Bits and Bites Newsletter

Bits and Bites 2019-11-13
- Posted 2019-11-19 22:24:43

“Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers.” 

Kahil Gibran

There’s been a lot of snow recently – and a lot of kindness too.  The Port Colborne Lions Club Food Drive had a spectacular Saturday:  26,403 pounds of food and $2300 collected for Port Cares!  Kudos to the Lions, the firemen, the local businesses, the school kids, and all the volunteers for their mega-effort.  And thanks, too, to everyone who left a little something on their front steps for the fleet of picker-uppers. 

Let’s keep it going.  We’d love to make this next White Gift Sunday (December 8th) a particularly good ‘un.  Remember, you don’t have to wait for Sundays to bring in your contributions.  The Gathering Place is open Tuesday to Friday mornings so do your weekly shop, then drop (off).

And while we’re giving thanks, thanks to Sharon Beverly and her team for a fabulous turkey dinner for our Anniversary Weekend, November 2nd ; to Jen de Combe from National Office for her words of encouragement on Sunday; and to Rev Wally Hong for some motivational muscle at Tuesday’s Pot Luck.  (And by “pot luck” we mean “left overs from Sunday” but they were still yummy!)

Then this past Sunday, with Linda away on her hols, our ivories were tickled by guest pianist Sheila Brown and Monday Rev Adam was guest minister at the Legion’s Remembrance Day service.  Our blessings are piling up like… like … drifting snow?

We’re on the downward, snowy slope to Christmas so we’ll keep an eye on the Flight of Eagles Art Club and their wintery creations.  They meet tomorrow, Thursday,  from 4.30 to 6.16 p.m. 

That’s followed by our Social Evening.  No one has told me what’s on the agenda, but it’s always good fun, and there’s often pizza …

The Bible Study groups return on the 20th and 21st.  The Wednesday debaters are moving on to Romans 9, and the Thursday Ladies are checking out the Women of Jesus.

Nothing nicer than a cup of coffee or tea on a cold morning and the kettle is always on by 9.30 a.m. for the Friday Morning Club

The Niagara Branch of the Canadian Bible Society is still open to volunteers for their Bible Proclamation from November 13th to 16th in Port Colborne and St Catharines.  If you can volunteer to do a ‘shift’ or two, get in touch with Rev. Martin Wehrmann, 905-646-8271 or  It’s a rain-snow-or-shine event and The GP will be providing the base for operations!

You might have noticed that not only is it white out there but it’s also more than a bit nippy.  The Out of the Cold dinners are a Big Deal for many and it’s the turn of The GP on November 26th to get them on the table.  If you can help prep, serve, or clean up,  Sharon and Larry Beverly would dearly like to hear from you!

Meanwhile, elsewhere

‘Tis the season to be jolly …

Central United Church’s Candy Cane Bazaar & Silent Auction will be on Saturday, November 16th from 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.  Come for baked goods and crafts;  come for lunch!

The Busy Bee Crafters’ Christmas Bazaar is also on November 16th, 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. at the Sherkston Community Centre.  Crafts, baked goods, and a Christmas Tea will be on offer.

St James & Brendan Anglican Church’s “Holiday Memories” Christmas House Tour and Tea will be on Saturday, Nov. 23rd from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.  Advance tickets are $20 from the church;  $25 on the day. 

The Treble Makers Christmas concert this year will be on Saturday December 14th at 7.00 p.m. at St. James & St Brendan Anglican Church.  Proceeds from the free will offering will be donated to The Broken Spoke bicycle renovation workshop.

And looking even further ahead …

Port Colborne Baptist Church will be hosting the Watoto Children’s Choir from Africa in February 2020.  They are looking for homes which could host one adult and two children for the night of February 7th.  If you can help, please contact Rev. Aaron LeGrow, 905-835-5668  (I’m also guessing there will be tickets on sale at some point;  watch this space.)


“Fresh snow on driveways is God’s way of reminding me to love my neighbour.”

Linda Winegar

Jane Thomas

A Message addressed to the members of the Niagara Acton for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance
- Posted 2019-11-19 22:22:35

We are members of The Gathering Place which is First Presbyterian Church in Port Colborne.  Our denomination regrettably operated some residential schools.  We have confessed this participation as a sin and representatives of the denomination and The Gathering Place participated in reconciliation programs, most recently at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre. 

On November 6, 2019, Welland Tribune reporter Grant Lafleche reported in an article entitled “Short Hills hunt opponents label Indigenous hunters drunks and calls for their deaths.”  Haudenosaunee hunters are permitted in December to undertake a ceremonial deer hunt in the Short Hills Park since 2013.  The harvest is approved and supervised by the Park’s Managers, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  Safety measures are in place during the hunt for the safety of local residents.   

Spokespersons for the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance allowed Facebook postings and participation in site protests from individuals who called the hunters “drunks and barbarians”, with some calling for the hunters to be harvested, like the deer.  While the postings were removed, their removal took time and were viewed widely.  The Saturday, November 9th edition of the Welland Tribune reports the protest organizers apologized.  With respect, we do not feel the apology is sufficient. 

Here are actions we encourage the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance to take to facilitate reconciliation with the traditional harvesters:

  1. Your organizations need to own the racism which has been expressed in your protests.
  2. It isn’t sufficient to apologize without acknowledging the Aboriginal hunt is lawful, carefully planned, and approved by Provincial authorities responsible for the Short Hills Park.  Traditional deer hunting is a treaty right.  This right needs to be acknowledged by the membership of the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance in your publications and communications to members and the public.   
  3. As settlers and descendants of settlers, we are treaty people and obliged to honour the Haudenosaunee peoples Treaty rights.  Educational forums are available in Oshweken and local Niagara Region Native Friendship Centres where we can educate ourselves on our responsibilities.  We encourage the members of the Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance to use these forums to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its recommendations and to confront racism in its many forms when it arises in the future.
  4. We thank the Creator for the Short Hills Park and the Haudenosaunee peoples who managed these lands before our settlement and who continue to help manage this important resource.
  5. Some form of reparation is needed to address the offensive postings and statements that you sponsored.  With respect, your organizations need to cease harassing the Haudenosaunee hunters at the Short Hills Park.
Port Hospital
- Posted 2019-11-19 22:20:20

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” – Proverbs 3:27

In living our day to day lives, we can sometimes forget – or at least overlook – the powerful force that is Community.  Those of us raised in the Christian faith are both morally and spiritually bound to the idea of service to others, to those in need, to our neighbours. 

In the spirit of service, the Port Colborne community saw the need, post-war, to improve health care in Port Colborne.  The community raised funds.  The community built Port Colborne Hospital and, over its 65+ years, the community has cared for the Hospital as it has cared for us.

When the local press broke the story, on September 18th, of the pending closure of our Urgent Care unit, it was probably met more with despair than with surprise.   It is an idea which has been floated often over the last thirty years.  Services have been lost; equipment bought with local funds has moved to larger hospitals; Emergency has been demoted to Urgent Care. 

And now we are told we will be losing even Urgent Care.

When you live in a community, when you support your neighbours, when you volunteer to make your community thrive, you understand what a blow this proposal will be.  The older citizen, the under-employed and unemployed citizen, the house-bound, and the young will be challenged to access these now-distanced services. 

And so, as Christians and as community members, the ball is in our court.  We ask our elected representatives and we ask our civil servants, please consider fully the repercussions.  Listen to your constituents.  Place value on our lived experience.   

We are here to work with you.

Sincerely and Prayerfully,

The Congregation

First Presbyterian Church


“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him

as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Hebrews 6:10

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