In the fall of 2021, the congregation of St. Stephen’s, West Vancouver initiated a plan to help the community of Lytton, reeling from the destruction of their town by fire on June 30, 2021. Under the leadership of rector, the Rev. Ken Vinal, the incumbent of Lytton’s St. Barnabas’ Anglican Church, the Rev. Angus Muir, was contacted. He was appreciative of the help offered, initially of goods, but explained that the population of Lytton was spread out having lost everything. With no homes, they had nowhere to store anything, and suggested that the best resource for helping would be money. As Thanksgiving was approaching, the Rev. Vinal suggested that St. Stephen’s parish hold a dessert sale: everyone was to bring a Thanksgiving style dessert to the Sunday worship, and following the service, move into the pavilion for a dessert sale. This worked brilliantly, everyone went home happy and the sale raised $748.00 for the people of Lytton.
Building on this idea, committee chair, Caroline Sutherland focused the purpose of the upcoming “Lavender Tea” on helping the people of Lytton. Early in the fall, Caroline, with the help of the committee ( Jane Ruddick, Mollie Anthony, Carol Harrington, Jan Harvey, and Wendy Topham) harvested the lavender in the church’s gardens, and from their own gardens, dried it, and turned it into sachets, tea bags and bouquets. On Sunday, November 21, the Feast of the Reign of Christ, St. Stephens’ Director of Music, Dr. Annabelle Paetsch followed the morning service by conducting a performance of the St. Stephen’s Community Choir. The entire group were then invited to enjoy lavender tea in the lounge, and were encouraged to purchase the lavender gifts displayed in the pavilion. The highlight of the morning was the Rev. Vinal calling out the raffle ticket numbers for lucky people choosing gifts donated to the tea. A good time was had by all, COVID-19 protocols were respected, and by November 28 it was reported that $2,825.00 had been raised for the people of Lytton.
IMAGES by John Ruddick
Anchor photo top, The Committee, L to R in picture – Caroline Sutherland, Mollie Anthony, Carol Harrington, and Hilary Clark. Not pictured Jane Ruddick.