A fam­ily of faith

Angli­can church com­mu­nity marks 200 years in Truro

Truro Daily News - - REGION - LYNN CUR­WIN lynn.cur­[email protected]­daily.com @truro­daily

Two hun­dred years ago, a spark was ig­nited that would lead to con­struc­tion of one of Truro’s most noted land­marks. Ar­riv­ing as a mis­sion­ary in 1820, Rev. John Burnyeat es­tab­lished a per­ma­nent Angli­can pres­ence in the com­mu­nity, and the con­gre­ga­tion of St. John’s Angli­can is now cel­e­brat­ing a 200th an­niver­sary.

The orig­i­nal church was built in 1825, but by 1873 the con­gre­ga­tion had grown so much more space was needed. The old church was moved to an­other area of the church­yard and con­tin­ued to be used un­til the stone build­ing now standing on the cor­ner of Church and Prince streets opened for a ser­vice on March 15, 1881.

“The church has changed a lot over the years,” said Dorothy Tay, who be­gan at­tend­ing the year she was born – 1944. “As a child, I sat in a pew where the cloak­room now is, and the pul­pit was raised above the con­gre­ga­tion.

“There were four ser­vices on Sun­days and my aunt brought me to even­song. I al­ways found St. John’s a warm, friendly place.

“I was bap­tized here, con­firmed here, mar­ried here and priested here. There are a lot of mo­men­tous spir­i­tual ties.”

She re­mem­bers, at one time, the women al­ways wore their best dresses and the men would be in suits.

She was just a small child when Kathryn Keddy, who came from Parrs­boro to at­tend the Nor­mal Col­lege, be­gan at­tend­ing church ser­vices in 1947.

“It was called St. John’s Church of Eng­land then,” said Keddy. “There was an Angli­can Young Peo­ples’ As­so­ci­a­tion that met in Kaulbach Hall and I re­mem­ber play­ing bad­minton up there.”

The church of­fered clubs for men, women and cou­ples, as well as se­nior and ju­nior choirs, and Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brown­ies.

“The church played a big part in peo­ple’s lives and Sun­day was more of a day of rest then,” she said. “Busi­nesses weren’t open and there weren’t sport­ing events.”

Keddy moved away for a while to teach, but when she re­turned, with a hus­band and sons, in 1959, she be­gan at­tend­ing church events again.

Tay also left the area for sev­eral years, re­turn­ing in 2003.

“Re­turn­ing to the church was like com­ing home,” she said. “I felt it had grown even warmer.”

The lan­guage and mu­sic used in ser­vices has be­come less for­mal over the years. In the 1960s, the Book of Com­mon Prayer was brought in, and in the 1980s the Book of Al­ter­nate Ser­vices ar­rived.

Lori Ram­sey has been pas­tor at St. John’s for 19 years.

“A vis­ual dif­fer­ence in the church now is how many women are lead­ing wor­ship,” she said. “The num­bers have re­ally grown.

“Chal­lenges fac­ing the church are an ag­ing con­gre­ga­tion, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for vol­un­teer­ing, and the fact that num­bers are shrink­ing but ex­penses aren’t. There’s no short­age when it comes to will­ing spir­its though.”

Tay agreed, say­ing it is the hard work of many par­ish­ioners who en­able the church to con­tinue of­fer­ing the ser­vices it does.

“The con­gre­ga­tion is like a ‘fam­ily’ of broth­ers and sis­ters who faith­fully wor­ship to­gether and care for one an­other,” said Keddy. “At St. John’s, the spirit is moving, and His pres­ence is felt in the si­lence of prayer. I’m happy to be a life­time mem­ber.”

LYNN CUR­WIN/TRURO NEWS

Puz­zles and or­na­ments were cre­ated in cel­e­bra­tion of the 200th an­niver­sary of the Angli­can Church in Truro. Hold­ing some of the items are, from left, Judy Macken­zie, Bev DeVouge, Rev. Lori Ram­sey and Adele Stokoe.

LYNN CUR­WIN/TRURO NEWS

Rev. Lori Ram­sey, left, and long­time par­ish­ioners Kathryn Keddy, cen­tre and Dorothy Tay re­cently got to­gether to talk about the his­tory of St. John’s Angli­can Church.

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