Baxter Park was just 26 years old when he joined the Canadian Forces as a chaplain in 1989. He had already spent 5 years in ordered ministry in his home province. He returned home to NL as the Dean of St John the Evangelist in 2012.
Park retired from the military as a Commander. He enjoyed a full military career. In 1990, shortly after joining he became the first Canadian Chaplain to enter an active theater since the Korean War when he deployed as part of Canada’s Naval contingent in the Gulf War. He later served with the Navy in the Adriatic and with the Army in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Park was stationed in Germany during the time that Canada began taking casualties in Afghanistan. He was often the first face that wounded soldiers saw when they were medically evacuated to Landsthule in Germany. The final years of Park’s military career were spent supervising other chaplains. His greatest joy was to serve as Canada’s Senior Navy Chaplain responsible for all chaplaincy services to the Navy.
Baxter Park is a cradle Anglican. He grew up in the small fishing community of Cox’s Cove on Newfoundland’s west coast. St Nicholas Anglican Church was the centre of the community and the centre of his life. He spent much of his youth as a server and member of the youth choir and became a Lay reader at the age of thirteen. He remained active in the parish until he left the community for university in 1978.
In 2012 when Baxter returned to NL he was under no illusion that the church or ministry were in any way at the centre of the life of the community. His approach to ministry, influenced by his years as a military chaplain, is to re-emphasize the mission of the church in order to be relevant in this age. The hallmarks of his ministry are advocacy, partnerships, accessibility, effective communication and social justice. He is also strongly committed to Cathedrals as centres of excellence in their community. Under his leadership the Cathedral practices a ministry of generous hospitality to a number of community groups and activities.
In 1993 Baxter married his life partner, Nancy Granter of Greenspond, NL. They are both foodies who take pleasure in spending as much time as possible in each other’s company. They enjoy travelling, reading and a good glass of red wine.