School to Be Built in Honour of Rev. Rick Marples

Father Rick Marples, who served in the Ottawa Anglican Diocese for 40 years and led a life filled with love and God’s spirit, will be the namesake of a new school in Nicaragua constructed in his memory through the organization SchoolBOX.

Father Rick joyfully lent his time and talents to the local community, serving as pastor and shepherd to his congregation, but also as a chaplain at AY Jackson High School, and as a hockey coach to many local Ottawa boys. Although he passed away in September 2015, his heart for children will live on in the form of a new school for children in Nicaragua, the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti.

Ray and Lorna Brule, long time parishioners of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Kanata, were moved to raise funds to build a school in honour of Father Rick after they returned from a service trip with SchoolBOX. Over a period of 10 days in July 2016, they helped to build the Mirna Martinez School near Masaya, Nicaragua. They saw the impact that education could have to break the cycle of poverty in Nicaragua, where only 56% of children currently complete primary school.

For Ray Brule, the highlights of the trip were, “seeing the emotion and the gratitude of the community for their new school, and playing with the kids and seeing how open and affectionate they were”. Through this powerful experience, Ray and Lorna were reminded of their friend and mentor Father Rick, who embodied Jesus throughout his life in his love for God’s children.

Ray and Lorna Brule during their time in Nicaragua building a school with SchoolBOX, with their St. Paul’s and St. Thomas Anglican Church group.

Long time friend and colleague, Father John Bridges from St. Paul’s Church said of Father Rick that, “I don’t think I have learned more about how to love from anybody as I have from that man. For those who knew him, when he encountered children, he did not see anything but a beloved child of God. He saw them as complete and absolute wonders of creation.”

The campaign to raise funds to build the Father Rick School was launched at St. Paul’s Church on Sunday, October 16th, during their “Minute for Missions”. However, the call is being extended to the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and beyond. The goal is to raise enough money for two classrooms, a washroom, a library, and a soccer field to be constructed in a needy community in Nicaragua.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand”. Indeed Ray Brule echoed this verse when he stated that, “This is our earthly goal. Wherever God wants to take this project, we are just happy to get the ball rolling”. He also shared that Father Rick was an avid rock collector, and it is his hope to be able to take some of the stones Father Rick collected over the years to be incorporated into the new school.

Friends and community members who have been impacted by Father Rick’s ministry are invited to pray that God will move through this project, and to lift up SchoolBOX and the children who will ultimately receive this school through prayer. Donations can also be made through the Father Rick School fundraising campaign on CanadaHelps or through Father Rick’s School campaign page on the SchoolBOX web site. When the location of the school and timing of the build is determined, those interested in volunteering on the build in Nicaragua with SchoolBOX can email for more information on how to register.

SchoolBOX is committed to ‘Making Education Possible’ for the children of Nicaragua. SchoolBOX implements cost effective programming by building schools, providing school supplies, libraries, and teacher training. SchoolBOX has built 80 classrooms, and 46 washrooms in Nicaragua and serves over 17,487 students and teachers in 96 communities on an annual basis.

Our community is united in love for the children we serve and the belief that education can defeat poverty. SchoolBOX is comprised of thousands of people from different faiths and socioeconomic backgrounds. We empower educators and students, and they in turn empower their communities and change our world.

Written by: Stephanie Rudyk Toeplfer.
Originally published: Crosstalk, November 2016.

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