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Remembering Aunt Verna.

Aunt Verna had the gift of hospitality. When you visited with her, you always felt affirmed. She was a good listener. I think the care she showed in trying to understand others and affirming them was at the core of who she was. She was genuinely interested in others. She had a real generosity of spirit.

My aunt graduated from Ewart College in 1962, but instead of becoming a diaconal minister, she taught in the public school system. She lived out her faith and shared it in a very natural way.

Aunt Verna told me, after she became seriously ill, that she was including a bequest for the Presbyterian Church in her will and she wanted me to decide how the money should be apportioned. I felt deeply affirmed by her giving me this responsibility. I consulted with my brother, Brian about how to distribute her gift. We eventually decided to disburse her gift as follows: First, we established a bursary at Knox College in my aunt's name. The bursary is based on need, not academic achievement. Then we divided the remaining portion among Presbyterian World Service and Development's Loaves and Fishes Fund, Southgate Church in Hamilton, Ont., and Calvin, Kitchener, Ont., where I serve as minister. It really helped simplify things for us that the PCC offered to act as the channel for the various beneficiaries.

My aunt was 83 years old when she died. She wanted to support both her family and the larger church and world. The fact that she set aside money in her will for needs in the world didn't surprise me. She was very generous in life; it is only natural she should be generous in death.

Rev. Mark Gedcke is minister at Calvin, Kitchener, Ont.

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Title Annotation:COVER PACKAGE
Author:Gedcke, Mark
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2010
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