Father John Garvey
An avid outdoorsman, Father John frequently packed up his tent and headed west to camp in the beauty of nature. In the outdoors, he said, he found the wonder of God's creation. Within that creation, he also was reminded that "my life belongs not to myself but to Jesus. I need only to live pulsating with the life and breath of all God's creatures... In life and death, all will be well."
Father Jerry Dorn, president of Glenmary Home Missioners, also recognized that aspect of Father John's spirituality. "When I reflect on John's life as a man and missioner, I immediately think of the word ‘wonder,'" Father Jerry said. "Jesus, people and God's beautiful creation all brought a sense of wonder to this great missioner."
Father John had lived in the Glenmary mission in Gate City since 1988, serving as director of Appalachian Services, a post he retained after receiving senior member status in 1992. His years of rural ministry began in Oklahoma soon after his ordination in 1957 and led him to Georgia. There he spent 12 years as associate pastor and then pastor in three different missions: Statesboro (1959-1962); Sylvania (1962-1967); and Waynesboro (1967-1971).
He pastored the Morehead, Ky., Glenmary mission from 1971 to 1977 before moving on to Gate City, where he was pastor from 1977 to 1980. He then spent time as director of vocations and pastor of the Winfield, Ala., mission in the early 1980s before moving on to Hazlehurst, Ga., in 1985, where he stayed until moving to Gate City in 1988.