Remembering Lorne Likely, 1952-2011
With a gentle steadfastness, Lorne Likely served the student world for Jesus Christ for 33 years. When he slipped from this world into eternity on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011, he surely heard the words of his Lord and Saviour, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
“Lorne served within the student ministry context for the last thirty years”, said Geri Rodman, President of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. “Ministering to students for over three decades is an unusual feat, but to do it with grace, love and flexibility is significant. He was able to re-invent himself as student ministry changed during the three decades. I appreciated his open, honest and insightful comments and feedback. He loved Inter-Varsity deeply, especially his students and staff colleagues. Lorne will be remembered as someone who loved students and staff. He loved them in a manner so that they became more like Jesus. Personally, and as an organization we will miss him.”
“Lorne was a servant leader,” said Al Anderson, vice president of campus ministry for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. “In virtually every context that I interacted with him: training events, national or regional conferences, at the University of Ottawa or Carleton among his students and student leaders, what stood out was his immediate spontaneous move to serve people and find means to love them. His students knew that he cared for them and it was often his love that helped them to move to that next level of intimacy in their relationship with Jesus. To be with him was to know about grace, since his life was touched by that and he created an environment of that wherever he went. I will miss him.”
Lorne first joined Inter-Varsity in September 1979 as an associate staff in Montreal. Three years later he joined staff full time and for the next 12 years served as a campus minister at Concordia and McGill Universities, as well as providing leadership in several CEGEPS.
“I really loved and appreciated Lorne,” said Ruth Lewis, Inter-Varsity’s Eastern Field Director. Having worked alongside Lorne in Montreal for his whole tenure in the city, Ruth came to appreciate his gentle, understated wisdom and pastoral heart.
"He had a great sense of humour and loved sports, especially the Montreal Canadians,” said Ruth “adding “he was kind, warm and thoughtful; the salt of the earth.”
Val Michaelson, St. Michael’s Anglican Church Pastoral Associate and Queen’s University chaplain in Kingston, ON. was a student at McGill during Lorne’s tenure there.
“I was new to Christianity, new to Inter-Varsity and new to large group worship. For a long time, I didn't know who the man sitting in the corner with the beard actually was,” recalled Val. “Eventually, I was told he was a staff worker who had the ministry of nurturing student leaders, but it took a while before I finally understood why this gentle man was in the background. He was nurturing the student leaders, then staying in the background himself and letting them shine and lead.
“Such was Lorne's way: to nurture others in Christ, to put them forward instead of himself, to believe students had great potential and to let them try their gifts.
“When I became a leader under Lorne's ministry myself, I began to understand the profound gift of gentle nurturing, of one-on-one conversations about the Christian faith, of having someone believe you had gifts who helped you try them out and the gift of presence in ministry that he embodied so genuinely and so beautifully. I am deeply grateful for those years, and in Lorne's role in my earliest years as a follower of Jesus.”
Lorne moved to Ottawa in 1991 where he first served as undergraduate campus minister at the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College and Carleton University. In 2003, he was appointed Ottawa team leader and for one year, 2007-08 he served as the Ottawa Ministry Director.
In 2005, Lorne moved from Undergraduate Ministry to Graduate Student and Faculty Ministry (GSFM), serving at Carleton University, University of Ottawa and St. Paul’s University.
In 2008, he was appointed the GSFM campus minister for the University of Ottawa, a role he continued to fulfill until illness forced him to take a leave of absence in the fall of 2010.
“Lorne was a man of God who brought to his work among students and faculty a profound experience of God’s love in the midst of all life’s experiences,” said Susan Norman, National Director of GSFM. “His testimony of God’s goodness had the feel and the power of truth. He had a gentleness towards others, especially the weak, and a patience that defies logic, that continues to offer unconditional love when others give up and turn away.”
Lorne’s response to personal suffering, observed Susan, “was to make an in-depth study of Job’s life and relationship to the Lord of the universe, to plumb the depths of its mystery and to gain genuine acceptance of God’s love and kindness in the midst of it all. From a place of darkness and pain, he continued to speak the words of life to students and faculty. They listened because his words rang true. Even in the post-modern world of academics, truth is powerful.
“Lorne lived as he spoke: with integrity and humour. He had the gift of insight into the human heart and the courage to speak about what he saw there. He was unfailingly kind, even when speaking painful truths into the lives of others. His intellectual gifts allowed him to interact on an equal footing with everyone in the university community but he listened more than he spoke. He was humble in his learning and bold in his witness.
“If I had to choose one word to describe Lorne, I would say ‘faithful’: faithful in times of happiness; faithful in times of stress and sadness. Lorne was profoundly aware of God’s faithfulness and his response was to take up his cross and follow Jesus. His loving obedience encouraged many others to join the great cloud of witnesses who together proclaim that Jesus, the Suffering Servant, is Lord of all. He continues to embolden us by his courage and we are grateful to God for all that he gave to us.”
Visitation will be at St Peter and St Paul's Anglican Church, 152 Metcalfe Street Ottawa, on Wednesday, October 12 from 2 - 4 p.m. and from 7 – 9 p.m. The funeral will be at the same church at 11 AM on October 13 with a reception to follow. For full details and Lorne’s obituary, visit The Ottawa Citizen's Obituary for Lorne Likely.