© Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Angele Hache-Rix performs during a spiritual celebration in Charlottetown.
A spiritual celebration open to members of all faiths was standing room only in Charlottetown Sunday.
A crowd of more than 200 converged for a non-denominational service celebrating unity, community and diversity in a tent at Victoria Park.
Even Mayor Clifford Lee seemed surprised at the large crowd that gathered for the service, with some having to listen and watch from outside the tent.
“To be quite honest, when we started planning this event we didn’t know what to expect,” said Lee, who described the turnout as tremendous. “Its’ really great to see so many people come out this afternoon to celebrate the 1864 meetings but also to celebrate spirituality and our faith.”
The event was held as part of the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.
The service featured music from Angele Hache-Rix, Sara White, Lana Quinn, Kelly Mooney and the Confederation Centre of the Arts Youth Chorus, directed by Donald Fraser.
Messages of reflection were provided by Rev. David Filsinger and Patrick O’Neill, while Father Floyd Gallant led the closing prayer.
Hache-Rix was one of the first performers and sang Celine Dion’s Une Colombe, which translates to “a dove”.
Hache-Rix said she first heard the song in 1984, when Dion sang it for Pope John Paul II during his visit to Montreal.
“Basically, it’s a song about a dove bringing peace, love and friendship all over the world,” said Hache-Rix.
Many participants also stayed after the event to take part in a meditation session.
Lee said the service showed that Charlottetown is comprised of much more than “bricks and mortar.”
“It’s really the people of this great city, that makes Charlottetown the greatest city in the greatest country of the world,” he said. “We are a great city and we need to recognize that a large portion of that is from our beliefs and our faith.”
Stu MacFayden, deputy mayor and chair of the city’s economic development and culture committee, said the event saw wonderful performances in a beautiful setting.
“I can tell you our committee is delighted with how 2014 is unfolding,” said McFayden.
Lee also thanked all the participants of the service. The event was put on through the Spring Park United Church, Calvary Temple Youth Volunteers and the city’s parks and recreation and public works departments.