Retired St. Thomas Priest Receives Highest Rotary Honour In His Last Days of Life
An incredibly special event took place on August 22, 2020 when the Chilliwack After Hours Rotary Club bestowed upon retired Parish Priest John Sovereign a Paul Harris Fellowship.  John received a terminal cancer diagnosis just weeks before and is palliative.
During the Covid-19 crisis, President Joan Patterson recognized that a Zoom gathering was the only way to make this presentation.  John was granted permission to come home from hospital for the event and it was a moving time for club members, invited guests and his wife Allyson.
President Joan acknowledge the territory we are on and shared the object of Rotary.  Being an exemplary member, John proposed two special ladies to continue the good work of Rotary on his behalf.  Director’s of the club agreed that we should install these women while John was still with us. In a moving tribute to Tracy Goodwin, John shared “Tracy is a good community minded person who would be an asset to the club and about Fatima Zaida, John said “ Fatima is involved with cutting edge issues, has endless energy and insights that would be a great benefit to the work of Rotary in our community”.
John thought this event was to induct his proposed members. He was shocked and surprised when District Governor Carol Tichelman shared in the presentation of the highest honour in Rotary. She said, “Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of The Rotary Foundation…to do good in the world”. She went on to share “The symbolism in this recognition is to say Thank You for making a difference in your club and community and in the lives of less fortunate people in the world.  By accepting this recognition, you will join a family of well over 1 million Paul Harris Fellows worldwide.  Besides other members of your club - you stand with notables such as Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Prince Charles, Indira Gandhi, Luciano Pavarotti, King Hussein of Jordan and Pope John Paul II – to name just a few - as a Paul Harris Fellow”.
Carol invited Past President Linda Rook to say a few words of tribute to John.  Linda said, “from engineer to minister, John has always been community minded right down to bringing guests to Rotary meeting for a good meal, always reaching out. He believed strongly in Rotary’s four-way test to the point of introducing it as a guiding principle during his time on the Mayor’s Task Force committee”. Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
John has been married to his sweetheart Allyson for 45 years.
Past President of the Chilliwack Fraser Rotary club, Russ Ideson shared a few words regarding John’s contribution and closed by saying, “Well done you good and faithful servant”. 
President Joan Patterson closed by sharing how proud the club was of John and his well-deserved Paul Harris honour.  She opened the Zoom meeting for members to share their thoughts and tributes.