The meaning of “community”

20 May

This coming Sabbath at our Kenyon Presbyterian Church in Dunvegan is “Community Sunday.” According to the church’s web site, next Sunday, May 24th is when members of the stone church north of the crossroads celebrate the sacrament of communion. And the congregation wanted everyone to know that all members of the community are invited to attend this service.

Now, I did ask Rev. Julia Apps Douglas for more details on her upcoming sermon, entitled ”What does community mean today?” Unfortunately, the e-mail address for Rev. Apps Douglas contained in the church notice is out of date. So it would appear that my questions never got through.

What I had hoped to learn and share with you was a brief outline of her presentation. I had also asked her what the goal of the service was and what she hoped newcomers will take away from the service.

However, these are all questions you can answer for yourselves by attending next weekend. Refreshments will be served after the service.

 Supper a success

While we’re on the topic of our local kirk, I thought those who missed out on Saturday night’s Ham Supper at the church hall (and even those who attended) would like a peek at the big picture.

In total, the 30-plus hard-working volunteers served 200 meals, including 23 take-outs. This was no mean feat, given that the hall’s kitchen is the size of a postage stamp.

As always, the buffet was provisioned with an impressive array of sliced ham, scalloped potatoes, mixed vegetables, baked beans and a rainbow-coloured selection of jellied salads. But, given my weakness for sweets… especially raisin pie… my eye was drawn to the dessert table. There, awaiting the forks of appreciative diners, rested slice after slice of pie and squares of frosted carrot cake. Out of interest, I asked and was assured that every single one of the 35 pies was homemade.

Operationally, the logistics of the traffic flow in and out of the hall went like clockwork. The committee is now using the church proper as an antechamber where diners-to-be await their turn at a table and visit with friends and family. The long line-ups of the past have been replaced with a far more civilized numbered ticket system. Now, thanks to the efforts of volunteer James Prevost and his teammates, ticket holders are called in numerical order, as seats become available in the dining room.

One of the joys of living in a small community is watching the interaction between the generations… especially the “grandparent look” that springs to faces of folks when they lay eyes on their grandchild. A perfect example was Linda Fraser who, in the midst of pouring tea and coffee for the hungry hordes, spotted her young granddaughter, Lauren. The 20-month old tyke had just come in with Linda’s son Mark and his wife Jade and it was heart-warming to see Linda’s eyes lit up.

The wonderful history tour

A few days ago, Kent MacSweyn dropped by to sign some documents for the Museum. As he was leaving, we talked briefly about this year’s Historical Driving Tour. (Kent was just getting back from touring this year’s stops with fellow tour organizer, Harold MacMillan, and David Anderson.) David — an amazing individual whose mind is a rich repository of Glengarry’s past was pressed into service because the focus of the 2015 tour is on the southern half of the county.

According to Kent, the self-propelled excursion will start from the Glengarry, Nor’westers and Loyalist Museum in Williamstown at 9:00 AM on Saturday June 13th. From there, the group will set out on a journey back in time.

Stops will include: a tour of the Glengarry, Nor’westers and Loyalist Museum; a visit to the site of the old “Peanut Line” railway that used to link Cornwall with Montreal and Ottawa (one hopes we will also learn the origin of the line’s name); Williamstown’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church, founded in 1847; the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in South Lancaster (where the tour will pause for a well-deserved lunch break); the Glengarry Fine Cheese factory; the Alexandria United (formerly Presbyterian) Church on the Hill in Alexandria; and the Morris/MacDougald home on Kenyon Concession 4. At each of the scheduled stops, a knowledgeable speaker will fill the group in on the location’s historical background.

At the end of the day, the hopefully long line of vehicles will wend its way to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dunvegan where participants will toast yet another successful Historical Tour with a “wee dram” and a few of Marilyn MacSweyn’s heavenly Scottish oat cakes.

The cost of the daylong adventure is just $25 for members, and $30 for non-members. Which, considering it includes a delicious lunch and all admission fees
, is a pretty good deal. The organizers wanted me to mention that, if you’re paying for the tour at the starting point, please have the admission price in cash. They cannot handle other forms of payment. You’re also advised to dress appropriately for the weather and wear suitable shoes, as there is some walking involved. It’s also a good idea to bring a lawn chair.

The reason I’m featuring this event so far ahead of the actual date is that pre-registration is required. And, as space is limited, I’d recommend registering early. To do so, call 613-527-5230 or email:

Before we leave this topic, I also wanted to mention the community-minded sponsors who have stepped up to help make this year’s Historical Driving Tour possible. All hail from Alexandria and include: McDonell-Levert Insurance & Financial Services, KMAC Electric Limited and The Quirky Carrot. Thank you!