Gifting of Hedley Grace Church

For Graham Gore, pastor of the Hedley Grace Church, this past

Wednesday, April 22

Bud Best representing Cawston United Church with Peggy Terry and Graham Gore of Hedley Grace Church
Bud Best representing Cawston United Church with Peggy Terry and Graham Gore of Hedley Grace Church

was no ordinary day. He and church treasurer Peggy Terry signed legal papers by which the Cawston United Church “sold” the church building to the local congregation for $1.00. At this time the land still belongs to the Crown.

From its earliest days, during the gold mining boom in Hedley, church work here was a collaborative effort. Historian Harry Barnes wrote that “afternoon services were conducted in a tent in Hedley by Rev. E.E. Hardwick. He was employed by the mine.”

In 1902, the Methodists sent J.W. Hedley (not the Hedley the town is named for) and he held evening services, initially in the hotel and then in a tent. A year later, in 1903, a church building was constructed by Rev. Hedley on donated land. M.K. Rodgers, general manager of the Kelowna Exploration Company, gave considerable assistance to this project. They also built a home for the minister. Workers at the Stamp Mill supported the project financially, and also with labour. Rev. Hedley regularly visited the families at the town site on Nickel Plate mountain.

In 1903 Hedley’s first school was opened, located in the rear of the church. The church building also served as headquarters for the Twentieth Century Club and the Library.

The United Methodists joined with other denominations in 1925 to establish the United Church. A further coalescing happened in 1969 when various denominations drew together to become the Keremeos Ecumenical Parish.

It was not until 2001 that a septic system was installed and water

Hedley Grace Church
Hedley Grace Church

lines were brought into the church for the kitchen and bathroom. Local Extras in the Jack Nicholson movie, The Pledge, donated some of their earnings toward this project. The Mennonite Disaster Service and the Kamloops United Church joined up to refurbish the interior and exterior of the church.

In 2008 the congregation joined the “Congregational Christian Churches of Canada” and adopted the name, Hedley Grace Church. Now, as in earlier years, the church is deeply involved in the life of the community. Each year it holds a bottle drive, with considerable support from the community, to raise funds to send Hedley children to camp. At Christmas it cooperates with The Country Market to provide hampers to needy families and individuals. Most of the adherents are also involved in other organizations in town. It’s still a collaborative effort.

From Mt. Kilimanjaro to Hedley

Kim English of Hedley has visited Europe approximately 15 times.

Kim English
Kim English

She has done volunteer work in Tanzania and lived in a mud hut on Mt. Kilimanjaro. In Vancouver she successfully sold art at the Inuit Gallery. Six years ago she arrived in Hedley to visit a friend and stay “just for the summer.”

When I asked what had prompted her to make this little community her home she said, “I didn’t realize at that time my nephew Jordan would be coming to live with me. He was having significant behavioural challenges in his home and at school. I thought the slower pace and quiet of Hedley would have a calming effect. He’s the reason I stayed.”

During the time Jordan lived with Kim, we had opportunities to observe some of her interactions with him. Not having children of her own, it must have been a steep learning curve. What impressed us most was her total commitment to this youth who was bringing turmoil into her life. She spoke to him patiently but firmly. At times we were surprised at her understanding. Observing her in this relationship has led us to believe that her endeavours in the Similkameen community come from a basis of commitment to the people.

Kim came with little except some pretty decent furniture and a

Kim English, standing in her front yard.
Kim English, standing in her front yard.

willingness to do virtually anything to survive financially. She was single and after a failed relationship, had no interest in men. Also, in the city she had used public transit so she didn’t have a Driver’s Licence or a vehicle. She found a home to rent and began building a new life. She had ideas and a desire to make a positive difference. Initially she worked as a waitress at the Hitching Post Restaurant and also did pruning in a vineyard. A lot has changed since that early beginning.

One of the constants in Kim’s life since 1989 has been a friendship with Angelique Wood. As a student in Classical Studies at Langara College and then majoring in archaeology at SFU, she leaned on Angelique for help. “I had some dyslexia issues, particularly a problem with jumbling words,” she said. “Before I handed in papers, I asked Angelique to proof read them.”

