Remembered by Lisa Wojna
A witch’s hat. A pair of Spock ears. A headband with Valentine hearts bobbing atop a springy antenna. A shamrock tie. If there was a special occasion in the near future, chances were you might find Rev. Canon Brad Elliott of Christ Church Anglican in Selkirk donning some such article of clothing while visiting shut-ins at one of Selkirk’s nursing homes or medical facilities. It was one of the many ways Brad brought a smile to the people in his life.
“He had a wonderful sense of humour,” said Christ Church secretary Nancy Bollenbach.
That quirkiness had a serious edge at times. Parishioners in both Carmen and Selkirk might recall a particular Christmas sermon that included a special gift of chocolate for every member of the congregation. There was a message surrounding that chocolate about how the outer appearance of things could be deceiving. At the appropriate time, congregants were told to take a bite out of their chocolate, only to discover the chocolate covered a cotton ball. Life, Brad explained, is like that; you can’t judge God’s gifts solely by their outward appearance.
Brad was very conscious of reaching out beyond the church boundaries to the wider community. In doing so, he recognized that not everyone experiences God in the same way. As one of the T-shirts read, “God is too Big to fit into one Religion.” This belief, coupled with his deep compassion for everyone he met, made him the “go-to” pastor for many people who were weren’t connected to a faith community but were searching in some way. People who were sick in the hospital, shut-in at home, or families who were suffering from the loss of a loved one often called on Brad.
His love for God’s creation extended beyond the people in his midst. He had a great love of animals and nature (just don’t hand him a spider or a snake), and he greatly enjoyed hosting a blessing of the animals during the Feast of St. Francis.
Anyone who knew Brad knew his talents in the kitchen were somewhat limited. However, that didn’t hold him back from cooking for anyone who’d take him up on his offer of a “no fluff, only great stuff ‒ and service with a smile, too!” lunch with the Pastor.
Brad’s personality was certainly larger than life; to attempt to encapsulate his ministry in these few short words doesn’t really do him justice. But perhaps the most important quality that could be attributed to Brad was his understanding of 1 Corinthians 13. For Brad, the most important gift was love: love for life, love for each other, and love for God.