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Friday, June 18, 2010

Letting The Church Know (Entry 9)


I have been in a pretty dark place since my last entry folks. I am doing much better now.
I will tell you about it, but first, this. I want to keep my story straight for you by keeping the blog entries in order.
"What does the Church Mean to Me?"

How can I begin to thank God for the Diocese,our parishes, people and for the Church family of St. Martin`s that has been God`s precious gift to me?

When I was in my early twenties our second Child was born .
She was a child of the colic for sure! Karen and I spent many nights walking the floor with her.
At any rate we did not have her baptized,for in spite of the fact that Karen's mother firmly believed that baptism was a sure fire cure for colic, I wasn't buying it.
I didn't have a sense of belonging to a Church,and I knew it.
I was madly in love with the mother of my children and I sure knew that too!
But didn't think that was reason enough to marry in the Church.
Nope.
Got married by a grumpy Judge,one hot August afternoon at City Hall in Toronto.
I had Supertramp playing on the 8 Track,and was driving a 1978 Ford L.T.D. Coupe.
Now, I know that a good many of you may have heard me tell this story.
If I have baptized one of your children, I can pretty much guarantee it.

Please read on, I promise I'll make a long story short.

I cared for mother in Law deeply.
She was a great sport. Had a good heart. She was determined to get the baby done.

I went to Church one evening.
St. Andrews,Glenwood
7:00 Evensong
to take in the service and find out how much they charged to baptise babies.

When the worship was ended I waited in the Church for the priest.
I remembered him. He had come to the parish just before the time my mother moved back to Ontario with my brother and my self. This was the final time my parents separated.Childhood days were rough for us,a lot had happened in my life since then,and he knew it.

Revd. Walters was met me in the body of the Church after saying good night to the parishioners. He stopped and took my arm, looked into my eyes,and quietly said "you're Johnny Watton, aren't you? - I've often wondered what happened to you my son."

In that moment,

I understood,without understanding that God was trying to reach me.
"Stop and listen....stop... I Love You".
I have never forgotten the deep emotion stirred up in me that night.
Elissa was now almost two years old She was baptised, and I began to take an interest in keeping the promises I had made.

This was the Church of my childhood. It was the place we were forced to go to fidget,fussed and fume our Sundays away. But now, it was different. Under the gentle tutelage (and wiley ways) of the Revd.Richard Walters,I fit into the congregation,where I found many wonderful people waiting for me. That was close to thirty years ago.

These folks accepted me with open arms. They accepted my energy too. Before long I was starting youth groups and working with Sunday School .They even had me in the choir. ...and...yes, as soon as I found a group of young people who liked to play music, got a music group together. I became involved with the Vestry,and through that became involved with the work and people of our wonderful diocese.

The power of Community is incredible. That why God has chosen Community as the bearer of his Love and Grace. It can be a place of nurture,love, trust We call it Church . Jesus Died for it.

The road that led me to St. Martin's and all of you began a good many years ago, Travel on this road involves many life stories and I am overwhelmed sometimes when I think of how God brings things together. - How God has brought us together in a community .
So much has happened in our parish these past years .

June 6 was the first time I shared the news and events leading up to my biopsy with our Church Community.
It was the day I promised everyone that I would bring my energies to bear on getting better. I also made it clear that my leadership role at St. Martin's would continue,and that I am expecting God to do some great things in our midst through all of this!

Shortly after Bishop David shared the news with the clergy of the Diocese.
June 8 we received the confirmation of the diagnoses.
June 12 I did a painting as the morning sermon, using the blank canvas as a symbol of the life God has given us,and the finished painting as our life - Our gift to God.

Thanks everyone for your love
John+

4 comments:

Stephanie said...

Glad to know you are feeling a little better. You have such strength and courage, I know with God's help and the love and support of your family and Church family that you will get through the dark days.
Reading about your life and how you have become the person you are today is such an inspiration.
The sermon you gave with the painting made such a big impact on everyone, as you do in so many ways.
While you may not physically be at St. Martin's for a while, your presence is felt there.
Healing thoughts and prayers are with you.
Stephanie

Cindy/Tim said...

Hi John
So glad to have you back, missed you these past few days, so I guess this means you are feeling a little better, yeah!!! You know I have never heard your early days story you will have to tell me about it sometime, in greater detail, as well I would love to see the painting. You and Karen are so specail to us, love and prayers. Cindy

brent_val said...

Hi Rev. John
Just a short note to tell you that I am glad you are feeling better and are having a better day. I hope there will be plenty more to come. Mom told me about your painting you did in church that sunday and was quite impressed. She said she really enjoyed the service. Wished I could have been there. I know you had a hard time growing up but I said to Mom that your journey was led to St. Martin's. Dad always told me we are not supppse to question why these things happen. I always remember that. Anyhow, please take care of yourself and stay strong.

Love and prayers
Val (Muggridge)

Linda Mullaly said...

Just caught up on your last entries and even tho' I knew the story of your earlier years it is always so inspiring to hear it again. Pat called you earlier but we realize that you have some family time with Lacey and Delilah this week. He will catch up with you later. We want you to know that we are thinking of you,Karen and the family as you prepare for the next round
of chemo. May God Bless you all.
Linda & Pat