Cathedral bids farewell to Keith Joyce
and celebrates his 15 years as Dean
By Carolyn Turney
And Ana Watts
The Christ Church Cathedral congregation bade farewell to Dean Keith and Elinor Joyce at his last Sunday service on March 2. At a reception and luncheon following in Cathedral Memorial Hall, Bishop and Chapter, on behalf of the congregation, presented them with “a small David McKay watercolour accompanied by an enormous amount of affection.” The dean and Elinor with their daughter and son-in-law, Jessica and Christian Gowan, sat at a table in front of the stage for the festivities, in deference to the dean’s recent knee-replacement surgery. For the most part all eyes were on them, but perhaps the children at the brightly decorated tables to their left were a bit of a distraction. For some, they even stole the show. But neither Keith nor Elinor was concerned in the least because among the beautiful smiling faces at the little tables were those of their grandchildren Gillian and Elliot. The Dean baptized Gillian Elisabeth Gowan, along with Samuel John Alexander Hall, just moments before at the service in the Cathedral.
It was a celebratory service that belied the reluctance of the Cathedral congregation to say farewell to the Joyces as they prepare to take on new responsibilities in Ontario. It was Keith’s last Sunday service after nearly fifteen years at the helm of the Cathedral, where his pastoral personality and innovative ideas for worship made him a very popular Dean indeed. The combined Eucharist included the regular celebrants of all three Sunday services and packed the Cathedral. It featured music from the senior and treble choirs as well as the musicians who provide accompaniment to the 11:45 contemporary service. The lectionaries from the , BCP and Revised Common, were also combined and even the dean’s two appointments in this diocese were melded. Elaine Robichaud — warden at St. Paul’s, Parish of Hampton where he served when he first came here and where his daughter Jessica and her family now worship — led the prayer for the baptismal candidates. At the end of the service Archdeacon Geoffrey Hall, the bishop’s executive assistant and an honourary assistant at the Cathedral, offered a moving blessing to Keith and Elinor.
The McKay watercolour — “Access Across the River from Home,” was especially meaningful to Keith and Elinor because it depicted the walking bridge across the St. John River that is close to the Cathedral and their former home in the Deanery, and because of their sincere appreciation for the artist. Gwen Davies and Greta Wells presented the painting on behalf of Bishop and Chapter. It was the only gift the Joyce’s opened during the reception but there were several other presentations. Once-and-future verger Hank Williams made a one on behalf of the Altar Guild. Lois Baker presented a gift from the ACW, which also catered the bountiful lunch. Nathan Cutler coordinated a photo-album project that saw 300 images mounted in the album and promised more to follow. Tom Fetter, lay chair of Bishop and Chapter, presented an envelope representing “The Dean’s Purse,” gifts from Cathedral individuals and families.
Mr. Feter also acted as master of ceremonies for the occasion and read a heartfelt letter from Archbishop Claude Miller who was unable to be present for the occasion. He also introduced retired bishops George Lemmon and Bill Hockin who shared memories of bringing Keith to the diocese to serve in the Parish of Hampton, and of his early days as dean.
Inside the Cathedral and especially in the hall, generous floral arrangements promised spring and all the children gathered gave hope for the future of the church. Outside the cathedral even the huge snow banks and treacherous ice on the sidewalk were unable to dash those hopes.