From Bahamas to Fenelon Falls: New Anglican priest loves small town life
When I visited St. James Anglican Church in Fenelon Falls on a warm Sunday morning, hoping to talk Father Alvardo Adderley, I was told it would be best to wait until after the session.
That’s because he’s also the priest at Christ Church in Coboconk and does those services first. He doesn’t usually have time to spare when he first arrives at St. James because everyone at the Coboconk church wants to keep talking with him. That’s the sort of sense of love and safety his presence brings.
Brand new to Kawartha Lakes, Alvardo, moved to Fenelon Falls, along with his wife Michelle and daughter Jordan. It’s his first time back in Canada since an exchange program that brought him from the Bahamas, where he grew up, to the University of Toronto’s Wycliffe College for two semesters. He wasn’t captivated with Canada immediately. That’s because he first attended Codrington College Seminary in Barbados, where there were “just 16 of us training for the ordained ministry” and he was used to smaller numbers — not being among the 80,000 students at U of T.
The position for a new Anglican priest in Fenelon Falls and Coboconk was first advertised online on the diocese of Toronto website; before that, the position was vacant for two years. Alvardo applied, met with the bishop and church wardens, and got the role(s).
During a recent service, Alvardo showed everyone a Froot Loops box. It was easy to answer the question when he asked us to identify what it was. He then opened it, and inside was a box of pasta and goodies you don’t usually see from Froot Loops boxes. He also told us not to tell his wife about the box. The meaning of opening it and finding pasta? God does not look at someone and dismiss, but rather looks inside and explores the soul, never dismissing and always paying attention.
While having lunch with Alvardo, I asked how he comes up with his ideas.
“Just as I’m sitting here with you, stuff just comes to me. I sat down one day and said, ‘You know something? People within the Fenelon Falls area seem to love animals, considering the amount of people that walk their dogs on a daily basis. Let’s do a service for the animals.’ Halloween I said, ‘You know what? The church didn’t do anything last year. Let’s have a Halloween party.’ We had 17 families in that hall. And right now my mind is thinking on Christmas; what could we do? I find when you do what you love, it comes from a place of passion, and once it’s authentic, you can’t beat authenticity.”
Alvardo said he enjoys meeting and greeting people in Kawartha Lakes from all walks of life. He is a big fan of the Golden State Warriors, plus he is hoping to learn how to ski.
He especially enjoys talking to different people and appreciates the size of Fenelon Falls. He said he likes the smaller population of 2,500, allowing him to recognize and greet people all the time. “I can easily walk into town and hail Randy and Grr8 Finds, I can hail Carolyn at Bank of Montreal and hail Sarah in Subway.”