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Knox Presbyterian Church Celebrated 150 Years of Service

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The weekend of the 16/17 of October was the culmination of a year of events leading up to the 150th Anniversary of our church.

 

 

Our historical 166 year old Bible was used during the 150th Anniversary Services at October 17th. That bible had been inscribed to Rev. Robert Burns in 1844 by his Sunday school class in Paisley Scotland, as he left to embark on a new life in Canada. He in turn inscribed the Bible to the new congregation at Knox Georgetown in October 1860. It is he who is credited with the formation of our church and also the congregation at Limehouse in 1861. Several years ago that bible had been in very sad shape, literally falling apart. Thanks to the efforts of Rev. Peter Barrow, and our local worldwide known bookbinder and restorer, Keith Felton, it was restored to its original condition, and is now perhaps the most treasured of our historical artifacts. It is from that Bible that we take our anniversary date.

Two services marked the event on Sunday. In the morning,Rev. Dr. Richard Fee, past Moderator of the General Assembly,and General Secretary of the Life and Mission Agency of the National Presbyterian Church gave the address. Rev. Fee had just returned the day before from a speaking engagement in India, and we were very privileged to have him come to minister to us. Following the morning service, the Friendship Circle served a full luncheon, pictures posted in the large hall were studied, and a very enjoyable social time was had by all.

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At the evening service, the sermon was given by Rev. Peter Barrow, who for nearly 30 years served the congregation until his retirement in 2001. Dawn gave a short “History Bite” on our connection with Limehouse church, and a special presentation was made to the Georgetown congregation by Bill Karn, Clerk of Session of Limehouse Presbyterian Church. One of two gifts was a framed copy of original Limehouse Session minutes of November 1861, at which time the two churches agreed to join forces as a two point charge, and since that time we have worked well together, sharing ministers down through the 150 years. We have none of our original records, so this indeed is another treasured piece to add to our history. The second gift was a beautiful brass advent candle holder, which will be a lovely replacement for the one we have been using for a great many years. Both gifts were so very much appreciated, and we thank the Limehouse congregation.

 

The evening prior, our gala celebration had been held at the Club at North Halton, where the full crowd enjoyed an evening of social time over a great dinner and light entertainment. We were pleased to be joined by several dignitaries who were piped into the hall by piper Jane Cartwright, at the opening of the evening, and welcomed by Rev. Dr. Cooper. Joining with us were The Honourable Michael Chong, our Member of Federal Parliament, Mr. Ted Arnott, our member of Provincial Parliament and his wife Lisa, and His Worship the Mayor Rick Bonnette, and his wife Josie. We were pleased that former interim minister Rev. Robert Spencer and his wife Maureen, and Rev. Gerald Rennie, also an interim minister for a time, were also in attendance. Unfortunately, Rev. Peter Barrow had a previous commitment and was unable to attend. William Karn, Clerk of Session for the Limehouse church, and his wife Betty Anne were also dinner guests. All were welcomed by present Knox minister Rev. Dr. James Cooper who gave a toast to the Queen and a toast to the pioneers of Knox, before giving a grace, and dinner began.

  
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The hall was beautifully set with pots of yellow mums encased in royal blue as table centres, and table programmes allowed the guests to know just what was tohappen and when. The setting overlooking the golfcourse itself on a warm sunny day helped so very muchto add to the great social atmosphere. The buffet dinner served by the club was enjoyed by everyone… second and third helpings being not unseen!

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In his kilt, David Cairns did just a fine job as master of ceremonies, and he brought just the right combination of lightness and seriousness to the evening. Following the dinner he introduced the guests, and presentations were made and best wishes given by the dignitaries, accepted by Rev. Dr. Cooper on behalf of the congregation. MP Michael Chong, brought along wishes from both he and the Prime Minister, MPP Ted Arnott, brought along wishes from he and the Ontario Premier, and our own local Mayor, Rick Bonnette, brought along his wishes and those of our town. Rev. Dr. Richard Fee also attended the evening dinner. He had returned the day prior from a conference in India, and as a result of his meeting there, brought along personal best wishes from not only the Canadian National Presbyterian Church, but also from the National Church in Scotland, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  
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We were enjoyably entertained by our own Eric Walton with his guitar, who sang several well known selections, including new words to the turn of The Battle Hymn of the Republic which reflected in verse a short history of our church. That was followed by a pictorial presentation of our church, on a DVD made up especially for the occasion by Linda Zammit, with a little help from Dawn Livingstone. The first section gave a history of the church itself, and the second gave a look at some of the people and events that have taken place over the years. Music in the background is a CD made by our own choir a few years ago. A souvenir DVD was given to each family in attendance, and they are now for sale at $10.00 each. Thanks to Jim Colter for manning the AV equipment – resplendent also in his kilt.

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On closing, Dr. Cooper gave thanks to our special visitors, all who supported the special events of the year, and those involved in setting up the dinner. Dr. Cooper and Eric Walton then joined voices in singing The Old  Rugged Cross, before the benediction, and closing with our traditional Go Now in Peace. It was indeed a very special not-to-be-forgotten weekend that will be remembered for many years.


It was the culmination of a year of celebrations which included a luncheon for the many 50+ year members, the eldest of whom is Elma Harlow, who has 74 years of service to the church and the choir. During the downtown Big Daddy Festival, a very successful ‘Doors Open at Knox’ day was held welcoming the community to tour the church, and inviting them to enjoy a light lunch on our outdoor patio. Earlier in the year the men of the congregation had given a thank you dinner for the work of the women. A display set up for two weeks in the Community Window of Young’s Drug Store helped bring the name of Knox out into the community, as did the two large sign boards posted over the front entrance doors, showing our anniversary logo to all on the Main Street.


For 150 years, Knox Presbyterian Church has served Georgetown and area from its Main Street location, and over those years, a great number of Georgetown people have had some association with the church, either with the Sunday School or church itself, or simply through having used the facility through some local community event or gathering. It is with faith we look forward to serving our community for another 150 years, and it is interesting to wonder and imagine just what our town will even look like by that time!

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