My grandfather died when I was twelve. He was my father’s father, and he and my grandmother lived with us because my dad was their only child. Needless to say, I spent many hours with my grandfather whom we called, “Grandfader.”
Grandfader was a quiet man. He was as different from my dad as could be. He didn’t have any formal education and spent his life fishing and cutting wood. For a short period of time he worked at the naval yard in Placentia, but only during the building of the facility. He then went back to fishing and forestry work. He was tall—over six feet—and as strong as an ox! He had hands like baseball gloves which dwarfed my young hands, but when he held my hand I knew all was well. I would watch him splitting wood for the stove and in between chops, he would tell me stories.
Most of Grandfader’s stories were about his life—the things he did while he was young and what was expected of him by his parents and the community. In those days everyone helped each other, he would tell me. If a man in the community was sick, all the men would go to the house to make sure wood was chopped, and that vegetables, fish, etc., were available for the family. The men would repair the house, paint, fix the fence, or whatever needed to be done that the man of the house couldn’t manage because of illness.
The men of the community were also responsible in those days for the church and the school in the community. The men of the community built the church, providing the wood and labour for the build. Everyone chipped in to take care of the community property, and as the saying goes, many hands make light work! My Grandfader told me that they didn’t have meetings or schedules to accomplish this work, but that everyone came to church or had kids who went to school, so it was obvious what needed to be done. Grandfader said that a conversation would be had when everyone was going out in boat in the morning, and when the fishing day was finished, the men would meet to fix the school and the church. He said all the men in the community knew it was their responsibility as much as taking care of their own families.
That was then. Maybe life was simpler then. Maybe people were less busy then. Maybe our lives have become more complicated and we are all stretched to the limit! My Grandfader’s life experience isn’t the same as life in 2023, and yet when it comes to church, unlike schools which are now run by government, we are still running all the churches as if there is a huge community of people to support all the churches. Unfortunately, this is not true in 2023, but if we all came together like in my Grandfader’s time, supported one building, cared for the whole community in that church, how much could we accomplish together?
Our Lord and Saviour brought people together. He died so we might live and grow together, remembering his sacrifice for us so we would be assured of an eternal life in heaven. Let’s accept that times have changed and come together to be stronger as Anglicans doing God’s work!
God bless you all!