Prior to 2009, I had passed through Ladysmith many times whether on holidays or on my way to meetings in Victoria.
I always felt some curiosity about what seemed a lovely little town of “Heritage by the Sea.”
Then, I received an invitation to find out what existed off the highway. In September 2009, I became the incumbent for St. John the Evangelist Church.
During these past four years, the congregation and myself have experienced some ups and downs.
Certainly that would probably be the story of the wider community of Ladysmith as well, as folks here have gone through some of the challenges of the economic situation these last few years.
So what did I discover about Ladysmith as a community?
I discovered that this is a place of care and compassion.
It is a community that upholds and supports one another.
I have witnessed this in how people of this community have tried to step up to the plate when people have been in need.
The ongoing success of the food bank, the Ladysmith Resources Centre, the seniors centre and the Christmas hamper program, just to name a few. I have seen this sense of caring and upholding in the fact that every Christmas and Easter, the churches of Ladysmith came together before Christmas for the Festival of Choirs and the Easter Morning Sunrise service.
I have also been recipient of this community’s care, compassion and support on a personal level.
Three years ago, I suffered a major health crisis and had a quintuple coronary bypass surgery. Not only was I held in prayer by the congregation I served, but I was also prayerfully upheld by people from all over the Ladysmith community.
And my experience is repeated over and over again in the situations and life crises of others.
Ladysmith is not a town — or a composite of buildings and streets — but a people who form an outstanding community. A community that celebrates and gives in so many ways — whether it’s Ladysmith Days or the Festival of Lights, or prayer and praise celebrations in churches, or hiking on the wonderful trail system and standing by the lookout near Heart Lake.
I thank my God and maker for the privilege of having served in and with the people of this community.
I know that in the future, I will have many occasions when I will be “on my way through.” And each time, I will have a prayer on my lips.
Thank you God for these people — Peace be on this town.