Real Estate, Oil Pipelines & The Kingdom of God?

enbridgeAn Open Letter To The Diocese of Hamilton, ON

Dear folks at the Diocese,

Thanks for all the good work you do to keep the name of Jesus alive and well. It’s important that we are reminded, in word and action, that the essence of Jesus’s life was to love one another. As far as I can tell, that love means one thing, perhaps two: a sacrifice that leads to joy, a reminder that the goods of the world belong to the poor, first of all. Bearing these little thoughts in mind, it is interesting to note that there seems to be a large discrepancy at work in the workings of the Diocese. While, with one hand, it clothes the poor, as G-d clothed Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden, and feeds the hungry, as G-d fed the prophet, Elijah, by way of a raven, it, with the other, denudes and starves them both. I speak, specifically, of two actions.

Firstly, the Diocese has made a public notice to Enbridge, Incorporated
that it would rather its planned Line 10 be re-routed around the
Diocese-owned golf course, the Southern Pines Golf Course, located in
Mount Hope. (Why the Diocese owns a golf course is, of course, another
matter to be addressed.) This re-routed pipe-line will pass, inexorably
unless blockaded, through farm-land. Think of this: a golf course
continues and a farm is shut down. What matters more: play or food?

Secondly, at the City Council meeting on the 14th of September, the
Diocese wrote a letter that deplored the inclusion of its 38+ acres at
Book Road and Shaver Road West into the Greenbelt; specifically, Bishop
Douglas Crosby wrote, ‘our property will be prohibited from further
development related to Diocesan activities’. That the Diocese is
speculating on the future value of land is not at all a Christian
activity in which to engage. The land ought to remain in the Greenbelt,
perhaps as a farm that grows food for free and gives it to the poorest
in the city or one that teaches people how to grow their own food,
thereby crippling super-markets. As the late Ivan Illich wrote, there is
no greater tyrant than a need.

We are confronted with a conundrum. The Diocese would like farm-land to
be destroyed and would like to continue the process of real-estate
speculation. Neither of those activities is consonant with those who
struggle to bear the name of Jesus Christ.


Joshua Weresch
Member, Central Presbyterian Church, Hamilton ON

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