On a beautiful sunny day in June – the first day of summer – St. Timothy, Agincourt held an uplifting service to celebrate 110 years of mission and ministry, to give thanks for God’s many blessings and for the good things that continue to happen in the parish. The morning included the dedication of a collecting of artistic works and gifts, an inspirational message from Bishop Andrew Asbil, beautiful worship, energizing music, a legacy tree planting and a coffee hour to reconnect past clergy with current church members – all shared with 115 attendees on Zoom. The service was one of a number of activities during the year to remember St. Timothy’s pioneers of faith from yesterday and today, and to provide a solid foundation for its pioneers of faith in the future.
The idea for celebrating the 110th anniversary originated from a ministry fair in 2019 sponsored by the stewardship committee, where members of the congregation enthusiastically shared how they served God and our community. As Monica Wolkowski, a member of the stewardship committee, reflected on the enthusiastic response, she thought of using the upcoming anniversary as a way to keep our ministries in the forefront. The congregation rallied around the idea as a great way to maintain the energy behind our ministries and strengthen personal connections during the isolation of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The service began with the Rev. Andrea Christensen welcoming clergy and church family past and present, as well as neighbours from the surrounding community, to celebrate God’s goodness and love in worship. She spoke about a number of projects that had been completed for the anniversary, including a recently filmed welcome video that celebrates diversity, discipleship and mission through the testimonies of some of the newer members of our church. This was followed by an acknowledgment of the previous Indigenous occupants of the land on which the church sits, and a procession led by 10-year-old server David Conn.
In his sermon, Bishop Asbil talked about the challenges faced by the founders of St. Timothy’s, who faithfully built up a church during the previous great pandemic, and he affirmed the ministry being done today. He reminded us that the name Timothy means “one valued by God,” and that this applies to each member of the church – God values us and will be with us always. He urged us to continue wrestling with God on how to transform the world, to fight our selfish nature and use our heavenly gifts to help others, fighting hunger and injustice. He also revealed that his wife, Mary, was baptized here, a fact very few in the congregation knew.
Later in the service, Bishop Asbil blessed “Conversations with God,” a new collection of artistic works. The creative prayers, reflections, paintings, crafts and illustrations represent the pioneers of our faith today and throughout the past years, while providing a sense of hope, energy and excitement about the gifts of St. Timothy’s future pioneers of faith. Bishop Asbil also blessed new vestments and linens, lovingly created by Peggy Perkins as an anniversary gift from her and her husband Reg.
At the end of the service, the small congregation walked outside to a garden beside the church to plant a legacy tree. They were greeted by beautiful dance-inducing steel pan music. After a short prayer and blessing, Bishop Asbil enthusiastically placed several shovels of dirt at the base to complete the dedication of the tree.
The festivities ended with a Zoom coffee hour, including a display of some of the new artistic works. Past clergy spoke about how the congregation had supported them, sharing their love for the people of St. Timothy’s. The rich, humorous conversations were a wonderful way to cap off a day of thanksgiving for 110 years of ministry and to share mutual encouragement and support as we look forward to fulfilling our mission of serving our God in Agincourt in the future.