My last meeting of Lakeridge Presbytery back in March happened to be in the church where I grew up and the court offered a nice farewell. There were a few tedious moments though. As the co-chair of the Mission, Outreach and Advocacy Committee I asked that a letter, which I had written and the committee endorsed, would be forwarded to the federal government. The letter was a plea to the federal government to continue funding for a world-renowned research station in the wilds of Ontario. The Experimental Lakes area encompasses 58 lakes in the Kenora region and was established in 1968. Researchers come from around the world to take advantage of this real-world lab. The budget is a paltry two million dollars. It has been pointed out that far more money was spent celebrating the anniversary of the War of 1812, and on Economic Action Plan ads. In the letter I reminded our elected federal government that as Christians we consider water to be a practical necessity and a spiritual symbol. We don't take clean water for granted.
It is a pleasant surprise that the Ontario government has stepped up to create a partnership with Manitoba and the feds to keep the project going for another year. Well done.
The tedious part of presbytery? Our letter didn't fit the protocol of this body. It should have come to the court a month earlier as a notice of motion, then presented for a vote after due consideration. The problem was that the federal government had begun dismantling the research centre, apparently counting on "out of sight, out of mind." Fortunately the wisdom of the court was to proceed in sending the letter. Once again it is doubtful that a government minister was swayed by our letter, and it is the province taking the lead. Who knows, though, whether the many letters and emails and media coverage made a difference. I would like to think that being faithful is what matters in the end.