CCS principal Maylanne Maybee attended two significant events in Toronto this past weekend – the memorial for Kay Pearson and a celebration for Marlene Carscallen. Her reflections:…
Sunday, January 24, 2016 was a day of celebration of two different but equally rich lives. I was blessed to be part of both.
In the morning, the ministry of Deacon Marlene Carscallen was celebrated by her parish church of Grace Church on-the-Hill Anglican Church in Toronto. Marlene was ordained to the diaconate 20 years ago, among the first “vocational” deacons in the Diocese of Toronto. She received tributes from the parish for her warm and faithful pastoral care, from the Diocese of Toronto for her skilled chaplaincy to seniors’ homes and street people alike, from the Bishop of Toronto, from the Community of Deacons in Toronto, and from me. Marlene also served on the Awards Committee and the Central Council of the Centre for Christian Studies.
Marlene once gave me a book of reflections called “Plain and Simple”. I hope one day the Church will speak of “deacons” plain and simple, without qualifying them as “vocational” or “permanent” or “perpetual”. For me, Marlene has been a deacon plain and simple – clear, energetic, and deeply committed to just get on with it. For this I give thanks.
In the afternoon, I joined a large congregation at St. Luke’s United Church on Sherbourne St. to celebrate the life of former CCS staff member Kay Pearson. Rev. Etta Snow (UWTC 1957) co-led the service with Rev. Malcolm Sinclair. People from all parts of Kay’s life were gathered – members of her family, of the CCS community, and of St. Luke’s.
St. Luke’s is a large building with high ceilings and limited heating. I was warmed by sharing a pew with Gwyn Griffith, Nancy Ruth, and Gwyn’s partner Nan Emki, and sat across from Yvonne Stewart who did not undo her parka or lower her hood throughout the service! CCS staff Lori Stewart was also able to attend.
However, if the church was cold, the atmosphere was not. We were touched and warmed with music by the church choir, hymns chosen by her family, and tributes from her granddaughter and nephew. I spoke on behalf of the Centre for Christian Studies, citing the multiple uses of the Kay Pearson room at 60 Maryland St. as a sign of her many gifts – of radical hospitality, communication, and commitment to care for every person who entered the door.
Some people’s lives might be defined by their accomplishments, but Kay Pearson’s life was defined by her character – open hearted, compassionate, attentive, truthful and kind. For this I give thanks.