Saying farewell to Rev. George Davidson and his wife, Donna, was an emotional time for members of Joint Pastoral Charge — St. Charles United Church and Headingley United Church last month.
At a special dinner on June 12, more than 100 members gathered to thank the couple, who have shared the last 17 years with these two congregations.
From the regular Sunday services to the talent displayed by both as actors in the Headingley United Church Players to being tour guides in foreign lands, Rev. Davidson and Donna have led their parishioners to explore and search beyond normal daily activities to expand their horizons.
Weddings, baptisms, and funerals are all part of the life of a minister and they have shared in the joys and sorrows of hundreds of people over the years.
As tour guides, they led tours to South Africa, Egypt, China, Russia, Turkey, New Zealand, Israel and Jordan.
Over the years, they were welcoming hosts and actors for the Headingley United Church dinner theatre.
At the farewell dinner, Rev. Davidson confirmed that he and Donna "would continue to travel and spend more time with family".
Among the many people who spoke to thank the couple, Rick Lindsay summed it up well:
"I have learned a tremendous amount from Rev. Davidson about the usefulness of faith in daily life".
Both Rev. Davidson and Donna were eager to help in any way they could. Caring for parishioners and inviting in strangers in need of help is not always an easy task. Regardless of time of day, they could be counted on in times of need.
While at St. Charles United and Headingley United Church, Rev. Davidson celebrated his 50th anniversary of being an ordained minister. He also presided over a very special 100-year anniversary service of Headingley United Church.
The special moments in a 17-year span are too many to fit into this column.
Whether it was at the farewell dinner, the final services at both churches or the final "coffee Sunday", one thing became clear — both Rev. Davidson and Donna have earned the admiration of many and will be missed as they embark on a new phase of their life together.
Valerie Chatain-White is a community correspondent for Headingley. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org