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(Left to right) Carole Lovell, representative elder at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Sydney Mines, N.S.; Donalda Ferguson, guest; Robert Ferguson, previous representative elder for many years at St. Andrew’s; and the Rev. Dr. Barclay MacKay.
 Retirement of the Rev. Dr. Marion Barclay MacKay
  By Charles Greaves, Bethel Presbyterian Church in Sydney, N.S.
On Oct. 15, members of the Presby- tery of Cape Breton in N.S. and their guests gathered to recognize the Rev. Dr. Marion Barclay MacKay on her re-
tirement and give thanks for the many years of dedication to her ministry.
Marion is a graduate of Ewart Col- lege and the University of Toronto (1979) as well as the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Rich- mond, Virginia (1988). She was des-
ignated to the Order of
Diaconal Ministries in
May 1979 and served
the Presbytery of
Calgary-MacLeod in
through October 1989
as the Presbytery
Mission Worker, first
under appointment
through the Board
of World Missions
and then continuing
on as the Presbytery
1996, she served the congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Lethbridge, Alta., as its Director of Christian Education.
In 1997, she attended Knox College in Toronto, where she was recognized by her fellow students as the go-to person for advice and assistance. She served the congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Cal- garyfromJanuary1997throughOc- tober 2005.
From 2006 through 2008, she and her late husband, the Rev. Dr. Donald W. MacKay, served with International Ministries in Ghana, West Africa, as- sisting the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in the development of its rather extensive lay training and catechist program, and continued to serve with International Ministries until January 2009.
In addition to serving on several national church committees, Marion was the first Canadian to serve as President for the Association of Pres- byterian Church Educators (APCE), a multi-denominational network of Christian Educators in the Reformed Tradition in North America, and has been a workshop leader and speaker in Canada, the United States and Gha- na.Marionlaterreceivedanhonorary doctorate from the Presbyterian Col- lege, Montreal, in 2016.
Since February 2009, Marion has served as minister of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Sydney Mines, N.S., until her retirement on November 1, 2020. Marion was elected modera- tor of the Synod of the Atlantic Prov- inces in October 2019 and, due to COVID-19, will continue to serve until October 2021.
The Rev. Dr. Marion Barclay MacKay holding a picture of her husband, the Rev. Grant Johnston, who is minister- ing in Ontario and was unable to attend because of COVID-19 travel restrictions
As Marion enters retirement, she will have two very important respon- sibilities. She presently shares mar- ried life with the Rev. Grant Johnston who is also retired and is juggling life between Nova Scotia and his home in Brampton, Ont. Unfortunately, Grant was not able to be with us in person at our gathering because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, but was there in spirit as his picture was be- side Marion.
We wish Marion all the best and as- sure her of our prayers and support as she heads out on this new path. We are sure she will continue to lead a busy life sharing her talents in the Lord’s work.
(Rev. 21:1–5 from The Message by Eugene Peterson)
According to the Bible, God re-
mains active in human lives and keeps a hand in global history. With God’s involvement, it all ends well. Instead of everything wrapping up with the incineration of the earth, we are given a picture of a restored Eden. And for those who don’t trust fairy tales, we are also provided a preview. Jesus’ death and resurrec- tion is the teaser for God’s epic end- ing: heaven comes down to earth and death is undone.
This alternate ending makes me hopeful about the future. This alter- nate ending is more encouraging than a life-expectancy calculator that says I have an edge on some of my peers, and more encouraging than scientific calculations that project a long shelf-life for the earth.
While I have every expectation that I will die before the arrival of this God- given future, I am trusting that I will be caught up in it. I am also trusting that the care I show for myself, for others and for the earth will be part of the good things that are coming.
And so, I pray: “Help me, O God, to live as those who are prepared to die. And when my days here on earth are accomplished, enable me to die as those who are ready to live.”
 Educational Consult- The Rev. Ritchie Robinson, speaker at the event and con- ant. From November
vener of the Business Committee, the Rev. Dr. Marion Bar-
clay MacKay and Charles Greaves, moderator of presbytery. 1989 through July
Thinking about the End
  By the Rev. Steve Filyk, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kamloops, B.C.
I had another birthday at the end of June. I turned 47, which means that 50 is on its way. In the last couple of years, I’ve been thinking about my own mortality. I know I’m not that old, but I do have a health condition that remains undiagnosed. And every few months, I hear about another person in their 40s who has died. This all starts me wondering: Will I be plucked from this world in the middle of my most productive years? Or will I live to see my children’s children?
I went to the web to get some help with this question and I discovered a Canadian research group running an online health calculator (projectbiglife. ca). After filling out a survey on eating habits, exercise and weight, I found that despite my health concerns I’ve got the limber body of a 42-year-old and am projected to live to 86. Just to be clear, that is a 61% chance of living to 86. But what if I blow a stop
sign and get hit by a gravel truck? What if my heart decides to find a new rhythm while I’m out shooting hoops? Alternative endings abound.
And while I face other risks in life, there are added risks that threaten all of us. COVID-19 has reminded us that no one is an island. We all share life together. We are all affected by each other’s decisions, and by events that are totally out of our hands. All to say that any life-span projections from need a giant asterisk.
Humanity faces existential threats that we might be able to mitigate or diminish: global warming, subver- sive ar tificial intelligence and lethal pandemics. But we also face threats that are entirely out of our control: asteroids, ear thquakes, wandering stars. Even the earth has a limited life span. In the BBC article, “How Long Will Life Survive on Planet Earth?”, it is predicted that in five billion years, the sun will become a red giant. Add a couple billion years more and our ballooning sun will engulf the ear th’s
former orbit.
It would seem that there is an end
to everything. Many of these endings aren’t happy at all.
It is easy for me to get lost in anxie- ty and fears about the end of my life or the end of our planet. Will I spend my last days in a hospital ward hooked up to a ventilator? Will the mercury plum- met as a new ice age begins, making challenges of COVID-19 look like a walk in the park? In the song, “The Future,” Leonard Cohen croaks:
Give me back the Berlin wall Give me Stalin and St. Paul I’ve seen the future, brother It is murder.
When I worry about these menac- ing possibilities, I find it helpful to dig into another story, with a more hopeful
ending. I think about the last chapters of the last book of the Bible. In the book of Revelation, the writer shares
vision of the ear th’s future:
I saw Heaven and earth new-cre- ated. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone— all the first order of things gone.”

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