In Hedley they have developed a collaborative partnership. While Angelique was an RDOS Director, they attracted a number of Similkameen community leaders to Hedley for “Community Conversations.” Their goal was to inspire creative approaches to community issues.

“One of the challenges for small, out of the way communities like Hedley,” she said, “is that seniors are moving to larger centres to get the services they need. They can’t manage on their own. That’s why we brought in a couple of speakers from Keremeos to explain Meals on Wheels. We don’t want to lose the wisdom and experience of seniors.”

She is also concerned that few families move to Hedley. “We need to make it possible for them to buy a home,” she believes. “One way of doing this would be to establish a Land Trust. We’ve had productive conversations with Michael Lewis, an expert in the field. The trust concept has been proven to be a viable approach in a number of places. We need people to live in the homes that are now empty. We need them to participate in the community. I believe they will come if there are attractive options. We’ll have to be creative to make this happen.”

Recently Kim has ventured into the realm of politics, supporting her friend Angelique who is the NDP candidate for the local riding. She is a member of the Election Planning Committee and a volunteer coordinator for the riding’s southern section.

I said earlier that a number of things have changed for Kim. She now has a Driver’s Licence and owns a shiny, nearly new 4×4 pickup. She has also bought a home and for a time had chickens in her back yard. Probably most exciting, she met Andy English when they were both members of the Hedley Fire Department. They are now happily married.

There is a further very positive development. When Jordan visited Kim and Andy recently, I spoke with him briefly. His growth in confidence and maturity is impressive, even delightful.

Kim’s commitment to fostering change in her family and her community is producing positive results. She has no plans to return to Mt. Kilimanjaro any time soon.

A Pastor And A Harley Rider

Clay (standing), Dwight and Graham
Clay (standing), Dwight and Graham

It’s a pretty certain indication spring has arrived when I see Dwight, my Harley riding neighbour, sitting outside in the sun having a beer with Graham. On warm days he often opens his garage door and can see Graham when he is outdoors, working on his yard almost across the street. The man standing in this photo is Clay, Dwight’s friend from Summerland.

Dwight and Graham represent two quite different cultures. Dwight worked in the Alberta oil patch many years. He rides a Harley and so do most of his friends. His biker buddies speak a “language” that Dwight knows is not suitable in conversations with Graham. He is quite able to make the switch.

Graham is pastor of Hedley’s only church. He once rode a Harley and had a significant alcohol issue. Unlike most former alcoholics though, he can have one beer and not desire more. He refers to himself as a “delivered” (as opposed to recovered) alcoholic. I’ve never heard even the sniff of a rumour that he still has a problem.

His past has shaped him perfectly to be a pastor in this community where interest in religion is minimal at best. He is able to relate and interact with his small congregation and with those who have no interest in the faith. Also with the beer drinkers. Some in town come to him for counselling. He is asked to perform Celebration of Life ceremonies, and sometimes weddings.

With his history, Graham seems to understand the biker/beer culture. In his mid-seventies he sometimes says, “I’d like to have one more ride on a Harley.”

Although the two men are radically different in their life style, they evidently have some values in common. Where they may differ, they are tolerant. Dwight apparently sees something in Graham that he likes and respects. He told me last year, “Graham is my best friend.”

This friendship between a Harley rider and a pastor is intriguing and somewhat unconventional. But then, Hedley is an intriguing and somewhat unconventional community.

Eric Goodfellow Visits Camp Defiance

Eric Goodfellow  April 2015
Eric Goodfellow
April 2015

Eric Goodfellow of Princeton may be the only individual who ever walked the rugged mountainous trail from Princeton to Hope at the age of 7.

He sent me an e-mail after reading my column about Bill Robinson’s cabin at Camp Defiance along the Hope-Princeton Highway. My research had not led me to any living persons who had walked the trail in those early years. For this reason his words surprised me. “I walked with my father from Princeton to Hope in 1934. We stopped in at the cabin and visited with Bill Robinson. He gave us coffee with sugar.”

