Friday, April 30, 2010

OPTIMISM PREVAILS / Part 177 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

“Order in the court. All Rise!” And with this customary instruction from the clerk we all stood yesterday morning as Judge Thomas Crabtree entered the chamber and took his seat. Immediately counsel Finn Jensen, soft spoken attorney for the Ministry of Children and Family Development and most specifically for the Fraser Region of this provincial ministry began his presentation. Throughout his 40 minute talk he made it clear that he was presenting the views, opinions and recommendations of the Director. You may recall that it was Jensen's advice to the Director that the boys should be returned. The points that Mr. Jensen was instructed by the Director to convey to His Honour were articulated as reasons why Judge Crabtree was in no position to make a ruling on the Bayne application for interim custody of their two boys.

Even though the primary hearing of the application by the Ministry for a continuing custody order applicable to all three children has not been concluded, Judge Crabtree allowed the Bayne's lawyer Mr. Doug Christie to present their application for interim custody of the two boys several weeks ago. The Baynes took this action on the basis of no evidence, previous or new to indicate risk to the boys in the home of their parents. Today was Mr. Jensen's opportunity to respond to the application. It was an adroit tack but perhaps inadvisable. Judge Crabtree would not have entertained this application from the Baynes if he did not believe he is legally entitled to hear the application and to rule upon it. Yet on this day, His Honour was being given a primer on what he could or could not do with regard to ruling on this matter. Friends, Thomas Crabtree was recently elevated to Chief Justice of British Columbia and I doubt that he requires a legal tune-up.

Judge Crabtree told the attending counsels and the Baynes that he was not giving a ruling on this day, but rather he would take a week and next Friday at 1:30 PM in court, he will give his ruling. That should be regarded as a good indicator of the Judge's processing of the evidence and arguments of the Ministry. Had he bought Mr. Jensen's responses the Judge could have, would have shut down this application immediately. We can be confident that this man of integrity will during this week revisit everything that is relevant to this application within the course of an active hearing for continuing care so that he can give these children back to the Baynes because it is evident to all unbiased observers of the facts that this is the sole just outcome.

There were numerous friends and supporters on hand for the Baynes as they continue to live through hardships and heartache few of us understand but we do sympathize.

I have pasted Mr. Bruce McNeill's response to me at the end of my Open Letter to him on April 22, 2010.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is the Day

To acquire continuing care and effectively keep the children away from the Baynes forever with the probable consequence that they will become adopted children, the Ministry has had to put forth a loathsome series of testimonies.

The Case of the Ministry against the Baynes for continued Ministry care of all three Bayne children is on hold until court time can be found so that this case can be completed. One or two weeks are required for Mr. Christie and the Baynes to present their evidence and powerful witnesses to counter the Ministry position and to convince the Judge to return their children.

Before the recent cessation of court time, Mr. Christie presented an application for the Baynes. It was unusual.

Understandably in the middle of this madness Judge Crabtree could have chosen not to hear the application by the Baynes to have their two sons returned to them right now rather than waiting for the end of the case. However, the Judge allowed the application. That is an enormous indicator that he knows the weakness of the Ministry position in their charges, suggestions, insinuations against the Baynes. He knows that this case is not about the Baynes being a risk to their sons. He knows this is a superficial case built on what have become insincere motives. Whether the Baynes are a risk to their daughter is where this case began and where it will end. She had an accident. She was not shaken almost three years ago. In all these months the Bayne parents have cuddled and hugged and loved that little girl during visitation and they deserve to have her back home too. She deserves to be home.

Today at 9:30 AM in a Chilliwack Court room Judge Thomas Crabtree will convene a brief opportunity for MCFD lawyer Finn Jensen to speak the expected objections of the Ministry to the application that the Baynes’ counsel Doug Christie presented to Court several weeks ago.

If Judge Crabtree awards the boys to the Baynes as he we hope he will, his ruling throws the Ministry’s case for continuing custody into jeopardy where it belongs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Mark your calendar. TOMORROW IS LARGE. Judge Thomas Crabtree may rule on Paul's and Zabeth's application to have their two sons returned to them immediately rather than at the end of the yet unfinished hearing. (Chilliwack Court House 9:30 AM)


It may be that we are nearing a point in the Bayne family case life when an intervention will be required to keep this family alive.

Poison kills.
Poison is not exclusively chemical.
Misrepresentation serves as a poison. Its accumulative affect strikes at the heart.
Misrepresentation doesn’t need to be deliberate dishonesty. It may not be intentional falsehood. It may be unprofessional prejudgement. It may be a bias. It could be a distortion of facts. It could be a parody of truth. Yet it’s as potent a poison as a lie. It effectively destroys the tissue of reputation and trust.

With regard to the Baynes, the Ministry of Children in the Fraser Region has processed toxic reports based upon documents from B.C. Children’s Hospital and countless social workers’ interviews, and notes from and conversations with acquaintances and foster parents and visitation supervisors. Without suitable challenges from someone these reports become damning because they do not tell the entire truth about Paul and Zabeth, about their children, about events, about MCFD communication, interaction, regulation, visitation supervision. These recklessly gathered and feckless reports are like a poison. They are lethal.

If the poison is coupled with unassailable control over parents' children, then an intervention becomes necessary as it is with the Bayne family right now. Perhaps this Spring a Court Judge’s ruling will be the effective antidote to this toxicant in their case.

Poison within the child welfare system harms the reputation of the entire BC Ministry of Children. This Bayne Family case evidences that. Paul and Zabeth Bayne and the many, many others whose lives and families have been unnecessarily fragmented by graceless, stonyhearted social work in B.C. need the assistance of the Minister of Children (Polak) and the Deputy Minister (Dutoit). And if not them, then some others in Victoria. I understand protocol. It would be an extraordinary step for the Ministry’s principle executives to involve themselves in an intervention in an individual case. It could have repercussions. The Ministers would certainly be criticized. But by such compassionate action, lives have been saved in the past. A fact-finding, integrity driven Ministry intervention can remove the poison. It is courageous people who write the history of societal reform, and give birth to true transformation and bequeath enduring, treasured legacies. Someone(s) please step up.

Use of poison in child protection, however it is derived, must be identified and tagged as not merely harmful but unlawful.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


And his client? Who is Finn Jensen’s client? ------------ The Ministry!

Well it is not so generic as the Ministry of Children and Family Development but is specifically the MCFD Fraser Regional team to the director of which I wrote an Open Letter this past Thursday. Perhaps you read that. I appealed to him to instruct his lawyer to come to court this coming Thursday the 29th, and to tell the Judge that the Ministry has chosen not to contest the application. This is the appropriate and right action.

