2018 Summer Preaching Schedule

Every year I get asked when I’m doing my guest & fill-in work for the summer, and I always forget to post the dates, but this year, I’ve remembered (yay!)

I love being a guest preacher, heck, I love preaching, and leading worship.  It used to be that I lead from the organ bench, now it’s from the pulpit, or rather, the wheelchair.  It’s an honour, exciting, and just plain fun for me.  If you get the chance, I’d love to see you!

1 July * St. Paul’s United Church, Dundas (Park & Cross Streets) 10 am

22 July * St. Paul’s United, Dundas 10 am

29 July * St James Anglican Church, Dundas (Market Street) 8:30 & 10:30 am

5 August * St. Paul’s United Church, Hamilton (Tragina Ave.) 10:30 am

12 August * St. Paul’s United, Hamilton 10:30 am

19 August * East Plains United Church, Burlington (Plains Rd. East) 10:30 am

26 August * East Plains United, Burlington 10:30

I think I’ll end up with a couple of other bookings, but these are the ones I have at the moment.  Attached are a couple of photos from my past bookings.



2018 Calendars Ordered!

I have just placed the order for the 2018 wall and desk calendars.  I’ve attached some samples on here.
This is the fourth year I’ve done flower calendars, and I always love hearing about them, and seeing them in different places and homes.  I have to thank you, so many of you, for buying them faithfully over these four years.

They will be available for purchase at my art show open house on 5th November at St. James Anglican in Dundas.  (see a previous post for more information)

As I’m taking pictures of flowers, I usually take some either landscape or portrait of a particular spot or bloom, but I learned the first year I created the calendars that the photos had to be landscape so as I’m shooting portrait, I try to remember to get one or two landscape shots as well.  Looking at the 12 calendar photos, I can so clearly remember taking several of them, thinking, “This could be a calendar shot!”  That’s such a fun memory for me.  I hope that the energy and care I’ve put into getting these photos is enjoyed by those who have the calendars.

An uneasy wish list

With my 50th birthday approaching on 18 November, I’ve had some notes from folks asking what I might like as a gift.  This is always a difficult thing for me, so I put some thought into it.
I mean, heck, come to the art show – there, that’s a gift to me.
Be my friends.  Love me, love each other, be kind, all those things.

So rather than making a specific list, I thought I’d put some places I love to shop and I’d enjoy having a gift certificate to them.  As many of you know, being a disabled poet and funeral celebrant doesn’t leave one wealthy beyond all measure of avarice, so gift certificates are like gold to me.  I’m famously careful about using them, but once I get into it, I find it a pretty simply job.

A friend gave me a wonderful gift certificate to Chapters/Indigo last Christmas, and of course their stores are like a toy-filled Christmas dreams for a geeky adult like me.  When I needed a new book for my funeral notes and services, it was great to be able to show up, pick the one I love, and buy it without worrying, “Will there be enough in the ol’ account (or overdraft)?” And inside my new book I put, “Bought with a gift certificate from Pat Johnson, 2017.”  The book before that says, “A gift from Shirley and John Naismith.”

I’ve always liked to notate such things when possible.  Mom had a great memory for, “This was Uncle Jimmy’s plate that he bought Grandma before he left for WWI.”  He never came home, so the plate is much treasured.  So I’ve learned to put a story to many things.

Now, as I find my brain failing me sometimes, I keep a list of things and stories when and where I can.  It helps me.

I tried to put as few big businessesses on the list, because I believe in small businesses and artisans and those kinds of things.  On the list is the privately owned Bulk Warehouse on Plains Rd in Burlington, but I also included the Bulk Barn, which I love.  You know, one tries to do one’s best but in the end, when you need Big Feet and fancy liquorice allsorts, you  need ’em, or I do.

Joanne and I
Joanne Babcock and Paul Chappel at a party held in my honour, September 2016

Thank you for the love you all share with me every day, my dear ones. x

Art Show Open House & Party

The fifth of November we’ll have an open house for my third solo show at St. James in Dundas, but this open house has a twist; we’re also celebrating my 50th birthday. So I hope lots of  new and old friends will come and visit with us, take some time to enjoy the energetic and very artistic feel of the church, and also have some fun.  Laughter is of course always welcome.

The art show will include photographs printed on paper and on canvas, and other pieces including a six-piece set made of wire, minerals, and beads.  To be honest, I’m still working on this one, so I’m trying to buckle down on it.  Two of the six are totally finished and the other four are well more than half way done.

I’m very excited about all of this and am so looking forward to seeing all of you who can come.  If you can’t come on the fifth, the show is open during St. James’ office hours for the month of November. stjamesdundas.ca

Easter Hymn – have a look

Me at the console of St. James Dundas

Last year,  I wrote this hymn for the Easter Vigil of St. James Anglican Church in Dundas.  It was also sung the next morning for the Resurrection Eucharist. 

The images from the Great Vigil of Easter, as many of you will know, involve water, darkness and light, to put it simply.  Baptisms have often been held at the Vigil, and the great reading of the Exodus of Moses is read.  For many years running, I read the story, and it was difficult not to slide into John Cleese-esque “Pharoh, and his chariots, and his chariot drivers.” You can imagine the sound.  Not giggling was a requirement, and it was hard. 

Anyway, on to the hymn.  If you’re interested in using it, please be in touch with me for permission at loonsong@cogeco.ca   Thank you so much for reading this hymn. 


commissioned by Eric Osborne and St. James’ Anglican Church, Dundas, 

the Venerable Jim Sandilands and the Reverend Bill Mous 

for the Great Vigil of Easter, 2009 


Great Cascading Alleluias     

                                                      878787 suggested tune: Westminster Abbey 

Great cascading Alleluias 

Fill our spirits, warm our hearts. 

