Thursday, September 17, 2020

D.G. and Other Symbolic Meanings BY SUSAN HARRIS

An excerpt from Little Copper Pennies dedicated to Peter Black 


D.G. and Other Symbolic Meanings

Catherine was preparing for a talk on Out-Of-the-Box thinking. She was voicing her thoughts aloud as she recited the goal for her OOB, as she called it: Look at something familiar from an angle you have never thought of before. Dissect it, dig it through, mash it, do anything to come up with something novel you have not considered before. 

In an effort to brainstorm unique and creative ideas, she opened the top drawer of her desk for inspiration. A ball-point pen stared back at her. Idly she picked it up, then dropped it in favour of the staple remover. Still uninspired, the chic executive moved the contents with manicured fingers, and the rummage revealed Copper. 

Catherine picked up the penny and was about to drop it back, when she paused. Her keen eyes had caught something. Eagerly she examined the inscription on Copper's face, then turned it over and read the other side, and turned it on its face again. The little coin was curious as to what caught her attention, and did not have to wait long to find out.

"Nineteen-sixty," she whispered through red lips, referring to the date on the penny's reverse. "We were born the same year." 

This was Copper's first lesson in OOB thinking: looking for parallels in its bronze face and her lighter one, for experiences that were mutual. She was a warm, laughing, brilliant administrator, and Copper was a cold, useless coin. The penny was interested to see how this would unfold.

Catherine talked to herself as she worked. Right now she wore the expression of someone who was on the verge of a breakthrough. That she meant business was emphasized when she shut the door of her office, hastily tacking a handwritten "Do not disturb" sticky note on the outside. Soon her pencil was sketching a herringbone map on her pad with these points:

·       Significance of number one 

·       Significance of metals 

·       Significance of Dei Gratia Regina

·       Significance of maple leaf 

·       Significance of 1960 combined numbers

·       The Queen

"Drat, I only have time for three points." Too much information could clutter her presentation, so a swift decision saw the pencil circling the first three items…content missing


…Here Catherine paused and flexed her neck. To the right and then to the left, upwards and downwards. Reaching for a bottle of water, she swallowed half of its contents. Refreshed, she set out to address her third and final point.

Another Web search for the strange words DEI GRATIA REGINA proved that it was a Latin phrase. Gazing at the monitor the executive stopped with a swift intake of breath. Placing her left hand at the side of her head, she leaned back in her chair and stared up at the white ceiling of the office.

 Only she wasn't seeing it. 

Nothing lay above her office except open skies, and Heaven. The place from where the grace of God flowed - for the words DEI GRATIA REGINA means 'By the Grace of God, Queen.' 

The 1960 penny had the Grace of God inscribed in Latin. All the other coins had them too, but Catherine had never, in her half-century of living, wondered about those foreign words. Now she was transfixed. There was no need for further research. The rest would be written from her journey of grace. 

As she delved into her black leather bag lying in the bottom drawer of her desk, the brunette's hair fell forward as she raked the bag for something. Coins they turned out to be. Of all denominations. One by one, through new and puzzled eyes, she read each then sorted them into two piles. One pile had one coin, the other had eleven.

In haste she turned to the untiring Internet, and scrolling on the Royal Mint's website, she gave an "Aha" of triumph as she read these words aloud: 

1965 – Maturing Monarch. A new obverse sculpted by Arnold Machin portrays a more mature Elizabeth II, wearing a jewelled tiara. The legend, too, was revised: the formal Dei Gratia was reduced to D.G.

The eleven coins Catherine had placed in one pile had the initials D.G., and naively, she had thought that those were the initials of a person. She had not attributed them to an abbreviation of Latin words. It was not a far-fetched notion, as K.G on Copper's reverse was indeed the initials of the artist George Edward Kruger-Gray who had designed the maple twigs. The little coin wondered if most people thought similarly. This change had taken place forty seven years before the coin's removal, and the younger generation may have overlooked it as well. 

The screen saver, flashing a hypnotizing show of colours and edifices, had obliterated the slides, but with AutoSave doing its job, Catherine had no need for the computer just then. Her whirring brain would capture it better in pencil and paper and then she would summarize it on the PowerPoint. 

She possessed a strong faith, and as she verbalized her thoughts Copper learnt a most unique discourse about how the woman viewed a penny. They were her personal thoughts but the little coin wondered if others shared the views. To her, God's name was holy. Even on a coin. It should not be used in vain, nor should it be stepped on. 

