UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Commemoration

Minister, war vet awarded France’s top honour

By Nancy Fornasiero


Although he entered Glen Abbey United pushing a walker and carefully escorted by family members, 92-year-old Rev. Ted Kersey stood proudly, unassisted, during the playing of O Canada and La Marseillaise — a fitting opening to an event at the Oakville, Ont., church that celebrated not only the contributions of this Second World War veteran, but also the long-standing friendship between Canada and France.

To acknowledge his role in the liberation of France from the Nazis, Kersey was awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest national order. The retired United Church minister is among several hundred Canadians honoured through a campaign launched by the French government to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy.

Retired minister and war vet Ted Kersey displays the medal given to him for his involvement in France’s liberation. Courtesy of the Oakville Beaver
Retired minister and war vet Ted Kersey displays the medal given to him for his involvement in France’s liberation. Courtesy of the Oakville Beaver


Kersey served as a dispatch rider with the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corp. He came ashore at Juno Beach on July 10, 1944, and fought during the Battle of Caen and later during the clearing of the Falaise Pocket, a decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy. Following that action, his unit moved across northern France, through Belgium and into Holland.

He returned to his family in the village of Hampton, Ont., in 1946 and was ordained in 1952. Kersey ministered at various Ontario churches and also served as executive secretary of Hamilton Conference in the late 1970s.

Several dignitaries at the January ceremony offered stirring words, but it was Kersey himself who stole the spotlight.

“How do I reply to all this?” he began. “I’m just little ol’ Ted Kersey; I feel as if they’ve all been talking about somebody else.” But reply he did: confidently and off the cuff, his decades of experience at the pulpit in evidence. His wartime recollections elicited both laughter and tears from those gathered to celebrate.

“I accept this medal on behalf of my comrades, some of whom are still over there and some buried here,” Kersey said solemnly. “I wear this with a deep sense of humility and a great deal of pride toward veterans everywhere.”




Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image