Sunday, October 25, 2015

Looking Back


This morning I preached the last of my services here at St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Hamilton Bermuda. I say “the last” because the end of this coming week I will be officially retired! Now, I do hope that when Jill and I move to our new home in Florida that there might be a little church there who could occasionaly use the services of one “slightly used” minister. I have spent a total of 39 years in the ministry. Have all my years been sunny and bright? The answer is NO! There have been some very difficult times in ministry but I am thankful for the good Lord who has guided me through all of life's paths through the difficult times as well as the good times. I was privileged to have served in the following areas; River John, Toney River, Brule and Middleton all in Nova Scotia, Grace Church in Calary Alberta, Westminster Church Barrie Ontario, Lucaya Kirk in the Bahamas, St Marys Churcg in St Marys Ontario and finishing up at St Andrews Church here in Bermuda. Also during my ministry I managed to fit in ten years as a padre with the Canadian Armed Forces (Reserves)/

The Lord has blessed me in many ways throughout my ministry. I am most grateful for his presence and sustaining Spirit that has guided me along the way. He blessed me with a wonderful and supportive wife and together we were blessed with three great daughters. I had the honor of conducting the weddings of all our daughters and baptized most of our grandchildren.

God has placed so many wonderful people in my path during the past 39 years and I am thankful for each and everyone of them. There was Navy Jim the Hermit, there was the “Big Step Lady,” there was Glorice, there was a rebellious teenager, there was the baby I baptized in the incubator, there was the 86 year old I baptized in his farm kitchen, there was Ruby who was the angel at my shoulder, there were all the wonderful church secretaries who somehow managed to put up with me, there was Henk my fishing buddy in Calgary, there was Jake my right hand man in Barrie, there was Leon in Bermuda and there was Dugie in the Bahamas who use to call me first thing in the morning and say those wonderful words; “I've just put the tea pot on.” Oh, and did I mention that during my ministry I also was introduced to Queen Elizabeth and got to shake her hand! These are but a few of the people that I have met over the years and you will read more about them and so many other in my upcoming book; John From the Church. God bless you one and all and thank you for your prayers.

Your Pastor & Friend,

John Fraser

Sunday, August 23, 2015

All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great & Small

In the Book of Genesis chapter 1: 20 we read; “And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” Later in verses 24-25 we read; “And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind, cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of ever kind. And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” I enjoy the wild animals that God has created and I have said more than once that if I hadn't studied for the ministry I would love to have studied to become a veterinarian. Just imagine, working with one of God's creatures Great or Small which was sick but could not really tell you where it hurts? They say it can be more difficult to become a veterinarian than a doctor of humans. Well, I went into ministry not animal sciences and God's creatures are probably the better off for it! However, I love having one of God's creatures for a pet. When I was young I had a black crow and I made a perch for him and set it amongst the lilac bushes in our yard. Then there was “skipper” a pigeon which I raised from a young bird. Skipper had his freedom and a special nesting box in our barn. While working in the garden you often felt a swoosh as Skipper landed on your shoulder just to say hie. My mom use to get after Skipper when he would pay her a visit in the kitchen. He would come to say hie, land on the counter walk over to the bread box and help himself to a slice of bread! When we left Oxford Skipper of course was left behind and to the best of my knowledge managed quite nicely.

Some people refer to them as “Vermin” but I always had a liking for pigeons. Two months ago while leaving church one Sunday morning Jill and one of her friends came across an injured pigeon on the church lawn. He wasn't able to fly nor was he able to defend himself. Well, guess what? The bird that God created to fly in the sky ended up in a carboard box in our kitchen. Jill named him “Buddy.” Although he couldn't fly “Buddy” could eat and he especially enjoyed crumbs of bread dampened with a little milk and sprinkled with just a few grains of sugar! I went to work and did some research on my computer. I was pretty certain that I discovered Buddy's problem. He had all the symptoms; drooping wing, a paralyzed leg and a loss of balance. The article said it could be treated with a drug called Baytril. Well you guessed it, Buddy and I made a trip to the Vet! They told me it was the first pigeon they ever treated but Buddy received all the care they could give him even down to a bath! I was sent home with a two week supply of baytril one doseage each day. Buddy had his ups and downs. There was one point when I discovered him on his back in his pen both feet in the air. I thought he was dead and carefully picked him up only to discover that Buddy was very much alive. Back to his box in the house he went and back to another week of Baytril!

Buddy's health eventually improved to the point where he was able to fly. He disappeared for a whole day only to return the following day for some bread, milk & just a smidge of sugar! Three days ago he left again and has not returned. I like to think that he has rejoined his friends and he is doing what God created him to do and that is “flying above the earth across the dome of the sky.” (Genesis 1:20). Always remember to show a little compassion for God's creatures both Great and Small.

Your Pastor & Friend


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

When our daughters were young the most common question asked while we were on holidays was; “Are we there yet?” We would leave Calgary on our way to Nova Scotia when before Calgary's city limits were reached the question from the backseat was; “Are we there yet?”

