10 losses in 5 years


J.G. turned 65 years old on April 4th, 2020. He has not been beaten down by the following 10 sadnesses or losses.

1. Retirement from ERSJ senior pastor role. The congregation needed a younger man to lead the next generation.

2. Retirement from the top reserve chaplaincy role in Canada as Deputy Chaplain of the Canadian Armed Forces. He could not stay after 60 and felt he had done all he could do. Then his friend and co-worker, Guy Brouillet suddenly died on the heart surgery table.

3. The loss of his dear mother-in-law Pat Martin who died while Daryl and her father were dressing her in the morning. He had been there for a few weeks to help them and helped plan the funeral.

4. The loss of J.Clare Martin who died in his arms after two months of palliative care. He helped again to plan the funeral and packed up all Clare’s belongings with Daryl.

5. The sale and demolishing of his maternal grand-parents’ lakeside property in Kelowna BC. Much physical work had to be done as well as archiving and estate settlement for he and his brother.

6. The loss of communication and affection from our son-in-law and our eldest daughter (loss of contact with grandchildren) due to criminal charges being laid, then lifted by our daughter for spousal abuse.

7. The loss of freedom to associate and congregate because of COVID19 pandemic restrictions (loss of contact with friends, church, children and grandchildren)

8. After a year of living with his wife AND mother while working from a distance as director of Farel Seminary, J.G. lived through the decline, institutionalizing of and the death of his mother Dorothy Jean Whitham Zoellner. As yet, no possible funeral or burial could be held for her. No friends to comfort him because of COVID19 dangers for her elderly friends.

9. Retirement from Farel Seminary after it lost its accreditation and joined with the Faculté de Theologie Évangelique FTE. Jean Guy deBlois and André Séguin moved before this time.

10. The loss of comfort because of two illnesses, enlarged prostate gland that requires daily medications and arthritis in the left hip with need for replacement.


Yet John Garnet Zoellner is still video preaching about Jesus. For Easter he was able to plead for repentance as he outlined the gospel. « On a cross beside a dusty road, guarded by Roman foreigners and spit on by his own, Jesus is asking his father to forgive. People don’t know what they are doing. » Daryl would venture to say in that first century context, they did not know what they were doing to him, to themselves, to the future generation nor to the plan of God for the world. Thankfully, God is returning good for evil. He is true to himself. People will find the good of Good Friday. Some will remain blind and impulsive and arrogant. Will you?

Gratitude, confidence, love and perseverance come to JG daily from God’s loving gentleness while the Spirit comforts him.

He has become an excellent pastor.

I pray that joy will win.


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