Members of Grace Church Presbyterian will be saying their final goodbye to Rev. Everett Briard this weekend.
At 80 years old, Briard will officially begin his second retirement from the church on March 28. His first retirement from Grace Church was in 1997, but he returned 10 years later as an interim minister when the minister at the time fell ill.
“It’s been a rewarding time at Grace Church,” said Briard. “It was a small congregation when I came and I’ve been able to see it grow.”
Briard was ordained in 1954 at the age of 24. After his ordainment, he briefly joined a church in Montreal and was then later appointed to the church on Port Union Road, where he remained for the rest of his career.
The friends and relationships he made are the highlights of the time he spent at Grace Church, Briard said.
“When you’re always around people, at times of happiness and at times of sadness, you form relationships and friendships as a result,” he said. “I’ve formed some very meaningful friendships here at this church.”
Before deciding to become a minister, the Quebec native graduated from McGill University with a bachelors of arts. He intended to become a high school teacher but decided against it when he “heard God calling him to the ministry.”
Growing up, Briard did not have a strong religious background. Instead, he found his faith after he joined the student group, McGill Christian Fellowship while attending university. It was there that his faith developed and he decided to officially become part of the church.
After spending over 30 years with Grace Church, Briard has decided it’s finally his time to pass on the torch to the next minister, Rev. Joseph Gray.
Briard will continue to reside in his Ajax home and work as the secretary to the Presbytery of Pickering.
He said he will continue to stay in close contact with Grace Church.
“After I leave, I hope that this church will continue to grow and prosper even more.”