We were informed this past week of the death of The Reverend Angus MacDonald. Angus as he was known to everyone was 91 years old. I did not know Angus very well (being a newcomer to Ottawa) but I met him on several occasions, including the covenanting service here, and at least two suppers at the church. He was driving of course at the time. He was quite amazing – I don’t think he really retired, as he was known to be present at many Presbytery meetings, and preached on a pretty regular basis.
Some of you knew Angus much better than I, as he was the minister here at Carleton Memorial from 1973-1990, and there are others of you who had met him at various church events in the city and around. I am sure there are remembrances of him and his wife Pat that speak of his servanthood to God and his service to the United Church of Canada. Funeral services for Angus MacDonald will be Saturday October 31st, 10:30 a.m., at Riverside United Church, 3191 Riverside Dr., Ottawa, ON K1V 8N8.
This Sunday is All Saints Day. It is a time when we remember those in our lives who have been a saint at one time or another. Maybe it was a minister, a teacher, a judge, police officer, or someone else. In all likelihood, it is a person who showed you God’s love and God’s grace – personally or to your community, to your church.
I have several saints who have impacted my life – some are ministers – Reverend Russ Crook, Reverend Fraser Muldrew and Reverend Ed Prinselaar. These three men were so important to me in my faith formation as a young person. They exemplified that grace and wisdom that makes a difference in the world. Glenn Zimmer and Margaret Dick at the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer in Saskatchewan were significant in my life. I know I would not have managed without their grace and love in caring for me in very hard times. Their saintliness goes much, much beyond me, indeed out to the universe to make the world a better place.
There is another I would call a saint – Stephen Lewis, as an advocate for people suffering from AIDS in Africa, and the grandmothers of children orphaned by AIDS, as well as his diplomatic and political career that showed his deep vision and passion for a better world. I met him several times and always came away from those meetings determined to want to make the world a better place.
This Sunday we will remember the saints of Carleton Memorial as we receive the recommendations of the Visioning Committee that might point us to the future. We might consider that only those who started the church as saints. Saints who did such a wonderful job, we cannot make changes. Indeed some of those first people of CMUC were visionary in building the church. They needed something that responded to the needs of the community at the time. This is a new time. Maybe today’s saints have a new vision no less remarkable. Maybe you are a saint that has the ability to see the future differently. Come to church on Sunday and see for yourself.
See you Sunday.