By the way, yesterday's post was not up for very long so if you missed it, you should scroll back to read about Mr. Jensen's dilemma and some readers comments.

Mr. Bruce McNeill is a seasoned leader within this realm of social work and he has become aware of a lot of poverty, abuse, dishonesty and vindictiveness within homes and families. He has been authorized to lead his team to protect children in his geographical region. Under his watch the Baynes have experienced from this team unremitting resistance, accusation and determination to end their family? The Bayne file in the regional office must be tight with pages of condemnation. It is a file that points fingers of blame at Paul and Zabeth Bayne. It is a finger pointing file. As it has developed no one was aware how decidedly the fingers have pointed back at MCFD. Social Worker Loren Humeny wrote the most recent risk assessment of the Baynes. I heard his testimony in court some weeks ago. He was asked why one page of the report was left blank. We learned that according to the template, that page customarily contains positive remarks about the subject(s). When questioned why he couldn’t state one positive or redeeming quality about the Baynes I heard him say he didn’t know these people. However, under cross-examination he admitted meeting with the Baynes many times. I am sure some of those meetings were not ideal or friendly - perhaps even forgettable. The Baynes were not so concerned with whether Humeny liked them as much as they were concerned to obtain some answers about the care of their children. Guess what! These are stellar parents whose children have been taken because mom and dad have been wrongly impugned with liability for a crime for which RCMP said there is no evidence but only a medical insinuation based on questionable diagnostics. They are diligent in their campaign to recover their children. Yes they write letters and do research and acquire sympathizers and supporters. Yes, they love their children more than their own lives. Sure they are vocal. Why not praise them for dedication to a cause that matters? Give them something. Why not acknowledge that these two parents are deeply committed to their children and attend every visitation opportunity and anxiously ask for more time. That could have been in the assessment. What’s wrong with this social working team? Are they only interested in the contest? This has nothing to do with protecting children any longer. This is gamesmanship of the worst kind. A blank page speaks volumes about the process and the attitudes and the spirit of this so called ‘Ministry’ and informs us as to why the lawyer’s advice was ignored. Keeping the boys has nothing to do with evidence. Then what is it? You tell me.

Monday, April 26, 2010



The Ministry’s lawyer thinks that the boys should be given back to their parents but he will ask that they not be returned. Figure that out!

This is the week when Judge Thomas Crabtree, newly appointed Chief Justice of British Columbia is scheduled to hear the counsel for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Finn Jensen speak to the application that Paul and Zabeth Bayne have made through their lawyer, Doug Christie, to have their two sons, the eldest of their three children, returned to them immediately.

It has been expected that Mr. Jensen will make statements in opposition to this application. Well that’s professionalism for you. Because in fact, he informed his client, the Ministry of Children, that there was no evidence to support the continuing custody of the two boys. He made it clear that in his opinion he could not win this order in court. How can we know that? Well, his letter to Ministry execs was leaked. News media and networks have it. He counselled the Ministry to return the boys to the parents, namely Paul and Zabeth. This was his professional advice last spring 2009 but the Ministry ignored that advice. It was as though they were saying, “we don’t care that there is no evidence to support keeping the boys.”

So here Mr. Jensen is in court this coming Thursday morning obliged to argue for the retention of the boys because his advice to his clients was disregarded. At least if no one has changed their minds that will be Mr. Jensen’s role. Don’t you admire such professionalism? No? To be able to argue ardently that there is justification for the Ministry’s hold on the boys when he himself believes the opposite.

I understand that there is principle involved in representing a client. What the client wants, the client gets. A client is not obliged to take your advice. There is a significant payment for services rendered. Of course I understand that too. What do you do with your conscience? That’s what puzzles me. When you know that the client is not misled by inaccurate information or imprudently diligent but rather, recklessly wrong, it is the epitome of professional practice to continue to represent your client’s cause. Somebody has to do it.
Art by Griff Williams, 2005


Apology! For those of you who sent comments over the past three days and couldn’t find them posted, my computer was down. Still not fully functional - should be back in business soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


April 22, 2010

Mr. Bruce McNeill, Director of Practice, MCFD Fraser Region

Mr. McNeill,
I respectfully submit an appeal to you today on behalf of Paul and Zabeth Bayne and their three children.

You are fully informed that Paul and Zabeth Bayne are presently involved in the hearing before Judge Tom Crabtree in which Mr. Finn Jensen, the Ministry of Children and Family Development counsel is seeking to obtain for you a Continuing Care Order for all three children. Mr. Jensen has nearly completed the Ministry’s presentation and now you and the Baynes are waiting for available court dates when the hearing will conclude with the Baynes’ lawyer, Mr. Doug Christie’s presentation of witness testimonies, evidence and conclude the hearing.

Most certainly Judge Crabtree understands this case. He understands that your team has held all three Bayne children in care for almost the entirety of two years and six months. He recognizes that the Ministry’s case is built upon a commitment to a disputed medical diagnosis of non accidental shaking induced injury to the youngest of the three children and that no evidence exists of injury or potential risk to the two older siblings. He is aware that no criminal charges proceeded to the Court with respect to the injuries of the youngest child. He appreciates that you have chosen to disregard your own counsel’s recommendation to return the two older children to the Baynes – a recommendation that Mr. Jensen conveyed to you because in his opinion there is no evidence to keep them and that he cannot win a case to retain them. These are reasons why even before the hearing proper has concluded; his Honour permitted Mr. Christie on behalf of the Baynes to submit to him their application for a variance of the original Interim Order of Dec 14, 2007 which placed the three children in Ministry care. The Baynes have asked the Judge for the return of the boys to their custody.

On April 29th 2010, Mr. Jensen will have opportunity in Court to express the Ministry’s objection to this application.

I knew Paul and Zabeth Bayne nine years ago when they were active in the church that I pastored. I enjoyed the privilege of officiating their wedding ceremony. I know them as deeply committed people of faith, hard working individuals, highly principled and enjoying a good reputation with hundreds of people. Their conscientious efforts to recover their family are understandable as is the significant support from friends and acquaintances who advocate for them. I myself have written daily blog posts to tell their story. This letter is posted today and copied to others.

I acknowledge your position and role within the Fraser Regional MCFD and your oversight of this highly publicized case. My sincere appeal to you today is to instruct your lawyer Mr. Jensen, to convey to Judge Crabtree on Thursday, April 29th, 2010 that the Ministry will not object to the immediate return of the two Bayne boys to Zabeth and Paul Bayne.