Hoping he might be able to expand my understanding of this aspect of BC geography and history, I invited him for coffee and a conversation. When he arrived at my home in Hedley at 10:00 a.m. as arranged, I sensed immediately that he is a congenial individual who enjoys people. He began by saying, “In 1927 my father, Reverend John C. Goodfellow, was invited to become pastor of the United Church in Princeton. I was only 6 weeks old when we moved from Victoria. The first time I walked the trail with him was in 1934. All I carried that time was a pillow. He carried our sleeping bags and food.”

In answer to my question as to his father’s motivation for undertaking such an arduous and unlikely trek, Eric said, “He took along 10-15 boys. They were mostly from the Sunday School in his church, but other boys were welcome. He didn’t talk much about religion on these walks. I think he just wanted to develop relationships with the boys and build into their young lives. He walked the trail 19 times, always starting out on the first Monday of July. All told he took along a total of about 250 boys. The last 2 years a Mrs. Busche came along, each time with a group of girls.”

They began their trek on the section of highway from Princeton to Fraser Camp, (the Whipsaw Creek area),where the road ended at that time. “From there we climbed the Dewdney Trail up the mountain to about the 7000 foot level,” he said. “At the top we removed our shoes and socks and stuck our feet into the ice cold water of a lake. That was very refreshing.”

“There were places where the trail was overgrown and narrow. In the morning the branches were wet with dew. They slapped our faces and bodies. By noon our clothes were soaked and we built a fire to dry ourselves. We rarely saw anyone else on the trail. At night we cut boughs and placed our sleeping bags on them. We didn’t have tents. We built a big fire to keep away the animals.”

The only adverse incident Eric remembers is when a boy placed a full can of pork’n beans on the fire without first poking holes in the top. “It exploded and we were all covered with beans.” It was probably a minor disaster. He laughs now at the memory.

“When we got to Hope,” Eric said, “Mr. Thacker let us pick big ripe strawberries in his field. We put them in our bowls and poured cream on them from a small Pacific Milk can.” With his fingers he indicated the can was about 3 inches tall. Getting cleaned up after nearly a week in the wilderness was another highlight for the boys. “The manager of the Commercial Hotel let us wash up.”

In our conversation he returned a couple of times to the delicious strawberries with cream and the opportunity to wash off the grime. His appreciation is still very evident. “Saturday at midnight,” he said, “we got on the Kettle Valley CPR train and arrived in Princeton at 4 am.” Eric did the walk with his father seven times.

Eric Goodfellow, Bill Robinson, Rev. John C. Goodfellow (photo supplied by Eric Goodfellow)
Eric Goodfellow, Bill Robinson, Rev. John C. Goodfellow (photo supplied by Eric Goodfellow)

In 1946 he undertook one more adventure through the difficult terrain, this time driving a Model A Ford on the as yet incomplete Hope-Princeton Highway. “They hadn’t built bridges over the creeks,” he said. “We had to drive through them. There was a bridge over the Sumallo River not far from Bill Robinson’s cabin though, and I stopped in and had a very pleasant visit with him.” At the end of our conversation, I felt as though I had been at Eric’s side on the trail, experiencing the rigours and joys of this momentous adventure.

Henry’s Example

I have long been intrigued by the ability of some people to place

sowing good seeds by example
sowing good seeds by example

uplifting seeds into the hearts and minds of those around them. For me this becomes particularly impressive when I see the seeds bearing fruit in future generations. This morning I spoke with Florence. For many years, she and her now-departed husband Abe, have been members of the Fraser Valley Breakfast Group Linda and I belong to. I asked for permission to recount several anecdotes from her family. She agreed readily and mentioned a piece of the family story I had not been aware of. This is where I will begin.

For many years Abe’s father Henry operated a small roofing business. Henry was of my parents’ generation and like them, an individual I respected highly for his integrity. Florence told me there had been times when his customers were not able to pay for the work he had done. Rather than harassing them for the money, Henry chose a more compassionate response. He forgave the debt. As a young man, Abe worked with his Dad and was aware that at times this happened.


Henry’s example evidently influenced his son. Abe was a large man with a bearing, voice, attitude and wisdom that brought him respect and credibility. On one occasion he and Florence and several friends were in a restaurant. Abe’s attention was drawn to a family at a nearby table. The children were well behaved, but the parents faces revealed tension. Troubled by this, Abe got up and approached the family.

