Rev. Deacon Ed Maddock, St. Thomas Anglican Church, Morden, MB

Diane Guilford and Ed Maddock.

The Rev. Deacon Ed Maddock has served God as a deacon for 45 years as of April 21, 2020. I am honoured to serve alongside such a faithful servant and perhaps our oldest serving Deacon in this diocese, and possibly in Canada. Ed is 94 years old and faithfully reads the Gospel on Sundays and enthusiastically sends us out into the world as we leave the sanctuary – except from July to October when he is at his place at Minnewasta Lake – and in COVID times. Ed resigned from vestry in January this year but had served every year of his ministry. He continues to live in his home that he shared with Ruth for many years. It was the hope of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Morden to host a big celebration for him on May 24 at St. Thomas but this has been put off. Our next hope was to have it around his 95th birthday on July 13 but that also now seems unlikely.

I recently mentioned to Deacon Dayle Michaud that I wanted to write something to honour Ed’s commitment to his faith and his church, and she said she had done an article several years ago. The following is a condensed version from her interview with Deacon Ed.

There have been deacons in our midst over the years, who have held the fort, so to speak, in rural areas where there were no full-time priests. These deacons (along with committed lay people), serving with commitment, faithfulness, continuity, and loving service kept parishes open and running, kept parishioners informed and nurtured, and met the needs of folks, both spiritually, and practically. They were pioneers in the church – and God’s faithful servants to God’s people.

Ed, along with three other young men, began serving as a lay reader in his late teens, and was a member of the choir. He met Ruth at a Young Peoples group while he was attending his home church, St. Anne’s Anglican, in Winnipeg. In 1952 they moved to Morden as a young married couple, and Ed would begin working at Canadian Canner’s Ltd., as field superintendent. He had graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Agriculture in 1949.

It was becoming difficult for the diocese to find enough priests to serve the rural churches and Ed was encouraged to consider filling in when there was no one to lead worship, and was asked to think about attending ACPO. After ACPO, Ed spent a year attending evening classes at St. John’s College in Winnipeg, and graduated in 1973. Shortly afterward Ed fell off a burning hay stack, while trying to put out the fire, and broke both his heels. Because of the accident ordination was postponed for that year, and Ed was ordained a deacon at St. Thomas, Morden on May 21, 1975. It was always planned that Ed would continue on to the priesthood, but there always seemed to be something that caused him not to seek the priesthood.

Often over the years, St. Thomas had no priest and Ed along with lay readers, took care of all the Sunday services, as well as a lot of church administrative demands. The service was always Morning Prayer taken from the Book of Common Prayer along with prepared sermons received through a prepared sermon bulletin and later through the Anglican Book Center. Besides Sunday morning worship, Ed also officiated at funerals, and baptisms. Around 1984, the Rev. Fred Lynch arrived to serve in Morden and helped Ed learn how to prepare sermons – taught him how to administer communion – and how to do a Deacon’s Mass where he administered the bread and the wine that had been previously consecrated by a priest.

As each new incumbent came to serve at St. Thomas, Ed was included and worked faithfully alongside the priest. In between those times, when there was no priest, Ed served dependably and the parish was always assured a service on Sunday mornings.

Ed retired from his day job in 1990, but continued serving the church until he resigned in 2008. However, it’s never that easy to escape a lifetime of service and commitment to a church community, and still continues to today proclaiming the Gospel and at the end of the worship, sending people out to serve in the world.

Ruth died in 2004, but during their marriage Ed and Ruth had four children together – two sons, and two daughters – and then six grandchildren. Every summer Ed moved out to his trailer on the edge of Lake Minewasta (one mile west of Morden). Ed is happy to be surrounded by both his families; his family that visits at the lake, and at home, as well as the family that makes up his church community. Well done good and faithful servant! – Dayle Michaud and Diane Guilford

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