Dr. Ron Unruh

On April 27, Mr. McNeill responded to me..
Dear Mr. Unruh
Thank you for your e-mail note.
Due to privacy concerns and the fact that this matter is before the Court it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this matter, but I do appreciate your interest and your concern for this family.
Yours truly, Bruce McNeill, Executive Director of Practice, Fraser Region

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MCFD AS A FAMILY RESOURCE / Part 173 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Listening to the stories of parents impacted by the intervention of the Ministry of Children and Family Development one hears the unavoidable emotional outcome of anger and anguish. It is not simply because the removal of one’s children predictably evokes instinctive and primary defenses. It is because the attitudes and actions of the people involved in our child protection system are ripping some families apart that should never be apart and imposing unnecessary trauma on children. Why has the MCFD not become known for being helpful? Why has MCFD not gained a reputation for coming alongside parents to assist them with improvement of parenting skills? Why, when MCFD is mentioned, is it in criticism? And folks it is not because of writers like me. I have been writing on behalf of the Baynes for only a few months but the challenging critiques of the Ministry are decades old now. And parents have not been the only complainants, but also the objective reviewers engaged in official inquiries. Inquiries established because the government in power at the time has heard citizens’ voices and believed that they cannot all be irrational and insincere.
It is in the delivery of the system that anything good within the Ministry script for this social service breaks down from something commendable to something lamentable.
It is the people who deliver the intended services of the MCFD who are building this reputation for insensitivity and callousness and one wonders why? Surely most of them are parents too. They are all normal, feeling people stirred by injustices and respondent to most needs.

I am quite sure they don’t have to conduct their work in a way that earns bad reviews. Perhaps the mandate to protect children comes with such inherent stress because of the conflict created with parents who become incensed, perhaps even violent, that the instinctive defensive response of delivery people is adversarial – that is, to view the parents not as patients needing help but antagonists needing to be controlled. And if these deeply personal family life stories are managed by someone in an office who no longer has a physical connection to the parents and families themselves, then the decisions can be objective, clinical and dispassionate. The reading of a report, the issuing of an order and a family is fractured and lives are in disarray.

Clearly all my comments are made from the perspective of families undeserving of the intrusion and intervention of MCFD that in other domestic and family instances may actually save a child’s life. I can only urge delivery people at every level in the chain of command not to lose sight of a larger objective which is Family Development. Can you not work toward a true family-resource model of care, working with families and putting resources into families so that you don't have to take children out of families?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF ATTACHMENT AND SEPARATION / Part 171 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Understanding the Effects of Attachment and Separation

Children develop relationship with significant people in their lives and this is termed attachment. First attachments are certainly with biological mom and usually with biological dad. In some situations other people serve as that first attachment who is the primary caregiver. These significant attachment figures enable a child to systematize perceptions, to understand logically, to grow intellectually, to develop coping mechanisms, conscience and self reliance. This was happening in the Bayne household with the two small boys when the infant daughter was only weeks old in September 2007.

Optimal parent-child attachment occurs when three conditions are present in the relationship, continuity, stability and mutuality. Continuity is the requisite constancy of the caregiver in the child’s experience with the accompanying repetition of parent-child interactions whether they are tucking in at night, kneeling for a prayer, filling a bowl with cereal or running the bathwater. Stability is the secure and protected environment where a parent and child bond continually. Mutuality is a term applicable to the parent-child interactions that reinforce their importance to one another, like the “I love you” and “I love you more” or caresses or hand holds, touches and hugs. MCFD has insured that no chance at optimal attachment is possible for Paul and Zabeth and their three children for the past two and one half years. Any attachment, such as it must be, is forged in two three hour sessions each week.

Parenting behaviour that successfully secures infant and child attachment to the caregiver must feature two things and not just one alone. One feature is the caregiver’s recognition and response to an infant’s cues or signals and then meets those needs and the second feature is a caregiver’s continual engagement of the child in social interaction. Studies to which I have referred indicate that neither behaviour alone is adequate to secure attachment. During the three hour visitation sessions, Paul and Zabeth must be careful to follow questionable rules imposed by a supervisor, under threat of cancelled visitation privilege. So, when a child asks for help in the bathroom, the parents are told not to respond but to let the child to master the situation.

With little debate it can be said that separation can achieve both positive and negative outcomes. It is positive when society provides protection for the child through separation when the caregiver is failing to limit personal harmful behaviour. In such cases the separation may also provide a parent with a brief release from child-rearing in order to make some necessary changes.

Nonetheless separation interferes with a child’s development of healthy attachments and impedes the child’s readiness to attempt intimate relationships. Traumatic separations from parents can cause low self esteem, distrust of adults, mood disorders, inadequate social skills, language delays and regressive behaviour such as bed wetting. It is time for the judge in this case to make the judgement that for the Bayne family, the insistent and unrelenting agency interference with these children has been unhelpful and in fact unwise, uninformed and meddlesome. These children have suffered more developmental damage by the action of MCFD than we may ever know.

Ministry people, do the right thing and return these children to their biological mom and dad.

Monday, April 19, 2010

THE MINISTRY OF CHILDREN IS LIKE ICELAND'S VOLCANO / Part 170 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


I will admit it up front. This has been pent up all weekend. This piece is my Monday morning rant.

Iceland’s Volcano is spewing ash into the skies across Europe at altitudes of 25,000 to 30,000 feet (7,620 to 9,140 meters). With a monstrous cloud of volcanic ash closing down airports from Britain to Finland to Austria, much of Europe faces this question: What do you do in a world without air travel? Airlines are losing hundreds of millions of dollars each day that they are on the ground. Necessary business travel is halted. Vacationers are stranded unless ground transit is possible. Flights for medical reason are delayed putting patients at greater risk. The air defense system kicks into emergency alternatives. Such is the nuisance created by this active volcano.

But there is trouble pronouncing the volcano’s proper name as well. It is called Eyjafjallajökull. When you sound this out, how would you pronounce it? Unless you are Icelandic and can still romance syllables and vowels, you cannot get it right. Listen to this quick link lesson on the pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull. So, was your attempt anywhere close to that? When you hear it pronounced you cannot believe the speaker is reading the same word.

What I have been hearing and reading about the work of the Ministry of Children and Family Development in British Columbia over these recent months with respect to its work in child protection and child welfare is comparable to the volcano in some respects.

When it is dormant, as in the Victoria MCFD main offices, it is harmless enough, and on paper it even appears a handsome societal solution to the welfare of children at risk.

