Lynda A. Harrison, Minister, St. John’s United Church, Kemptville

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St. John’s United Church, Kemptville, On. is deeply saddened to announce the death of our dearly beloved minister and friend, Lynda A. Harrison on December 22, 2023. Lynda came to St. John’s in 2006 bringing her deep personal faith and her joy of service to God which was shown in every moment of her life. She saw the reflection and goodness of God in everyone she met. Her spirit and outlook were always of “light and love”. Her smile and outlook were always warming and saying welcome.

In her hometown of New Richmond, Quebec, Lynda was discerning her call to ministry from an early age. She enthusiastically participated in the life of St. Andrew’s United Church – Sunday School, Explorers, C.G.I.T., many concerts, plays and talent shows. These experiences were the foundation for what Rev. Lynda was to become in her ministry.

Lynda A. Harrison was ordained in 1994 and served pastoral charges in Saskatchewan and the Eastern Townships of Quebec before arriving in Kemptville. In these charges, her love of all things motorized allowed her to drive a prairie combine and ride her motorcycle through the winding roads of rural Quebec. Kemptville presented a calmer side – a series of bicycles were her pastime here!

The ability to quietly listen to conversations, both individually and in group settings and then provide a strong, reflective response was one of Lynda’s many attributes. A moment or two of silence, never filled with idle words, and then her wisdom would be shared with grace and love. Bible study comes to mind; her inquisitive nature and open mind allowed for many great conversations in a comfortable, safe environment.  

Lynda was a lifelong learner attending in person and virtually many Christian themed seminars, writing workshops and theologically focused events. She shared this knowledge with us in her weekly thought-provoking sermons and prayers. An avid reader, our community library was one of her frequent, favorite haunts.

She displayed strong leadership skills and she encouraged others to participate and provided many opportunities for them to share their talents. Because of this, our church family is resilient and has continued worshiping and serving our community through the pandemic, through structural issues and especially through Lynda’s illnesses.  

Her love of laughter and her sense of humour was contagious and often so memorable. Lynda was keen on any physical activity – a spontaneous jump into the pool at a church picnic, participating in cancer fundraisers such as Relay for Life and Neon Nights, playing a “friendly” game of softball, or joining in a church organized golf day. Hockey was yet another passion, stories of “taking out the opponent” were shared and are now remembered. Lynda was always game to participate.  

She did cross and weave all generations. She was never hesitant to venture into places, residences or other areas to meet/greet people. Lynda shared her love for people of all ages and stages in life. For the children, as an example, it was reflected in her active participation in youth run Halloween events, the annual church picnic at Rideau Hill Camp or simply listening as they shared their dreams. For the in- between generations, she showed sincere interest in their day-to-day lives such as their work situations and parenting challenges. Lynda treasured her time with the seniors. Time spent at their homes or in retirement and long-term care facilities was always full of stories and treasured memories. She had an incredible memory for details. The names of children she baptized, the ability to remember situations and then respond with thorough conversation was always appreciated.

Lynda was brave and strong – her recent illnesses were faced with courage and practicality. Her concern for the wellbeing of others always came before her own welfare. Even while facing medical care, Lynda quietly continued to make calls to those in need of conversation or encouragement. Her commitment to her ministry was boundless.

She was remarkable and will be remembered with admiration. We were blessed with Lynda’s presence; we will deeply miss her thoughtfulness and genuine concern for others, and we shall continue in her footsteps to support each other and the community as we go forth into the future.

To her family and friends, we send our condolences, thoughts, and prayers. May you be able to take comfort in your many memories of Lynda.

The funeral service was held on January 4, 2024, at 2 pm, at St. Andrew’s United Church, New Richmond, Quebec, Lynda’s home church family.

If desired, memorial contributions may be made to St. Andrew’s United Church, New Richmond, Quebec, St. John’s United Church, Kemptville, or the House of Lazarus, Mountain, ON.

A Celebration of Life service will be held January 14, 2024, at 2 pm in the sanctuary at St. John’s United Church, 400 Prescott St, Kemptville. All are welcome to come and share a time of remembrance and thankfulness for the gift of Lynda A. Harrison.

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