer Youth Leadership Program 2005.

And it struck me how representative of the Sechelt people as a whole the assembled were. There were babes in arms, toddlers, preschoolers, children, teens, young mother and fathers, middle-aged grandmothers and grandfathers and the Band's cherished Elders.

All were there to hear Shaker minister Eugene Harry of the Squamish Nation tell the young people to "stand up strong, stand up tall." Harry told the young men and women that their ancestors had to be strong because they had to paddle themselves everywhere they went. The audience, with its varied ages, heard Harry tell the young to "practice to be nice." He implored them to find ways to manage their anger rather than self-destruct.

Everyone sat with rapt attention to hear speaker after speaker tell the young people that they care, that the youth's future is important to everyone.

When I spoke to Candace Campo earlier in the day, she said one of the lessons she had learned on the kayak trek was the value of kindness.

"I dream in my community that we treat each other with kindness. I used to think what was important was education and economics, but it's not. It's how we treat each other."

And while I agree wholeheartedly with Candace, there's one other element that's important -- faith. And faith is what I believe was present at the Longhouse. Although the results may not be immediate, I believe each of the young people being honoured that day will remember what was said and the support of their community.

On Saturday, another celebration took place at another holy place.

The welcoming folks of St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Gibsons prepared an outdoor feast to mark the 113 birthday of their church.

In excess of 75 people filled the halls downstairs and up to reminisce and learn about their past from the fine display that member Pat Drope had assembled.

But where were the young people? With the exception of one effervescent young woman about to enter Grade 8 and a young man who appeared to be in his 20s, everyone else was either approaching, occupying, leaving or remembering middle age.

And I thought it such a lost opportunity for young Anglicans to learn from their Elders.

They could have learned so much from the history told by the retired Rev. Esther North in her lovely musical voice. They could have learned about blind faith from the stories Jim Lee told about raising funds for the massive renovations of the 1990s. And they could have learned much about loyalty from folks who've been married for over 65 years or people who've been friends for over 50 years.

I couldn't help but wonder just what kind of memories those youth are making.