Feature Article – Compassion and Heart

Feature Article – Compassion and Heart

People of all ages. People of all walks of life. A part of a community of faith!

Learn a bit about us – who we are, what we do. Each one of us in this universe can brag about being unique. Our stories are wonderful and we want to share them so our congregation can get to know each other better.  This feature article is about Cynthia Burt, a member of our congregation since 1985.

Don't be lost in the crowd on Sunday morning! Stop and say hello!

 

On most Sunday mornings
you'll find Cynthia Burt sitting in the Choir
~ grinning from ear to ear!

To know Cynthia is to know

  • compassion and heart
  • a gentle spirit who always puts others first
  • someone who is genuine to the core
  • someone who loves to travel
  • a great cook
  • a good listener, confidant and true friend
  • a vibrant person with a wonderful sense of humour
  • an outstanding counselor and guide

Cynthia has the rare ability to provide advice and guidance without judgement, mixing compassion and honesty in such a way that leaves a person feeling uplifted and with a purpose to keep trying and a path to follow.

Always with a smile!  In his quiet voice and with delightful humour, Carl will tell you that

"She is always smiling. She even wakes with a smile. It is so much so that it could 'make you sick'."

He will tell you, she has the patience of Job and will stand by you through thick and thin.  She is his anchor and reason for being.

"She is so full of life, love and laughter. If you can't live with Cynthia, you can't live with anyone.

And, she hates HOUSEWORK!"

Cynthia recently led a church service where she talked passionately about the rights of indigenous peoples, the need for inclusion and equality of all peoples regardless of race, colour, creed, sexual orientation, age, intellectual abilities, mental and physical challenges. She spoke about diversity, respect and acceptance. She spoke of what it means to be different and of our individual and collective responsibilities.

She was fabulous!  It was worth the listen!

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If there is such a thing as a 'born' nurse, Cynthia is it! During her career she has provided general and specialized nursing care in cardiology and psychiatry with Eastern Health.  Since 2011 she has served as Intake Coordinator for the HOPE Program.

HOPE Program – Healthy Opportunities for People with Eating Disorders

The Hope Program is for people (fifteen years and older) who have been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or other specified feeding and eating disorder.  Located at the Renata Elizabeth Withers Centre for Hope on Major’s Path in St. John’s and also with province-wide phone accessibility, the program helps provide a journey to wellness in a trusting, supportive environment.

Left to right: Sabrina Andrews and the Burt Family, Cynthia, Megan, Ashley, Carl)

The Burt Family - Cynthia, Carl, Megan and Ashley

Their Motto

We make a Living by what we get

We make a Life by what we give.

~ Winston Churchill

 

To the Burt Family it is much more than a quote on a plaque.  It offers lines to live by and for them, it is a way of life. 

It hangs in the entrance of their home as a reminder, to them and all who visit.

Cynthia and Carl have been a couple since the early 80s. Before that, they did not realize the other existed even though they grew up just miles from each other (Cynthia in Herring Neck and Carl in Virgin Arm).  Actually that's not quite true! Their first date happened when Cynthia was in Grade 7.  Carl and she went to the school dance.  Then they parted ways until 1980 when they met again. This time it was at the Causeway Restaurant one evening. Cynthia was 18. Carl 20.  And, the romance began.

Just like many other young people in rural Newfoundland, Cynthia and Carl headed to Toronto to look for work.  It only took about 6 months for Carl to realize he hated it. So off they went to Alberta. They returned to Newfoundland in 1985 and realizing they had outgrown Herring Neck, struck out for St. John's. Shortly after, Cynthia signed up for nursing. She graduated in 1990 and later that year, she and Carl married (December 28).

To say that Cynthia and Carl are proud of their two wonderful daughters, Megan and Ashley, is an understatement - proud of who they are, what they do and their accomplishments!   And the girls adore their parents.  Both girls are hardworking and dedicated. In some ways the two are so alike while in others they are opposites. much like their parents - vibrant and compassionate; quiet and organized. All four have such a great, wicked, sense of humour. 

At the time of this article, the girls were completing second degrees from MUN. Megan was writing her finals and will graduate with a Master's of Religious Studies degree. Ashley just finished exams and will graduate with a Bachelor of Education degree.

Megan, Ashley, Cynthia and Carl

 

Cynthia was one of six children born to Bernice and Alpheaus Mehaney, Herring Neck, a close loving family.  The four sisters pursued careers in nursing (all four are Registered Nurses). Two of the sisters are retired while the third sister, Myrtle, continues to work at the Twillingate Hospital while Cynthia works with Eastern Health.  Brother, Derrick, and his family still live in Herring Neck.  In 2007, they were heartbroken to deal with the tragic loss of their brother, Kevin, who died in a car crash.  Bernice and Alpheaus are also gone now.  The family misses them so much.

The Mehaney Family, 1997. Left to Right: Myrtle (Burt), Cynthia (Burt), Kevin, Bernice and Alpheaus, Derrick, Sandra (Gale) and Flora (Boyd)

Family Photos

 

Cynthia Burt has been part of First United since she and Carl moved from Herring Neck to Mount Pearl in 1985.  It started as her place of worship on Sunday mornings and over the years she became more and more involved as a volunteer in the outreach programs and management of the church.

My involvement with church governance began (unknowingly to me) when I was asked to read. That was about 25 years ago now.  I was so proud to read.

After that I was asked to join the Board and the Worship Committee. I remember being so afraid I would not be able to give 100% as I worked 12 hour shifts in those days. Being a member of the Board meant such a huge commitment and, at the time, I would have been very hurt if people thought I wasn't reliable.  But the following year, I decided to accept and signed on, first serving as Secretary and then as Board Chair. 

I've been a member of the Choir for about 20 or more years as well.  Oh, how I love to sing!

When our oldest child, Megan decided to join the Youth Group (SNAC) fifteen years ago, I signed up as a leader. Then Ashley joined so I continued on until she became a leader about six years ago.  It was so gratifying and such fun to be part of that group - watching all the kids grow and become amazing young adults.

First United and the national church have been such a big part of my life. I have served on several committees over the years: Search Committees for organist and minister, Minister and Personnel Committee and most recently Christian Development and, once again, I am a member of the Board. 

For many years, Cynthia has been as a delegate for First United at Conference meetings and at Conference level she has represented East District and Conference when other churches were searching for a minister.  She served on the Conference Interview Board and Conference Committee on Internship and Educational Supervision and was the Sexual Assault Consultant for Conference in Newfoundland and Labrador.  She is now a Sexual Assault Consultant for the national United Church of Canada.

~ End~

© First United Church Mount Pearl
www.firstunitedchurchmp.ca/feature-articles
Initially Published September 12, 2019

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4 comments on “Feature Article – Compassion and Heart
  1. Linda Whalen says:

    A wonderful article about a wonderful woman! Cynthia is a bright light in this troubled world.

  2. Elizabeth Best says:

    A great article! Congratulations Cynthia to you and your family on your commitment to First United. I will always remember the great fun we had in choir and the warm friendship we shared. Thanks for everything and miss you.

  3. Sid Woolfrey says:

    I know she and every word, ‘‘tis true, luh! Seriously this is a wonderful article about a wonderful family. Their love, compassion, humour, generosity and genuine “goodness” can be felt by anyone spending time with them. I have been lucky enough to know four generations of Cynthia’s family and have been blessed in so many ways by their friendship. An amazing asset to First United, a wonderful gift to the planet.

  4. Grace Hollett says:

    A very informative article about a great woman ! I particularly like the reference to indigenous rights and inclusiveness. Lovely pictures!