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Blog Reeve Ralph Groening


The Rural Municipality of Morris Council has begun to establish direction for the 2014-2018 term of office. During that time, we will address infrastructure issues – Lowe Farm lagoon expansion (1.25 million $) and the PR 330 Rosenort flood proofing project. We gravel 200 miles of roads in summer and clear snow in winter on roads in the rural area of the municipality and the streets in the communities of Rosenort, Sperling, Lowe Farm, Aubigny, Riverside, and Sewell.

Kind of boring stuff but absolutely essential. We all agree. This is a council responsibility. However, we are in the midst of the Christmas Season and I want to relate a story about Christmas trees.

The story goes back to a time when Christmas trees were viewed by some members in our conservative community as a pagan practice and not in keeping with the traditional story of Christmas.  The trees were a waste of money and a distraction from the story of the birth of Christ. This was a cultural battle. Important discussion ensued. I believe a major argument against the introduction of these trees into our cultural practices was the domino theory of human behaviour. Soon our community would be forced to accept televisions into their homes. This would be followed quickly by introduction of make-up for the ladies of our quiet and almost perfect community. Quite likely new churches would have to be established to organize new spiritual forces necessary to resist the demise of our society.

Our local community church met every Sunday to provide Sunday School guidance to the youth and reassurance to the mature folks that attended our modest gatherings.

Rules established in the distant past required that all such church events include a sermon or lecture with valuable information and advice that would be useful in our lives for the following week. The lectures were often in the German language. The young people were unable to understand the instruction that was to guide them through the week. Such a loss. The gentlemen that provided the English language sermon would allow for the information gap that occurred during these German sessions and compensate by adding considerable additional instruction to their allotted time.

Now back to the Christmas tree. One fine, bright, sunny morning in early December the pastor from a neighboring community provided the sermon. This was a sermon, not a lecture. There is a difference. This gentleman was a man of faith and great conviction. He spoke at length about the many concerns and problems of emerging modern society. The gates of hell had not yet been opened but it was only a matter of time. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Always be on guard and resist the many temptations that we would face in the coming week. His presentation was very thorough. If only there had been hand-outs. The pastor was nearing the conclusion of his talk. I could tell he was preparing the finale. His voice thundered as he offered a word of encouragement to the group. “You are to be commended”, he said. “There is strength and resolve in your belief. You have resisted temptation. Many of our Christian church members have allowed Christmas trees into their homes. Very sad. Much worse however is the fact that many of our churches have allowed Christmas trees into their buildings. Your community has resisted and remained true to the faith”. We were praised for the purity and clarity of our tree church

The service ended. The minister was ushered to the back of the church were the usual acknowledgments and thank-yous were extended to him. He retired to his vehicle and returned home.

The church members then carried up from the basement the Christmas tree that had been purchased the previous week and had been scheduled to be decorated that Sunday following the church service.

Members completed the task of placing the Christmas tree in its’ usual location. Perhaps some of the membership took time to reflect on the issue? Others allowed that diversity of opinion had always been recognized as community strength.

I do recall however, that the following year my father rented a TV so that we could watch World Series baseball.