Severn Falls Chapel has a special place in my heart… it’s a little Chapel that represents my Father to me.
It’s a nondenominational place of worship that was begun by a lovely couple, now 55 years ago, in their basement. It’s not large at all, and sometimes in the summer the congregation spills outside of the large doors to sit on chairs on the front decking for the service. It’s finished inside with wood panel walls, stained glass windows, chairs, not church pews, and the singing that takes place in here is amazing!
My parents were immediately drawn to this Chapel when they bought our cottage in 1984. And they even discovered and rediscovered friends there, one couple that they have know their whole marriage and one couple they had met during summer vacations, which probably helped a lot in making this place feel like home for them. And bonus, instead of driving a car to church, they would boat there!
Slowly over the years my parents become an integral part of that community. They were always there to help with social functions, my mother sang solos many times there, and my father became known as the “Man in the Red Overalls” when it came to helping out on Wednesday mornings with handyman jobs.
Then came the last Thanksgiving weekend that I attended Chapel with my parents. Thanksgiving was a very special service. There are no speakers assigned to that day. It is an open opportunity for anyone and everyone who wanted to give public thanks to do so.
My Father was not a man who spoke comfortably in public. This service we sat together and he held my hand most of the time. Then at one point, he got up to go to the front and speak. He gave his thanks to everyone and God for their support and prayers during his illness. He spoke humbly and honestly, it was not easy for him but it was important that he did this on that particular day. When he sat back down, he looked at me and said “I bet you never expected that.”, I was too emotional to reply back. I knew then that my Dad was at peace and that he had found a home in this little Chapel.
His funeral and prior visitations were attended to by over 400 people, from all areas of his life: the Church in Hamilton where we attended during our childhood, people he worked with, people from the town they lived in, and people from our cottage. It was a true testament to the man he was.
Several months later, the Chapel decided to have a Memorial service for my Father and another gentleman who had also passed away at the same time. It was a lovely service to give honour and thanks for the lives of these two men. And they also planted two trees in their memory. Today those trees have flourished and stand 7-8 feet tall. It is a perfect symbol of my Dad!
This brings me to this painting pictured above. This past summer we had our very good friends visit us from Florida. Anyone who comes to visit us at the cottage will usually get a tour of the Chapel and a look at the tree. Well our friend Robert is a wonderful painter, and a few months later he wanted us to pick a painting of his for a thank you gift. It was difficult for Terry and I to decide, and in truth, we never did actually settle on any one painting (they all are wonderful!!). But on New Year’s Eve several days ago, Robert and Amy arrive at our house, and Robert is appearing excited about something, with a sly smile on his face. He then calls Terry aside, and they disappear for several minutes. When they return, I’m called over and to my great surprise … and awe … Robert presents to us a painting, just completed, of the Chapel and my Dad’s tree! On the back he has written his thanks to Terry and I and also that this painting is in memory of my Father.
What a wonderful, touching gift we received from our dear friends Robert and Amy!! I am so touched by the thoughtfulness and all the love that has gone into this painting! It will hang proudly in our Cottage next summer. It has brought memories back to real life for me.
Thank you so much Robert and Amy!!!
And Dad, my love to you forever and always!! xx