I get many kinds of emails every week. I seldom share them, but with the encouragement of family and friends I have decided to share this one. It’s a sweet story for Christmas that blessed my heart and it comes from a family that I knew well nearly 30 years ago when I was a young priest in Placentia Bay. I will include the email exchange in its entirety, including first the message from Reverend Fred Marshal of the Parish of the Living Water and then the original message from Dora-Leigh Eddy of North Harbour. I have permission from everyone to share it with you.
As bishop, I realize that children are often fascinated with me when I walk into church with a pointy hat, colourful robes, and a funny stick. They frequently hang off the end of pews and just won’t take their eyes off me. Kathy suggests that some of them probably see me as a kind of wizard, reminiscent of Harry Potter. I don’t know. But I do know that a bishop in full regalia sure makes an impression on kids.
Dora-Leigh’s e-mail should remind all of us that children have their own special experience of church. And that experience is remembered into adulthood. Clearly, I have become part of little Violet’s experience of church, and for that I am humbled. I was evidently a part of her mother’s experience of church long before her and for that I am also humbled.
And no, the diocesan book store will not be selling Shibob Christmas ornaments next year!
Merry Christmas from Shibob!
---------- Original Message ----------
From: Fred Marshall
Date: December 13, 2017 at 7:02 PM
Subject: Fwd: The Bishops Visit
Bishop Geoff and Kathy: Vida Fiander told me this story on Sunday night in North Harbour. I asked her to send a picture for you.
I hope this two year old makes your day. You never know when you are making a good impression or to whom.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dora-Leigh Eddy
Date: Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 6:07 PM
Subject: The Bishops Visit
Good day Reverend Marshall,
I wanted to send along a message in the hopes you could forward it unto Bishop Peddle. Thank you in advance and Merry Christmas.
Dear Bishop Peddle,
When my mother (Vida) first asked if I would read to the children on the 25th for a christening I simply said sure ... I'm like my father when it comes to being bold in public. Then she went on to say that the Bishop would be attending as well. After that news I was a little nervous and wanted to make sure I did a good job.
Unbeknownst to me who the Bishop was, I got ready for the service. When I caught a glimpse of you before the service started I had asked mom what you were doing here ... she replied that you are the Bishop.
Well, I first have to say, I was thrilled to see you. I can't tell you how many times over the 20+ years I have wondered where you were located. I fondly remember you, although I was young, having such a friendly manner and conducting yourself with such grace and generosity. Over the years as I've attended church with my mother, and now as my husband and myself were looking for a 'home' church, I would find myself always comparing the other religious leaders to yourself. Needless to say, I was very pleased to see you again, and to know that you have continued to move up the ranks and share God's word.
Back to the service ... My daughter, Violet, was beyond intrigued by your hat and staff, that had a bird on it. She kept asking the whole service where's the 'Shibob', when we would point you out she'd say 'there he is '.
For days, she kept talking about the 'Shibob'. Mom actually brought her a paper clipping of you. She wanted to put you on her Christmas tree, so we laminated the picture and made an ornament for her. When asked where the Bishop is she runs to the tree to point you out.
Thank you so much for being such a kind man, I truly hope this message finds you in good health and Christmas spirit.