New location, new name – 
60 years later parish still vibrant, welcoming and caring

by Sue Crawford

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation and someone else is building on it. 
(1 Corinthians 3:10a)

Until I read this verse, I had great difficulty forming an introduction to this article.

Every day I read the scripture and the comments given by the contributing authors. Their interpretations and commentaries are usually very good and often inspire me. This one was exceptional: I finally had the inspiration I needed.

st-michael-1
Deborah Doran, Interim Priest Paddy Doran, Randal Haigh, present Rector Sheila Van Zandwyk, first Rector Ralph McKim, Jean McKim (partially hidden) and former Rector Lynda Kealey attended the gala dinner.

On September 23, 2016, St. Michael’s Hamilton celebrated its 60th patronal festival. An enjoyable dinner at Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre followed that week. Parishioners and clergy, past and present, attended the well-organized evening. Photo albums were displayed on tables to peruse and to help people reminisce. A delightful candy bar was set up, for all to fill the goodie bags placed at each table setting. The creator of the candy bar, Jan Charters and crew, said it was completely demolished! Children were given surprise bags to enjoy.

The highlight of the evening was meeting the Reverend Ralph McKim, the church’s first rector, and his wife Jean. The Reverend Canon Paddy Doran, our interim priest preceding our present rector (the Reverend Sheila Van Zandwyk), and Ralph both spoke favourably of their time in the parish. Several parishioners shared their favourite memories from early and more recent times. For those who were microphone shy Sheila read their written memories.

The parish has come a long way since Bishop Walter Bagnall read the proclamation establishing the parish on January 25, 1956.

Parishioners first began meeting in the gymnasium of Hampton Heights School. The first wardens were William E. May (Rector’s) and H.R. Davis (People’s).

Although many original parishioners have passed on or moved away, there are still several attending who remember with love those first days of the parish and the move to the present location at High Street and Fennell. Founding members who attended the dinner included Joan Horne, Gerry McMaster and Mary Hillier.

Our church continues to be vibrant, welcoming and caring as echoed by parishioners and clergy who spoke at the dinner.

Recently we became the parish of St. Michael and St. Gabriel, welcoming a Spanish speaking congregation to worship in and share our church.

We, those before us and those who come after us, are the “someone else” building on the foundation laid 60 years ago by the founding members.

With God’s grace, the parish will celebrate its 75th anniversary with as much jubilation and pride.

Sue Crawford is a member of St. Michael’s and St. Gabriel’s Hamilton.