Followers Say Farewell to Local Church
When you travel Route 6 from Amherst to Pugwash, you pass Calvary United Church in Port Howe, the home of a faith community since 1897.
As an active and vibrant part of the Port Howe community, it provided opportunities for worship, refuge and comfort, joy and celebration, learning and sharing. But over the past few years, numbers and resources dwindled. In the latter part of 2018, the difficult decision to discontinue worship services was made and those remaining are now part of an amalgamated congregation with Wesley-St.Matthew’s United Church in Pugwash.
On Sunday afternoon, January 27, Rev. Connie McNamara, ministry leader on behalf of United Church of Canada Region 15, presided over the decommissioning (the official closing) service.
While this is a required, formal service, it also serves as an opportunity to express sadness at the loss and to honour and express appreciation for all that we had and experienced. During the Time of Remembrance, Shirley Fortier, Bob Johnson, and Ruthie Patriquin shared special memories of Sunday School, Young Peoples, and the outstanding individuals who made a difference in so many lives.
Mary Patterson and Marlene MacLeod were planned speakers who were unable to attend but sent memories which were read by Rose Junkert and Eleanor Conrad. Eleanor also shared stories passed on to her by Bill MacKay including one of a Christmas concert when Santa came down the attic opening in the ceiling.
Ethel Newcombe read a brief history of the Port Howe United Church Women (1962 to 2014). Bob Johnson also took the opportunity to thank Eleanor Conrad for her many contributions to the church life including acting as organist for 36 years.
One of the last items to be removed from the church was the four by eight-foot stained glass panel pictured here. It was mounted at the front of the church and illuminated by electric lights inside to replicate a window. Created by local craftsman Bill O'Neill, it was donated by the MacKay family in 1997 in honour of the church's 100th anniversary. It will be mounted inside the sanctuary of Wesley-St. Matthew's United.
Twenty-eight ministers served this little country church which began its life as Presbyterian. With church union in 1925, the congregation became part of the United Church of Canada and the church was renamed. Now the name will be removed from the building but it remains written in many hearts.