Faith Helps Family Pull through Tragic Loss: Friends, Church Finish Renovating House

By Careless, Sue | Anglican Journal, November 1999 | Go to article overview
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Faith Helps Family Pull through Tragic Loss: Friends, Church Finish Renovating House


Careless, Sue, Anglican Journal


Toronto

`We thank you Father for the water

of baptism.

In it we are buffed with Christ in

his death.

By it we share in his resurrection.'

THE WORDS which rang out at baby Adelaide Black's joyful baptism at Little Trinity Church in Toronto carried far more weight than anyone could foresee.

The day of his youngest daughter's baptism was Bruce Black's 34th birthday. That afternoon there was a double christening and birthday party.

It was also a family reunion. Adelaide's maternal grandmother, Joy Biswas, had just returned from seven months in Lahore, Pakistan volunteering as a house mother at Kinnaird College for Women, the Christian school she had attended as a young girl.

Mr. Black had just returned from working in Paris where he had been joined by his wife, Benita, and their two older girls for a special three-week holiday, celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary.

Two days after the baptism, on June 16th, 1998, Bruce Black was instantly killed five minutes from work. His motorcycle was crushed by a truck as it came down the off ramp of the QEW to Hwy. 427. A colleague identified the body.

As news of the tragedy broke, family and friends gathered quickly at Benita's home. Canon Phillip Poole of Trinity, Aurora grabbed his travelling communion set and drove Mr. Black's parents, Wilt and Annabelle Black, down to Toronto. At noon, 30 relatives and friends assembled in the Blacks' driveway, the only space available, for communion.

"The very familiar ritual was just right to have," said Mrs. Black.

Canon Poole remembers it as "a holy time, a real moment of grace."

The following Saturday 600 people gathered again at Little Trinity, for Mr. Black's funeral. The next day was Father's Day, but three little girls, Hilary, 7, Meradith, just shy of 5, and ten-month-old Adelaide were now fatherless. Their mother would have to carry on alone. As the weeks passed, Mrs. Black found she was not alone. "Our families and my church family have been astounding"

For five months, the Blacks had been living in the basement of a gutted house, a virtual construction site, which had only the wiring and plumbing roughed in upstairs. Mr. Black, a builder, had a five-year remodelling plan for the home that had been his wife's since she was 11. Now she feared she would have to sell it.

But neighbours set up a trust fund for the family and money began to pour in. Mr. Black had worked at Exhibits International, a company that made installations for trade shows and museums. His colleagues donated their skills to finish the three-storey house. Mark Finlay, a friend and contractor, coordinated their efforts with church work parties.

Trinity Aurora, Bruce's parents' parish, raised $3,000 at a tea for Mrs. Black's children.

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