Catherine shuddered. She often dropped pennies carelessly and never bothered about their worth. Above all, she would never pick up a penny unless it was in her own house or car. Now she felt a twinge for desecrating God's name and His message of grace because of her disdain for the penny lying on the ground. The word 'Grace' means 'unmerited favour.' It cannot be earned. It was freely given and she had trampled on it. Literally. 

Catherine bowed her head in the office with its shut door as she pondered on the penny. Symbolically she had shut her heart in ignorance, but now it was opened. D.G. was like an affirmation that she lived each day because of God's grace. Over the years the Mint had produced more than 35 billion pennies, which she chose to view as 35 billion reminders of God's grace raining upon this huge land, blessing the entities who used the coins. 

Yet it is inscribed not only on the penny but on every coin in the money system, the sum total of which was too overwhelming to even begin to imagine. She had never given thought to the symbols and engravings on the penny, but now enlightened, Catherine could not go back to her previous oblivion. Like most people who experience a paradigm shift, her behaviour was changing. 

Every penny reassured her of her relationship with God, and His favour. Catherine declared to herself that she would never let a penny's message be wasted again. Her personal mission now would include the unthinkable act of picking up pennies. For picking up pennies was a tangible reminder of God's goodness to her and she was thankful for this. Picking up a coin was an acknowledgement of God's blessings that she so did not deserve. 

Catherine's OOB exercise was sobering. When she shared it later that week she would not be expecting anyone to adopt her mission, but change driven by passion always ignites respect. This was her personal OOB success. She would never scorn little coins again. 

She would pick up any penny, appreciate any penny. Not to become wealthy but to become richer. Richer by the grace of God.

Find out more about Susan Harris at                                                            

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

The Oikos Project - HIRD

 All Saints Community Church


White Rock

“Project Oikos”

By Rev Dr. Ed and Janice Hird


Raising funds to buy a church building during a global pandemic seems like a crazy idea. But then again, so does crossing the Red Sea and surviving life in the desert for forty years as the nation of Israel did 3,500 years ago. Or walking on waterhealing the sick, or being resurrected as Jesus did 2,000 years ago. The history of the people of God is filled with stories of faith and the miraculous.

“Project Oikos” is one of those stories.

One of the meanings for the word “oikos” in New Testament Greek is “a house” or “dwelling place.” The people of All Saints Community Church have called this proposal “Project Oikos” because they believe it is time for them as a community to have a home base. A place where they can worship God, provide a Christian world view for the community and serve their neighbours.

The community of All Saints Church believe God is calling them to make the Holy Cross Church in Crescent Beach their home. In order to do that, they need to raise $3 million: just over $2 million to buy the building and parking lot and just under $1 million to refurbish the inside of the building and parking lot.


The Vision


The opportunity for a Christian community to purchase a church property for the purpose of serving the wider community is a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. For this to happen in the

neighbourhood of Crescent Beach borders on the miraculous. The All Saints Community has seen many miracles in its fifteen-year history.   Several people who were expected to die were miraculously healed.  Many people who had given up on life were healed from addictions and family wounds.  All Saints has been used over and over in blessing people in need, and even helping change legislation for refugees and temporary workers. Whenever things have been tight financially, God has come through with unexpected gifts.  

The vision for purchasing this historic church is threefold:

Sacred Space

The first priority is to maintain a “sacred space.” The historic tradition of Holy Cross is that people

have prayed in that church since 1946. Keeping a sacred space will honour the historical integrity of the congregations who have gone before. It also means that the wider community will have

access to the sanctuary–during the day—for prayer, reflection and rest.


Ministry Center

The second imperative for purchasing this church is to ensure that a “ministry center” will complement the sacred space. A ministry center will provide the Church community a place to serve the wider community.

Ministry opportunities include:


• caring for senior citizens

• providing a place for lonely people (one of the greatest needs in our


• ministry for youth and children

• welcome and care for new immigrants (especially those who are

experiencing “immigration abuse”)

• help and support for refugee families

• providing English as a second language

• collecting food and goods for the food bank

• supporting local restaurants and coffee shops

• providing a memorial garden

• hosting an annual summer festival as we have done in the past


Debt Free

The third priority for buying this building is to entrust it to the next generation of Church leaders—debt freeIn this way, the future Church Community will not have to pay off a previous debt. Rather than paying debts, the Church Community will be able to engage in serving the local community.


