Warktimes: “Mount Allison Chaplain moving to new post in Ottawa”

As usual, thanks to the New Wark Times for always keeping us informed and for the beautiful tribute to Reverend John:

Below, Bambi feels the urge to comment on the above article.

To begin with, bravo and congratulations to Reverend John for his new position in Ottawa! Well, Bambi is happy for Canada’s capital to have him… even if we are losing him to it.

Likely like so many Sackvillians, older and younger ones, Bambi has mixed feelings: On one hand, she is thrilled for Reverend John and his family for their move (post-pandemic, of course). On the other hand, she feels sad to know that he (+ Dodie, her building’s neighbour ?) will be leaving our town and campus.

Bambi considers herself honoured to have met Reverend John in her life.

Actually, her favourite spot on Mount Allison University’s campus is its beautiful chapel. She often visits it, spends time silently sitting in it, either contemplating or praying.

One day, she came in to pray for her dad. After she finished doing so, she opened her eyes, In front of her was the chapel’s stained glass with its cross. At the exact same time she did open her eyes, the sun shined again (it was a very dark winter day). Well, the sunshine’s rays illuminated that beautiful stained glass, shining through the cross. Symbolically, this beautiful scene was like a message of hope for Bambi (at least, she took it that way). Well, thankfully, her dad has been doing well ever since, despite ups and downs. That was about 10-11 years ago, following a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Anyhow, a couple of times after that incident, Bambi bumped into Reverend John at that chapel. Even with her eyes closed, she could sense that he was stepping out of his office and the chapel. She may be wrong but she felt that he seemed to be walking on the tip of his toes, likely in order not to bother ?. What a man our Dear Reverend John… full of humanity!

This is why, in her mind, Bambi cannot conceive Mount A chapel without him.

For her, it was only logical to ask to consult him, with her spouse, when they had their first miscarriage (their three losses are like a reproductive pandemic to them, so to speak… Luckily, there is a happy life “post-pandemic”, even in the middle of a real covid-19 pandemic). Anyhow, to come back to Reverend John, he was there for them with his ears, heart, and soul.

Bambi recalls having had a funny conversation with one of her sisters at that time, asking her: “Why do you want to talk to a priest, I do not understand?”. One must say that her sister has always teased her in life by saying: “I am happy for you because you have an imaginary friend” (she means Jesus ?). Well, when Bambi described Reverend John to her, she immediately understood what type of man he was… the cream of humanity.

A year later, when she organized/moderated a community event in town on pregnancy losses (Louis, her spouse was one of two male speakers), Reverend John kindly showed up. Bambi will never ever forget his big hug at the end of that breakfast event (especially that during pandemics a friendly hug seems prehistoric).

On a different note, she now realizes that she has officially missed her chance of taking a course with Reverend John. He has been highly recommended by friends and Mount Allison University alumni, as being “the best teacher of the best course!”

The world is small… Who knows? Perhaps one day, if/when she will be in Ottawa, especially if she has enough time, she will try to visit Reverend John’s new church (she knows it and likes its architectural charm).

Until then, she will conclude this post by saying: Thank you Reverend John for all your inspiring academic contributions and support to students over three decades. You have celebrated weddings, funerals/memorials, and all sorts of beautiful Christian events. Not only that. You have turned your church into a mosque, a temple, a synagogue, and/or just into a cozy temporary home to non-believers. You have welcomed newcomers/refugees. You have cared for youth as well as seniors. Bambi has even fun/funny memories of a “laughter club” in the chapel’s basement (a great idea of Dr. Claxton-Oldfield ?).

Your open-mindedness knows no boundaries, Reverend John… Please keep on being whom you are whilst nurturing (and enjoying) your faith.

Be safe, you/Dodie et al. Enjoy your move and your new parish!

Much love, fond/grateful and friendly regards.

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