Published on 13 Jul 2011
Diane and Frank are relatively new to Christ Church Cathedral. They’re 10 months old here, but 55 years in love with each other. They proudly tell me that they are the Bobbsey Twins, and they do complete each other’s sentences! And they speak with each other with a kindness and a patience that belongs to their order’s patron saint; “We’re Third Order Franciscans!” Frank tells me.
Frank and Diane love travelling. Last year they toured the Holy Land, and were amazed by the hospitality of their hosts in Hebron and Galilee. In our short interview, they described driving into Galilee with their Palestinian driver. After a long day, he drove up to a local suq (a bustling market), and the driver jumped out and he and a woman-friend pulled out a table and some chairs, brewed them some sugary tea, sat them down, and laughed in the afternoon sun with them. Frank and Diane were simply taken care of, at the host’s expense. In such places, you can be such close friends with near total strangers. “Where else would that happen?” Frank asks, before saying, “That’ll be a good segue into talking about the Cathedral!”
Hospitality has certainly been an important part of Diane and Frank’s experience at Christ Church Cathedral. But when I ask Diane how she’d sum up her experience here, she says “In one word: joyful. It’s the joyful colours in the building, the stained glass windows, the people, the children at the front with Kate, the Eucharist. Not only that, but the Cathedral practices what it preaches. It’s important to us that there’s a collection for LUMS, that there are sandwiches served by the Sandwich Project and the Maundy Project. It’s open and its wonderful.”
The conversation turns back from religion to love. We speak about family. “We’ll be married 55 years in a little bit, and we have a large family. We had 5 children, and with grandchildren we have 30 members altogether” says Diane. Frank continues her thought “Every summer we have a family picnic with all of us. We do that every year, and at every Epiphany too. The whole family looks forward to those two events. At Epiphany we do Christmas with the wise men. We don’t exchange gifts at Christmas time. We don’t do the culture’s Christmas, with all the consumerism. Rather, we give gifts with the wise men, choosing gifts from the World Vision catalogue.”
There’s a pattern emerging here: a conversation about them inevitably returns to religion, which then slips back again. And forth again. There is an enthusiastic synergy between their lived lives and their faith. When I ask them what this Christian stuff is all about, Diane responds “We’re Franciscans!” Indeed, that says it all. They strike me as peacemakers, as people that are obviously concerned for the poor and marginalized. But there’s more. If you speak with them, you’ll pick up on a kind of infectious optimism about the world. Or a deep trust. “For me, faith in God is like a ship on the ocean,” Diane says “it doesn’t matter if the boat believes in the ocean for the ocean to hold it up. I think that’s the way God is.” Diane also refers me to her blog, in which she speaks about the trinity (informed by their years at VST, and more years of contemplation I would think). I’d suggest reading her own words, here http://dianecbjonesjournal.blogspot.com/
When I turn the question to Frank, he says “What you need to know about the church is this: it’s generally a safe place for inquiry, but remember that the people in the church are only people. We don’t know everything. We make mistakes. Sometimes we hurt people. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes on purpose. We’re all sinners, in that sense of the word, but it’s a good place to be. Every Sunday is a joyful experience. And there is never a Service, that I attend, from which I do not receive some thoughts that bring me closer in my relation with God.”
I take them into the alcove by the lower entrance of the Cathedral. There’s a stained glass window with 3 saints memorialized in the window, and I have Frank and Diane stand under it. I tell them to pretend that one of them is Saint Francis. That makes the Bobbsey Twins laugh. Such Joy in these two.
Copy Credit: Mark Munn Photo Credits: Mark Munn
Are you interested in learning more about Franciscan Tertiaries (Third Order Franciscans)?
Frank Jones has written a great piece you can download here (pdf) called EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS ON AND STILL GROWING
Want to read more parishioner profiles? There’s lots more! Find them here!
The Jones’s ministry, this website and the work, service and community of Christ Church Cathedral are made possible thanks to offerings from people like you!
Enjoyed this post?