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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Join Us Advent Sunday at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship - BLCF Church

Join us at 11AM this First Advent Sunday for our Praise and Worship Service at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, where Steve Mickelson will share the message "Cherishing His Gift" (Romans 8:1-17).
- BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, 416-535-9578.

Link to BLCF Church Bulletin Advent Sunday

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day Tribute

The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

This poem, by the Canadian army physician, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, (1872-1918) is one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in Ypres in the spring of 1915. Lieutenant Colonel McCrae fought on the Western Front during World War I. He was appointed brigade-surgeon to the First Brigade of the Canadian Forces Artillery with the rank of Major and second-in-command. In April 1915, McCrae was in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in the area traditionally called Flanders. Some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place there during what was known as the Second Battle of Ypres.

On 22 April 1915, the Germans used deadly chlorine gas against Allied troops. Despite the debilitating effects of the gas, Canadian soldiers fought relentlessly and held the line for another 16 days. In the trenches, John McCrae was surrounded by the dead and the dying as he tended hundreds of wounded soldiers. On 2 May 1915, one of his closest friends and a former student, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed; he was buried later that day in a makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross, in a little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station. Wild poppies were beginning to bloom between the crosses that marked the many graves. In the absence of a chaplain, McCrae performed the funeral ceremony. The next day, he gave a voice to his dead comrades and wrote the poem for which he is best remembered. Later in the war, he was transferred to the medical corps and assigned to a hospital in France. He died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918.
John McCrae's poem was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator (London) rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lest We Forget This Remembrance Day, 11-11-2011

Click Here To View n Flanders Fields Video 

The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. A Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out today. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961    
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
 - John 15:13