Long post, lots of pictures, wonderful full day!
September 17 Day 19 Abundant Life
What a lovely day, we’ve had. Ross and Carol Leef are gracious hosts and good friends. We share our faith, our commitment to the church family and our own families, and our love of life. Although we got up at 7:30 (a reasonable hour), we still had a slow start because there was no rush. We were all able to do our own morning routine which for me made my day start off well. About tenish we loaded into Ross’ truck and drove up the mountain behind their home. On the way we saw deer on the meadow. They obviously were as interested in me as I was in them. At the top we had a grand vista that overlooked their subdivision. Many of the trees were scarred by fire. Everything here is so very dry. Coming back down the mountain we saw more deer, this time it seemed as if they had taken over a pasture.
Part of our itinerary had to be Ross and Carol’s church, Okanagan Falls United church more commonly know as “The Blasted Church”. Their love for this church and it’s tiny congregation touched my heart as we wandered through the building. It began its life as a Presbyterian Church in the mining community of Fairview. When the town’s fortunes declined, the church was not being used. The Okanagan Falls congregation and their minister decided in 1929 to dismantle the church and bring it to their community. It is the “dismantling” part of the church lore that is shared as a great story, and that named a winery.
The practice in those days was to board over the windows and seal the doors of a building in which a stick of dynamite was suspended. The resulting force loosened all the nails so that removal of the boards was accomplished more easily and with less damage to the wood. The material was then brought to Okanagan Falls, reassembled, and the church was reopened with a dedication service on January 19, 1930, with Reverend Feir officiating.
It was an interdenominational church for several years. Many of the furnishings and stained glass windows are dedicated from and to the pioneers of the area. The pews were originally made circa 1902 for use in Elliott’s Hall in Fairview, and were in place for the visit of the poet Pauline Johnson. They were sawed by hand, the bench from one solid piece of lumber, and the backs of two pieces. When Elliott’s Hall closed, the pews were given to the church in Fairview, and subsequently came to Okanagan Falls. A beautiful baptismal font, made from a tree stump and roots grace’s the front of the church with the wonder of creation.
Next we drove to the “Hidden Chapel Winery”. While we sample a number of their wines, we heard the story of the “Hidden Chapel”. The former owner was a solid woman of faith, who loved to attend worship. Her son, had the tiny chapel built and moved to her property as a special gift of love. When the present owners developed the property into a vineyard, they retained the beautiful little chapel hidden in the woods behind the main buildings. Intrigued by it’s story of love they decided to make the chapel the theme for their business. Each kind of wine is named with the same theme. They make Nun’s on the Run, St. Vincents, Merry Monk, Soul Sister and more. I like St. Vincent the best. After we had tasted and purchased we rambled over the grounds and up to the chapel. I went inside and prayed for the winery and gave thanks for the wonderful visit we are having here with our friends. We walked past the wine cellar built in the place of an old swimming pool. Our eyes squinted in the sun, as we looked out over the lake and mountains. This is truly beautiful country.
Our winery tour wasn’t over. Ross took us to the Silver Sage Winery where we enjoyed the exquisite rose garden. We did no more tasting there as we’d already bought our wine and our tummies were beginning to feel empty.
The last stop on our wine tour was the Infinity Vineyard for lunch. Wow, it too was very impressive. We had a delicious, gourmet lunch and we enjoyed the art work. Two pieces that I particularly liked were “The Shattered Sphere” by Brent Comber of North Vancouver, BC, and the Mountain Dandelion by Mark Baltes &Ken McCall of Boise Idaho. Brent Comber used wood from old growth trees that had fallen during a heavy storm in Vancouver’s renowned Stanley Park to create a dynamic Shattered Sphere, symbolizing the transformation of a community’s sadness into reverent artwork.”
Lunch over we headed back home to Ross and Carol’s. On the way we saw more beautiful deer. They are truly a joy to watch. We rested a while until our lunch had settled somewhat and then we drove down to Tinkleberry’s for ice cream. What better way to end a day of sight seeing.
This evening we watched and listened to the leader’s debate on television. Carol and Ross’ son, Ryan, is the incumbent for the Whitehorse Yukon riding. We decided that not one of the three leaders said anything that would help us decide how to vote. After some lively discussion and great conversation, everyone but me went to bed. I still had my blog to do.
Where was God today. I started with God, as I had time for prayers and journaling. The sweet beautiful deer, wild and yet not afraid, kept me focused on God’s creation. We stood on the mountain looking down at the blackened tree stumps and the parched brown earth, and still we were surrounded by the beauty of God’s spectacular creation.
God’s Spirit danced with us as we listened to Carol and Ross talk about their lovely little country church and congregation. And, every time I take communion I will remember that lovely little chapel in the woods, a gift of love for a cherished Mom, that was part of our winery tour. Through it all we were led by our dear friends, Carol and Ross, faithful and committed. Even the leader’s debate, reminded me our intention as a nation is to care for people both here and abroad. Of course, the meal and the ice cream, delicious ice cream brought joy and laughter. Jesus said, “I came that you might have abundant life.” Today we have had abundance.