'Ministry', now there is a word with significance for me. But how will you pronounce it? Ahh, you see my work as a pastor for over 40 years was called ‘ministry’, so my word association conjures thoughts of caring, visiting, counselling, compassion, empathy, and support. I pronounce it with appreciation. Technically however, 'ministry' simply speaks of a bureau, department, agency or office and the Ministry of Children and Family uses it that way. It would be great if Wikipedia carried a sound bite that could teach the MCFD to pronounce 'Ministry' as 'compassion' for the family.

What do citizens do when the ACT that governs the Ministry is so thick and cloudy that almost no one without a Bachelor of Laws can follow the trains of thought from article to article and thus one’s attempts to recover children or one’s defence against unreasonable practice is disadvantaged and dialogue is nearly impossible. One is grounded, confined to move among the ashes.

What do you do when the employees within a government Ministry mandated to provide a service in the interests of families and children, massage the system and the ACT so that superior human values of mercy and love are obscured by an adversarial flow of negative reporting, legal delays, and unchanging negative assessments regardless of evidence to the contrary.

The MCFD does not have limitless power or uncontrolled, boundless authority yet to parents caught in her wheel house, the Ministry’s power feels infinite. MCFD has unrivalled resources, legislatively and financially, whereas parents are restricted by fear, shock, anger and worry, lack of information, low income level and high projected cost of legal representation. In Child Protection cases MCFD shuts down people’s lives.
What will we do in a province in which a Ministry has unfettered power to remove children and to ignore reasonable and civil and legislative parameters in its treatment of parents and its placement of children?

Mary Polak or someone, please become our champion for parents and families as well as children.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Don't Miss Monday's Post


INVITATION TO PRAY / Part 170 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This is a reminder of the pray wherever you are invitation. You may still become involved where you are.

Paul and Zabeth Bayne, have invited people to pray with them and for them in a concerted manner this weekend. Wherever people are located, they are taking time to pray.

This Prayer effort is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 AM on Friday April 16th and 8 PM Sunday April 18th.

Paul and Zabeth have suggested a few things for which people can ask God. Here they are.
1. Pray for God's Will to be done and His Sovereignty and His Purposes to be made clear in their family.
2. Pray for wisdom, understanding and patience as they wait upon God and His timelines to be fulfilled.
3. Pray that God’s Love and Tenderness will be made evident in their children's daily lives.

You can read their own Facebook invitation and even indicate there your intention to be part of this effort. At Facebook just search for ‘A Call to Prayer’.

Friday, April 16, 2010

CHILD REMOVAL & BEST INTERESTS / Part 169 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Removal practices in British Columbia are unfavorable to children.
Social workers experience a decision making predicament because not only must they achieve the mandate of protecting children but must also seek to keep families intact. These two are conflicting values or, at least they appear to be in B.C.

Here is what I mean. When social workers leave the child in the parental home to preserve the family unit, the child is not fully protected because of the risk factor – the possibility that an abuse may occur. If the child is removed from the home to provide protection for the child, then social workers are not preserving the family together with all that is familiar to the child. This is clear evidence that an option to remove children is unsatisfactory if the “best interests” of the child are the objective. Through the 1990’s and the early 2000’s the child’s best interests and the preservation of the family were a diminished priority in preference for the focus upon the physical safety of children.

Our Ministry of Children and Family Development must develop policy that states unambiguously and transparently what is of greatest importance, which is, the safety of children, the promotion of best interests of children, or the preservation of the family. Is that possible?

I will say this. The MCFD should be diligent right now about upgrading alternatives to child removal – alternatives that satisfy more completely the Ministry mandate while being less disruptive of the child’s life and home life. I can tell you now that irrespective of conscientious foster parenting in some cases, the MCFD is not and can never be an ideal parent for children. I simply have to cite the three Bayne children as examples – examples mind you, because there are many, many other children passing through this hard passage. Care from foster parents and only occasional access to biological parents, awareness of the impermanence of the foster relationship, deep longing for home and stability, acute sense of loss, inexplicable childhood grief, little opportunity to express personal feelings or ability to process feelings to the point of expression, longing for home that is met with delay after delay, diminishing trust, inability to understand why. How can a child thrive?

There are situations where a parent or parents are unable or incapable of caring for their children or a danger to their children. The Bayne family is not one of these and has never been. The Fraser Valley MCFD botched this badly. And now, twooooooooooooo years and twenty-six months have been the burden borne by three children who have parents who have been misjudged, mistreated, maligned and were in October 2007 and are today in April 2010, capable, willing, deserving and desirous of caring for their three children - heart broken yet respectfully soldiering on every day, waiting for the normalcy of a family in one home to be restored to them.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Effects of Removing Children from their Families / Part 168 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Effects of Removing Children from their Families

Intermittent research has been done into the effects associated with removing children from their families. In cases where a child has been abused, existing data curiously suggests that separation can be both beneficial and harmful. The obvious benefit of removal is the elimination or minimization of the risk of further abuse. Harm comes with the emotional fallout of this disconnection from family. Then please notice this, that in the instances where there has only been suspicion of abuse, as with the Bayne family, removal of children from the family has only had deleterious results. Suspicion of parental liability should have a time or term limit and it does within the Child, Family and Community Service Act, which is precisely why two and one half years of keeping three Bayne children away from their parents Zabeth and Paul, the action of MCFD should be viewed with grave concern by all of us - The Fraser Valley division of the Ministry of Children and Family Development should be our concern and Mary Polak’s concern.

To repeat, separation of abused children can be the solution to an immediate safety concern but even for abused children this separation may produce an injurious trauma. The fact is that whether the child has been actually abused or merely suspected of having been abused, the placement of children away from their own home creates a risk factor with regard to negative psychological consequences. This is understandable when children’s primary emotional attachments and even their routines undergo major interference. Then in the case of the Bayne children, it was the youngest child about whose injuries this controversy originated, yet the two boys have experienced the removal distress whereas the infant girl knew no nothing different. It will soon be revealed that the Ministry had no substantive grounds for taking the boys the second time and certainly not for retaining them until now. Their own lawyer is on record as having communicated this advice to MCFD Fraser Valley. Yes I did say second time. Within these two years, the boys were returned in 2009 to live briefly with grandparents while the daughter remained in care. Because the Baynes agreed to an interview with a TV network concerning their daughter, MCFD militarily seized those boys during one of their birthday parties attended by family and friends. Just imagine what the boys' views of authority may be.

