Laughter from the pulpit
The Editor, Sir:
Upon hearing news of the death of our beloved Canon Weeville McCurbin Gordon, former custos of Kingston and former priest at St Matthew's Anglican Church where I once worshipped, I was only consoled by my long-lasting memories of his well-developed sense of humour, which will have the angels in heaven 'in stitches', when he gets there. He really knew how to bring a sermon to life, with his humorous anecdotes and wise but equally humorous observations.
'Rev G', as those of us growing up in the '60s and '70s at St Matthew's called him, stood and walked tall: a stately giant in physical stature and in soul. He laughed with us (the then young congregants), talked with us, encouraged us. Never condemning us.
Whether we were at morning service, Sunday school, at youth (Campaigners) meetings or at our annual fun-loving and frolicking summer camps, he was there with us. I recall at one of our annual camps in Mandeville he got on the dance floor with us, demystifying and shattering our traditional image of the conservative Anglican priesthood.
The last time I spoke with Canon Gordon (some time earlier this year), it was in a telephone conversation. He had called my office asking me for a favour ... not for himself, mind you, but for a poor person who was in need of something for which he thought I could help. That was Canon ... even while not well himself, he was looking out for and reaching out to others. The time prior to this when I saw him was at a dinner for justices of the peace which was being held at The Wyndham hotel. There he was in the lobby with his adoring wife Ellonia, smiling and joking as only he knows how to. When he went to the podium to give his speech, you can bet it, the entire ballroom was engulfed in laughter.
To his wife, and children Angella, Flavia and Peter, I say condolences. But more so, I say thanks for sharing your dad with me in my youth. The values he taught me at St Matthew's are forever cherished. The sermons, often spiced with loads of humour, which he preached each Sunday from the pulpit are priceless treasures. To Canon, I say farewell: but more so, thanks for being who you were in my life, a truly wonderful Christian and human being.
I am, etc.,