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Knox Former Residents’ Dinner celebrates community

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Dave Carley admitted that he did, in 1972, throw a water balloon near the then-principal of Knox. “But it was a small balloon, a soft lob. And I did it with love,” he said. He did, he admitted, dump buckets of water at the top of the fourth floor residence stairs during one of the renowned “East House versus West House” water battles at Knox College.

dsc_9596-smallAt the annual dinner for former residents of Knox College on November 5, 2016, amid these lighthearted “confessions” of his time in the Knox residence and of his Presbyterian upbringing, Carley also pushed into weightier acknowledgements.

For many of his 30 years of playwriting, he said, he found it difficult to say, “I am a playwright” – whether because it was hard to consider himself one, or out of fear that too many people would share their own great ideas for plays.

But lately he’s discovered another four words that are even harder to say: “I am a Christian.” Why? In these secular and cynical times, he said, many people feel (sometimes warranted) antipathy toward Christianity. It makes sense that Carley would find this disclosure difficult.

But he noted that “in both Christianity and theatre, the stories that work are the ones that show rather than tell.” Christian role models motivated Carley to return to faith and to want to live out his own faith in daily life. Our lives, he said, are the “artwork” that we show, the true evidence of our faith.

That, in the end, is why he writes. He said, “We live our lives by stories – and I get to tell the stories for a living.” He concluded, “I have spent thirty years sitting at the back of dark theatres with people I don’t know – praying that the words I’ve written for them will worm into their minds and hearts.”

The evening also celebrated the “artwork” of another’s life and work, that of the Rev. Dr. William J. Klempa.

Dr. Klempa has made impressive contributions to The Presbyterian Church in Canada as a pastor, educator, author, and the Principal of The Presbyterian College (Montreal). He has earned an international reputation for his contribution to Presbyterian scholarship as a prolific writer of columns, essays, and books.

At the November 5 event, he received the Knox College Former Residents’ Association (KNOXFRA) Award of Honour in the category of public, community, and business leadership. The Award pays tribute to former Knox residents by publicly recognizing their unique and outstanding service and accomplishments. Klempa lived in the Knox residence in the 1950s.

crdsc_9625As he accepted the award, Dr. Klempa demonstrated his continued self-possession and command of listeners as he discussed the meaning of leadership – referencing current politics as well as Presbyterian history.

More than 65 former residents, current residents, and guests attended the KNOXFRA dinner, networking and sharing stories of their time in residence. Joel Wiebe, in his first year of residence at Knox, said, “Knox College has a rich history that continues to amaze me. Through this dinner, all of us current residents got a glimpse at the strong culture, the tales, and the tomfoolery that had united the group and continues to bring them together. Knox College clearly means a lot to each of those residents. The event felt like a passing of the torch, which has renewed in me a commitment to be a great steward of both this building and the community that is Knox College.”

Find photos from the event on Knox’s Facebook page.

 

 

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