When Patty George began work as office manager at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Corner Brook in 2008, she had no inkling that it would be a 15 year commitment. She had just retired from a 30 year career in banking, and was looking forward to volunteering in her own parish and having some leisure time.
But, it was in her own parish, St. Michael and All Angels, while serving coffee “to a number of priests who were there for a meeting and meal [that] Dean Michael Rice, whom [she] had never met, called [her] over.”
She says, “He held out his coffee mug and at the same time, asked me how come I hadn’t applied for the job. I asked, “What job?” and he said, “The Cathedral office.” Despite telling him she wasn’t looking for a job, he persuaded her to come for an interview.
Returning home from the interview, she told her husband, “I have a job.” and he said, “You just came from church,” and she replied, “It’s at a church.”
Working in a church environment was one of the highlights Patty mentioned in her farewell speech to parishioners at the Cathedral’s AGM on March 19th, 2023.
In fact, she says, “It filled my soul.” Other valued aspects of her work included listening to and assisting those who called or visited the office, clerical/computer work, listening to the choral scholars, and encouraging people to honour loved ones with memorial gifts to church ministries.
Lastly, Patty expressed her appreciation for those with whom she had worked most closely. She mentioned the Cathedral’s three Deans (Michael Rice, Baxter Park, and Catherine Short), the Wardens, the head of worship (Valerie Pretty), and several Cathedral musicians, noting that there are both joys and challenges when people work together.
Reflecting on Dean Michael’s insistence that Patty come for an interview, one realizes that discipleship often happens that way. Someone sees certain skills and gifts in another, identifies them, and invites them to specific ministries. As a cathedral, we are grateful that Dean Michael sensed not only Patty’s clerical expertise but also her commitment to discipleship and parish ministries as Cathedral Office Manager. We wish her a joyful retirement.