Pastors' Memoirs

John Paul Dyksen, 1947-1994

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John Paul Dyksen was special. He had a winsome personality, and gifts and graces that God bestowed upon him which resulted in a call to ministry. I first met John when he was a preministerial student at Virginia Wesleyan College and a student minister in his church (Parkview) in Newport News where I served as pastor. Even then, John had a keen understanding of his call to ministry as a servant. A native of "The Peninsula,"John endeared himself to many whose paths crossed his. We developed a lasting friendship. Upon graduation from Wesley Theological Seminary and the completion of the requirements to enter his chosen career as a servant of the Lord, he was ordained an elder in the Virginia conference in 1975. Thus began a fruitful ministerial career which was cut short by his death due to cancer.

Those who were a part of the churches John served recognized his unique pastoral skills, compassion, caring spirit, and sense of humor, all of which contributed to his effectiveness as a pastor. His appointments included: Vale/Floris (Arlington District); Otterbein {Associate}and Sunset Drive (Harrisonburg District); Urbanna (Rappahannock District); Aldersgate (Charlottesville District); and First (Winchester District).

John viewed each appointment as a new challenge and an opportunity and a privilege to be God's servant. He loved his people, and they in turn loved and respected him as their spiritual leader. He served his last appointment faithfully even during his illness until he was no longer physically able.

On December 9, the day of John's memorial service, friends and colleagues joined his family and church family at First United Methodist Church to find comfort in the faith and to thank God for the gift of his life. While there we were reminded of his faithfulness as a servant of Christ.

The philosopher Mauriac once wrote, "No love, no friendship, ever crosses the path of our destiny without leaving some mark." John has left his mark upon all who knew him. Truly he was a servant of the Lord, faithful to the very end. All those who knew him will be eternally grateful for what he contributed to our journey, because a part of him has become a part of us. His uncompleted work continues through us.

John taught us what is truly important in life: how to love and to serve, how to live, and how to die. Those who knew him will treasure the gifts he gave us: friendship, laughter, joy, love. On December 7, he was given the ultimate gift of resurrection as death claimed his body, and God claimed his soul. As I grieved the loss of such a special friend and man of God, I found comfort in the realization of how much John had already given others in his brief life of 47 years. Celebrating the goodness of his life and remembering these words of Scripture also brought comfort: Well done good and faithful servant...

-R. Franklin Gillis, Jr.



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