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Keith Brooks

Keith Brooks

Monday, 01 May 2023 01:04

Memorial Items - their stories

Memorial Items in the Church - their stories

For St. Anne’s 170th anniversary, the Chancel Guild has decided to research and talk about the many items in our church that have been given in memory of a loved one.

If you think we may miss something donated in memory of one of your loved ones, please get in touch with me. Also, if we miss talking about your family’s memorial gift, please accept our sincerest apologies. Nancy T.

Topics - 2023/2024:

- Processional cross and pews
- Paschal candle and the white chasuble
- Communion kneelers at the Altar Rail - April 30
- Ormond and Meriam donations - May 28
- Prie Dieu, Altar candles, Clavinova - December 10
- Ambry, Hymn Boards, Light over organ - February 18

Processional cross and pews

A bit of history, as described by Grace Bainard in her booklet, The Story of St. Anne’s 1853- 1978.

St. Anne’s Church was originally founded in 1853 to serve the rural and pioneer families in the area of Hall’s Mills (now known as Byron). The unique cobblestone church was completed by English stonemason, Robert Flint in 1855 and even today small cobblestone cottages can be found in Byron and Kilworth built in this era by the same stonemason.

In 1863, Henry Hall, M.D., who died in Peru, left $200.00 to pay for necessary repairs to the church. The renovated church was officially named St. Anne’s and consecrated by Bishop Isaac Hellmuth on January 27, 1878. Since that time, extensions and renovations have taken place but the original building still stands firm and true – a fine testament to our pioneer forefathers.

I’m going to talk about a couple of items today – the Processional Cross and some of the pews that were given To the Glory of God and in memory of specific people.

The Processional Cross, which is carried in to start each service and is brought down to the congregation for the reading of the gospel and then carried out to end each service was given in Memory of Wilson S. McKillop in 1853. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to learn anything else about Mr. McKillop or the person who made the memorial donation. But the Processional Cross is as old as the church – 170 years old.

PewKainssmA number of pews were given in memory of loved ones also. The Wickerson family have donated a pew in loving memory of their parents, Harry and Caroline Wickerson. The name of Franklin Kains is engraved on the pew in which location he worshiped for 80 years. Another pew was given in loving memory of a young man who was very active in the life of the church, Charles Grove, who passed away at the age of 20. His mother, Minnie L Grove, was remembered by the Anglican Women’s Guild with a pew inscribed with her name.

The names of Colville and Kenny – landowners of many acres which supported perhaps a hundred families are perpetuated by a memorial pew.

This is just a small example of the items the Chancel Guild will talk about over the balance of the year. We are very grateful to those who have honoured their loved ones in a way that helps us all to worship in beautiful surroundings.

Paschal candle and the white chasuble
Easter Sunday - April 9, 2023 - Sophie S.

Good morning!

 It is my honour to represent the Chancel Guild this Easter Sunday morning and share with you some of the history and traditions behind two memorial gifts that are particularly symbolic for Christians at Easter. They are the paschal candle and the white chasuble. The paschal candle was donated in memory of my mother Leonida Adamtau (May 20, 1924 - July 25, 2017). She was known to many of you as Ema, the word for mother in Estonian. The white chasuble was donated in memory of my father Elmar Sumberg (April 9, 1913 - December 24, 1997).

I will begin with my Ema’s unwavering faith in God’s will and his power to light our way in ways that we are unaware. Towards the end of World War II, with the Soviet troops once again occupying Estonia, Ema set off by foot, with a suitcase in hand, for the railroad station to join relatives in Germany but when she arrived the rail lines had been cut. Not knowing what else to do she started the long walk back to her parent’s farm in the south of Estonia. Along the way she met a man with a horse who offered to help her escape. Together they would traverse over 200 kilometres to the Baltic coast from where they were smuggled onto a small boat and they started their voyage to freedom…and yes it was a dark and stormy night and as fate would have it, the motor on their boat failed. My mother did the only thing she could, which was pray. They were fortunate enough to have a slightly larger boat find them and tow them, but the rope used for towing kept breaking and the threat of them being left adrift in the Baltic Sea was real. Ema prayed some more. By dawn they managed to land on the coast of Finland. There they hid in the forest for days until they were transferred by another boat to a temporary displaced persons camp in Sweden. They found work, got married and settled into Swedish life but they still felt restless. In November of 1949 they boarded the Canadian Empress and emigrated to Canada to start over one more time in Toronto.

