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Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26 2012

 It's Done. The walk ...both of them now over.
I have asked the folks who walked today either in Gander or to Glenwood to find this blog and use the comments to share their experience. It was a good day...the weather was fantastic, we were in good spirits.

It's done .......but our journey continues

We were close to 60 strong in terms of actual walkers, but much larger in number through those who participated through donations, promotion and providing vehicle support, moral support.
Much larger again because we were walking  as we believe,  in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, in the love and family of Christ's Church here on earth, and in Communion with those whom we love but see no longer.
I do hope others will share their experiences in some way.

Thank You Lord,..... I felt strong today.
 I set out with the crowd after our prayer at the Irving Restaurant here in Gander, and was able to move through the crown while we were still close together, hugging and touching every person as a gesture of my gratitude .

At one point I looked at those close to me and said..."see you when you get to Glenwood!" They laughed...but I had asked the Lord to bless me with a physical  rhythm, and a focused  attitude of prayer. I was already loaded up emotionally as you can imagine..... with the imagery of Walking out of the Shadows into the warm light of Creation, and the warm love of the Church. So eventually, I moved to the front of the pack...and made it in exactly three hours.
Iris Newman caught me just before the overpass, and we walked together having a great chat. We both needed it.

 I was glad to be in front. Perhaps not for the reasons you might think.
Any one familiar with Anglican worship knows that the Presider, (or Celebrant) always walks in last. When the Bishop is in Church he is at the end of the line. Being last is a sign of leadership, spiritual authority, and a reflection on the Biblical Idea of Humility ......... (Jesus said the Last shall be first... The First shall be Last.)
As I approached Glenwood at "The Head of the Line", I said to Iris, " Being first to the Church building in Glenwood  is my way of saying...I am the least of these my Brethren. Those who are walking behind me today are the real leaders of our Church."  ...Then, the tears came. Tears of joy mind, because our Church ...............means so much to so many.

Along the way I listened to a wide variety of music, some fast, some slow...some LOUD some quiet. God's blessing is there through sacred and secular music.... the words and music helped me not only to keep a good  varied pace, but helped me to pray.
It was a good day.
Quite a few times on the Journey I looked to the Left and Right, enjoying the view...and being before God in reflection  for the people and their various circumstances that the Spirit placed in my mind. There were times today while walking that I wept openly.

 There were times also when I was overwhelmed by the knowledge of all the people who were walking behind me... knowing you are supported...and knowing that we support each other gives meaning to the Church that is hard to put into words.
Please remember  and think about these words: Authentic Community.
 Lets make it real, and keep it real! That's when Miracles happen.

About an hour later, the last two pilgrims made it to Glenwood. My wife Karen, and my dear friend Joanie. Joanie is the Patient Care Co-ordinator at the Gander Cancer Clinic and went far above the call of duty to help me through.
Both of these women saved my life. Sure and simple.
I met them as they made the turn, and together all the crew went into St. Andrew's to pray, and Listen to Danielle Coates read the 23 Psalm.

Though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we will fear nothing...Because God is with us...and has given us the gift of each other. We are not alone.

Back in Gander, a Second Parish Walk was scheduled to start at 2:30,led by Revd. Brian Candow. 

I walked over to St. Martin's Chapel to wish them well. After prayer about 20 people set out on a seven Kilometer walk.  I joined in and walked along with them. Again, thanking each one in a quiet way for all the love.  I walked for a time with our Church Warden Carl Dyke we shared our thanksgivings and a few tears as God's grace flowed through this group as well.
Back at the Cathedral we had a time of prayer, and once again listened to the 23rd Psalm.
Thank you everyone...Thank you Lord.


DJ said...

I will walk with you all next time, it is so great to hear of this triumphant journey; a symbol of unity for a greater cause.


Christine said...

Rev John what an awesome day you all must have had! I can understand the tears that must have been shed, because my eyes are full as I type this. Wish I could have been there. I know the Holy Spirit was there to give you the strength to walk the distance. I miss you all so much. God Bless you, Rev Brian and St. Martin's.

Anonymous said...

Were to start?Thankful for the Milestone he has reached today,for his children and grandchildren still have him.for every day god has given us since and will continue to giveus in the future.thankful we are happy and feel so blessed.for the friends who walked today ,who have been there from the start and continue to be there.thankful that there were many who wanted to be there today for him,for the new friends we make along the way.for our church family ,they were always there to help .and continue to do so.thankful for all who reached out from other parishes.my sincere gratitude .I always have your back.As you wish

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. I have only met you over these past 4 months but heard many wonderful things about you prior to then. Your words are truly inspirational and should be published in a book as a healing tool for others. You are sincere. When I see you and listen to your powerful words I am touched in a beautiful way. This day was something to be most grateful for...beauty around us, friends, a loving church community & a strong sence of faith that God is with us. So happy with myself that I decided to be a part of the walk today...my dear Aunt was there walking with me, every step of the way. As I walked, I wondered what it would have been like if she had the opportunity to be there as a survivor. She lives on in your church community at St Martins and with us, the loved ones that have been left behind. God bless you, you are a true reflection of Gods love.

P.S Your hugs of embrace are medicine for my soul.

Anonymous said...