While the separation may be introduced as a temporary measure, it can coast into a lasting split which in the case of the Bayne family, the MCFD is seeking to achieve through court action. Just imagine the anxiety, the grief, the sense of loss and possibly even the depression through which these three children, particularly the two boys have been forced to live for half of their short lives. For the little girl, this arrangement is all she has known as normal. A mommy and daddy visit me two afternoons each week.

Yet for other children such as these two boys, long periods of separation cause the child confusion, inner conflict and insecurity about the future. A child’s self esteem can be damaged. The child can feel unloved, even rejected and children may view the separation as abandonment which exacerbates the feeling of distrust of adults and possibly of their own parents. Anger, hostility and other behavioral problems are understandable results among children. Fortunately this has not been true of the three Bayne children thus far, perhaps due in part to responsible foster care, as well as the consistent visitation by Paul and Zabeth and the love and affirmation they deliver to their children.

Most of the available literature associated with child removal makes the case that separation from parents and the resultant prescribed foster or institutional care have a negative effect upon children’s cognitive and social development. So MCFD, if you assess the children and try to assign to Paul and Zabeth, responsibility for these children’s misbehaviour or developmental issues, DON’T, because you have had their children longer than they had them and through the children's most formative years.

The children seen here are not the Bayne boys.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A CALL TO PRAYER / Part 166 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/



On April 6th I mentioned that Paul and Zabeth Bayne, who are committed Christian people, have invited other people who believe in prayer, to join them in a distinctive prayer assembly.

It will happen between the hours of 8:00 AM on Friday April 16th and 8 PM Sunday April 18th.

That is, this invitation has been sent by them or by friends like me to our contacts all over the globe and during that large weekend window of time, wherever people are located, they will take some time to pray.

This is my invitation to you to join them.

Paul and Zabeth have suggested a few things for which people can ask God. Here they are.
1. Pray for God's Will to be done and His Sovereignty and His Purposes to be made clear in their family.
2. Pray for wisdom, understanding and patience as they wait upon God and His timelines to be fulfilled.
3. Pray that God’s Love and Tenderness will be made evident in their children's daily lives.

You can read their own Facebook invitation and even indicate there your intention to be part of this effort. At Facebook just search for ‘A Call to Prayer’.

My own personal invitation to people is going to 150 churches in BC, AB, SK, MAN, and ON among whom I served for several years.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MCFD'S NEW PLAN / Part 165 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I mentioned CAPP the other day. This is the new plan devised by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and entitled Child and Family Support, Assessment, Planning and Practice (CAPP) Initial Implementation Plan. It was introduced in January 2010 so it is hot off the press. The stated intention of this initiative from the home office of the MCFD in Victoria is to provide an improved approach to practice. In my April 9th post I highlighted the guiding principles of the new plan, each of which is filled with promise.

As I write I am mindful of the skeptical but insightful comment left on my April 9th blog post when I introduced the MCFD’s new plan. The comment by an anonymous writer stated that reform to the existing system by a rewrite of the guiding principles is not the solution. The writer illustrated this point by citing William Wilberforce’s 1787 Slavery abolition Act, which aimed not to improve the lot of slaves but to abolish slavery. Similarly the liabilities of our provincially sanctioned child removal cannot be corrected without first abolishing the CFCSA and then redrafting it with guiding principles. Do you agree?

You can read about the plan yourself with this MCFD document.

And with this post I invite your comments. After you read the 10 page plan, do you believe it can change the problems about which this blog and others speak? Speak your mind.

Monday, April 12, 2010

PUBLIC HEARINGS ABOUT CHILDREN TAKEN FROM PARENTS / Part 164 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Northwest Territories may Provide Our Example for Action

This is precisely what needs to occur in British Columbia. The public and our MLA’s need to listen to the parents whose children have been removed by the Ministry of Children. The Northwest Territories have commenced a series of nine public meetings during April 12, 2010 because the MLA’s last June 2009, promised to review the Child and Family Services Acts that has been law since 1998. The presenting incentive for the review was the disturbing assertion that the ACT gives social workers too much power to take children away from their parents. I applaud NWT MLA’s for this conscientious process. It demonstrates a legislature of leaders seeking to be responsibly accountable to their electors.

Clearly in NWT the majority of the children in child welfare custody are aboriginal children, but the truth is that across Canada, three times as many aboriginal children as non-aboriginal children are in care. In these cases it is found that neglect, rather than physical or sexual abuse is the dominant cause for children being in the system. Parents don’t have the tools to care for their children and may not have the financial means but surely that doesn’t deserve punishment. Yet the fact remains that non-aboriginals too, are subjected in BC to these removals that rip families apart and in some cases irretrievably.

I believe that NWT has begun a model of action for BC that can view the family differently than it has so that the model for resolution will be putting resources into families rather than taking children away from their families. Children should be with their biological families rather than traumatized within a system that ostensibly is seeking to provide care yet with every action appears to be generating separation.

Twenty-five people spoke at this first public meeting and these included parents who lost children, foster parents, social workers, lawyers and community justice workers all of whom expressed frustration and heartache and criticism of aspects of the ACT they say must be revised. A news report stated that emotions during the meeting ranged from anger to anguish as grievances were aired to a panel of MLA’s and Child Welfare professionals.

Read the online news report by Elizabeth McMillan of the Northern News Services which was published on Friday, April 9, 2010.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PHOTO COLLAGE OF REASONS / Part 163 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Photo courtesy of Zabeth and Paul
Zabeth Kristensen and Paul Bayne were married on June 3, 2001.

As a dating couple intending to be married, they began attending the church that I pastored. As an accomplished pianist, Zabeth’s skills were soon contributing to the musical worship in the church. Zabeth and Paul asked me to officiate their wedding ceremony. During the premarriage counselling sessions I found them to be thoughtful, moderate, clear-headed people. Having counseled hundreds of young couples through the years, I found Paul and Zabeth to be comparatively serious about life, faith, choices and values. Because our church facility was a large one and their wedding party was small they made arrangements to be married in an historic and attractive local church.

I officiated the wedding of Zabeth Kristensen and Paul Bayne. They were married in the sanctuary of Cloverdale United Church, Surrey, B.C. on June 3, 2001.

In October 2001 I left my congregation to take other responsibilities elsewhere and my contact with the Baynes concluded until on September 2009 I learned that for almost two years they had been living without their children. Then I began to learn their heartrending story. That was seven months ago.

