Thanksgiving for friendship

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 4, 2018

Photographer/priest Fred Monk crafted a mixed-media collage of words and images taken from these Coffee With Warren columns over the years as a gift to Warren Harbeck to celebrate over 20 years of friendship.
Collage by Fred Monk

“As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” Wise King Solomon’s words are especially meaningful to me as we approach Thanksgiving and I think back over the many ways you, my coffee companions, have sharpened me with your friendship.

One of our coffee companions brought this home to me just the other day in a most surprising way. Photographer/priest Fred Monk, former pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Cochrane, now retired and living in Medicine Hat, celebrated our friendship with a gift he’d crafted.

It was an 11×14 inch mixed media collage of words and images he’d copied from my columns over the years.

Superimposed over our readers’ sunrise/sunset images I featured a year ago, were photos of our garden, our family, the handshake logo of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, and children’s smiling faces from a visit Mary Anna and I made to regions of southern Mexico served by Mission Mexico, a humanitarian outreach founded by Fred in 2001.

Among them Fred had pasted quotes from several columns, such as: “Words of praise and gratitude are affirmations that truth, goodness and beauty are still alive and well in a difficult, often bewildering world.”

And boldly in both Hebrew and English appeared a quote from Psalm 37 that has become my guiding watchword night and day: “Trust in the Lord and do good…. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

Then in the lower left corner was an image of another gift he gave me along with this collage: one of a set of four mugs honouring “Coffee with Warren.”

And in the lower right corner was a photo of Fred accompanied by my words of gratitude for ways the photographer/priest has inspired me:

“This is his … legacy to me: the joy of seeing and celebrating the sacred wherever and whenever possible, whether in a field, a flower, an eagle against a billowing cloud, or a baby’s beaming face.”

Thank you, Fred, for your soul-sharpening friendship.

(To experience Fred’s inspiring photographic artistry for yourself, visit


© 2018 Warren Harbeck

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