So, From Darkness to Light: Everything You Need to Know about the Paschal Candle

“May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.”

Each year at Easter vigils, these words pierce the darkness as Christians gather around the lighting of a very large pillar candle. This candle is the paschal candle, sometimes known as the Easter candle. It is a very rich and sacred symbol of our enduring faith. It should not be confused with the Christ candle that is found in the centre of an Advent wreath. The paschal candle should be of substantial size, even huge, if its importance as a symbol is clearly that Christ is the Light of the world.

Fire has long been a sign of God’s presence. Early Christians viewed the kindling of new fire as a symbol of the presence of their resurrected Lord, the new pillar of fire.

The beeswax represents the purity of Christ, the candle’s wick signifies Christ’s humanity, and the halo of the flame His Divine Nature. Unlighted, it represented Christ’s death and burial; lighted, it represented the splendour and glory of Christ’s resurrection. Other candles lighted from the paschal candle symbolized Christ giving the Holy Spirit to the disciples. It is adorned with one or more Christian symbols, often the cross to represent His redemptive sacrifice and the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet—Alpha and Omega—to signify that He is the beginning and the end.

Throughout the fifty days of Easter, the paschal candle traditionally stands near the altar as a symbol of the resurrection. After the Day of Pentecost, the paschal candle is placed on its stand near the baptismal font as a visual reminder that in our baptism, we are crucified and resurrected with Christ.

The paschal candle is always lit for baptisms, signifying the Holy Spirit and fire that John the Baptist promised to those baptized in Christ. From this flame, a member of the congregation lights another candle, which is given to the newly baptized along with these words, “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Just as the paschal candle is lit at the beginning of life, so too it is lit at the end of life. Its presence at the head of a casket or beside an urn reminds us again that Christ triumphed over darkness and death and that even in death, there is brilliant life. 

When you see the paschal candle in church, think of its long and sacred past, the death and resurrection of Our Lord which it represents, and the faith, hope and eternal life it means for all of us!

Let us now shift our focus to liturgical vestments and specifically the white chasuble that our Rector Val will be donning for the celebration of the Eucharist this morning. Little did I know when I volunteered to attend my first synod that it was not only an opportunity to learn but also an opportunity to shop. So there I was during a break browsing through books and more books when a rack of clothing caught my eye. As I skimmed the hangers I was attracted to a silvery white item. I am not really sure why, but I took it off the rack to take a closer look and to my amazement there were three lilies on it embroidered in blue. I took it as a sign that it was meant for St. Anne’s. Ema would say if was God’s will.

The chasuble is the ornate outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist. The chasuble is worn over the alb and stole and is normally of the liturgical colour of the Eucharist being celebrated. The chasuble is described in prayer as the "yoke of Christ" and said to represent charity.

The chasuble when it originated was a roughly oval piece of cloth, with a round hole in the middle through which to pass the head, that fell below the knees on all sides. You could think of it as a poncho. Nearly all ecclesiologists agree that this was simply an adaptation of the secular attire commonly worn throughout the Roman Empire in the early Christian centuries.

In its liturgical use the garment was folded up from the sides to leave the hands free. Strings were sometimes used to assist in this task, and the deacon could help the priest in folding up the sides of the vestment. Beginning in the 13th century, there was a tendency to shorten the sides a little. In the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, the chasuble took something like its modern form, in which the sides of the vestment no longer reach to the ankle but only, at most, to the wrist, making folding unnecessary.

