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Father John

By Ian Brown, EAA 657159, Editor and Canadian Council Board Member

Father JohnFebruary 2017 - Canadians can be proud of one early aviator’s commitment to the fly-in that became EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. In reading the account of the opening and dedication of the then brand-new EAA Museum and Air Education Center (Sport Aviation, February 1967), Rev. John MacGillivray was invited to deliver the invocation. MacGillivray was a regular attendee at the fly-in, and he was also the chaplain of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), based in Winnipeg. Born and raised in the fishing village of Arisaig, Nova Scotia, MacGillivray was always interested and active in aviation and had an active career in the RCAF. He was also chaplain for the national EAA. You can read a brief description of his life at the website of EAA Chapter 77.

Chapter 77 in Flushing, Michigan, honoured him by naming their organization The Father John 77 Flying Club. MacGillivray had many friends there and frequent visits across the border were made at a time when the borders were perhaps a little more welcoming to private flyers. The reverend wrote this touching prayer.

An Airman’s Grace
By Rev. John W. MacGillivray

Lord of thunderhead and sky
You placed in us the will to fly,
You taught our hand speed, skill, and grace
To soar beyond our dwelling place.
You shared with us the eagle’s view,
The right to soar as eagles do,
The right to call the clouds our home,
And grateful, through your heavens roam.
May we assembled here tonight,
And all who love the thrill of flight,
Recall with twofold gratitude,
Your gift of wings, your gift of food.

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