This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, March 19, 2021
This week I did something I have never done before. I signed myself up for, and then attended a virtual presentation by our local museum, here in small, mighty, and often-too-humble Port Colborne. I’ve always had a keen interest in local history in particular, and that resurfaced with gusto since moving back to this beloved place. For the webinar itself, it wasn’t the catchiest of titles or topics, as we gathered to learn more about ‘The Welland Canal and Its People’. Then again, this is a canal-based city, with great devotion to this feat of engineering…and so there were dozens of us tuned in, together, for just another exciting Wednesday night in a pandemic.
In all honesty, and at the risk of sounding completely arrogant, there wasn’t a whole lot of new information for me in the presentation. In my university days and pre-ministry days, I was privileged with three different jobs for the museum and the city, all focused on local history and, you guessed it, the Canal. In that time, I had the gift of seeing many of the wonderful photographs in the present display, and heard most of the stories, too. What I couldn’t have recounted on my own, however, and what had most certainly faded with time, is the great and pursued vision that spurred it all into being. I needed to hear again how folks like Merritt travelled across the Atlantic, to make a case with the Editor of The London Times, for press coverage and then financial support, for the completion of a dream for generations to come. I needed to hear about this piece of our Niagara and national story, envisioned over 200 years ago, and how it continues to impact our present-day communities. I know it wasn’t a perfect or equitable project, borne of commercial enterprise, that benefitted some far more than others – but I still needed to hear again both the challenges, the losses, and the sacrifices made, for kids like me, who might one day choose to come back home. At the very least, knowing where we come from can prepare and embolden us for the future, no matter where that ends up being.
If you’ll bear with one more fact, there is something else I don’t recall knowing before, but it seems quite worth sharing: the very motto of this little city. Borrowed from Sir John Colborne’s coat of arms (despite the fact he never actually spent any time here), our namesake’s motto became ours: ‘Sperat Infestis’, which means ‘Hope in Adversity’. It seems quite fitting for this municipal story, centuries on; and it seems quite right to think about our borrowing it, too. Here in small, mighty, and often-too-humble Lincoln, and equally so at Trinity, Beamsville, we continue to thrive in the great and pursued vision that our forebears lived for us. It wasn’t perfect, and still isn’t, but they offered us an example, in faith, of what it means to plan for those yet to be.
Thanks be to our gracious God, for placing a holy vision of community within the hearts and minds of our ancestors, here in this place. Thank God for their strength and courage in adversity; their trust and belief that justice and good have a long horizon; and their untallied sacrifices to ensure the community we know now. May we, in this moment, be Jesus-followers with the same passionate pursuit of The Way, for this home, this time, and beyond. May we trust where we cannot see, surrendering again to the promise that God can.
With love to you all,
“Peace, be still! Let the waves of uncertainty and fear subside.
Know that I am with you, and will carry you through every trial.
Peace, be still, and learn to trust where you cannot see.” (Hal M. Helms)