Cross Post:

“ANO” is a member of LCC who runs the “Lutheran Watch” blog. It’s a good blog, and at the moment he has more time than I do to follow the goings-on of Lutheran Church Canada.

This is just a quick cross-post for a refresher piece. ANO talks about the Alberta and BC Securities’ Commissions ongoing investigations into what happened in ABC District Office that lead to the collapse of a $113-million fund.

Blog External Link: CEF/DIL and the AB/BC Securities Commissions

 

Shares and Shares Alike

There are no casual observers in the ABC District’s ongoing CEF/DIL debacle. In spite of what’s obviously been a rough three years for depositors, last year there was some hope when the value of the money ABC District lost was transferred into ownership of Prince of Peace Village near Calgary. Depositors became shareholders. I worked for SAGE for just a month or so, and during that time the most-often asked question was “how do I sell my shares?”

Had shares gone on sale at that point, it’s very likely shareholders would have taken a bath. The whole ABC District mayhem was complicated and messy enough without adding a wild west stampede of sellers – share values would have tanked and the only winners would be the buyers.

 

A year later, and SAGE Properties – the holding company owned by former depositors – has a new website which it says is cost-effective and user-friendly (in my books cost-effective IS user friendly, but I get what they’re saying).

The website is www.sagedatabase.ca 

The official email from SAGE Board Chair Sandra Jory says the site will, “…provide a listing of shareholders who are interested in selling their shares. It will also provide a listing of those individuals who are interested in purchasing shares.”

If you want to use the service, you’ll have to set up an account.

SAGE seems to understand its shareholders: there’s a downloadable guide which takes you step-by-step through the process (which is brilliant). The guide is available at the SAGE Properties website.

Finally, they also know that a lot of depositors don’t have meaningful Internet access. Anyone who is offline for whatever reason can call SAGE Properties at 403-478-9661 and ask for Laura.

 

A Little Birdie Told Me

Advent is just around the corner; it’s time to focus on important issues of faith. Like restructuring, finance and investments…

I know, it baffles me too, but this is Lutheran Church Canada we’re talking about. We have been told CEF/DIL was an error on the side of the gospel. Also, Elvis is working at a diner in Kentucky. Stalin washes the dishes at the same place. It’s all nonsense, of course. Blaming the Gospel is probably best avoided.

Coffee shops aren’t the clearinghouse of rumors, gossip, and information they used to be. These days, in this millennium, we look to Twitter.

Twitter presents the world as it is. It’s a global marketplace of people who want to be heard in a viscous, context-less, and relentless stream of anger and profanity. Mostly Twitter is celebrities and politicians fighting. Celebrities, politicians, companies, and even charities have all succumbed to the treacherous maelstrom of ideas that is a twitter feed. Unfortunately, millions of people use Twitter as filter to understand the world. They’re trying to make sense of things.

The fun thing about Twitter is that the brilliant minds who run it know a thing or two about making associations. Part of Twitter’s magic is that it sings from the same song book a Bob from Sesame Street. “These are the people in your neighborhood.” It was a great song and I can still sing the chorus, “They’re the people that you meet, when you’re walking down the street each day.” I loved Bob. I got to meet him when I performed once at Telemiracle in Saskatcheawn. It was a great moment. He was a nice as he seemed. That was a relief. But I digress.

When you open Twitter, you’re presented a “feed” (a news ticker of sorts) of all the Twitter people you subscribe to. Because the Internet is a giant collection of information that barely seems related, Twitter and other social media use sophisticated algorithms that examine the content of messages, and group similar messages, topics, and ideas together. That brings us to this example of Twitter associating similar types of accounts.

For the record, the ASC is the Alberta Securities Commission. It’s conducted an investigation into the goings-on of ABC District. It has yet to release a statement about the investigation. Charges may still be pending. Why should anyone care that the Canadian Lutheran is being grouped with Alberta Securities Commission tweets? Because as far as Twitter can tell, LCC is a financial institution – or at least enough of one that it’s grouping LCC with a securities commission.

There are a lot of good technical reasons why this feed showed up the way it did – mostly because I subscribe to both LCC and the ASC Twitter feeds. But Twitter finds the associations and groups related tweets, topics, and organizations. This example is partly algorithm, partly chance, and completely depressing.

The world – and Twitter – categorize words like “investment” into a singular way of thinking. At best LCC is losing a language war, and it’s only job is the Word. That’s not good. Regardless of how we think or talk about ourselves as a church, the world is relating to LCC as something different than what it is. Feast your eyes.

 

 

No

As a working journalist and producer, writing meaningful and understandable pieces is important. I love talking about issues. I love that issues can have two, four, six, twelve sides or more. I love that writing and talking can actually persuade people and effect change. Journalists are trained to be fair (“balance” is a popular word these days, but it’s not the journalists job to “balance” anything, it’s their job to report it).