Thursday, July 1, 2010

Farewell to the Canon

This past Sunday, Canon Greg Physick, the rector of Holy Trinity Church in Thornhill retired after recently celebrating thirty-five years in Holy Orders. Canon Greg served at Holy Trinity for nearly five years, after a lengthy incumbency at St. Matthew-the-Apostle, Oriole (in Willowdale). He had also been the rector of St. Francis-of-Assisi, Mississauga, St. Paul's, Pickering, and began his ministry as Assistant Curate of St. Clement's, Eglinton. It was a privilege and a pleasure for me to serve first as his Assistant Curate, and latterly as his Associate Priest. I learned much from the Canon, specifically, about loving and caring for the people of God. The thing most to be admired about the Canon, though, is his love of being a priest of the Church. Whether it is at the altar as he offers up the sacred mysteries or as he visits the sick and "shut-in" of the Church bringing them the sacrament of our Lord's body and blood, his joy of ministry is always evident and brimming over for all to see. I have long believed that a priest of the Church should exude the joy of the gospel and of our Lord, and Canon Greg certainly exudes this joy in extravagance. The Canon lives out the sort of priestly vocation that never goes out of style, but is always central to ministry, namely a passionate love of God and care for God's people. Whatever trends of ministry may come and go, this sort of ministry endures. The Church continues to be blessed in having such a fine priest amongst its college of presbyters.

He now moves on into retirement, and with time, new ways to live out his priestly vocation. After three wonderful years together, it was an emotional goodbye for both of us. I am happy to continue to regard him as a beloved father-in-God and treasured friend. Thank you for all you have shared with me and for all I learned from you, my friend. Enjoy your well-earned retirement.

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