Many Canadians were touched by Jack Shaver's presence. As a pastor, counselor, theologian, teacher or neighbour he was someone whose impact you could neither forget nor ignore. He was a man who, in the style of an old-fashioned prophet, challenged you to listen for God and to think about what your response might be, and what it should be.
Those of us in West Point Grey United Church like to think we had a Special relationship with Jack for he spent many years with us before and after his retirement. Of course, prophets never really retire and Jack played a vital part in a wide range of our congregational committees and activities.
For most of us, however, it is the experience of this tall spare man in the dark suit centering our worship in prayer leadership that remains a powerful memory, a powerful call.
We share these prayers with you, in part to celebrate our time with Jack, but also to share his insights and his passion for knowing God. It has been a blessing in our lives and trust it will be for you.
Ken Carty for West Point Grey United Church
It's a year since Jack Shaver's memorial service, and we're all still thinking about him. It seems this is true of both his family and the wider community of his friends and those to whom he ministered.
Though his ministry was never very far away, it was mostly as a husband and father that we knew him.
He was a nurturer, someone willing to fuss the little things, sweat the small stuff, feeling it was worth doing. He could watch for the moment, helping with a child's learning to walk, support them as they stood, about to take some steps. Then it's not hold nor push, but let go. Of course, considering that learning is a life-long process, that help would be with any 'first step'.
So, where did he get the strength to both help and let go as those whom he loved struggled?
We think he took God seriously.
We can hear that in his prayers. They help us enter into real dialogue, struggle with real issues that have meaning beyond the occasion for which they were written.
We're happy to think that some of his prayers are now being made more generally available through the efforts of the congregation at West Point Grey United Church.
The Shaver Family
Jack was a searching student of Scripture and his prayers are salted with phrases from the Bible. We have identified some of the frequently used references and offer them to you.
'Principalities and powers' refers to Romans 8:38
'Head Cornerstone' reference is from Ephesians 2:20
'Spot and Wrinkle' is found in Ephesians 5:27
'Salt of the Earth' comes from Matthew 5:13
'Perfect love casts out fear' is found in 1 John 4:18
'Heart of stone, heart of flesh' refers to Ezekiel 36:26
'Yoke is easy, burden is light' comes from Matthew 11:30
'Groaning too deep for utterance' is found in Romans 8:26
A few reflections from the compilers:
We encourage you to read these prayers aloud. They were written to be spoken, and punctuated for oral presentation. We have preserved this style.
Jack's handwriting and spelling were unique. We have attempted to accurately decipher his writing. We have changed his spelling when understanding was at stake. He consistently spelled 'cries' as 'crys' and we have preserved this to the dismay of our computer spellchecker.
Preparing this booklet has been a spiritual exercise for which we are most grateful. We give thanks for those who contributed their gifts to this effort, especially Dorothy and the Shaver Family, Eunice Williams, Billie Williamson, Janis Terrien, Ken Carty, Susan Snashall, Cathie Perry, Jan Tennant, Rob Hollins, Ian Housego and Cheryl Black.