50th Anniversary

Our congregation celebrated its 50 anniversary in 2009 with a series of events throughout the year and leading into 2009.

Aldo Santin was chair of the 50th anniversary committee, and board chair, and he submitted the following report for inclusion for the 2010 annual general meeting…

Report of the 50th Anniversary Committee

North Kildonan United Church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 with a series of events that reflected the congregation’s strength, spirit and faith.

In the early Fall of 2008, the Unified Board tasked an ad hoc committee, chaired by myself, to oversee the anniversary celebrations. The committee included Dorothy Franklin, Barb Wiebe, Marvelle McPherson, Barrie McPherson, Del Sexsmith, Gay Todd and Rev. Marc Whitehead. Many others were called upon throughout the year to help ensure the success of the events.

As is the custom in our small church with celebrations, many of the anniversary events involved the sharing of a meal and both the start and end of our anniversary celebration were centred around a meal. The celebrations actually began Nov. 1, 2008, with a kick-off Italian dinner, “Marco’s Restaurant”, where the sanctuary was converted into an Italian restaurant hosted by Marco (Rev. Marc) and his wife, Maria (the Rev. Mary Best). It was a night of laugh-out-loud fun, with a presentation of NKUC history coloured with a pseudo Italian immigrant struggle, and also performances by our church praise band, Strange Angels, and a good lasagna dinner. The celebration ended a little more than a year later, Nov. 21, 2009, with a dinner and dance at the Nor-Villa, which included a dramatic (and I use that word loosely) performance by our own North Kildonan United Players. A special anniversary Sunday service was held the next day, Nov. 22 (the actual anniversary date) with a Mass choir and Rev. Marc.

In between, the committee staged several events at the church and fund-raising events which invited the community to share in our celebration. The mug, spud and steak and silent auction was a hugely successful event, as was the concert we hosted with the Sisters of the Holy Rock, a non-denominational singing troupe in Winnipeg. The committee raised $13,000 through these events and others, of which 10 per cent ($1,300) was provided to West Broadway Community Ministry, an inner-city ministry which the congregation supports. The rest of the funds went to enhancements of the sanctuary (new chairs, window treatments and a fresh coat of paint). The events at the church included a pot-luck supper with the Puppet Troop in December; and, a Shamrock Supper in March that featured local dancers and authentic Irish musicians.

We also invited what could be described as “old friends” back to the Church to help celebrate with us. Former ministers Eleanor Geib, Karen Toole, and John Nesbitt returned for special services throughout the year. We also were fortunate to have the Rev. Stan McKay, a former moderator of the United Church of Canada and the church’s first Aboriginal moderator, as a special guest.

Other projects during the year included an updated photo directory (free copies provided to the congregation); Kathy Bertouille and Jan Lipp updated the NKUC photo albums and had them out for display from October to December, 2009.  Sheron Miller took on the monumental task of writing a candid and illuminating history of NKUC, which she presented to the congregation. And Barb Wiebe made a beautiful 50th anniversary banner which, amazingly, represents all past and current members of the church – and she even left room for new members to be added in the future. The banner hangs proudly in our sanctuary.

As I stated at the beginning of this report, the Unified Board had tasked the anniversary committee to take care of the celebrations. We were given two objectives: to celebrate the church and to raise funds. The committee members worked extremely well to achieve these goals throughout the year.

The committee also developed a motto and logo for our anniversary, Spirit In Faith, which adorned the mementoes that were sold and given away during the year (T-shirts, sweat shirts, pens, and lapel pins). The logo, Spirit In Faith, seemed best to capture what we at North Kildonan United Church strive to do every day: To live out our daily lives with a spirit that reflects our renewed faith in God and Jesus Christ, and to share that faith with our community. I truly believe that our anniversary celebrations reflected that motto … Spirit In Faith.

Aldo Santin

Chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee