Each year the church takes great pleasure in honouring one of its own with the Friend of St. Catherine's Award. This past Sunday, we were happy to celebrate the enthusiastic ministry of parishioner Paul Clark, as presented below by Peggy Trendell-Jensen:
As you know, it takes a village to raise a child, and for many years this particular villager has been unfailingly faithful to his ministry with the youth of St. Catherine’s and the surrounding community.
For as long as I can remember, he has enthusiastically taken our kids through the Sunday readings, up the local mountains, into the local Delany’s, and over town to take part in outreach opportunities. More recently all age groups have been benefiting from his well-founded conviction that our neighbourhoods will be healthier, happier places when we just turn off the TV and make a point of getting to know each other better. On Friday nights, when many of us are closing our doors and putting our feet up, he is welcoming dozens of people, friends and strangers alike, into his home for his weekly pub night.
He is also an avid member of the Metro Vancouver Alliance, where he is devoting a great deal of energy to tackling the problem of social isolation at the regional level.
I don’t know how many times I have run into this parishioner at coffee shops all over North Vancouver – from Edgemont Village to Lynn Valley to Lonsdale. Unlike the rest of us who sit reading the paper or plugged into an electronic device, when this person is out and about he is always fully engaged with the world around him – sometimes with a unicycle or harmonica as a prop. He truly does take the gospel to the high street, in all manner of ways, and often the sight of him careering down the sidewalk on his bike with no helmet is a good reminder to the rest of us that Jesus sometimes broke the rules, too.
I asked him once why he had picked St. Catherine’s as his parish home, and he said because he lived nearby and it was really important to him that he didn’t see his church friends just on Sunday morning; he wanted to bump into them throughout the week as well. We are so lucky that he did choose St. Catherine’s, and that we have been enriched by his loyalty and affection ever since.
I would love to think that there are plenty of people in the world like this, and that you are scratching your head right now wondering which one of them I’m talking about. But there is, of course, only one unique Paul Clark, and it is my honour to present to him this year’s Friend of St. Catherine’s Award.