Their son Kent was born to them first. Then came Baden but far too early. He was so premature that he looked like a small toy inside his protective and life supportive incubator. No one needs to question their commitment as parents because they were daily for hours at a time attending in hospital to their needy, tiny boy. Finally he could come home. He came with the attendant concerns and complications of preemies. They nursed him well and consistently. At last came Bethany. They enjoyed her in their home for only weeks before the accident which caused her injuries which were diagnosed at Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, as resulting from being shaken. The diagnosis is much disputed. Ten experts disagree with it. RCMP dismissed this matter. The Ministry of Children took the three children into care, that is, removed them from their parents’ care. And that is where we are today, with a regional office insisting upon Paul’s and Zabeth’s culpability as abusers, and now seeking in court to have permanent responsibility for these three children.


Bethany at three months of age.

Bethany at two and one half years of age in mommy's arms.

Kent's kindergarten photo. What a great shot of a neat son, whom Paul and Zabeth were unable daily to watch grow up from a wee boy and then finally to take him to school.

Baden was one pound and fifteen ounces at birth three months earlier than expected. He was so small that a mom's hand seems enormous beside him.

Baden is a sweet fellow, not without some medical issues now and again from his premature birth - From a toddler into this playful son. That's what 2.5 years will do.

Mommy and her children - visiting always in a neutral location and never at their own home together where they belong.

Paul and his sons now. How much have they missed together? How much has he had to pack into brief 2-3 hour visits two times per week? How many weekends without them? How many years if the Ministry of Children has its way? BUT THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Thanks to the TV and news journalists for paying attention to these posts. Perhaps soon you can resume to tell the story, glimpses of which you have shared before. Together we can make a change for this family and for others.

Friday, April 9, 2010

CAPP - A NEW MINISTRY PLAN / Part 162 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Child and Family Support, Assessment, Planning and Practice (CAPP)
Initial Implementation Plan

You should know more about this new plan from the Ministry of Children and Family Development. In January 2010 the ministry introduced CAPP as a key part of Practice Change. The Ministry says that “CAPP includes a new comprehensive, strengths-based, developmental approach to assessment, planning and practice.”

The vision for this fresh initiative is a valid and uncomplicated one, “BC children and youth are strong, safe and supported to reach their full potential.”

Those of you who are critics of MCFD will immediately be saying, “Well, then leave the children with their parents when those parents have proven themselves responsible, or at least provide the help that they require to parent effectively."

But I suggest that you acquaint yourself with this plan and see what you think.
You can read about the plan yourself with this MCFD document.

The stated intention of this initiative from the home office of the MCFD in Victoria is to provide an improved approach to practice. MCFD asserts that this is a top ministry priority. This is an action plan with a motto, “Strong, Safe and Supported – A Commitment to BC’s Children and Youth.”

If the stated principles for CAPP are realized I wonder whether you might conclude that these are precisely the changes that could transform this Ministry. Here are the principles.

• We will apply the following practice principles to all of our work with children, youth, families and communities:
• All aspects of practice seek to identify and build on the individual and collective strengths of children, youth, families and communities.
• The rights of children and youth, as identified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the United Nations paper on the Rights of Indigenous Children are recognized.
• Children, youth and families will receive services that are holistic and directly address their assessed, individualized needs and will be active participants in design, implementation and review of services.
• All practice for the child or youth is provided within the context of the family and community.
• Practice at all levels of the child and family development service system will be transparent and accountable.

My sense after reading this document is that there is a great deal of hopeful promise for conceptual change and I want to examine this further with you in the next day or so to see how it might filter, affect and transform the regional level of practice.

Also see the MCFD website blurb about this initiative as part of its transformation.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

SUPERVISED VISITATION / Part 161 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Supervision during Parental Visits with Children

Don't press the supervised visitation arrow. It's misleading.

This blog post will not be the full story. I am asking that some of you who have had experience with supervised visits, will write a comment to inform the rest of us.

One might think that it should be relatively uncomplicated for parents to visit their children who presently are being held in Ministry care. One might also assume that supervision is unnecessary.

MCFD will always maintain that supervised visits are necessary to insure the safety of the child.
This means that a supervisor is present for each visit between forcibly separated children and parents. A supervisor takes notes.

What becomes clear from the paper and reporting trail of countless case histories is that the supervised visit is an important and invaluable source of information for the Ministry. The information is a collage of observations, impressions and opinions written by the supervisor during the visit. These seldom work to the benefit of the parent(s).

Different types of supervision prescribed by MCFD are noteworthy.

1. A supervised visit might occur in a child-friendly room in the MCFD office suite. These can be two hour visits. They can be conducted without a supervisor in the visiting room. In some cases one way mirrored walls provide opportunity for supervision by social workers secreted behind the wall. This visitation space is free to the parent and means that the MCFD is not required to contract a third party to either transport the children or to monitor the visit in an independent location. In the office environment, if a supervisor is assigned to sit in during the visit, it may be a social worker but may also be an uncertified employee paid a per hour stipend. In the latter scenario, the employee has a modicum of training for this task including how to perform supervision and to write notes. The form used by the supervisor can be a standard fill-in form.

2. A part-time uncertified MCFD employee (not a social worker) is paid per hour to transport the children from the foster home to the parental home for an in-house visit. These may be 90 minute visits. The more acculturated the supervisor has become to MCFD practice the more predictably the supervisor’s notes suggest diminished affection between children and parents(s) and the more they infer or portray perceived problems. Further, the supervisor exercises control over parents by imposing restrictions upon the parents and children i.e. topics of communication, gestures and signs.

3. The visit takes place in a neutral or independent location supervised by an employee of a company or service provider contracted to transport children and to monitor the visit and take notes. Two local supervisory visitation providers Tin Harbour and NICCSS. Tin is an acronym for ‘Teens in Need’ and it was established in 1994. It’s website provides information about Tin. With few exceptions for court ordered visitations, Tin works for the Ministry of Children and Family Development almost exclusively. The work consists of supplying the transportation for children from the foster home to the visitation destination and return. Charges to the Ministry are for travel and reports. NCCSS is the other company doing supervision and its website identifies the details of its services.

Both of these service providers charge about $40/hour and double that on holidays but holidays I have learned are virtually impossible to obtain unless booked very well in advance.

