Today, our riders and roadies left Kingston for the town of Stirling, north of Belleville, via such places as Napanee, Deseronto, and Foxboro. Once again, we saw some great scenery, part of God’s magnificent creation. As has happened on many days before, in every town we pass through, people would stop and smile and wave as the “parade” passed by. It’s been a real blessing to watch folks as we go along the route.
The highlight of our day was our lunch break at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawks on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, outside Deseronto. This Anglican parish is one of the oldest in Canada, dating back to the time just after the American Revolution, when Mohawk people, who were loyalists, came across Lake Ontario and settled in Upper Canada. Historically, Mohawks have been particularly loyal to the Crown, and so churches such as this one and the one at the Six Nations in Brantford have been named Chapels Royal.
The hospitality we received from the Priest and people of the congregation was top-notch. We got several good history lessons in the process, learning about gifts given by British royalty – such as communion ware still used today! – and how Christian liturgy and some traditional Native worship practices converge.
At the end of the presentation, I asked the Rector, The Rev. Brad Smith, whether there was a particular Christian song often associated with the Anglican worship of the Mohawks. He said that there were no peculiar hymns, but that each year, when they give thanks in commemoration of the landing of the Mohawks in Upper Canada, they annually sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I offered to play it for those who wished to sing along, in solidarity with the Mohawk people. We raised the roof off the more than century-old church building as we celebrated the glory of God and the reconciliation of God with us, and of white Canadians with First Nations.
The day was a very hot one, and sticky. We arrived in Stirling very grateful for the gift of a shower! Each rider and roadie was taken to the home of a member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, who offered us this gift with kindness and humility – along with a great supper!
Once again, the Lord has blessed us mightily. Thank you for your prayers.