On a very pleasant day, August 22, 2021, Andrew Peddle was invited to attend a special service that had been planned for the day. The Peddle family (of William J. and Annie K.) raised their children in St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Hodges Cove. It was in the early sixties when construction began on the church, and as usual free labour was provided by local carpenters; others of a variety of disciplines volunteered.
The old St. Mary’s (with its slate roof) was where Andrew, at the tender age of 15, began to read at church. He loved to read a lesson or two on Sundays, or for special occasions like Christmas and Easter. When it was built, he was invited to read at the new St. Mary’s, and with that he made up his mind to become a licensed lay minister and eucharistic assistant. One could only imagine how proud his parents were. They supported him and hoped he would become a priest.
Now getting back to August 22, it was also Andrew’s 75th birthday, and he was so happy that he reached that age. He had lived longer than his parents and many other relatives.
This special event was the first time all three Peddle siblings would come together as lay readers, for Andrew’s two sisters Elaine and Betty had become lay readers as well.
The Rev’d Iliffe Sheppard called Andrew to the front of the church and read a letter from Bishop Samuel Rose saying, “It gives me great pleasure to recognize a significant anniversary of one of our lay ministers, Mr. Andrew Peddle, on the fifty-seventh anniversary of his licensing of this important ministry in the parish.” He further stated, “For Andrew to be in service for 57 years as a lay minister is an amazing act of faith and devotion to God and his Church.”
This writer could not believe that one hundred and eight people showed up for the service. Andrew spoke, and in his confident voice announced that he was accepting his award on behalf of all the lay readers out there. At the end of the service, his sister Elaine announced that they has collected $170 loose collection, and it would be donated to Queen’s College on behalf of Andrew.
Following the service, everyone was invited to the Lions’ Club to celebrate Andrew’s 75th birthday with cake and refreshments. It was a wonderful day and I must say that Rev’d Sheppard, Elaine Peddle-Spurrell, and Betty Peddle-Brown did a marvellous job planning the event and bringing it to completion. While at the Lions’ Club, everyone sang Happy Birthday, and Andrew warned all in attendance to leave out the “We hope you live to be hundred” verse.
Andrew said he will continue in his ministry, however, for how long, we cannot say because he has been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer which has no cure and treatment. But he is not alone; he reads his Bible and he trusts that God will lead him home. Aside from this, I wonder what his parents would say if they knew that three of their six children are lay ministers in service to God.
One day, God will say to them, “Well done good and faithful servants.”