The Unitarian Church Of Montreal And The Truth About Wilhelmina Tiemersma
As a result of running a Google search on "Unitarian Church of Montreal" for the post below I discovered that UU World editor Chris Walton has added an Editor's note to one of the very few comments of mine that he has seen fit to allow to remain on his Philocrites blog. Interestingly enough it looks like his editor's note was only added yesterday so this discovery is quite fortuitous.
Haven't I said before that Google is on my side? ;-)
I will respond point-by-point to Chris Walton's editor's note below -
:[Editor's note: I have been in communication with Wilhelmina Tiemersma and with the Rev. Charles Eddis, who served as minister of the Unitarian church in Montreal during Tiemersma's ten years as the church's organist.
The question arises here as to just why UU World editor Chris Walton has been in communication with both Wilhelmina Tiemersma and Rev. Charles Eddis about the act of arson that Wilhelmina Tiemersma committed in 1987. Was it just for the purposes of his editor's note or is Chris planning to do a story about the razing to the ground of the Unitarian Church of Montreal by Wilhelmina on May 25, 1987 in an upcoming issue of the UU World magazine aka U*U propaganda organ?
:They have convinced me that Robin Edgar is willfully misrepresenting her as part of his own unrelated grievance against the Montreal church.
So just how have Wilhelmina Tiemersma and Rev. Charles Eddis convinced UU World editor Chris Walton that I am *willfully* misrepresenting Wilhelmina Tiemersma? It is one thing to misrepresent someone but quite another to do so knowingly and willfully. I can assure Chris Walton, Rev. Charles Eddis, and other "like-minded" suspicious-minded Unitarian*Universalist U*Us, to say nothing of Wilhelmina Tiermersma herself, that I am not knowingly and/or *willfully* misrepresenting Wilhelmina in anything that I have written about her on the internet. In fact I was not aware that I was misrepresenting her at all. I hereby invite Chris Walton, Rev. Charles Eddis, and even Wilhelmina Tiermersma herself, to tell everyone just how I am allegedly "willfully misrepresenting" Wilhelmina by posting their responses to this post in the comments section below.
:Wilhelmina Tiemersma was convicted of setting the fire that destroyed the church building and she served a prison sentence for criminal negligence causing death.
It bears noting that, according to Montreal journalist Kristian Gravenor's Coolopolis blog, Wilhelmina Tiemersma was initially charged with second degree murder for causing the death of two firemen who died as a result of her act of arson when the "east" wall of the Unitarian Church of Montreal collapsed on their firetruck as they were fighting the fire, as may be seen in this overhead newspaper photograph of the Unitarian Church of Montreal on fire.
:She and Eddis attribute the arson in part to a mental illness and a strong reaction to the prescription drug she had been given as part of her treatment.
Well I don't dispute that mental illness, and a possible strong reaction to a prescription drug that she had been given as part of her treatment, may indeed be "in part" a reason for Wilhelmina Tiermersma's act of arson, but what about the rest of the story Chris? What were the various other motivating factors that caused Wilhelmina Tiermersma to open the gas valves and set fire to sheet music over 150 years old, thus setting a fire in the Unitarian Church of Montreal that she knew endangered the lives of the caretaker of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, Ruben Pradier, and his family?
Come on Chris. You are a "journalist" aren't you?
Haven't you heard the saying, "The public has a right to know. . ."?!
Oh, I forgot. . .
In reality Chris Walton is little more than a hired propagandist for the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community" aka the U*U World and it simply is "not within the mandate" of the UU World magazine to truthfully and accurately report newsworthy stories that just might prove to be just a tad embarrassing to Unitarian*Universalists U*U World-wide.
I guess we can just forget about Chris Walton trying to obtain court transcripts from Wilhelmina Tiermersma's trial, or interviewing various other people who knew Wilhelmina at the time of the fire, in a free and responsible search for the full truth and meaning behind why it is that she decided to set fire to the Unitarian Church of Montreal.
:They strongly reject Edgar's suggestion that she has expressed no regrets. Eddis told me that Tiemersma "feels guilty to this day, especially about the deaths of the two firemen."
That may be so, however my suggestion that Wilhelmina Tiermersma was quite unrepentant about her act arson, and had expressed no regrets for it, was based on a seemingly reliable report that I had read about Wilhelmina Tiermersma on the internet or in a local newspaper. There was absolutely no "willful misrepresentation" whatsoever involved in my making that assertion. My representation that Wilhelmina Tiermersma was totally unrepentant for her act of arson was based on an apparently reliable report from a seemingly credible source of information. I have done some follow-up search online and have not found the source of that report. As I recall it was a print media report published a few years ago. Wilhelmina might want to share her concerns with the author of that print media story about her. I only passed on statements or feelings that were attributed to her in that report, which may well be true in any case. . .
:Tiemersma wrote to me: "My life is dedicated to repairing, as far as I am able, the damage I caused all those years ago."
Well I see very little evidence that might support that rather questionable assertion by Wilhelmina Tiemersma. Perhaps UU World editor Chris Walton can dig a little deeper and ask Wilhelmina exactly what she has done in her life since the arson that is clearly dedicated to repairing, as far as she is able, the damage that she caused all those years ago. . . Just what has Wilhelmina done towards repairing the damage that she is responsible for Chris? Can Rev. Charles Eddis can fill us in on that perhaps?
:Shortly after her release from prison in 1991, Tiemersma offered an organ recital in another Montreal church at the beginning of the penitential season of Lent. They have recently been interviewed for a documentary film about the fire; I'll post a link to more information about the film as it becomes available. It's worth noting that Eddis has remained in touch and on friendly terms with the organist who was convicted of burning down his church; that certainly doesn't line up with Robin Edgar's version of the story. —Chris Walton, Philocrites.com 10.22.2007]
My version of the story is based on information found in Montreal newspapers, and/or apparently reliable internet sources, as well as some "hearsay evidence" shared with me by various people that I remain reasonably wary of, but none-the-less have to consider may well be very truthful and reliable. I was quite unaware that Rev. Charles Eddis has remained in touch with, to say nothing of "on friendly terms with", Wilhelmina Tiermersma. There is certainly a story to be told there if that is true. The documentary film should prove to be quite interesting.
I can't help but take note of the fact that the interviews with Wilhelmina Tiemersma and Rev. Charles Eddis for this documentary film have been done recently. Who is to say that Wilhelmina Tiermersma has not changed her tune a bit recently in light of this documentary film? After all she would not look all that good if she appeared to be totally unrepentant and without regrets for her act of arson in a documentary film would she? It is entirely possible that the earlier reports that Wilhelmina Tiermersma was unrepentant, and had no regrets for her act of arson that cost the lives of two Montreal firemen and completely razed the Unitarian Church of Montreal to the ground in May of 1987, were entirely truthful and reliable at the time that they were written and published which was some years ago.