The summer of 2019 was busy at the Parish of St Michael's, Surrey. Parish activities on those warm days and nights began with a family bowling night at Scottsdale Lanes, attended by 18 folks. All had a great time. This was the parish’s second bowling night of 2019, and the parish-affiliated bowlers are looking forward to more.
Participation by the parish at the “now-annual” Surrey Tri-Parish Eucharist (which has increased to ‘4’ with the 2019 inclusion of Christ the Redeemer, Cloverdale) at Bear Creek Park is an important Sunday in the church year. Archbishop Skelton was preacher and presider for the sixth year in a row.
Later in the summer on August 24, St. Michael’s staged a BBQ event with hot dogs, hamburgers and corn on the cob. According to parish reporter, Dave Reynolds, “…it was fantastic, 25 people gathered and the younger members of the parish remained and played games after the meal.”
However, the big event took place on September 29, 2019, when the parish welcomed Archbishop Melissa Skelton to preach and preside for the parish’ patronal festival, the Feast of St. Michael and celebrate 60 years since the founding of the parish.
Founding member of the parish (and also the first Sunday School Superintendent), Amy Barker wrote a brief history of the founding of the parish on the inside cover of the order of service bulletin. In her piece she described the first meeting on July 14th, 1959 at the home of Dr. and Mrs. J.T. Dawson, the appointment of officers by the rector of Christ Church, Surrey Centre, the Reverend Keith Mason, the founding of the new chapter of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Anglican Church (the forerunner to ACW) and the names of those involved. This group of people became the first parishioners and at their first meeting it was decided that with the approval and consent of Synod, their future church located in the vicinity of the Panorama Ridge/Colebrook/Newton neighbourhoods should be named St. Michael and All Angels.
Construction of the church building was completed in 1962 and nearly 40 years later the parish’s Millennium Hall was constructed and ready for occupancy in 1999.
The celebration on September 29, 2019 was a great one! Former parishioners and clergy augmented the current congregation creating a festive reunion atmosphere.
Following the Processional Hymn, ”Christ the Fair Glory”; the territorial acknowledgment giving thanks to the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen First Nations; the singing of “Glory to God” and the opening prayers, Archbishop Skelton blessed the Holy Water in the Font and blessed the congregation with sprinkling of Holy Water from a cedar branch - The Asperges.
For her sermon text she took the Gospel, Luke 8: 4-15, Christ the Sower. Prior to beginning her homily, Archbishop Skelton made reference to the appropriateness of the Gospel message as it relates to the founding of a church 60 years ago.
There was lots of music in worship led by St. Michael’s Parish Choir and Church Band, led by Shelley Novak, guitarist/vocalist Andy Whitmore and organist, Coleen Whitmore.
Corri Kaweski did double duty as Archbishop’s Chaplain and Crucifer and was well supported by the other members of the sanctuary party, Servers: Adam Giorgis and Bryce Engnan.
Assistant curate at St. Helen’s, Surrey, Deacon, the Reverend Jonathan Pinkney was Deacon of the Word and Table.
The rector, the Venerable Louie Engnan was key to the flow of the liturgy taking on the roles of MC, Cantor and Administrator of Communion. He was assisted by visiting and returning clergy.
Following worship, it was time for a party and a party it was. Everyone gathered in the Millennium Hall for a fabulous “comfort food” buffet luncheon. There were two large trays of homemade Lasagna, three homemade Shepherd’s pies and one homemade gluten free Shepherd’s pie, freshly made Ceasar salads and many more potluck meal staples. A highlight of the meal was the slo-cooker containing more than 20 cups of homemade gravy to top off the Shepherd’s pie.
After the lunch there was a major power point presentation of the history of the parish. The folks of St. Michael’s have done an excellent job of preserving their history. It was great to see an original copy of the September 1961 Anglican News, the predecessor of Topic with photos and the story of Archbishop Godfrey Gower receiving the drawings from the architect and then fully vested breaking the ground for the construction of the church.
The 22 people who met on that summer night in 1959 were the stewards of the seed from the parable in Luke’s Gospel, “the seed is the word of God.” From that seed grew this community, that 60 years later meets at this place they envisioned where they continue to share the Eucharist and proclaim God’s message of compassion and hope through Jesus Christ. A Holy Legacy.