World leaders are celebrated with so much fanfare when they leave this physical world, I felt compelled that we need to dedicate this reflection to a loving leader, colleague and an example of a servant-leader, Rev. Seeley.
Every September, I reflect on new beginnings. As the new academic year begins, Mother Nature reminds us that change is in the air with the cooler weather and prepares us for winter. I take my vacations mostly in fall, bringing me new and refreshing outlook to life, as we attempt to hibernate through the coming months of winter. However, this time I want to concentrate and share with you a short reflection for the late Reverend J. H. (Harry) Seeley, who departed from this physical world on Aug. 1, 2022. Most of you knew him longer than I did, but I am compelled to share these words from my heart with you, as Rev. Seeley was the longest-serving minister at Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge and the Emeritus Minister at Grace United Church after his retirement, where he served as the Pastoral Care and Visitations Minister.
Beloved, there are no sufficient words to express who Rev. Seeley was and always will be, but let me describe him as a humble servant of the Almighty Creator with a genuine heart. Who was born on December 24, 1927, which meant, after his ordination, he never had a proper, personal birthday celebration as ministers lead Christmas Eve Services every December 24. Words cannot express how honoured I am that our lives, Rev. Seeley’s, yours, and mine, were intertwined with God’s Love.
We all know that Harry and Marion were married for more than 65 years, they were the Royal Couple of the Rideau Lakes Township, extending all the way to Gananoque. Did you know that Rev. Seeley was a hockey player at Queen’s University? I know he was not in competition with anyone. He took his God-given talents and shared it with others with joy. When I learned that he actually helped establish a Joint Anglican-United Church Community of Faith for people involved with the Iron Ore Project in Quebec/Labrador, it dawned on me – this man was a prophet, the one who sees God’s Vision. For the last twenty years or so, I have heard that the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada have been in conversations to bring forces together and work together, but nothing concrete has shaped up; here is the late Rev. Seeley, who already had done such a work, many moons ago. He was a quiet servant of God, filled with the vision of God without any fanfare. Harry’s vision was not far from God’s Vision of Love, Care and Unity.
He paid attention to details. After COVID had calmed down and we were able to visit, my first visit to him was in June 2021, at Carveth. The moment I entered his room, he said my full name without any hesitation and asked how my husband Gary, father-in-law Bert, and sister Choughik were. He paid attention to details and made everyone feel precious and loved.
Beloved, there is so much we can say about Rev. Seeley and his accomplishments as the Chair of Kingston Presbytery, and many other committees within the United Church of Canada and the Larger Community, such as Elgin Lion’s Club President, and the Grand Chaplain of the Masonic Order for the Province of Ontario; and the Chaplain of the Rideau Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and he was awarded many recognitions.
But what stands out for me, as I know it stood out for him, is the fact he lived to make this world a better place with his Faith, Love and Laughter.
In 2013, when I became the incumbent minister serving Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge, I used to say, I am going to serve here more than 35 years so that I can surpass the years that Rev. Seeley served. But then in the middle of the pandemic, on June 27, 2020, God audibly called me to come and serve the Creator through Grace United Church. I was reluctant at first, but we all know that God’s loving voice is persistent. And today, here we are: A Full Circle of Love moment where two ministers who served the Creator through Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge, and gladly served and still serving Grace United Church, are here to tell you that Life is not a competition. Therefore, do not be afraid to let your God-given talents bring forth goodness to this earth. Work together in harmony, do not be afraid to take chances, and Be Good to one another.
“We came into this world without our permission and we have to leave it against our will. It is what we do with the time in between that makes life worthwhile. We can approach each day expecting the worst and find it or we can put on a happy face, pull ourselves up by our attitudes and live life to the fullest. A part of that reward is laughter. It is one of the most wonderful drugs on the market and it is totally free to all who will embrace it. There are no harmful effects from an overdose. It is perfectly safe.”
Beloved, may the Great God, who led Rev. Seeley all the days of his life and showed us how to live Love, continue to guide us as we continue on this journey with Hope, Faith, Love and Laughter. Thanks be to God for the Life of John Hendry (Harry) Seeley.
May we all do our best to make this world better than the time we were born.
Be a blessing to ALL who come your way. All are created in the Image of God and called, Beloved – Just like you and I.