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Dinner raises more than $20,000 for clergy in need

Jerry Howarth speaks

By Martha Holmen

Jerry Howarth speaks
Jerry Howarth, the voice of the Blue Jays, speaks at the Bishop’s Company Regional Dinner on Nov. 4, 2014. Photo by Michael Hudson

More than 200 guests from York-Credit Valley and beyond gathered on Nov. 4 to support clergy and their families in times of need. The York-Credit Valley Bishop’s Company Dinner, held at the Mississauga Grand Banquet & Convention Centre, featured a delicious meal, a silent auction and a performance by the choir of the Church of South India. The event raised more than $20,000 for the Bishop’s Company Fund.

Jerry Howarth, long-time radio broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays and a parishioner of St. Philip, Etobicoke, gave the keynote address. Mr. Howarth spoke about his spiritual journey, including the many people who have shaped his life as a Christian.

Among them was Gary Lavelle, a born-again Christian and pitcher for the Blue Jays in 1985. “When I heard Gary speak so lovingly and personally and so genuinely about his love for Jesus Christ, I began to tune in,” said Mr. Howarth, who grew up in a Catholic household.

At Mr. Lavelle’s suggestion, Mr. Howarth bought a Bible and began to read one Proverb each day. “The seed was planted. I didn’t know where it was going, but I liked that relationship with Christ that Gary had,” said Mr. Howarth.

Mr. Howarth also spoke about his favourite biblical verse, Romans 3:23: “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The Church of South India choir performs.
The choir of the Church of South India performs at the Bishop’s Company Regional Dinner on Nov. 4, 2014. Photo by Michael Hudson

“We all fall short of the glory of God,” he said. “I do every day. But in the big picture, the seeds have been planted, and I try to love, praise and serve the Lord with my life, my career, the friends that I have right here, the people that I’m talking to right now. That’s my journey.”

The Rev. Canon Allan Budzin, incumbent of St. Philip, Etobicoke, introduced Mr. Howarth, his friend of many years. “Not many folks know that throughout the season, Jerry offers each broadcast not only to the Blue Jays fans, but also to God. Jerry Howarth is a man who practices his Christian faith with as much dedication as he practices his craft,” said Canon Budzin.

Bishop Philip Poole, area bishop of York-Credit Valley, thanked everyone for attending and supporting the work of the Bishop’s Company. He spoke about the importance of the Bishop’s Company in helping clergy and their families in ways they could never imagine.

The silent auction, with items ranging from Toronto Raptors tickets to a Book of Common Prayer signed by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, raised $4,300.

The dinner was sponsored by Hugessen Consulting, Ward Funeral Homes and Turner & Porter Funeral Directors, along with 18 supporting parishes.

See more photos from the dinner on Facebook.