Most of you are aware that my plans call for retirement this summer. Some of you may be wondering; “Are we there yet?” The truth of the matter is, “No, we are not there as yet.” Jill and I are waiting for our US Green Cards which were applied for last December. Before the Green Cards are given and we are free to move to the US and to our home in Florida a number of gates must be passed. First, we need to secure tentative approval, secondly we must complete many forms and declarations, third we must send in security reports, medical records etc. etc. Fourth, we must wait for a date to attend a meeting at the US Consulate here in Bermuda. Fifth, we attend the interview at which we hope and pray that final approval is given. Where are we in our journey? Jill has received her tentative approval and I am still waiting for mine! When will we arrive? If only I knew!

So what is happening in the meantime? Well, my three year workpermit comes to a close the end of July. However, the congregation has secured a three month extension to my permit. When this extension comes into play on August 1st I will only be working parttime at St. Andrews. Parttime employment will consists in preaching on Sundays and emergency visits through the week for a total of about four hours. We are hoping that during this three month period we will hear from our Green Card application. In the meantime we are keeping busy with pastoral work along with some packing. Perhaps in my next blog I can share with you what are plans are once we reach Florida!

From Your Pastor & Friend,


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day, June 21, 2015

Following is a story that I came across which I feel is very suitable for Father's Day. Hope you enjoy it.
Pastor John

Jamie Buckingham tells a story in his book, Power for Living. It was a story first told by Fred Craddock while lecturing at Yale University. He told of going back one summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take a short vacation with his wife. One night they found a quiet little restaurant where they looked forward to a private meal—just the two of them.

While they were waiting for their meal they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” He didn’t want the man to intrude on their privacy. But the man did come by his table.

“Where you folks from?” he asked amicably.


“Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there. What do you do for a living?

“I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University.”

“Oh, so you teach preachers, do you. Well, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.” And with that he pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife.

Dr. Craddock said he groaned inwardly: Oh no, here comes another preacher story. It seems everyone has one.

The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunch-time because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply.

“What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was.

“When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me.

“Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’

I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down.

But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.”

With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”

The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends.

Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. On two occasions the people of Tennessee had elected an illegitimate to be their governor. One of them was Ben Hooper.

Jamie Buckingham, Power for Living.

Sunday, June 7, 2015



As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.

From Christianity Today Oct. 3/94

Sunday, May 17, 2015


   Today is Ascension Sunday. Today we remember the Ascension of our Lord and the promise to come again in a similar manner. The disciples watched longingly as Jesus ascended into the clouds. Two men in white roes (angels) said to them; "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven." The disciples had hoped that they would live to see the day of his return. They didn't live to see the day, that would be given to another generation.
   A number of years ago a rather large family were all seated around the table enjoy their evening meal. The mother remarked at how still and how quiet the weather appeared. There was a strange feeling in the air and she commented; “It's almost like the end of the world and Jesus is about to return.” One of the younger members of the family who has just received his dessert said; “I hope He doesn't come until after I have finished my apple pie.” Well Jesus allowed me to finish my apple pie and perhaps too many other desserts after that. We do not know the times nor the circumstances of his return we only know that someday it will take place.
Pastor John Fraser

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What Is Involved In????

Retirement Planning

There are so many things to plan for when retiring that it makes one's head spin. Jill and I have already started gathering packing boxes and separating what stays, what goes and what comes with us! As I am writing this little blog I look across my office an at old “wardrobe box that we used to transport our belongings when we first moved here. Already the box is half filled. However, it is filled with throw away items that are not coming with us! We have already looked into the best means of transporting our belongings from Bermuda to Florida. It looks like there are two possibilities both of which include air cargo. One possibility is to go through Miami and up to Orlando. The other possibility is to go through New Jersey and down to Leesburg. Cost will play a determining factor as to which one we will choose.

However, the big item of concern with regard to our move to the US is health insurance. I am certain that we have all heard horror stories of how expensive health-care can be in the States. While Jill and I are in good health it is an absolute necessity to have some form of health insurance. I have looked at several possibilities and the cost varies. The one that I am giving very serious consideration to is the one that I would like to tell you about.

Christian Healthcare Ministries has been in existence now for 30 years plus. U.S. Health insurance under the Obama administration allows for CHM having factored it in as a “grandfather clause.” CHM is a Christian ministry and is open to people no matter where they live and no matter what their age. There are three levels of coverage; Gold, Silver and Bronze. The cost per month goes from $45, $85 to $150 per person. For an additional package called “Brother's Keeper” your coverage can be increased. Jill and I estimate that the Gold Package for both of us along with “Brother's Keeper” will cost us approximately $325 a month. Who is allowed to join and what are the restrictions?

To be CHM members, participating adults must be Christians living by biblical principles, including abstaining from the use of tobacco and the illegal use of drugs (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), following biblical teaching on the use of alcohol, and attending group worship regularly if health permits (Hebrews 10:25). There are no restrictions based on age, weight, geographic location or health history.

CHM is something that those who are planning a possible move to the US or those in the US who are looking for a more affordable program should check out. Their address on the web is:

Your Pastor & Friend,

John Fraser