Baptism, Music and Remembrance

A Two Part Blog –



Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body."


Last night I had a very refreshing musical bath. It is soul-refreshing to hear the soft melody of a great choir, particularly when it is well directed and well prepared. Tim Shantz is the conductor of the Windsor Classic Chorale and Katy Warke is Soprano in that great choir – together they are parents to Chloe and Isaac who were yesterday welcomed into the household of God in the sacrament of baptism.  They had quite a journey yesterday from a sacramental celebration of baptism to a prodigious performance at the Old Windsor Armouries last evening that left the sold out audience teeming with thanks.


On Sunday evenings I am not usually full of vim and vigour, and last evening was shaping up to be tiring by virtue of nothing more than the length of the day. But I was oh so happy to have my sprit lifted and my soul renewed with the gift of music from Tim and his wonderful chanteuses, his wife Katy included. Indeed, I had received gift enough from them in the morning with the privilege of baptising Isaac and Chloe, along with little Sierra Bryceland and her mom Shannon and her Uncle Ryan (That’s right – 5 baptisms).



The kids were so awesome at their baptisms and brought great joy to our community in their young expressions of faith. Having that joy followed by the stillness and harmony of The Windsor Classic Chorale was more goodness than one paltry Parson should have in one work day.

  Tim Shantz

The concert was to commemorate Remembrance Day and included beautiful renderings of Amazing Grace, Dona Nobis Pacem, What a Wonderful World, Going Home, In Flanders Field and so many more. The night also included a fun sing-a-long with oldies like K-K-K-Katie … (I wonder why that song?) The whole evening was wonderful and I cannot say thank you enough for cleansing my soul with angelic sounds and for a wonderful day. Nietzsche was right- “Without music life would be a mistake.” I was pleased to experience the music of the morning and the music if the night! A great day indeed. 



Another great gift yesterday was the gentle and loving way in which Christian Paulton taught the children about Remembrance Day. His duty was to play The Last Post and Revelee  – he was also supposed to give the children’s focus. He combined them and the result was magic.

Those of you who know me well, know that I have to work hard at the Remembrance day stuff. War for me is a real sad statement about our humanity and is cause for collective repentance. Yet, each year we have to find a way to honour the fallen with dignity and to give thanks for the freedom that we enjoy. I have gotten a little better at it over time – of note here I should admit that in my first tenure as a chaplain to the Legion in Labrador – I was fired. They were upset that at the Remembrance Day Celebration “All he talked about was Peace – he never even brought up the war!”  In any event I digress – this started out about Christian.  I share my struggles only to make clear how meaningful what he did was for me yesterday. For those who were not there, you missed a brilliant illustration.  He played The Last Post and in the silence (and the kids had all pledged to be silent) he opened a trunk to help them understand and remember. He brought out of the trunk a number of items that were reminders of the war – a model war plane, a bomber jacket, a picture of his Grandpa, a gas mask, a legion jacket replete with war medals, etc. As each was removed it was passed to a child and the wonderment and love that was expressed in those moments was magic. After all was said and done and each children’s mind was fixed in imagination, our senses were awoken with Revelee. It was profound and it was brilliant.

 The words I remember from the conversation Christian had with the Kids before “The Trunk” were “Thank God you do not have those pictures in your mind.” We need to all work for peace so that those children might grow up in a world which is free of the violence and war that we see about us even today.  Thank God that we do not have the images in our young minds that Rita Severs and Bill Brown have in their minds – having survived the bombings in London. Thank God we did not live the horrors that so many lived. While thanking God for that reprieve from those horrified images, pray to God to have the courage to speak peace, live peace, and work for peace so that  more of God’s Children might say – Thank God we don’t have those images in our minds.”  

One thought on “Baptism, Music and Remembrance

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  1. Hi Kevin,
    I am glad to hear that in your congregation you have been gifted with someone who can speak eloquently and graciously about war.  I have always struggled with finding the right words about conflict, being a dyed in the wool pacifist who, likely as not, wouldn\’t even hold an unloaded weapon if one was handed to her.  Some people have a gift when it comes to discussing the important bloodshed and conflicts of our past.  I recognize their signficance, and wish I was more comfortable with them, but it simply isn\’t part of my repertoire.  I am not surprised that Christian did such an excellent job of discussing the topic– clearly he has this gift, but he is also really good at relating to children.  His foci during the services are unerringly good, and he shows remarkable flexibility, control and relationship with the kids– all of which are not things I think you can teach, they are simply things some can do. 
    Congratulations on having a congregation as gifted as yours is.  No doubt there are many other parishes with just as many individuals who can do, but I think it\’s your enthusiasm that encourages people to do what they can do.  It is a magical combination out there at St.Mark\’s, and a blessed one.  Every week we\’re there it seems that your intrepid group of parishoners strike out, fearlessly and essentially united in their effort to celebrate, truly celebrate, eucharist even with pains of the past and conflicts which may still be a bit present.  Marvelous!
    Happy Tuesday!

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