Dr. Walter Lawrence (Honoris Causa)

Walt Lawrence was (and is) a handsome, personable, motivated, athletically gifted Canadian. But in one adolescent instant, his dreams of a hockey career dissolved and his life was drastically changed when a diving accident left him quadriplegic. For many years, Walt did not want to live and deeply questioned the Christian faith of his childhood. It was one of those tragedies that immediately sparks the haunting question: “How does a good God let such awful things happen?” Walt grieved this query in his unconscious mind.

That was many years ago, and Walt has been on a pilgrimage ever since that has transformed this tragedy into an affirmation of life. Walt is disabled and cannot use his limbs. Yet this remarkable man is making a difference in the world. And because of this Carey Theological College bestowed on him a Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) degree at our 2013 convocation to the great celebration of many friends and faculty members.

I met Walter at church over 25 years ago as he pirouetted around the sanctuary in his motor-driven wheel chair, hands firmly velcroed to the armrests, his coffee sitting close to his direction straws that pointed him where he intended. He enrolled in a 2-year counsellor training program that I led and I watched as he masterfully engineered the most attractive women to get his coffee and adjust the cusions of his chair.

And I had the privilege of leading Walt and Wendy in their wedding where Walt asked me to place the ring on Wendy’s finger for him. The Lawrences have been married for 20+ years and have 2 spectacular teenaged girls. As well as being a mom, Wendy is a nurse and Walt is peer counsellor at G.F Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver when not fathering.

Working alongside lots of medical specialists, Walt Lawrence is now Dr. Walter Lawrence.

Paddy Ducklow
My name is Paddy Ducklow. I am retired from CAREY but happy to have my past blogs here. I have had the privilege of assisting faculty, board, staff, pastors, students, etc. to write their thoughts and become published. Today, I can be found at www.theducklows.ca
  1. Bruce Barnett Reply
    I was reflecting on a lovely rendition of Healer of my Heart by Huw Priday - in particular on the scripture quoted within: I found Him Whom my Soul Loveth. (Song of Solomon 3:4). Don’t know why I thought of Walt, probably because I wanted to forward a link to the song (it has a beautiful oboe part!) to a dear friend, and thought as I signed how Walt used to call me Bru. Anyway, this post reminds Pat and I of Walt’s richness and the love that he demonstrated to those of us who were blessed to share in a home group with him in those days, is it 30 or 35 years ago? To add, I’ll share just a touch more. Have a look also for Priday’s rendition of Here is Love Vast as the Ocean - the love song of the Welsh revival. This is the love that Walt shared with us at that time. The Honoris Causa is well deserved. With thanksgiving, Bruce (&Pat)

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