Bishop-elect John Meade to be remembered with scholarship

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A portrait of Bishop-elect John Meade was dedicated and placed in St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Grand Bay, N.L., at a ceremony March 18. Among those in attendance were (l-r) the Rev. Harold Harvey, rector of St. Paul’s; Denise Francis, Meade’s sister; and Helen Meade, his mother. Photo: Contributed

The home church of John Meade, who died last November, months after being elected coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Western Newfoundland, has set up an annual scholarship to honour his memory.

Starting December 2018, the Bishop-Elect John Meade Scholarship will be awarded to one student per year at St. James Regional High School in Port Aux Basques, N.L., said the Rev. Harold Harvey, rector of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in nearby Grand Bay. The $250 scholarship will go to a student, chosen by teachers, “who most reflects the gospel message of service and compassion,” according to a news release from Grand Bay Parish, which includes St. Paul’s as well as two other churches in Cape Ray and Codroy, N.L.

Harvey said he was very happy with the scholarship as a way of memorializing Meade.

“John had great courage—in all the time he’d been sick, he never spoke about it, never complained about it,” he said. “John also had a lot of compassion—a great deal of compassion for people who were in need. I think that came out of his own suffering.”

Meade struggled for much of his life with Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation of the digestive tract. He was first diagnosed at 12, and a flare-up when he was a young man almost caused him to drop out of his university studies, Harvey said. But Meade pushed on and eventually finished his bachelor’s degree as well as a master of divinity degree. He was ordained a priest in 1998, and became executive archdeacon and assistant to the bishop of Western Newfoundland in 2013.

Meade was elected coadjutor bishop last June, but his health deteriorated over the summer; he was supposed to have been consecrated as the diocese’s new bishop last November 1, but was too ill by then. He died November 29, at 45.

Harvey said he had suggested the idea of a scholarship from St. Paul’s for local high school students some time ago. But after Meade’s death, the idea was reborn by St. Paul’s vestry, which unanimously approved a scholarship to be named after Meade rather than the church.

The money from the scholarship will come from designated funds within the church’s memorial fund, set up for parishioners wishing to donate money to the church in memory of loved ones who have died, said the Rev. Effie Organ, deacon at St. Paul’s.

St. Paul’s also held, on March 18, a service that included the placement of Meade’s portrait in the church as a memorial to him. Meade grew up going to St. Paul’s.

For many in the congregation, who had been unable to attend Meade’s memorial service in Corner Brook, the event served as an important way to commemorate Meade’s life.

“It took on kind of an atmosphere of its own, and to me it was a memorial service, and a remembering,” Harvey said. “Many people were teared up…and I think it was a very healing time for people.”

Harvey, who knew Meade personally, said he’s also very happy to have his portrait on the wall of the church.

“John needed to be present somehow,” he said. “I just think it’s great that every morning I go in and I see him in the church. Keeping an eye on me.”

An election to select a new bishop for the diocese of Western Newfoundland will be held on April 28.

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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