Three years ago when you vowed to make this walk as part of your healing journey ,I said "you WILL do it and if God willing I'll walk it with you". We have shared many things since then, giving us a bond that can neither be replicated nor replaced. Your ongoing recovery ,the ups and downs,the triumphs and disappointments,long term side effects and life altering physical,emotional and spiritual changes...I have had the priviledge of watching them all shape and enhance your already many gifts,talents and inner strengths. Your pain and suffering have strengthened an already rock solid faith and made your vision of leadership of your flock clearer. God does often work in mysterious ways...taking his most valuable and precious children to the Valley to give them a clearer view of what was,what is and what could be.Not everyone can make it through...even with all the help available and offered. You, my friend stood at the edge..I witnessed it..you accepted all the help available and you...only you..decided to turn around and come back. As we set out to climb further out of that Valley of Shadows...I thanked God for your presence in my life ;and on our walk today as you walked up front of the pack shedding tears of joy and thanksgiving...I walked last in line...behind the safety truck shedding my tears for the same reason. I'm still behind you...watching your back and ready for the next adventure..... I love you my friend.Hugs..Joanie

Linda Mullaly said...

Wonderful and amazing words and emotions in your blog today and I like so many am so touched by them...So proud and happy for you and your family and church community! God Bless, Linda

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.

Richard Gillard of New Zealand

I've chosen these verses from hymn #500 in our Book of Praise: Sister Let Me Be Your Servant to reflect my feelings now that the walk is finished. We sang this hymn in church at St. Martin's this morning.

My initial goal was concern for Reverend John, to make sure that he didn't walk alone as he set out to walk out of the Valley of Shadows. Secondary was the fund raising which supported a cause dear to me, cancer patients who need to travel for treatments. And as a personal goal, I would undertake a long walk for which I felt physically well prepared.

As the days approached many friends and family gave me encouragement and donations that inspired me. I felt an incredible energy as I set out early on Saturday morning near the front of the group. I walked alone at times, but at other times I met up with and chatted with Reverend John or others walkers. It was never a race, just a common goal for the greater cause. I was thankful for everyone who walked with me, but especially near the end as muscle cramps started in my legs and the conversations kept my mind off the physical pain.
Arriving at St. Andrew's in Glenwood, I was thankful for the hugs from Reverend John, fellow walkers and supporters.

I was ever mindful of shadows as I had been walking. Early morning has the effect of casting long, thin shadows that make even the short and heavy look incredibly tall and thin! I grinned at my shadow/image as it stretched out in front of me. I could see by the long shadows when people were coming up from behind me and turn to wave or speak to them before they got to my side. I knew that my shadow was a visual presence to those in front of me in the same way. By the time I reached Glenwood there were no more shadows. It was nearly noon and the sun, being directly overhead, had the effect of casting little or no shadow. Truly, we had walked out of the shadows both spiritually and physically.

I am thankful for the fellowship we shared at St. Andrew's Church before we left to return home.

Marilyn Bry

Anonymous said...

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13) Does God answer prayer? He sure does. One only had to witness or participate in the "Walking Out of the Shadows" event to answer this question with such certainty. JOY - Jesus first; Others second; Yourself last. For me, the tears of JOY and abundance of God's love and love for one another, evident in this event, was a tremendous inspiration of hope for those walking out of the shadows; for those walking through the shadows; and yes, for those of us, like myself, who have been there with loved ones gone before us and are back walking through the shadows again with other loved ones. God is the source of our strength. The God of the mountain is the God in the valley. Through you, Rev.John with your great faith, wonderful big heart and much courage, God made the "Walk for Cancer" a reality and imparted His message of hope to us loud and clear. God bless us everyone! My heartfelt thanks to you, Rev.John, Rev.Brian and Rev.Harvey for your fine leadership in my faith journey. You are quite a team. To God be the glory!
Dianne Anderson

Jolene Hunt said...

Last Saturday morning was a pleasant, crisp, and colorful fall morning, and I was so happy to be taking part in the walk to Glenwood with Rev John... Rev John discussed the walk in church and when I looked at my schedule and realized I wasn't working I made the decision to make the journey with him...I knew Rev John when I was a young girl at Mint Brook Camp, and he has since welcomed my family and I into St. Martin's...

I would like to thank all the people who gave me hugs, words of encouragement, and also made pledges for the walk. Some were cancer survivors, some gave thinking about loved ones going through treatments for cancer, and others gave in memory of loved ones who have passed away from cancer...but everyone gave with hopes of helping those in need during very difficult times...

The morning of the walk I was rushing around trying to get out the door and I quickly grabbed my scarf and tied to my backpack. This scarf reminded me of a dear friend that passed away two weeks before the walk...she was fighting cancer for 15 years....during the walk I often noticed the shadow of the scaff blowing behind me, and with specail thoughts of my friend I kept pushing forward... I also thought of two of my friends whose dads were going through different stages of cancer (one doing chemo and one in palliative care)...and of course I thought about the surviors like Rev John, Janet Moulton, and Maxine Barbour....and I remembered what Rev John had to say, about it not mattering how things turned out, as long as we have faith and support...

All the walkers were great and you could truly see how proud everyone was to take part...I walked with my friend Leah and I told her that when the walk was done and we arrived at the church we would have to sing "praise the Lord I saw the light..." When we arrived at the church the light from the sun was shining right down on the entrance to the church .....we certainly walked out of the shadows and into the light!

Thanks Rev John for inviting us to take part in your walk of love, praise and thanksgiving.....and the journey continues for us all!
Jolene Hunt

Robyn and Jan said...

Thank-you for sharing your blog with us. We read from beginning to present and we feel as though we were traveling on this journey with you. You have a way with words that pulls at our heartstrings.
You are an amazing person and an inspiration to us all. Thank you.

Robyn and Jan