“I just want to tell you,” he said in his deep, gentle voice, “ I’ve been observing your children. I see they are respectful and well behaved. You must be very good parents.” Surprised, the couple looked up at the big man who had unexpectedly appeared at their table. The tension in their faces eased, and their bodies relaxed. They smiled and the man said, “thanks for your encouraging words. It’s good to hear we’re doing something right.”


When the husband of their daughter Marlys walked out of the marriage and family, Abe and Florence sold their condo and moved in with her. She needed to work to support her family. The children were young and she couldn’t leave them alone. Financially, selling their home was a sacrifice, since it took them out of a rising real estate market. For them, the investment in family was more important.

When Marlys was about to get married again, her fiance Ron recognized and valued what her parents had done. He felt deeply impressed. He said to Marlys, “your parents really stepped up to

Cruise ship honeymoon
Cruise ship honeymoon

the plate in a big way when you needed their help. I’d like to do something to thank them. Let’s take them along on our honeymoon cruise.” Surprised, she agreed. Since then she has said to Ron several times, “I still can’t believe we took my parents along on our honeymoon.” It was a pretty unique and impressive way of saying “thanks Mom and Dad.”


Ron has since continued this pattern of thinking positively and blessing people. Recently he and Jim, a co-worker, walked across the street to a casino during their lunch break from work. Ron’s idea was to have lunch and also a little fun. For him the “little fun” resulted in winning $70. Jim lost $60. Ron bought lunch, costing $10. He wanted to give the remaining money to Jim. He knew, though, he wouldn’t take it. Handing the money to Jim, he asked him to hold it for a minute. Then he said, “we went here for lunch and to have some fun. Our idea wasn’t to earn money. We do that on the job. Today I won $70 and bought lunch for both of us. Now I still have the $60 left, which I really don’t need. You lost $60. If I give you my $60, we will have had some fun and a nice lunch, and it hasn’t cost us anything”. Jim accepted this logic and gratefully pocketed the money.


In his roofing business and elsewhere, Henry demonstrated to his son a generous way of dealing with people. Abe and Florence lived by the same principle. They passed it on to their offspring and others. It would be interesting to know how many future generations will be impacted by Henry’s example.

Will Duffy Case Spark Citizen Outrage?

I was listening to a CBC broadcast once again reciting the litany of

Parliament of Canada
Parliament of Canada

charges against suspended Senator Mike Duffy. Living in the serenity of the Similkameen Valley, I was tempted to think this court case in Ottawa is too far removed to impact me or my neighbours. Surely we are insulated against the alleged predations of Mr. Duffy.

Then I recalled Bruce Hutchison’s words in The Unfinished Country, “Like most capitals,” Hutchison contends, “Ottawa is a parasite, a kept woman, feeding on taxpayers from coast to coast.”

It’s not what I want to hear about those who govern us. I would much prefer to think well of them. Maybe that is at the root of the problem. We assume our affairs are being tended to with integrity. This assumption lulls us into a state of complacency. The result is we don’t pay attention.

There have always been individuals prepared to take advantage of citizen apathy. The Pacific Railway Scandal during the tenure of our first PM, John A. McDonald, is an early Canadian example. More recently Vanessa Redgrave, former Premier of Alberta, became embroiled in a highly publicized case of misuse of public funds. Highly placed executives in the Portland Hotel Society lived lavishly on donated funds. Examples abound at every level of government and society.

Mr. Duffy’s attorney, Donald Bayne, has offered the explanation that “the rules about Senate expenses are unclear.”

It is apparently Duffy’s view, and that of at least some Senators, when rules are unclear it’s permissible to be reckless with our tax dollars. Although it would be unfair to believe all Senators have interpreted the rules too loosely, they have not chosen to rectify this situation that allows some members to live like High Rollers on the public purse. If they don’t understand that vague rules will lead to overspending on the part of some Senators, do they have the wisdom and integrity to represent us adequately?

