Ecumenism: our Lady goes modern
The history of the community of Sion is older than the history of the Province of Alberta.  The Province celebrated its hundredth birthday in 2005, but Sion was here, in the old Northwest Territories, before the year 1905, primarily as a Roman Catholic community.
Today, more than a hundred years later, this has all progressed to its modern form.  Nestled in a quiet bay on the north side of Nakamun Lake is what almost amounts to a summer village—an evangelical Christian group called Camp Nakamun.  It consists of a community of believers gathered from across North America and in some instances around the world, who call themselves the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Camp Nakamun illustrates how far the community of Sion has come over a period of more than a hundred years.  Our Lady has gone modern!  Christianity has been re-born!  This is twenty-first century stuff.  This is in fact the new Millennium.
This revolution is non-violent, which means it is more of an evolution than a revolution.  
It goes far beyond the Christian and Missionary Alliance, however.  It includes other protestant churches which have been built as part of what I call the community of Sion.  
Let's start with St. Luke's Anglican Church in the southwest quarter of the Sion Corner or intersection.  That building was erected in 1912, and was burned to the ground by an arsonist 58 years later, in 1970.  Its cemetery contains the remains of some fascinating old-timers, including the father of Russell Soppit.  Russell, at 80 years of age,  still lives in the Sion community today.  
Now move over to the northeast side of that Sion intersection.  There's an old United Church elegantly standing there which was built of logs.  The structure is still in reasonably good shape.  It is a reminder of the past hundred years of history.  The people who built it were simple farmers, with not much formal education.  This is illustrated by the way they spelled "cemetery" as "cemetary" on the sign which faces the intersection.  Quaint but beautiful!  That cemetery, too, contains the remains of old-timers in the Sion community which seem to be speaking to us today.  They are in fact speaking to us, in the resurrection which we are witnessing in the new Millennium.  Our Lady of Sion has gone modern.  She lives not only in Roman Catholic tradition, she lives also in Protestant tradition.
Now keep moving east, another three miles.  That brings you to the little old Lutheran Church, called Epiphany Lutheran.  Whatever Epiphany means, it's a little obscure to most of us, but this little church, originally German, has often been identified as the Sion Lutheran Church.  Here too, lie the bodies of modern saints who have been laid to rest as part of the past hundred years of history.
My grandfather, Ludwig Plitt, helped to build that church back in the mid-twenties.  Grandpa Ludwig and his wife, Wilhelmina Frank, were evangelical Lutherans from a German settlement in Poland.  They emigrated to North America in 1909, landing at New York.  Grandma was pregnant with my mother, and my mother in turn was born at Walsh, Alberta, on January 10, 1910.
Mama, in turn, was laid to rest in Onoway, in what is today the Baptist Cemetery there, in August 1942.  I want to talk some more about that.  This is for me an integral part of the Sion story.
I consider Sion my home in a unique way.  For me Sion stretches from Lac La Nonne to Alcomdale on the east-west axis, and from Onoway to Busby on the north-south axis, bringing together, as already noted above, four counties.  And it brings together Christians from Roman Catholic all the way to a fanatical modern sect known as the Pentecostal Assemblies.  The old and the new have embraced here in an ecumenical coming-together, a global village.
My Zion story is now becoming highly personal.  I am laying claim to having adopted this community as being uniquely my own.  And this defines my Zion, my new Jerusalem, as being a geographical location which includes the 40 acres on which I live, eight miles southwest of Busby.  It also includes the baseline Road all the way to the little community of Independence, and the community of Alcomdale, which at the time of my birth was our postal address.
I have to include the Hutterite Colony at Alcomdale, also known as the Morinville Hutterite Commune, because the Hutterites as a Christian community are an integral part of my personal history.  I am ethnically and religiously related to the Hutterites.
So there you have it!  Our Lady of Sion has gone modern!  When I was a kid I had some difficulty considering myself a Catholic.  I no longer have that difficulty today.  The word "Catholic" means "universal," and I feel as much at home in a Catholic Church as I do in the fanatical fringe churches, better known as the evangelical "full gospel" churches.
For me, our Lady of Sion and her fantastic Son, our Lord and Savior, have come back to earth.
Our Lady and her Son have become human again, and they have gone modern!
Pretty neat stuff, isn't it?  I think it's true.  We're in the new Millennium, the age of the New Jerusalem.  At least it's true for me personally, and I think it's true for millions of people who are barely beginning to realize what's happening.
Our Lady has gone modern.  I consider the Holy Virgin the original Lady of Sion.  I also consider a Lady by the name of Mary Magdalene as our Lady of Sion.  I think Jesus had an affair with Mary Magdalene which he was not permitted to consummate during his lifetime, because his generation chose to crucify him rather than letting him consummate that union.  In the same sense in a modern context I also consider my mother as our Lady of Sion.  I take it a step further to include my wife as well.  I consider them Ladies of Sion as much as I consider the Holy Virgin our Lady of Sion.  Our Lady has gone modern.  She is alive and with us today in reincarnate form.  In reincarnate form she occupies many bodies.
My Mama was a Jesus Freak, and she dedicated me to be a Jesus Freak.  Sometimes the good die young.  Jesus died when he was only 33 years old, and my Mama died just before she would have reached the age of 33.  I consider her a saint of the highest order.
My three brothers and my sister were all born in what I call the community of Sion.  After I was born at Independence (on the quarter-section which includes the old Independence Hall, across the road from the Independence United Church), my brothers Clarence and Walter, and my sister Alice were born near the hamlet of Arvilla, in Westlock County, and brother Ernest was born near the old post office of Stewartfield, in Barrhead County.  We began going to school in the old Busby Park School, just west of the Fifth Meridian on what is today Secondary Highway 651, which I consider part of the community of Sion.  We lived in Lac Ste. Anne County when Mama died.
I am attaching a 14-page appendix at the end of this Sion story.  The appendix is titled Books, articles, reports & multi-media productions by Len Stahl & Associates.  The first book listed in that 14-page summary of some of my productions is a book of personal memoirs which I have titled, in honour of my own Lady of Sion, my mother, The Emma Plitt Story.
The next book in that list of productions is titled the wild rose state: an experiment in christian communism.