The littlest acolyte

Published 6:06 pm Friday, May 10, 2013

“When he comes in, especially the visitors are in awe of him walking in with the cross and being a part of the service,” Bryan said. “When he says, ‘Go in peace and serve the Lord,’ everyone is captivated by him and often the visitors give him clapping ovation.”

Angela said at first Ivan was jittery. Soon he told his aunt however that, ‘Father Bryan had a man-to-man talk with me so I’m ok.’”

“It has really made him mature,” Angela said. “His teachers and speech therapists, doctors … all of them say they have seen a real change in him. He truly loves to go to church.”

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Bryan said Ivan is curious about a lot of aspects of the church that even adults don’t show interest in.

“First he comes across as a person who is shy, but after he got into the role for a little while he took to it as if that was his forte,” Bryan said. “We have other kids who are of the same age in the church but they aren’t interested in what is going on as much as he is.”

Ivan missed just three services while he was having his tonsils taken out. Even then he was concerned. “Who will do my job if I am not at church,” Ivan asked.

Parishioner Cindy Norden said her heart is warmed by Ivan’s love for the church.

“I am astounded … to see a child grow within six months with such confidence toward what God wants us to be … it’s wonderful to see him,” she said. “If the whole world could feel that way, if every person felt their self-esteem existed because they are children of God how great would things be?”

Bryan is getting ready to retire in November. He said the congregation already lightheartedly suggests Ivan take over when that time comes and Ivan is ready.

“He talks to me that Father Bryan is getting old and might need him to preach. When I asked him what he would preach about, he said, ‘coyotes,’” Angela said with a laugh. “He said Polk County people needed to know there were coyotes in North Carolina.”

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church is located in Tryon, 814 Markham Road at the corner of Jackson Street. For more information about the church, call the church phone 828-859-9961, the rectory phone 828-894-2092 or visit Services start at 10 a.m.