I’d leave this alone if there were sufficient funds for a decent medical facility in our valley. If streets in disrepair in Hedley were redone with real blacktop. If we saw a police cruiser in town more than occasionally. If the aging infrastructures of towns and cities were being properly maintained. If disabled individuals and frail seniors received more services in their homes or in care facilities. If there were effective programs to support families with special needs children and youth.

The sense of entitlement has never been dealt with because Senators from all parties have become comfortable with rules that permit virtually any interpretation. It’s a system that will always remain in place unless we become sufficiently irritated to shake off our lethargy and firmly instruct political leaders to remove the lavish “public trough”.

Like many of my neighbours in this valley, I value the distance from our provincial and national capitals. I understand, however, that this distance does not impair the ability of the greedy ones in those capitals to be free wheeling with our tax dollars. I know also that I should not expect that the current revelations of shoddy practises will shame the Senate into enacting substantive change. The beneficiaries of our largess are not likely to do it willingly, or on their own initiative. The impetus will need to come from us, the citizens of this nation.

I have immense respect for those who write or call their elected representatives. Also for individuals who pen letters to editors of newspapers. Although it requires patience and perseverance, governments sometimes will change policies and actions due to significant public outrage and pushback.

Donald Bayne has asserted the Senate permits its rules to be interpreted in virtually any way a Senator chooses. His client should therefore not be punished for his extravagant interpretation of the vague rules. If we disagree, or at least feel strongly the rules need to be tightened, this is an opportune time to make our views known on this matter. Complaining to a neighbour over the fence won’t be effective. A brief note to our local political representatives and to leaders of the major parties could make a difference. Change comes when enough individuals act.

Our Easter Weekend

Linda and I both grew up in a Mennonite church. As a kid I was

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

reluctant to attend a service on Good Friday but it was what our family did. Good Friday services seem to be somewhat rare now, but the little church in Hedley did have one this year. Derek Lilly, a professional electrician and former Fire Chief spoke. He challenged us with “something to think about” and kept it to a decent length, something I still appreciate.

On a purely intellectual level I consider it an improbability that the God who created the universe and humankind would send his Son to die for beings he deemed to be sinful. For me, accepting this has required a huge leap across an intellectual chasm. However, the improbability of it is also uncannily appealing, at least for me. It’s a “scheme” to which I could not sacrifice either my son or daughter. It’s such an incredible plan that after dealing with many doubts and misgivings over the years, I have come to accept that it actually happened.

Sunday morning we were at the Coast and decided to attend the Easter service at South Langley Church (Mennonite). The reason for this selection was that a former classmate, Joanne, attends there and we thought that with a little luck we might see her. It’s a large church so we knew it was a longshot. We were surprised to see her sitting in the row ahead of ours and just a little farther along. She recognized us immediately and waved.

After the service I asked if she had served with the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), something she mentioned in an e-mail last summer. She said she had cooked for the volunteers during the High River, Alberta flood and its aftermath. “I loved it,” she told us. We have only occasional contacts with former school friends, so this was special.

In the afternoon it was a family gathering on Linda’s side. The meals at these gatherings invariably have an unsettling effect on my resolve, and at times on my stomach. Our daughter Vivian had made her much loved dessert. Also Linda’s sister Leona had baked large apple pies. I sampled both desserts, with ice cream.

After the meal, the ladies decided to play Skippo as usual. They are an amazingly fanatical bunch and carry on for hours. Eventually it becomes tedious for us men. When Vivian and Troy decided to leave, I went with them.

While Linda was playing the game, I walked in a wooded area and

My walk on Easter weekend
My walk on Easter weekend

then across a wetlands and around a large man made duck pond. Fortunately, the path across the wetland had largely dried up. At times we’ve found it submerged under more than a foot of water. I’m very pleased the city is protecting this area from development. Had the camera with me and snapped a few shots.

I’m reluctant and somewhat embarrassed to admit that Monday evening I ate a slice of Costco apple pie, which I discovered in Vivian’s fridge . Pretty tasty, but not competition for Leona’s home made version. This was after a lunch gathering with my side of the family at sister Linda’s farm.

