Tag Archives: worship

The CSS in Calgary

Wendy took the Canadian Staff Songsters to Glenmore Temple in Calgary, AB for the Stampede weekend.  It was great to be “home” for a few days and to see good friends, be part of a revisit to a place that has such deep personal meaning for us and to share in the music of this great group. The city of Calgary, if you do not know, is alive in a different way for 10 days as it hosts “the greatest outdoor show on earth”.

So here are two videos to show something of that weekend – a couple more will follow – as it allows you to see and sense something of the nature of the weekend and the flavour of the city!


The chuckwagon races are a great event and I love watching them. The very first funeral that I did after we arrived in Calgary, in 2000 was a woman who had raised 5 kids – 4 of whom had been born and raised in a sod house on the Alberta Saskatchewan border! Think about what it means to grow your own food, live through a winter on the Prairies and to do so in a sod house! That’s a pioneer and the chuck wagons point back to that time in history which is not that far in the past!

This second video is from Sunday morning at Glenmore Temple, the final number by the CSS and while it both these videos are done on my Samsung phone – provide I think a reasonable representation of the quality of the music.



What does it take to worship?

I’ve been listening.  I’ve been listening to the people putting together the outlines for Sunday morning services – some call it the meeting, some call it worship.  It is, beyond the labels, the plan to guide a corporate worship time.

Last Sunday I was in a small corps in Newfoundland where the music reflected the local culture.  The sincerity of the people and their authenticity of worship was evident.  No big brass band, no large songster brigade – just a small group of people singing – a couple of instruments – and lots of good singing.

What’s the intent of the planning then?  I’ve always felt that in planning a service it should serve the purpose of supporting the intent of the sermon.  If we believe that the sermon comes to us as a word from God, and that that teaching has something to say to our coming week then herein lies the focus.  Whatever happens from their has that intent.

Of course the challenge to those who do this is that the intent rests in style.  So will the style be “pop” or jazz or high altar (like Anglican) or will it be Victorian   Add to the mix that the words of songs will also reflect and support the theology.

I hear lots of comments – some positive – some critical.  And having been part of the process (sometimes solely) to put together a meaningful plan I’ve received lots of comments. So here’s my question: do you think it’s easy?  Would you like this responsibility every Sunday?

Here’s what Jesus had to say about our worship:

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” – John 4:23

Mount Pleasant Cemetery – Remembrance

Major Doreen Sturge shares the Scripture reading

Norm sings a solo

Wreathes are laid

Major Max Sturge speaks to the crowd

Wendy and her Dad

The Memorial for the Empress of Ireland

My grandfather’s name listed as officers buried elsewhere

Yesterday afternoon Salvationists gathered at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery to remember those who lost their lives on the Empress of Ireland as well as Officers who have been Promoted to Glory since this same meeting last year.  Majors Max and Doreen Sturge led the service with other participants including a solo by Wendy’s Dad.

It was well done and Max had a fascinating story to tell of one of the coal stokers who worked on that ship – who had also been a coal stoker on the Titanic and had survived.  He later went on to get a job on the ill-fated Lusitania.  He survived that as well according to Max’s research.

Part way through the service I could see some clouds pushing in and, as they had suggested the possibility of thunder showers, I went to get our big umbrella from the van.  As I did a group of golf carts went by – a tour group it became apparent, who stopped down from our gathering.  I heard the tour operator tell the tourists that they were witnessing a historic gathering.  He knew that this gathering had been going on each May for 98 years, and he explained about the Empress of Ireland and the significance to Canada and the Salvation Army.

Indeed it was significant to The Salvation Army with the loss of most of the senior leadership and the Canadian Staff Band.  167 people in total in that group.

I was interested in the tour operators struggle to define what we were doing.. “this celebration or gathering, whatever it might be called has gone on since…”

Yes it is a celebration of sorts.  A celebration that life on this earth is not the end.  A celebration of God’s promise for Heaven.  A celebration of the fact that God has been faithful to The Salvation Army and today we continue to make a difference for the Kingdom of God’s sake.

Here is yesterday’s report by Mike Filey in The Toronto Sun:

Cemetery last port of call ; Victims of sea tragedies memorialized at
Mount Pleasant gravesite
Sun May 27 2012
Page: 46
Section: Lifestyle
Column: The Way We Were
Illustrations: 2 photos ; The caskets of 16 Salvation Army victims of the RMS Empress of Ireland marine disaster
are laid to rest in Mount Pleasant Cemetery on June 6, 1914. The total number of “Sally Ann” victims would
increase to 167, many of them members of the Army’s Canadian Staff Band. ; ; Toronto businessman Alfred
Clarke’s monument, below, in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Note the reference to his being a victim of the sinking of
the Lusitania.
Last month in recognition of the 100th
anniversary of the April 15, 1912, sinking
of the White Star Line’s RMS Titanic with
the loss of more than 1,500 lives, TV
stations, newspapers, magazines and
Internet sites worldwide featured all kinds
of stories about the tragic event.
For my part, I devoted my April 15 Sunday
Sun column (100 years to the day!) to the
three Canadian survivors, Mary and Ethel
Gordon and Maj. Arthur Peuchen, who
now “lie at rest” in Toronto’s beautiful
Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
While the world was shaken by an accident
that the experts were sure just couldn’t
hap-p en, another enormous marine disaster
occurred a little more than two years later,
when on May 29, 1914, the Canadian
Pacific’s Atlantic steamer RMS Empress of
Ireland, bound for Liverpool from the Port
of Quebec City with 1,012 passengers and
crew, was rammed by the Norwegian coal
freighter SS Storstad in the St. Lawrence
River not far from the town of Rimouski.
The Empress sank in less than 14 minutes.
Of the 842 passengers, 167 were members
of the Salvation Army on their way to an

International Conference in London early
in June.
Many of those 167 were from Toronto.
Two years after the disaster an
awe-inspiring memorial to their memory
was erected in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
As has taken place on the Sunday closest to
May 29 every year since the sinking, a
special service will again be held at the
memorial. This year’s will begin at 3 p.m.
and, of course, the public is invited.
As if these two marine disasters in such a
short span of time weren’t enough, a third
sinking of a large passenger ship was to
rattle the world’s ocean-crossing public less
than a year later, when the Cunard liner
RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a
German submarine off Ireland’s southern
coast. This time 1,198 on board died. Of
those, 76 Canadians lost their lives.