By Heather Kingham
With joy and in a spirit of fellowship and anticipation the congregations of Holy Trinity, Chatham, and St. Paul’s, Chatham came together on Christ the King Sunday, November 26, at Holy Trinity to worship and officially begin our parish life as a blended entity.
Rev. Merv Lanctot was the celebrant for the service and the homily was delivered by our assistant curate Rev. Mark Sceviour. This important step was the culmination of many months of hard work by the wardens, parish council members, the ministry team and parishioners of both churches to develop a detailed ministry plan that would show the benefits of reorganizing into one vibrant and nurturing parish worshipping at the Holy Trinity site. This plan was presented to and approved by Diocesan Council on October 22nd.
The special service began most appropriately with the processional hymn “Lift High the Cross” as the crucifer led in the choir, a deputy warden from each church carrying the banner of the other church, parishioners from St. Paul’s carrying in the chalices, ciborium and flagon that had been used at that site, the wardens jointly carrying the wardens’ wands and children from the Sunday School waving ribbons to create a festive and uplifting atmosphere.
There has been an important tradition of music ministry at both churches which will continue and expand in the new parish. A youth choir has been formed and will sing for the first time on Christmas Eve. St. Paul’s has had a chime choir for several years and, augmented by some new members from Holy Trinity, it also took part in the service on Sunday and was very enthusiastically received by the congregation. With the addition of new choir members from St. Paul’s we are now in the enviable position of having a crowded choir loft!
After the service our new relationships were further strengthened over a delicious lunch in the parish hall of various kinds of soup provided by parishioners, buns and cold cuts and of course, cake to top off the celebration.
The emotional final service at St. Paul’s was held on November 19th with Reverend Kristen Oliver, a former rector of the church and now rector of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Point Edward as celebrant. At the October Diocesan Council meeting a motion was also approved to sell the St. Paul’s site and use the proceeds to support the mission and ministry and business plans of the newly reorganized parish of Holy Trinity and St. Paul’s Chatham.
We expect there may be interesting times ahead as we work hard to combine the best traditions from both parishes and of course create some new ones, but we look forward to facing and overcoming those challenges and becoming “The New Us”.
Heather Kingham is a parishioner at Holy Trinity/St. Paul’s.