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Settled into Virden

In the monthly Pastor’s Pen column, Virden's Anglican Church minister reflects on his first five years as the Rector of St. Mary's.
Matt Koovisk 1
Rev'd Fr. Matt Koovisk in St. Mary's Anglican Church. File Photo/Empire-Advance

Yesterday, I celebrated my fifth year of ordained ministry in Virden. On March 24, 2017, I was ordained as a deacon (the first ordination for many Anglican clergy) over at St. Mary’s. It was a day that was not only a long time coming, but it was also a day that I’ll never forget. However, all that being said, the first couple of months here I struggled. I wasn’t struggling because of anything anybody did (or didn’t do), but because I was going through culture shock. Some of you may know that prior to moving to Virden, I had really only lived in big cities. Sure, I had done a few stints in small towns in Saskatchewan and southwestern Ontario, but this was a different kettle of fish. I was moving from cities, where I could get anything I wanted at any hour, to minister to small towns where the local grocery store closed at 6pm on weekends.

                I was ordained on the Eve of the Feast of the Annunciation, the Feast in the Church calendar where we reflect on the announcement that Mary was to become the mother of Jesus Christ. At the end of the story, we hear Mary say these words: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” As I was moving and starting out here, these words rattled through my head, as a kind of assurance that things were going to get better as I settled in.

                And frankly, dear reader, they did (but you probably knew that was coming). I’ve been here five plus years now and I have learned that small towns have a charm about them that cities can never have. There is a sense of community here that isn’t present in cities – when I lived in cities, I didn’t know many people in the varied neighbourhoods I lived in. That isn’t the case in small towns – I’ve been made to feel very welcome here over the past five years. I feel like I’m part of this community and am known.

                So, thank you for opening my eyes to the charm of small towns. Thank you for welcoming this city boy with open arms and making him to feel like a part of the community. I look forward to more years in and around the town that means so much to many of us.

The Rev’d Fr. Matt Koovisk, Rector, St. Mary’s Anglican Church