Jesus Christ is living, Risen, 

With the joy new life imparts. 

In response we raise our voices 

Shouting, “Now our living starts!” 


Life, renewed, will change our beings 

If we’re open to the call. 

Hearts of stone will soften, working, 

Pumping love and life for all. 

Spirits, too, can be restored when 

Love pours like a waterfall. 


Resurrection flows like water 

River splashing, sweet and pure. 

We are sprinkled with the blessing 

Living water can assure, 

And refresh the trees and grasses 

Fruits that feed and leaves that cure. 


When we gather ‘round the table 

Celebrating love that’s shared 

There is Resurrection in the 

Words and prayers with care prepared. 

Knowing Jesus’ sacrifice, the 

Gift that cannot be compared. 


Trumpets, voices, organs singing, 

Lifting Alleluias high. 

First the crowds had palms to wave, and 

Then they shouted, “Crucify!” 

Now the world has changed forever, 

 “Christ is Risen” fills the sky!      

Organ console reflections


Marmot – “Gentleman” Jim and the ARSS

“Gentleman” Jim and the ARSS

James Edward Hardwycke Gilderslieth was born on October 5th 1953.  His mother, Fiona, was part of that great Hardwycke family whose roots ran so deep in the Marmot area.  His father’s name was lost on Fiona: alas, Jim was almost without a name.  Out of the depths of the one real conversation she’s had with this fellow who travelled around the countryside selling a diarrhoea cure-all, she remembered that his favourite radio show was The Great Gilderslieth  – and that was the only surname she could recall in reference to her tiny baby, so Gilderslieth would be his name. Young Jimmy G., as he was known as a lad was told early of his doubtful lineage, and also told that ne needn’t be ashamed at all.  He was part of the Hardwycke empire and would do great things one day.  How right his mother was. 

When he was nineteen, as a project for his grade thirteen Law, Ethics and History class, he registered as a candidate for Councillor of the Township of Marmot.  His girlfriend at the time (now his wife), the lovely Prunella Robeson, encouraged him, “What do you have to lose?” she asked.

After a hard-fought battle in which Jim ran uncontested, his elevation to the high title Councillor of the Town of Marmot took place in the Council Chambers in November 1972.  Within four years, Young Jimmy had become ‘Gentleman’ Jim, known for his exceptional manners and sense of chivalry.  Also within those four years, he was elected Mayor of Marmot.  His Worship ‘Gentleman’ Jim Gilderslieth was sworn in by Judge Horatio Hardwycke, his grandfather on December 5th 1976.  The whole family was there. His cousins and his aunts came in droves to see the ceremony that made Jim the town’s twenty eighth mayor.  More than twenty five years later, he is still the mayor.  In fact, on the occasion of the twenty fifth anniversary of his swearing in, the town gave him a large sterling silver plate to recognise his extraordinary service to Marmot and Marmot County.

In a life filled with remarkable days, May 16th  1975 stands out in Gentleman Jim’s memory.  It was on that day that he went to Toronto to meet with Premier William ‘Bill’ Davis.  The premier had asked Jim to the provincial capital to discuss the new issue of acid rain.  Hardwycke’s Lagoon in Marmot had been tested by the Ministry of Natural Resources and found a pH level that was off the chart.  Acid rain was an issue about which little had been done, and Davis wanted Ontario to be a world leader in the salvation of waterways and lakes.  Gilderslieth and Davis hit it off right away, and the premier appointed Jim to the newly formed Acid Rain Sensitivity Seminar of Ontario (A.R.S.S.), joining mayors from Sudbury, Kapuskasing and Thunder Bay with scientists from prominent universities across the province.  As Jim would tell it later, it was the bureaucrats that made the A.R.S.S. a real problem for him.  They didn’t want to commit to a policy, a thought, or even an idea.  They strove to maintain the status quo at all costs.

For the first time in Marmot’s history, a Deputy Mayor had to be appointed, as Gentleman Jim was going to be often on fact-finding missions and round table meetings in Toronto.  Hunding Schlussmayer, as retired funeral director was appointed by general acclaim as the deputy mayor by the Council, and he served well.  He would be deputy mayor to this day, except for the letter of resignation written by his wife which was accepted by the township with deepest regret.  He had been forced to resign because of his death earlier that same week. His elaborate funeral at Ein Feste Burg Lutheran Parish had been attended by all the local who’s who and even the Bishop of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada was there and delivered a heart-felt benediction.

For Gilderslieth’s part, by the time his deputy resigned, Jim was long off the A.R.S.S. and so he had little practical need for an aide of Hunding’s variety.  Schlussmayer’s widow, Herda, had offered to stand in for the deceased but her generous offer was rejected with gratitude for her sense of duty.  Even without Hunding, the work of the town went on.  A pet project of Jim’s was the cleaning and preservation and reclamation of Hardwycke’s Lagoon. 

Sunrise on Clear Lake

 The contacts Gentleman Jim made on the A.R.S.S. served the town well in finding environmentalists willing to work on this relatively small undertaking.  The Marmot Shopper-Express had a banner headline “Gilderslieth’s ARSS Connections Useful to Town”.  Naturally, it was taken the wrong way.

More Marmot Information

Well, folks in this area will be able to hear me reading from the Marmot stories at an event called Vinyl Church at St. James in Dundas. We’ll have a hip jazz combo with a sultry singer (Sara. my wife) and I’ll do some readings from the Marmot canon.

Now, I know you’re thinking that it sounds like a rather popular CBC radio show, nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, I’ve never heard of Vinyl Cafe – oops – what I meant to say was, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  Yes, that’s it! 

The date in late February will be announced here on the blog shortly.