Peace. That elusive quality we long for and which seems so often to be just out of reach.
Do we give up on it? Never.
In the 1990s churches in the Fort Richmond area met to perform in a musical event. Over the years that effort gradually faded away.
Then, in 2006, Pat Matthews, one of the music directors at the Catholic parish of Mary, Mother of the Church, decided to rejuvenate the multi-parish event with a Remembrance Day hymn sing.
He approached other congregations in Fort Richmond and St. Norbert. They were invited to an ecumenical gathering to sing and pray for peace in our world. Many responded.
The event is held on a Sunday afternoon close to Remembrance Day, when we honour our veterans who fought for peace and freedom.
Mary, Mother of the Church has always hosted. This is the seventh year the event will be held.
I recently talked with Matthews. He mentioned the groups who are invited. I hope I jotted down all of them: Trinity United Church; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Church of The Good Shepherd; Fort Garry Evangelical Mennonite Church; Epiphany Lutheran Church; Immanuel Fellowship Church; Grace Christian Church; Southlands Community Church; St. Andrew’s College; St. Paul’s College; St. John’s College; Fort Richmond Baptist Church; and St. Norbert Parish.
Some churches have participated every year. Others come out when they can. At the time I spoke with Matthews, he wasn’t certain how many groups would be coming. However, a number had already accepted.
For the first time, the brass band at Fort Richmond Collegiate has been asked to take part. A half dozen student musicians have said yes along with their teacher.
Also, this will be the third year that a combined choir made up of singers from all of the churches will perform. As was the case last year, Bert Kroeker will serve as conductor.
As the first principal of Fort Richmond Collegiate, he has a strong connection to the area. He also served as music director at Sturgeon Creek United Church in St. James for 50 years.
On the occasions that I’ve attended the concert, the fellowship after the program has been a bonus. People mix and move from one group to another. Conversations both serious and light fill the air. Laughter punctuates many an exchange. Community is built.
Through all the years, however, the overall emphasis through instrumentals and singing is praying for peace around the globe.
Everyone is welcome to attend this year’s event, scheduled for Sun., Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. at Mary, Mother of the Church, 85 Kirkbridge Drive. I’ll see you there.
Jeannette Timmerman is a Richmond West-based writer.
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