THE TALK OF THE TOWN

West End Moments

Lights of Hope

The Lights of Hope, St. Paul’s Hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser, lit up the entrance to the hospital and the West End mid-November, with a celebratory block party like no other! This year’s display features more than 100,000 bulbs strung over 10 kilometres of wire. The opening party included performances by the Yamaha Children’s Choir, the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, and the Lights of Hope Chorus … and a fireworks display.

Eckart Hingerl and the famous Yellow Bus.

Farewell.

The Yellow Bus

by Inga Hingerl
Silently one Sunday last month, an old yellow West End icon was hauled away, towed from outside its residence of 45 years at 1170 Comox Street. Instantly recognizable, it had belonged to my father, Eckart Hingerl, a resident of the same address for 53 years, and he had loved and used it well. He was no longer able to drive it due to his deteriorating vision.

His close companion, his consoler, his kumpel.

Together they had a marriage of adventure, spirit and temperament, ups and break downs, and disagreements when they would break down.

Over all the years, it was almost a normal occurrence for my father to be laying on the street, or a roadside in the day or darkness; Sea to Sky highway, Grants Pass - overheated engine, somewhere between LA and Las Vegas with one cylinder less ... Mexico ... he alone stranded on a logging road in Oregon with only a compass suctioned to his windshield, his pipe, and his acute mental capacity to diagnose “the problem.”

He would get underneath it and with his skill and craftiness, patience and sheer will power would get them moving again.

He would say he just happened to have the right bolt or wire, a curb side find that he had added to his tool chest thinking he might need it some day.

He managed to keep it running, driving the many roads they had travelled together, and on the travels we partook in during our childhood, my sisters and I, with family visitors and friends, our dog, cat, and sometimes our hamster too. It was a point of conversation, as my father loved a conversation with whomever stopped by, and a photo op for fans of the mobile, the Volkswagen Bus.

It was a part of Eckart’s story; and a West End story.

Dan Chambers of St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church.

A Word From The Pulpit

Given the recent publicity around the United Church of Canada’s controversial self-proclaimed atheist minister Greta Vosper, West Enders may wonder where our neighbourhood’s iconic St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church stands on the issue.

In a widely distributed pastoral letter last week, lead minister Dan Chambers made clear that he and other ministerial staff at the church “… do not support an atheist who wants to serve as ordained clergy in the United Church of Canada.

“Sure, there are people in the pews who identify as atheist”, he continued, “but choosing to be an atheist who attends church and choosing to be an atheist who serves in the ministry are two very different things. The latter simply does not compute.”

Many left the church Ms. Vosper serves and those who remain support her right to articulate her faith as she does. However, the central administrative bodies of the United Church have recommended that she step away from serving as a minister in the United Church. She refuses. Negotiations have ensued; church courts have met; threats of law suits for wrongful dismissal hang in the air. She remains.

“Speaking personally,” Dan concluded, “I believe that if Greta Vosper had any integrity and respect for the Church she so adamantly serves, she would leave the denomination. If she still felt pulled to serve a congregation, then she could apply to be recognized by the Unitarian Universalist denomination. She would be right at home with that faith community and could spare herself (and others) enormous amounts of time and money fighting to be an atheist in an explicitly Christian denomination.”

To read the full letter click here.

The new sign at Stovold Lane.

Signs of the Times …

Kay Stovold Lane

Noticed these new signs around the West End? The east-west lanes throughout our neighbourhood have been officially named in honour of notable West Enders, honouring their achievements and contributions to our community.

Kay Stovold.

The lane between Barclay & Haro has been named after West End Seniors’ Network (WESN) co-founder Kay Stovold, a longtime West End resident and community volunteer. Kay Stovold, one of the co-founders of the Network. The WESN founded the Kay Stovold Memorial Fund to support "Kay's Place" in the Denman Place Mall, providing a place for seniors to meet, to network and to socialize over a cup of coffee, make new friends and get information on programs, services and supports for older adults. in fact, it is the kind of place that Kay Stovold dreamed of when she helped start the West End Seniors' Network all those years ago.

The “Laneways 2.0” strategy in the West End Community Plan takes advantage of the 33-foot wide laneways typical of the West End to provide opportunity to develop ground-oriented infill housing and to enhance the laneways as more walkable public spaces. The Civic Asset Naming Committee saw the strategy as an opportunity to recognize a number of individuals with strong connections to the West End. Henshaw Lane and Maxine Lane were the first names approved as a result of this process. Eihu Lane, Rosemary Brown Lane, Stovold Lane, ted northe lane, See-em-ia Lane, and Pantages Lane were the most recent names approved.

The West End Journal will feature one of these newly name lanes, and the pioneer it honours, in each coming issue.

A favourite photo of actor, songwriter, poet and all-round Renaissance Man David Peterson

Milestones …

David Petersen

by Karen Petersen
David Petersen, noted local theatre artist and famed film actor, died on November 2 at St. John Hospice in Vancouver. He was 71 years old.

With immense enthusiasm, David embraced the concept of Renaissance Man. In addition to his theatre artistry as one of the founding members of Tamahnous Theatre (1976-1986) and his devotion to the Caravan Farm Theatre (from back in the day when they actually toured with horse-drawn caravans) David may have been best known for his titular role in the film “Skiptracer” now an international cult classic.

But wait – there's more!

David was also a lyricist/songwriter (most notably for the film “Big Meat Eater”, with J. Douglas Dodd, and the opera “Work Songs”, with composer Bruce Ruddell. David was a fine poet, a prolific collage artist, and keeper of voluminous journals filled with observations, songs, poems, sketches, found objects and collages for decades. In addition, David encouraged his friends and family to join him in his journaling exploration. Many did.

He was also a grower and nurturer of prodigious eyebrows. And yet inexplicably, he loathed cheese.

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Send your life milestone announcements to editor@thewestendjournal.ca and share both joys and sorrows with your community.