The Bellingham Blessing Ceremony
By Richard Jehn, Journey Chronicler
The Totem Pole Journey 2016 departed from Bellingham the morning of August 23rd, following a beautiful blessing ceremony at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship with about 70 people in attendance.
Reverend Paul Beckel of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship and Reverend Charis Weathers of ECHOES – affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ECLA) presided over the blessing ceremony that included a remarkable benediction by a young married couple, Matthew and Lucia Pearson, with their infant son, Graham. Below are readings for the benediction by the Pearson family.
Pope Francis’ ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ (169) With regard to climate change, the advances have been regrettably few. Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most. The Conference of the United Nations on Sustainable Development, “Rio+20” (Rio de Janeiro 2012), issued a wide-ranging but ineffectual outcome document. International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good. Those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility. Even as this Encyclical was being prepared, the debate was intensifying. We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays.
This is for Future Generations
by Alexa Torontow
Where we smile at diversity
Instead of propel further adversity
Where the people of this planet
Feel safe to do, think and say
As they wish
A place where we live for love
Instead of locked in fear
Where we take care of our neighbors
As we would our own kin
A place that sees the instability
A place where re-generation
Is the only way
Where we live to lift each other up
Not knock one another down
A place where nobody
At any time In any space
A place that’s a potent container
For creativity and inspiration
For the future generation
A place of love
Master Carver Jewell James and his brother, Lummi Elder Doug James, provided the traditional Lummi song for the event, followed by a short address by Jewell about the purpose and meaning of the Totem Pole Journey, and an explanation of the figures carved into the totem pole.
The Totem Pole was then anointed with waters drawn from Whatcom Falls in Maritime Heritage Park in memory of one the first recorded encounters between Coast Salish and Captain Henry Roeder and Russell Peabody in about 1852.
In song, prayer, and blessing, the Totem Pole departed for its long journey to Manitoba, Canada at about 10:30 am PST.