Jon in Office

If you can't find Jonathan in his tiny, cramped office, you might try looking for him in the organ loft.

 

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Jonathan Haley grew up, the youngest child of a family of four, in rural South Africa, in Natal province.  His next oldest sibling was his twin by a few minutes, the family's only girl, Karen.  Jonathan was small at birth, and there was a concern for his survival.  Perhaps because of his continued struggle with health in childhood, his twin sister formed an uncanny bond with him---maternal and very sweet---and Jonathan and Karen continued as each other's best friends into adulthood.

Jonathan preferred the arts as a boy, putting his energies into reading and music while his brothers excelled at rugby and polo.  Despite being teased for his pensive and more feeling nature, Jon pursued music and philosophy, encouraged by his sister and best friend.

The Haley children grew up on the family farm outside of Durban, travelling great distances to attend worship gatherings in their tiny Swedenborgian denomination.  But when Karen and Jonathan were in their teens, the Haley family moved to a suburb of Durban.  The twins musical talents were soon put to use in Durban's only Swedenborgian church congregation, helping in the choir as well as on the organ.  

Jon and Karen's childhood dream of running a congregation together began to falter as the realities of adulthood approached.  Jon sought ordination in a US-based Swedenborgian seminary, while Karen pursued an advanced music degree in Durban.  Karen also continued with dogged determination to prove to the church leaders that women could make just as effective clergy members as men.  

Unfortunately, shortly after Jon's ordination, Karen was killed.  Her death sent Jonathan into an emotional tailspin which lasted for several years.  He refused his post as assistant in Chicago and returned to Durban to throw himself into music and heal.

The start of the first Cliffside novel finds Jonathan accepting his first posting since Karen's death.  He has come from sunny South Africa to Ontario, Canada, just as winter begins to take hold.

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