© Guardian photo by Sally Cole
Trinity Clifton committee members take a break from planning the 150th anniversary celebrations for Trinity United Church in Charlottetown. From left are Sandrabelle MacEwen, chair, Judy Irwin, co-chair, Shirley MacDonald, secretary and Anne Love, treasurer. The celebration begins Jan. 1 when Trinity holds its first-ever New Year’s levee in the church sanctuary from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Everyone is invited.
As John A. Macdonald was walking up Great George Street with the Canadian delegates to attend the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, a meeting that led to Canadian Confederation, a couple of streets over another historical event was taking place.
Congregation members were watching as the last bricks were being laid at the First Methodist Church, now known as Trinity United Church.
Dedicated two months later, on Nov. 13, 1864, the church is sharing its 150th anniversary with the Prince Edward Island sesquicentennial of the 1864 Charlottetown conference in 2014.
“I’m feeling very honoured that we have this opportunity to share in this important (anniversary) year,” says Sandrabelle MacEwen, chair of the 2014 Trinity Clifton committee.
“When I think of the things that are important in our community, I think of our government, our legislature, our House of Commons — all the things that are part of our governance are part of the structures of society, as the church has been.”
Committee members are enthusiastic about sharing their plans as they prepare for the church anniversary.
“We have a lot of activities and celebrations. We’re hoping to have something every month so it will be quite exciting,” says Anne Love, treasurer.
The excitement begins Jan. 1 when the church holds its first New Year’s Levee from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
“We’ll receive guests in the sanctuary where we’ll provide light refreshments and music. We’re hoping that the community will share this special day with us. Everyone is welcome to attend,” says Love.
During the levee, a historical slideshow will run on two large screens.
Next, on Sunday, Feb. 9, a program for children, Godly Play, will take place at the church.
“Sunday school children are invited to hear the story of St. Valentine and wonder about God’s presence then and now. They will have an opportunity to create artwork, stories and reflections to share with the congregation,” says Love, adding lunch will be provided.
Plans are also being made for a Valentine’s dinner and entertainment on Feb. 15; a program for children during March break, as well as a dinner theatre production, Inherit the Wind, in conjunction with A.C.T. (a community theatre production) in April.
“It will be directed by Rev. John Moses, our minister here,” says Love, adding other events include a family/baptism on a Sunday in May, a block party June 22, a special Wesleyan Service on the front lawn of the church June 29 and a social at Clifton United Church in Stratford on July 14 and more.
On Aug. 27, there will be a Smallwood grave dedication at the Clifton cemetery. Then on Sept. 21, it’s Clifton United Church’s 166th anniversary service.
On Oct. 19, there will be an inter-church celebration of music. That Sunday, Park Royal and Spring Park church choirs will join the Trinity Chancel Choir for an evening of music at the church.
“The significance is Park Royal and Spring Park are daughter churches to Trinity United Church,” says Love, adding a Christmas craft fair will be held at the church Nov. 14-15.
The year will culminate on Nov. 23 with Trinity United Church’s 150th anniversary service. The special guest speaker will be Anthony Bailey, senior minister at Parkdale United Church in Ottawa.
Originally from Barbados, Bailey grew up in and around the Montreal area. Over his lifetime he has acquired a wide range of ministry and volunteer experience with church, parachurch and community development-type organizations.
He, his wife Wendy and their children came to Ottawa from a six-year ministry experience as overseas personnel (missionaries) to Jamaica, with the United Church of Canada’s Division of World Outreach. He also served for a brief time in Kenya, East Africa.
“He’s a very musical and energetic speaker,” says MacEwen, adding the final event of the year is the afternoon wrap-up party on Dec. 31.
To keep in touch with all the different activities planned, committee member Judy Irwin advises reading The Guardian or checking the church’s website.
“When the planning is finalized for each activityand we know what’s happening, we’ll be able to share more information with the public,” she says.
To coincide with the shared anniversary, MacEwen has been in touch with P.E.I. 2014 representatives.
“I’ve given them a list of all our activities and mentioned the ones which will be of interest to the public. Also, if anyone is interested in attending any of the meals, like the Valentine’s dinner that is offered, they can phone the office and purchase a ticket,” she says.