Summerlea United Church
225 50 Av, Lachine, Québec, H8T2T7, Canada. 514-634-2651

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St. Andrew's / Summerlea Covenanting Service
Jan 16, 2005

Posted Jan 17, 2005
Sunday evening 16 January 2005 brought us the service of covenanting of the St. Andrew's Presbyterian congregation with the Summerlea United congregation to become the new Summerlea United congregation, re-united after travelling separate paths since 1925.

The service featured a number of guests, including the Right Reverend Barry Clark, Anglican Bishop of Montreal, Tom Kurdyla, Chairperson, Montreal Presbytery of the United Church of Canada, Frank Giffen, Past Chair of Montreal Presbytery, Deane & Doreen Moffat, former Summerlea ministers and many others who came to participate in the covenanting and to offer their best wishes to the new congregation.

Following are a few photos. They can be picked to view a larger version.

The sanctuary as it filled with folks from near and far
in anticipation of the covenanting service.

The Summerlea choir now includes singers from both St. Andrew's and Summerlea,
and fills both sides of the chancel, taking us back to years gone by.

Rev. Howard Clark of Summerlea welcomes the members and guests.
Darryl Macdonald of St. Andrew's also participated, but did not get shot.

The Right Reverend Barry B. Clark, Anglican Bishop of Montreal, read the first lesson.

The choir, under the direction of Connie Osborne, sang and led the assemblage
in several rousing, rocking and sometimes hand-clapping tunes.
(Just can't get them all in one shot.)

Annabel McLauchlan of the former St. Andrew's Presbyterian, read the second lesson.

In the sermon, Tom Kurdyla, Chairperson Montreal Presbytery, reflected on the resistance to change that we all exhibit, especially in religion. Just try to change the arrangement of the pews, let alone get rid of them. But take away the pews, the buildings, the clergy and all the trappings and we are back to the original Christianity. Humourous illustrations and quotations from references like Pierre Berton's "The Comfortable Pew" made for a thought-provoking and enjoyable discourse.

Frank Giffen, Past Chair of Montreal Presbytery, led the covenanting portion of the service, with parts by the covenanting congregations, by the Montreal Presbytery representatives,
and by all those present.

The Peace
The Peace of Christ be with you always
and also with you.
The pews emptied as all present greeted one another in the traditional manner.

An especially beautiful and moving part of the service came with a "liturgical movement", in which six ladies of the covenanting congregations carried long blue, green and red banners representing St. Andrew's, Summerlea and the Holy Spirit down the aisles and over the heads of the assemblage, finally interweaving them at the front of the church.

Michelle McKenzie, Isabelle Bertolotti and Irene Critchlow lead the ladies up the aisle.

Marg Lynn waits while Susan McKenzie, Kate Smart and Michelle McKenzie prepare the banners.

The banners were carried to the rear of the church
and then to the front over the heads of the congregation.
(The apparent smoke and mirrors did not exist, but were a strange reflection of the flash.)

At the front, the banners were intertwined to complete the symbolic joining.

To top off the evening, refreshments were served in St. Andrew's Hall,
thanks to the good folks of the new congregation of Summerlea United Church.

And thus St. Andrew's and Summerlea reunite after travelling separate paths since 1925.
May the union continue to thrive in the same spirit of joy and good will
as that of the covenanting service.
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