Three East Kildonan churches are teaming up to mark their 100th anniversaries this year.
St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church, St. Saviour Anglican Church, and John Black Memorial United Church are all hitting triple digits this year, and so organizers from the three communities are planning a tri-ecumenical service and activity evening on Aug. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m.
After a short service at 5:30 p.m. at St. Alphonsus, dinner will be served and games and other activities will be offered. Games like bocce and baseball are scheduled, and organizers say the Mac’s van will be out to provide cool refreshments to kids.
Fr. Janusz Maron of St. Alphonsus explained though there are some differences in the way each parish practices, there wasn’t much difficulty in finding common messages between the three spiritual leaders to pass along to those in attendance.
"We want to celebrate together," he said. "The most important (message) is the gratitude for me.
"Be grateful for the past, but also go with the new spirit."
St. Alphonsus organizer Diana Tardi explained fellow parishioner Lynda Pisa first came up with the idea of including other churches in the celebration. She agreed with Fr. Maron in that common ground wasn’t hard to find.
"We have one thing in common, and that’s God above and we’re guided by the spirit," she said. "Although we’re all different congregations, we all have the same belief."
Tardi said the relationship with the other congregations has St. Alphonsus looking at some of its own actions, as she acknowledged "We give out, rather than go out" when it comes to community contributions. She hopes the recent outreach will bring about a church community more active in the greater population.
"It’s to show our community that we are approachable about being outside," she said.
Campbell McIntyre of St. Saviour explained his parish’s philosophy of being out in the community.
"Ours, for one, is a very outward church," McIntyre said. "Since (Rev. Simon Blaikie) has come on board, he’s spent a lot of time reminding us that all we do inside the parish is refresh and train to go outside."
As part of the celebrations, organizers plan to put people from the different parishes on different volunteer crews in order to further foster a relationship between the communities.
"The fear is that after the service that the Anglicans gather in their little corner, and the St. Alphonsus group in their corner," McIntyre said. "Once we get out there, we need to make sure we really take the opportunity to get to know each other."
All three churches have individual 100th anniversary plans slated for later this fall.