On Sunday October 27, the Parish of St Mary's, Kerrisdale (SMK) in Vancouver celebrated the outstanding service of their verger of twenty-five years, John Taylor. John retired in mid-October.
During worship, Rev. Hills and SMK’s associate priest, the Rev Christine Rowe requested that John join them in the centre of the chancel for prayers of gratitude for his work and ministry, as well as prayers for the next chapter of his life in retirement. At the conclusion of the liturgy, an emotional John Taylor processed out with the clergy and servers for the last time.
After the Eucharist, a reception followed in the parish’s large gymnasium. A spectacular potluck lunch was served by lay leaders (most notably, Judith Pike and Marg Lemire) and the gym was transformed into a venue fit for celebration, beautifully decorated with balloons. During the reception a slideshow of photos chronicling John’s tenure at SMK ran on a large screen. The now retired verger greeted folks and exchanged hugs and warm words with members of the congregation as they entered the venue for the lunch and festivities.
Parish clergy and leadership offered words of appreciation for John, and shared special memories of their time working with him. It was soon time for John Taylor to speak and he thanked all involved for the special day and the generosity and thoughtfulness of all those gathered. His address concluded with his sincere thanks for “the best twenty five years of his life”. He was presented with gifts from Rev. Lindsay Hills, and from church wardens Terry Morrison and Diana McHardy Schmidt, ODNW.
When asked to share a quote or two for inclusion in this article, Rev. Lindsay Hills and Rector's Warden, Diana McHardy Schmidt offered the following:
“Working with John has been such an incredible gift. His commitment and selfless service to the people and parish of St. Mary's over the past twenty five years is a testament to both him and to the legacy he leaves behind. John's modeling of discipleship, of transforming a position into vocation, evangelism in the best of ways, and sacrificial love and care for our buildings, grounds and people alike is a part of that great legacy. I know that I speak for all of us when I say that we will be forever grateful for his modeling discipleship, and for encouraging us individually and corporately to shine our light in all that we say and do. We are a stronger, healthier and more faithful community because of his ministry among us”- The Reverend Lindsay Hills, Rector, St Mary's Kerrisdale
“It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with John Taylor during his twenty-five years as the Verger at St. Mary's Kerrisdale. His phenomenal organizing skills, his meticulous attention to detail and his deep compassion have enriched our parish community. His institutional memory and knowledge of the congregation has held us together through the many changes of the last few years. I have learned from him, laughed with him and shared frustrations with him and will miss working with him so very much”-Diana McHardy Schmidt, ODNW, Rector's Warden
Photos: Jane Dittrich