While we were at the Coast we stayed with Vivian, Troy and family, as usual. Both Brandon (15 and now almost 6 ft 5 in.) and Alexa are on basketball teams at school. Alexa began more recently but surprised and impressed me with her ability to sink 3 point shots. They used to ask me to play with them in their backyard, but I noticed with a bit of chagrin that this time there was no invitation. They have progressed too far beyond Grampa’s experience and ability. Possibly with a personal coach I’d be at least considered.

Art & Greenhouse (3)Tuesday morning it was time to get back to Hedley and attend to the chickens and the garden. I’ve constructed a greenhouse as an experiment to see if I can protect our kale, bok choy , cabbage, etc. from the predations of Cabbage Moths. Last year they reminded me of the grasshoppers in Egypt during Moses’ time. They just kept coming Chasing them down with a butterfly net had no discernible impact on their numbers. Time for a new strategy.

It was an enjoyable Easter weekend.

Children Walk In Our Footsteps

For a number of years I had several career criminals in my circle of friends. They enabled me to understand more fully that our attitude, thinking, words and example have the capacity to shape not only ourfootsteps_2608305 children, but also our grandchildren and beyond. One of these men was Roy. I met him at Matsqui Institution where he was doing time for a string of B&E’s and heroin possession.

“My Old Man was a petty crook, in and out of Oakalla,” he told me. “After my Mom died, he married again. The woman didn’t like me. She was always trying to get me booted out of the family.”

Roy’s massive arms, barrel chest and balding pate gave him the burly image of a Mafia hitman. Inside though, he felt he was an outcast from society. Although he could joke and be funny at times, he viewed the world as a sinister place where danger lurked. Deeply entrenched in the criminal culture and feeling abandoned by his derelict father, he trusted no one. At age 43, in desperation he applied to our organization for a citizen sponsor. As coordinator of the Matsqui program, I matched him with Walter, a patient, steady poultry farmer. Roy tested his commitment repeatedly, but Walter didn’t flinch or waver.

When Roy was paroled, he found Sonia, a woman as lonely and bereft as himself. Nine months later she bore Sammy, a blond, blue eyed, good natured kid.

Roy loved the child. He felt responsible for imparting to Sammy the destructive perceptions he’d picked up from his father. When kid-435140__180Sammy was 3, Roy placed him on a table and said, “Jump Sammy, Daddy will catch you.” He reached out his arms. Trusting his dad, Sammy stepped to the edge of the table and jumped. Roy stepped back, letting the boy land on the hard floor. Looking down at his weeping child he said, “Son, that’s to teach you never to trust anyone.”

At this time Roy was still shooting up with heroin. When he and Sonia threw in the towel on their relationship, the separation added further disturbance to Sammy’s already chaotic life. He began running away when he was four and the police were called several times. At age seven he was accused of starting a fire in the apartment where he and Roy were living. Fearing he’d lose the boy to a foster home, Roy told police he had set the fire himself. Aware of his extensive prison record, the police believed him. I spoke on his behalf in court but he was sentenced to a minimum security facility.

Roy was benefiting from the relationship with Walter and several others in the community. Upon release, wanting to be a better father, he dumped the heroin habit. Unfortunately, he hadn’t anticipated the void that resulted. He sought to fill it with alcohol. One evening he left Sammy in the car while he and a friend spent an hour in a bar. Unwisely, he drove after too many drinks. Fortunately Sammy wasn’t hurt when the car left the road and plunged into a deep ditch. Roy wasn’t so lucky. He spent the rest of his days in a wheelchair.

In his early teen years, Sammy was picked up several times for shoplifting and other petty crimes. Once again Roy feared Children’s Services would take the boy. One day he said to me, “Do you want Sammy? He’s getting into too much trouble. I’m not a good father. I want to give him to you.” Linda and I had 2 young children and we didn’t want to subject them to the mayhem of Sammy’s increasingly unruly life.

In time, Roy developed considerable trust in the people in our organization. The messages he received from us were positive, and he came to value that. People invited him into their homes for meals. Slowly, the suspicion ebbed.

Unfortunately, the negative seed he had planted in Sammy’s psyche had taken root and flourished. He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Before he was 20, those footsteps led to prison.

I was a young dad at the time. Roy’s example helped me understand it is essential that parents sow good seed in their children’s lives which will produce honest, contributing citizens and a stable society.