A memorable small town minister
November 18, 2014
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Readers may have noticed that in my last post I only gave the full name of one of the young people who met an untimely death. I named Joan Vickers because I wanted to write a little about her father, Reverend Kenneth Vickers. The funny thing is that I can bring up no memories of Joan from school. Since I had skipped a grade, she would have been one year behind me. The only memories I have of her are of times when we were in their home.
The Vickers family were only in our town for two or three years, but we visited with them often. Ken Vickers was the only minister that passed through our church that had the common touch that made everyone feel comfortable around him. He didn’t think it beneath his calling to spend a few days helping a farmer and getting his hands dirty. It wouldn’t have been hard to imagine him as a carpenter, electrician, or storekeeper. That made him feel more trustworthy as a spiritual advisor. I guess I’ve always found it difficult to relate to someone who was a professional minister and nothing else.
I began serving as an altar boy during the time that Ken Vickers was minister of our church. That often meant getting up early on a Sunday morning to accompany him as he held services in a couple of other towns. He served churches in four towns and usually had services in each of them every Sunday: 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm.
Thirteen years later, Chris and I were planning to get married and neither of us had any church connection. It happened that Ken Vickers was then minister of the congregation in Moose Jaw that my parents attended. We asked him if he would marry us and he agreed. We had two marriage counselling sessions with him first. The one thing both of us remember is a mention of the verse in 1 Corinthians 15:47: “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” We have no recollection of what more might have been said, but the fact that we both remember it must indicate some influence on our spiritual journey.
By the time our wedding date rolled around, Ken Vickers had been transferred to another location, but he returned for the marriage ceremony. Perhaps if I had encountered more ministers like Ken Vickers in the Anglican Church, we might have been inclined to try and find a congregation of that church in our new location after we were married. But I guess by that time I had encountered mostly those who were professional ministers and unconnected with real life. Ken Vickers was different.