Our lives are in God’s hands. God has been faithful in the last 37 years of serving him as an Anglican priest/presbyter. There have been many surprises along the road. He has worked all things for the good in ways that I would not always have imagined. (Romans 8:28 & Genesis 50:20)
Nana Allen, my maternal grandmother, was an amazing lady. She was a devout Anglican Christian who loved the Book of Common Prayer, and knew that something was being tampered with in the DNA of Anglicanism. Nana knew that I would become an Anglican priest, and told me this years before I even came to personal faith. She was very close to God and heard his still small voice. Nana’s desire was to live until I became a deacon (which she did) and then to live until I became a priest (which she did). She died shortly before my throat operation on May 25th 1982 when God restored my voice. I wrote her funeral eulogy, but had to rely on Rev Harold McSherry to deliver it.
In the Anglican Church, they ordain you twice just to make sure that it sticks. 😉 My first ordination was on May 18th 1980 where I was ordained as a deacon by Archbishop David Somerville. I was wearing a new suit that I had been given as an ordination present. For my ordination as a priest on May 31st 1981, Archbishop Douglas Hambidge ordained me at St Philip’s Church Dunbar. It was a challenging time because I was having speech therapy but my voice had not returned. My medical specialists assured Archbishop Hambidge that my voice would return in another month or so. When this did not happen, my medical specialists encouraged me to leave St. Philips on Oct 1st 1981 to take up full-time speech therapy. They were concerned that otherwise my voice might never come back. This was a very painful but needed transition. I was off work doing speech therapy for exactly one year on Oct 1st 1982 when I moved to St Matthew’s Abbotsford as the assistant priest with Archdeacon Jack Major. Being at St Matthew’s was life-transforming for me in untold ways.
The Hirds singing a song unto the Lord at St Matthias Oakridge
Absolutely foundational in our Christian walk and growth was our time at St Matthias Oakridge with the Rev Ernie Eldridge. Ernie+ encouraged us to use all of our gifts, especially the gift of music. Janice my wife is a professional musician who graduated from the UBC School of Music. We loved to sing together, especially with our singing group Morning Star. One of the unfortunate side-effects of my Botox treatments every three months is that while it helps my speaking, it limits my singing voice. My guitar playing has greatly improved after eight years of guitar lessons with Tony Chotem. So even though my singing is limited, I am still able to serve in the area of music ministry. When I get to heaven, I look forward to the complete restoration of both my speaking and singing voice. In the meantime, I am grateful that I am still able to preach and serve as a priest, after being told by my GP in 1981 that I would never preach again. Without the throat operation, the ongoing prayer, and the Botox treatments, this would have been my fate.