Excellent news arrived in my email inbox today from Shelley Morley, our Queensborough realtor and friend. The small but committed congregation at St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough, which has been soldiering on without a minister of its own for the past year and a half, has finalized an arrangement with the United Church’s Tweed pastoral charge in which that charge’s Rev. Caroline Giesbrecht will now be doing services twice a month at St. Andrew’s. The first one is this Sunday, May 6, at 9:30 a.m. The church sent around flyers throughout the community inviting everyone to “come and experience the pleasure of a service in a small country church” – with, this Sunday, the added inducement of being able to attend the pancake breakfast afterwards at the Queensborough Community Centre. There is no end to the social activities in Queensborough! I only wish we could be there, and in fact we do plan to be in Queensborough later in the day on Sunday, but in the morning will still be in Hamilton, Ont., where we are attending the Ontario Newspaper Awards ceremony.
Anyway, hats off to the congregation at St. Andrew’s for a) working out the arrangement with Tweed to have The Rev. Giesbrecht be in the pulpit – she is an excellent minister; and b) for sending out that warm and generous invitation to the whole community. “Please join us,” the invitation says, “as we build a strong community church in the tradition of fellowship, support and joyous celebration of our spiritual growth.” I hope (and pray) that a growing number of people in the community will accept that invitation, because St. Andrew’s is a lovely little country church and the welcome there is warm.
And nobody knows that better than I, because I basically grew up in that church. My dad, Wendell Sedgwick, was the minister there from his ordination in 1964 until 1975. I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours at church services and Sunday School at St. Andrew’s, singing in the choir, listening to my dad’s sermons, attending church suppers. I have the happiest memories of our Christmas Eve candlelight services (for which Dad made holders for all the candles out of birch slabs, and no, nothing and nobody ever caught fire), of the church being packed with happy worshippers at Easter, but most especially of the wonderful and faithful people who attended and supported the church Sunday after Sunday: the Thompsons, the Sagers, the Tokleys, the Sexsmiths, the Cassidys, the McMurrays, the Harrises, the Burnsides, the Gordons, the Loves, the Roushorns, the Wannamakers, the Rollinses, the Frankses, the Holmeses, the Baileys, and I am forgetting so many more. And that was just in my childhood; so many others have been vital to St. Andrew’s in more recent years, and it would be remiss of me not to make special mention of our friends Terry and Joan Mandzy, who have worked very, very hard to keep the church going. Saints all.
Final word: If you are, or can be, anywhere near Queensborough this Sunday morning, drop in for the service at 9:30 and enjoy pancakes afterward. You’ll be glad you did!