Supervision procedure according to parents:
1. Parents never gain access to a supervisor’s written reports and are therefore unable to refute information that would be mistaken, imprecise, inaccurate or incorrect.
2. Parents are disadvantaged as well because they are not permitted to have guests in attendance lest they become witnesses in favour of the parents.
3. Parents are customarily not permitted to use video equipment during visitation and photos with digital cameras are permitted with supervision only.
4. Supervision is scheduled during regular working day hours, arranged at the convenience of the Ministry and the contracted service providers but seldom or never in consideration of the parents. Parents must miss work or surrender day jobs for evening work or miss their visits. Parents do not have input into the scheduling of visits.
5. Parents testify that the contracted supervision companies have given evidence that their reports tend to reflect the present position of MCFD with respect to the parents, so reports by the same supervisor who has reported parental inattentiveness or lack of affection by parents or children, may capriciously transform into positive affirmations when MCFD is moving to return the children.
I grant that my opinion of supervised visitation is shaped by injured parents but what they say is easily enough to disturb me. Some of the things that I hear should not be happening.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

LISTEN TO THE COMMENTS - PLEASE LISTEN / Part 160 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Listen to the Comments – Please listen to the Comments

In our communities parents whose own lives, temperaments, emotions and values are confused, even loathsome, cannot care for the children they have conceived. As a society we must act to provide the protection, love and opportunity these children deserve. We elect government and legislators to commission services to accommodate our high ideals for this vulnerable generation in whom we invest our futures.

That’s an essential element of the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s mandate. A tragic corollary of this terrifying responsibility is the mounting family wreckage that MCFD is generating.

I am humbled by the eloquence spoken in broken prose that come from broken hearts. They have pulsed for some time now in the comment sections of my blog posts. I have been writing with compassion for two parents, only to find that there are two thousand or more others without voices. Seldom do channels of communication speak for them. Their stories are deemed not to be big enough. An earthquake however is big. A drug related slaying is. A mine disaster is. A college basketball victory is. Yet the stories of these disenfranchised parents are titanic. Above its foundations our provincial government has an unsteady Ministry – the Ministry of Children, and that should be worrying responsible people. If this is not a public narrative now, before long these silent voices will blast the confidentiality of their untold stories. The fear of repercussions will give way to a rush to be heard.

Paul and Zabeth and the multitude have dissimilar stories but their refrain is disturbingly identical, like pointing fingers becoming arrows aimed at what the lyrics say is a heart-less service agency. Read back through the comments and you will hear the loudest song of sorrow you have ever heard. Sorrow that is expressed angrily because of helplessness to right the wrongs over which they have no control. Sorrow that is a chorus of cries for help.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

INVITATION TO PRAY / Part 159 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Whatever works right?

The Bayne family believe that prayer works. Some might suggest that it hasn’t worked so far. That’s merely a matter of perspective. In any case, they are going to pray again and they have invited other people to join them.

It’s a thing that Christians do – pray together. It’s a united front, a combined intercessory effort.

In this case it has an interesting twist. They are not inviting people to meet at a particular location. They are merely asking people to allocate some time to prayer during a two day period. You simply become involved wherever you are.

They have asked that from Friday April 16th at 8 AM until Sunday evening April 18th at 8 PM, people pray. They know that some people will robustly commit to this so according to a formula in the Bible they invite people to fast and to pray.

To harmonize this prayer focus they have listed a series of requests to put to God and here they are.
1. Pray for God's Will to be done and His Sovereignty and His Purposes to be made clear in their family.
2. Pray for wisdom, understanding and patience as they wait upon God and His timelines to be fulfilled.
3. Pray that God’s Love and Tenderness will be made evident in their children's daily lives.

As you know, you can ask anything else you desire, and on their Facebook 'A CALL TO PRAYER' page you can add those requests for others to read. (at Facebook just ask for A Call to Prayer.) Once there you are asked to RSVP to indicate your involvement in the special two day prayer effort.

The Baynes cite a couple of Bible verses to explain their position of faith.
Proverbs 16:33
We may cast lots (dice) but the Lord determines how they fall.” The Baynes believe that every decision, every step has been ordained and allowed by God's Sovereign Will.
1 John 5: 14 - 15
“14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”

The picture was taken some time after the children were taken into care. "Pray that the Lord keeps hope in their hearts as we wait for His intervention in our lives."

“God bless everyone of you that has supported and prayed with us these many months.” The Baynes

Monday, April 5, 2010

THE INTERSECTION OF HOPE AND CHANGE/ Part 158 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

American missionary to India, E. Stanley Jones, wrote, “Don’t bear trouble, use it. Take whatever happens – justice and injustice, pleasure and pain, compliment and criticism – take it up into the purpose of your life and make something out of it. Turn it into testimony.”

It would be far better that the MCFD give the children back now. If the group think of Fraser Valley MCFD assumes that if the court case verdict goes against the Baynes, this couple will go away, they fail to understand love and justice to a greater degree than I have witnessed. While Paul and Zabeth have been vocal in their protests, by any reasonable measure of suffering of this kind, they have been humble in their hardships. Take their children away permanently and from what I sense about them, their life purpose will become the exposure of the pockets of liability operative within this much criticized Ministry.

Of course it is to be expected that when you mess with people’s families for any reason, the reactions will be passionate and the rhetoric vitriolic. Further, what you have read on this blog is mild in contrast to other online blogs and websites that chronicle the stories of government endorsed and funded child protection that loses its way, when challenged with larger tasks of healing families, building relationships with restricted parents, practicing objectivity, benevolence and sympathy. It is not exceptional yet it is still baffling that we suffer most from the hands of the people who should love and care for us the most. It is so unnecessary. Trained workers should be able to discern clearly when parents are broken and incapable of parenting but also recognize when parents are responsible and dependable and then work to help them. The two boys should most certainly be at home by now and the girl, well, when the entire MCFD file folder is jammed with a paper trail supportive of the starting premise of child abuse by infant shaking, then nothing but a judge’s verdict will settle it.

The offices of Mary Polak, Minister of Children and Family Development, of the MCFD Deputy Minister Lesley du Toit, of Ombudsperson Kim Carter, and of Premier Campbell, have paid casual attention to this story. The newly appointed Chief Judge, Thomas (Tom) James Crabtree, who is incidentally the presiding judge in this Bayne/MCFD case is ensconced in the details of this story. It will be interesting to see whether right minded people will want to bring further reform to a Ministry that espouses it is in Transformation mode already. Cynics, from whom I hear every day, will tell me, “Don’t hold your breath!”

That’s why protagonists like Paul and Zabeth and a host of others with similar stories, or those with influence and position will step up to compel changes to a maligned Ministry so it can do what it tells us it is designed to do. From its page ABOUT US, “The Ministry provides programs and services to ensure that healthy children and responsible families are living in safe, caring and inclusive communities.”


