The Reverend Canon Kevin Flynn, Incumbent
By Mary Trafford
Did you know the word “advent” has its origin in the Latin word for “coming?” Since it’s the season that leads us to the good news of Christ’s birth, Advent seems like a perfect time for someone special to join us in our walk with Christ! That’s exactly when Kevin Flynn started his tenure with us, leading his first worship service at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church on the first day of Advent in 2021!
Kevin was born in Montréal – a city he loves – and is the elder brother to two sisters. As he puts it, “I was in charge!” When Kevin was nine years old, he and his family moved to Toronto, which he considers his home town. Kevin describes his family of origin as “educated, engaged, interested and interesting.” He feels close to his sisters, who each live in Cambridge and Midhurst, Ontario. Kevin is also the proud uncle of two successful young men – one is working on a doctorate in math and physics, and the other works in Toronto’s business sector.
As a youngster, Kevin thought that when he grew up, he’d become a psychiatrist, like a dear family friend who was a very interesting, warm person. Always fascinated by what makes people tick, Keven read a few books on psychology, and considered his future carefully. But the road to psychiatry meant going to medical school. Academically, Kevin was more attuned to the arts and humanities than science. By grade 11, he dropped math and physics, opting instead for an entirely different course of study that included subjects like ancient Greek.
After Kevin was confirmed as an Anglican, he decided that whatever he tackled in life, he would do as a Christian. God calls on each of us in unique ways, and Kevin’s interest in the Anglican priesthood developed gradually. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at York University, he earned a Master’s degrees in Divinity and another in Theology, and he partially completed his Doctorate in Ministry, all at the University of Toronto.
After ordination, Kevin spent many years as priest at various churches in Toronto and as Regional Dean in the Parkdale Deanery. In 2004, he came to Ottawa to head up the Anglican Studies Program at St. Paul University. In spite of his deep roots in Toronto, Kevin says that Ottawa captured his heart, thanks to its big-city amenities and easy access to the surrounding countryside. He admits that while he never intended to become a full-time academic, his role at St. Paul seemed to suit him, and the 17 years he spent there just seemed to fly by!
Sensing a calling to return to parish ministry, Kevin applied for and was successful in becoming the incumbent priest in the Parish of Chelsea- Lascelles-Wakefield. Settling into our parish marks a major lifestyle change for him, after some 40 years living and working in urban centres. Arriving in the late autumn of 2021, he was fully prepared to negotiate the winter roads of the Gatineau Hills. Always an avid biker and walker, Kevin added an all-wheel drive vehicle, complete with snow tires, to his transportation options – and he’ll need it!
With his strong academic background, it’s not surprising that Kevin is an avid reader. In fact, he loves books. As he puts it, “They are like friends.” When he moved from Toronto to Ottawa, he undertook the biggest-ever purge of his books. But it wasn’t too long before new books started piling up in his Ottawa apartment! Now that he’s had to move again, this time to Wakefield, he undertook yet another purge of his beloved books.
Kevin’s reading tastes vary widely. For example, he enjoys historical non-fiction, such as “The Diary of Samuel Pepys,” a major work of English literature dating from the mid-1600s. He is also a fan of American humorist, author and broadcaster David Sedaris. As escape reading, Kevin loves a good crime novel, including the works of best-selling American author James Lee Burke, famous for his Dave Robicheaux series of more than 20 books.
A dedicated, long-time practitioner of yoga, Kevin is part of a group known as “Christians Practicing Yoga.” He says that if it weren’t for yoga, he would likely be just “…a brain on a stick.” Through yoga, Kevin feels a kind of spiritual, meditative engagement, and he finds that the postural practice of yoga really feeds his spirituality.
Describing the rest of his life in just a few words, Kevin hopes it to be: intentional; engaged; compassionate; faithful; and true. And when it comes to his role as a parish priest, following the Anglican liturgy and leading others in worship, Kevin asks himself this question, from Ezekiel 37:3: “Can these dry bones live?” His response:
Whatever the circumstances, whether in a vast cathedral or a tiny church, you can have a liturgy that lives.
Our Former Priest
The Reverend Cathy Davis, 2019 – 2021
By Mary Trafford
Cathy Davis was born in Kingston, Ontario. Her father served in the Canadian Armed Forces, and while growing up, Cathy lived in a number of different places, including Saskatchewan, Texas, Kingston, England, Alberta and Ottawa. Cathy attended secondary school and university in Ottawa. At Carleton University, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration. Later, she studied at the University of Toronto, where she earned a Master of Divinity degree from Wycliffe College.
Cathy admits that as a child, her aim in life was simply to grow up to be “a good person.” That’s a fitting goal for someone who eventually became an Anglican priest! In grade seven, Cathy met Rob Davis at school. It may have started as “puppy love,” but it was meant to last. Cathy and Rob married in 1980. Today, they have four adult children and five grandchildren! Cathy says she is “incredibly proud” of her amazing children. Early in life, Cathy’s worship experience was with the United Church of Canada. In 1981, she was confirmed in the Anglican Church. As a lay person, she ministered alongside Rob for many years. She says she “…felt privileged to serve the church as a minister’s wife. When you move, there is always a community waiting to warmly welcome you.”
After many years at home raising her children, Cathy wanted to return to the paid workforce. She thought she would work in the church, perhaps as an administrator. But to her surprise, she sensed a strong call to ordination! In 2006, then Bishop Peter Coffin ordained Cathy at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa. In 2006, Cathy was appointed to serve as priest at Trinity Church in Cornwall, Ontario. In 2008, she served at St. Mary the Virgin in the Ottawa suburb of Blackburn Hamlet. And in 2009, she served in the Parish of Petawawa in eastern Ontario, as priest at the churches of St. Georges Alice and All Saints Petawawa.
In 2018, Cathy retired from the ministry. Within a year, then Bishop John Chapman asked her to serve the congregation of St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church in Chelsea, on an interim, part-time basis. Cathy notes she is still learning life lessons every day. And by the way, her favourite colour is blue!