This may be one of the most important investments a person could make to uphold a Christian presence and serve the community for generations to come. “Project Oikos” will have an eternal


Should you be interested in supporting this vision, saving an historic church, and investing in the Kingdom of God, please contact The Right Reverend Peter Klenner, pastor at All Saints Community

Church (604.209.5570). You can also donate by visiting ourwebpage:

-previously published in the Light Magazine



Thursday, September 03, 2020

Pray for One Another by Rose McCormick Brandon


Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:18

My heart was heavy over an on-going concern. One day, I arrived home from work weary. A small square envelope lay on the dining room table.  Tiny letters in the top left corner revealed the name of the sender–Valerie. We hadn’t connected for months as she lived about an hour away, but Valerie’s passionate faith always inspires me. Valerie knew nothing about my concern.

I slid a finger under the sealed flap and pulled out a card. Red and white roses encircled these words: I hold you in my heart

Inside Valerie wrote, “As I sat before the Lord this morning your face came before my eyes and I felt an urge to pray for you. I did. You are precious to the Lord and He holds you close to His heart. Remember, He will never leave you nor forsake you as you are going through this difficulty. You are in the palm of His mighty hand.”

I pressed the note to my heart and cherished it as a personal message from God to me. He cared. Cared enough to whisper my name to Valerie . . . not only to whisper my name but to reveal that I was going through a difficulty.

We are meant to pray for one another. Prayer is the primary business of all believers.

On other occasions friends have sensed my need and prayed for me. In turn, I have carried the needs of fellow believers to the Lord. That’s how God works. He urges us to pray for one another, to give words of encouragement and to find inventive ways to lift the spirits of the downhearted.

Prayer: Lord, burden my soul with the burdens of others. Cause me to sense their needs and urge me to bring them to you.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

GOING TO SCHOOL by Eleanor Shepherd

  It was 1952.  The little girl who lived in the swampy part of North Carolina was in the shack alone when the Truant officer came looking for her, to take her to school. The family had lost everything during the depression and engulfed by debts, when her father returned from the War, they had taken refuge in a shack on the soggy coastlands. 


            Survival seemed impossible so they family members concluded one by one that they would have to take their destiny in their own hands. Her parents had a serious fight and the next day, her mother covered her bruises and walked down the road, never to be seen again. Each of her brothers came to the decision that they too must leave and finally there were only the little girl and her sometimes sober father left in the house. Knowing the threat he was when he was drunk the little girl was careful to give him a wide berth. 


            Thus it was that the Truant officer came into the house and helped the little girl to find something that she could wear to school. Then she put her in the car and took her to the school. The little girl wanted to go because she wanted to learn to read and to know what number came after 29. She was also told that she would have chicken pie cooked for her lunch and she was hungry because at age seven all that she had learned to cook was grits. 


            The other children were unkind and made fun of her. At the end of the day she returned home and vowed she would never return. Thereafter, when the Truant officer came, she would take to the woods and hide. 


            I felt sad as I read the story and realize how different the experience of school was for this little girl from what I had lived when I was at school during this same time period. Even though I went to many schools because my parents were often transferred to other parts of the country, I never experienced the kind of treatment this little girl knew. 


            I read her story in a novel called Where the Crawdads Sing. For me, growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, school was a magical place where I learned so many new and exciting things about the world, about myself and about other people. 


            My children in the 1980’s and 1990’s also enjoyed the experience of going to school and like me they would play school when they came home or whenever they had free time. 


            For my grandchildren too, school is synonymous with making friends and having fun together as you learn. It is a place that played an important role in their lives until six months ago, when Covid arrived and schools had to close down. 


            Now they are opening up again, and although parents are often nervous about what will

happen, they have been reassured by the protocols that have been put in place to protect their children. As I looked at the photo my daughter sent of her daughter, masked and ready to head out to get on the school bus, I thought about children who live in places where all of the protection we have been able to provide for my grand-children, may not be available for them.   


            It hit me when I picked up the denominational magazine for our clergy. There I read about rural communities in Tanzania where poverty is preventing children from getting an education. Despite efforts of non-profits to eliminate child poverty, there it is rare for families to have even a single daily meal or to get basic necessities. Most of them drop out of school at an early age, their dreams of education shattered by the gnaw of hunger that makes the daily walk of 20 kilometres to school seem insurmountable. 


            We know that our schools along with parents and teachers are facing challenges, because of the worldwide Covid epidemic. Yet we know that in spite of this there is still a possibility for our children and grandchildren to resume their educational journey. We will be transported to a higher level of gratitude and hopefully generosity when we realize that the economic downturn is going to make it impossible for other children in our world, like those in rural Tanzania to even dream of escaping their lot. “They need you. They need me. They need Christ*.” And we are His hands and feet.   



  Allow this song to touch your life. 


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