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Special Easter Visit on Saturday

While I have commented that Paul and Zabeth could not take their children to church today, they did enjoy a make up Easter visit on Saturday, for which their foster family dressed them to look sharp and made this a special celebrative time. Some photos were taken of them during this visit and here is the happy family. They are very appreciative of this time.

EASTER SUNDAY / Part 157 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Shouldn't these puzzle pieces be interlocked for solution rather than separated in an obvious disconnect?

MCFD workers and Paul and Zabeth joined to fix it rather than alienated and combative the way they are.

The Bayne family could have attended church together. Paul and Zabeth made this request. I was permitted to print their letter to their worker for you to read. The Baynes will not be attending church together today. Their request was not acknowledged. Ms. Polak, this is the pattern of you Ministry workers with the Bayne Family.

Workers, shoulder to shoulder in a show of solidarity and strength.
Paul and Zabeth disadvantaged and compliant. They pose no risk to the workers or their own children.
True, they have not admitted to shaking their baby. How could they? Why should they? They didn't do it!
Workers! lift the Baynes up, lock arms with them and help them to restore this family!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

INJUSTICE 101 / Part 156 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Elie Wiesel, writer and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace wrote, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

I have neither delight nor pride in protesting the excessive and unreasonable treatment of Paul and Zabeth Bayne by the Ministry of Children. I must not fail to disapprove. I have such respect for the democracy in which I am privileged to live. That explains why it is unsettling for me to view a provincial ministry with suspicion. The Ministry of Children of the Fraser Valley has given me reason to worry. I seem to be far more naïve than many of my blog readers. When people like Paul and Zabeth are victimized, no one is protected. Protect children by all means. But what has been done to the Baynes and their children is patently wrong.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Reporters and journalists uncover stories like this. Readers raise objections when they read these articles. CBC journalist Kathy Tomlinson met for hours in conversation with Paul and Zabeth Bayne in March 2009. She prepared a couple of reports that were televised. The video interview to which I refer you now, while taped in March 2009, is the essence and truth of Paul’s and Zabeth’s story and their experience with the Fraser Valley Ministry of Children. The court case is still in a delay but when this court case concludes, reporters will be all over this. You owe it to yourself to hear Kathy’s questions and the Bayne’s responses and to form your opinions about these parents. You will gain a better appreciation for the significant obstacles which parents face when accused of an abuse that never happened.

When you suffer an injustice you must simply console yourself because the true unhappiness is in doing the injustice.

At this CBC link, the article is presented and then on the right hand side are two video interviews by Kathy Tomlinson. If you have already seen the first and shorter version, select the second video interview link and hear the fuller account.

Friday, April 2, 2010

IT'S FRIDAY BUT SUNDAY IS COMING / Part 155 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

“It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin'!"

Tony Campolo is the man who made this phrase famous. In a classic sermon he tells the story of a white pastor preaching at a predominantly black church and finally catching on to the cultural speak that communicates the great news of Easter.
It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin'!
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. It was Friday, and my Jesus is dead on a tree. But that’s Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, Mary’s crying her eyes out, the disciples are running in every direction like sheep without a shepherd. But that’s Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, some are looking at the world and saying, “As things have been, so they shall be. You can’t change nothing in this world! You can’t change nothing in this world!” But they didn’t know that it was only Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, them forces that oppress the poor and keep people down, them forces that destroy people, the forces in control now, them forces that are gonna rule, they don’t know it’s only Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. Friday, people are saying, “Darkness is gonna rule the world, sadness is gonna be everywhere,” but they don’t know it’s only Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. Even though this world is rotten, as it is right now, we know it’s only Friday. But Sunday’s a comin’.”

The message builds to a powerful conclusion when the pastor simply shouts, “It’s Friday!” and the congregation responds, “But Sunday’s comin!’”

Today is Good Friday, a day of reflection and meditation for Christian believers all over the world. I reflect upon Christ to be sure and I am also reflecting upon our condition. It’s Good Friday in Canada the Good and countless children will be sexually or physically abused, scores of people will attempt suicide and a dozen will succeed. Several young adults will be murdered and one hundred unmarried girls under 19 years of age will become pregnant, seventy percent of them opting for abortion. It’s Friday here in the 2010 Olympic host country and several hundred parents will announce to their children that they are divorcing. A staggering number of people will not have a job on Monday. A few thousand people will die, and a few hundred of those will be from some form of cancer. Hundreds of people will be incapacitated by depression and grief and many households will not have enough to eat.

Christians are certain that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on Sunday heralds an eternal hope that transforms individual lives. Let the Christian community rejoice on Sunday yet let us all not forget that Friday is presently typical of most Canadian days and the human need for kindness, gentleness, compassion, sympathy, mercy, forgiveness, intervention, assistance, encouragement, protection and affirmation is constant and daily. We can give that.

It is Friday, and Sunday is coming! But so is Monday. And what you and I do to supply human need may turn that Monday into a Sunday of hope for someone.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ON EASTER SUNDAY CAN THE BAYNE FAMILY ATTEND CHURCH? / Part 154 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Paul and Zabeth want to take their children to church on Easter Sunday.

This is the third Easter that the children are not in the Baynes’ home, 2008, 2009, 2010.

They have written a letter to their social worker making this request. It’s a reasonable request for which to grant permission and to make the arrangements.

Paul and Zabeth are waiting to hear from the worker or from the MCFD with regard to this request.

They have made similar requests to MCFD before, if not for Easter then for another special event or season, but to no avail.

During these past two and one half years they have continued to practice their personal faith with a believing community and if the children were living with them, the family of five would attend church together and the children would be enrolled in a Sunday School program. MCFD is directed by its governing Child Family and Community Service ACT to respect this feature of a child’s background and family heritage and to seek to provide this to the child.

Here is the essence of their letter to the worker.*

“We are requesting to take our children to the Easter Service being done at our church. If this is denied please state why and also inform us what measures the Ministry is taking to ensure the religious preferences of our family are being met during the Easter Occasion as per standards of care.

Also, what measures are currently being taken to ensure our children are involved in Sunday School at a church of our religious background? According to the caregiver XXXXX during court testimony, the children were registered for Sunday School at a local church, but since we had a high profile in the community they were not taken back. What is now being done to meet this requirement?

If they are in attendance please inform us of the denomination of this church so we can determine if it meets our current denominational preference.

Thank you for your attention to this extremely important part of the care and best interests of our children. “

Zabeth Bayne

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Can Paul and Zabeth take their children to church on this coming Easter Sunday?

* Names of Social Worker and Foster Parent contained in the original letter were not included in this copy.