Nearer to thee

For one week in October, I left the hermitage and enjoyed the hospitality of the Sunnehügel community in the former Capuchin friary in Schüpfheim, Switzerland. I was invited to experience, live in, and contribute to this intentional community. I spent many hours working in the vast garden, “praying with my practical hands”. As part of the community’s daily rhythm, there were times of work, times for quiet reflection, as well as prayer times. I experienced the impulses for the worship rather dry and sometimes fabricated.

One evening, everything changed. During the repetitive singing of Agios o Theos, an orthodox sounding hymn, the spirit reached out to the gathered group. Continue reading “Nearer to thee”

Näher zu dir

Letzte Woche habe ich im Sunnehügel, einer Gemeinschaft im ehemaligen Kapuzinerkloster, in Schüpfheim verbracht. Ich durfte, als Abwechslung von der Einsiedelei, die Gastfreundschaft dieser Gemeinschaft erleben, mit leben, und beitragen. Neben der Arbeit im Garten (“beten mit den Händen”) und den Zeiten die zum ruhigen Rückzug zur Verfügung standen, gab es auch Andachtszeiten. Die Impulse dazu erlebte ich als eher trocken und zum Teil gekünstelt.

Doch eines Abends ergab es sich ganz anders. Während einem sich wiederholenden Singen von Agios o Theos (Άγιος ο Θεός), einem orthodox anmutenden Lied, ergriff der Geist die versammelte Gemeinschaft. Continue reading “Näher zu dir”

Valuing democracy – playing by the rules

I was asked to contribute to the ongoing consultation process for the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan. Here are my thoughts:

Monolith Mountain in the Tombstone Territorial Park. A protected natural space in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditional territory adjacent to the Peel River watershed.

Feedback Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan Consultation

My personal opinion is that the Peel River region has sufficient natural value to be designated as a whole (=100%) a protected area similar to a National Park. However, I see that various stakeholders have an interest in accessing some resources in the Peel River watershed:

For First Nations it is an area for subsistence, primarily fishing, but also hunting, berry picking and the collection of other plant materials for medicinal uses. As the representatives of a colonial power, the Yukon Government also has to realize that the Peel River watershed has spiritual values to the indigenous people of that area, the people that have lived on the land for centuries, that live on the land today, and the ones yet-to-come. This land is part of the people – a concept that is hard to grasp for us Westerners who have developed property rights, buy and sell real estate like a commodity, with no emotional or spiritual attachment, and see us as enlightened beings separate from the natural world.

Continue reading “Valuing democracy – playing by the rules”