St. Luke’s team of three intrepid travelers has returned from a week-long bible camp with On Eagle’s Wings in Fort Simpson, NWT. What a difference from the same trip last year to Fort Liard! Fort Simpson is about three times the size of Fort Liard. There are approximately 1200 residents and three churches. Interestingly, fewer children (a total of 15) came to the Fort Simpson VBS this year. 24 came out in Fort Liard. The team puts this down to the work of one person, Rosie, in Fort Liard, who made it her personal mission to invite every child in the area.
The interaction with the Fort Simpson children was very good. Even more so, however, this year the team felt the value of being in this small community to encourage the church and its leaders. The main contact for On Eagle’s Wings in that area has been Father Joe, a Catholic priest who has served the north for decades. The Ven. Richard King, rector of St. Luke’s and one of the three who went north, writes this tribute:
"Today is Father Joe's last day. He is 78 years old. He has been responsible for the area that includes Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Trout Lake, Wrigley, Jean Marie River, Nahanni Butte, and Sambaa K'e. To give you an idea of the size of the area, the distance from Wrigley to Fort Liard is 500 kilometers! He has been travelling these distances, in the depths of winter, for 11 of the last 20 years. He is, for me, a living embodiment of what 'faithfulness' looks like."
The team was there for the handover as Father Macleen Anwanyu of Nigeria took over the reins. He came from running a huge church in Lagos, arriving in mid-February when it was -35⁰! He’s worked with Father Joe since then, and is now solely responsible for all the parishes mentioned above. It was good to be able to make that contact and to encourage Fr. Macleen, as well as Barb, the local Sunday School teacher from the Anglican Church, who also hosted two of the team.
St. Luke’s is thankful: