I'm exhausted from all that this weekend has entailed, but it wouldn't be right not to drop a few words on the events of the last few days.
This weekend, my Dad, Rev. Hollis Hiscock, retired from almost 43 years of full-time ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Dad has worked in various capacities, but the bulk of his career has been as a Rector, which is the 'head priest' of an individual parish. He has worked in Newfoundland and Ontario. He has edited a provincial church paper, and he has taught at the high-school and university levels.
For most of that time, he has had the love and never-ending support of my mom, Helen.
He has visited the sick, counseled the troubled, held the hand of the dying. He has lead regular Sunday services, and national church events. He has chaired countless meetings and committees. And yet, he has never missed a birthday, or a choir concert, or a chance to just chat.
We've all known this weekend was coming for a year now, but the last few days have been more a daze than anything else. We're all ready for it - it just doesn't quite feel real.
On Saturday, the church held a huge dinner that welcomed so many people, they had to have 2 seatings. After the meal, we all made our way up to the church for stories, entertainment, and tributes. Several people sang, including an Elvis medley dedicated to Mom. Gerald and I did a set of songs written for Mom and Dad. We did "One Sure Step" that we wrote for the 40th anniversary of Dad's ordination. I did "All Because of You", a song I wrote for Mom. And we finished with Gerald's new song, a tribute to Dad and his ministry, "God Makes a Great Man".
Sunday morning, we had a Holy Communion service at 10am, featuring hymns and prayers from all the different books Dad has used in his ministry. We were blessed with performances by the Drama Group, the Handbell Choir, and all 3 vocal choirs. Dad chose all the music, including asking the Youth Choir to sing my song, "Marching in the Light of God". He asked Gerald and me to sing "Here I Am Lord". This song has been of great significance to Dad in his ministry. We did up our own arrangement with Gerald doing fingerstyle guitar, me on lead vocals, and Monika and Leo on harmonies.
The church was packed, which was great, but I couldn't get over the range of people who came. People from all the different services. People who don't come to church regularly. People who were old, young, and everything in between. People who have moved away, but who came back to celebrate this day with Mom and Dad.
I wish I had something profound to say today. I just feel so overwhelmed by it all, and the pressure to say something great is stunting my thoughts. So, all I'll say is this:
My grandfather, Dad's dad, used to say, "Leave a place better than the way you found it".
Dad, I think you're leaving the church better than the way you found it.
For that, and a thousand other things...I'm so proud of you!