It’s always tough to say good bye.
For the last three years I have lived here on the West Coast, as a minister, chaplain, and friend. It’s been a happy time, and I have loved it all – the storms in the winter, the beaches in the summer, and the people of the community all year round.
I thought that when I came here, I would be the minister to the church, and nothing else, but I found out that there was so much more going on.
I have been welcomed as a part of this community, which is an honour that I hold dear.
The West Coast is an amazing place to live. The natural beauty, the amazing people, the absolutely incredible newspaper editors – it’s all great.
We know this, it’s why we live here. It is amazing to be able to wake up and see the mountains, or go for a walk on the beach, or for a surf, or any of those thousand other things that we can do because we live in here in this place.
It is a privilege to share such a place with so many lovely people, mayors and councillors, church folks and theatre folks all the other people who make this place more than just a beautiful spot – they make it a community.
The West Coast is amazing, but let’s be honest. It can also be a difficult place to live. Housing is a huge issue. We know this. We’re struggling to find a way to balance our tourism economy with the needs of the locals.
The West Coast is a remote place to live, and that can make life difficult. Some amenities, some necessities are a long way away. Without reliable transportation or a very understanding friend, it can be hard to get out of town.
And, of course, this is an expensive place to live. Housing, food, restaurants, they all add up, and they all cost a lot.
We live here despite those things. We live here because we know that life on the West Coast isn’t easy, but it is a good life.
It is my hope for these communities that we will work together to make life even better for each other. The things that make life difficult out here can’t be changed much, or at least not easily.
Housing will be an issue for some time yet.
We’re not going to move closer to amenities and necessities found in the cities. But all of these problems can be worked through with the help of the community.
I believe that community is the key to a good human life. I believe that we are social animals, and are meant to live with each other, sharing our lives, sharing our joys and sorrows.
In our contemporary lives, it becomes too easy to forget this, and neglect community, and practise solitude. I think that makes for a hard life, and often a lonely one.
One of the central pieces of Christian thought is that community is important. When we gather in worship, we gather together, as a community. We support each other, we help each other out, and when necessary, we call each other to account. It’s true for the church (and you’re welcome to drop in one Sunday to see) but it is equally true in secular lives. We are communal creatures, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, there’s a great community waiting for you!
So thanks to all of you for providing me with a community. I have rediscovered what it means to be in community, and for that I will always be grateful.
Rev. Will Ferrey is the outgoing chaplain of St. Columba in Tofino and St. Aidan’s in Ucluelet. The Westerly wishes him well in his journey to the other Coast.