The colours white along with silver and gold are used to symbolize joy, purity, holiness, glory and virtue, as well as respect and reverence. In the liturgical calendar white represents days and seasons of joy and marks the pivotal events in the life of Christ. They are used for all high Holy Days and festival days of the church year. The colour white is used for the seven weeks of Easter, for Christmas Eve through Epiphany, and the four transitional Sundays of Ordinary Time: Baptism of the Lord, Transfiguration of our Lord, Trinity Sunday, and Christ the King Sunday. White is also used for weddings and generally used for funerals.

My father’s life story is tied to the high Holy Days. He died very unexpectedly on Christmas Eve in 1997. His birthday, April 9th, always seemed to float around Holy Week. Before I was born his birthday fell on Easter Sunday on three occasions, 1939, 1944 his last birthday in Estonia and 1950 his first birthday in Canada. We speak of the circle of life and how sometimes everything seems to just to evolve and make sense. When I first spotted the chasuble little did I know I would be standing before you today on my Dad’s 110th birthday, the first time it has coincided with Easter in my lifetime.

Happy birthday Dad!

Communion kneelers at the Altar Rail - April 30 


Mrs. Flora Harris passed away recently and this seemed to be a good time to talk a little bit about the Communion kneelers at the Altar Rail.

Flora Harris was responsible for the design of the kneelers, assisted by Daphne Southurst and Marge Granziol. The work began in the Spring of 1981 and the completed kneelers were dedicated at Easter, 1983 – 40 years ago. Seven cushions were required, with the colours to blend with the stained glass windows and with the traditional prayer kneelers already in use.


The design, with the lily, the flower of St. Anne was approved by the minister at the time, Morley Pinkney.

An invaluable twelve weeks of instruction was given by an expert canvas work teacher, Mary Bailey of Lambeth and each stitcher made a practice piece (shown at right) that was handed in before work began.kneeler sampler

The stitchers were Prue Bonham, Beryl Fletcher, Marie Lovell, Marjorie Martin, Elsie Shepherd, Mollie Gregson and Nora Smith plus Alice Pearce, Dorothy Soper, Nelson and Kae Ellis, Pat Moore, Deidre Rendall, Barb Thomas, Lesley Harding and the Sunday School.

Fran C. told me that only three or four of these people are still living. Fran talked with Deirdre Rendall who now lives on Vancouver Island and remembers all about making the cushions and sent a picture of her practice piece.

When you come up to take Communion, please take a moment to admire the hard work of so many people.

Ormond and Meriam donations - May 28

Nancy – I’m sure most of you know Barb Kightley who’s a long-time member of St. Anne’s, in fact she was baptized here on June 4, 1933. Her parents were Fred and Tib Meriam and her grandparents were Wesley and Annie Bella Ormand. Annie Bella was the sister of Anne Keam’s father, Truman Ormand. Barb was also a valued member of the Chancel Guild for many years.

In 1937, the beautiful carved oak pulpit was given by the Meriam family in memory of my grandparents, Wesley Meriam and his wife Annie Bella (Ormand). Meriam PulpitWesley was a former church warden, Sunday School Superintendent, and Justice of the Peace. They came to Byron in 1872. They farmed from the now Cadeau Terrace up to and including the McCormick Home.

Also in 1937, the Rector’s chair, where Canon Val sits was given in memory of Walter Ormand. The prayer desk in front, was in memory of Meridith Ormand by Alice and her daughter Anne. Meridith was Anne’s Grandfather and Barb’s great-grandfather.

Also, the Chair where Canon Ken sits was given in memory of Walter Ormand and the prayer desk in front of it was given in 1937 in memory of my Uncle Truman Wallace Meriam, all by his wife Alice and daughter Anne. They came to settle in 1852 kitty-corner to the McCormick Home.

Deacon Prayer DeskIn 1972, a Silver Chalice was given in memory of my grandmother, Annie Bella Meriam.

Also, in 1972, a Silver Ciborium in memory of my Aunt, Edith Maude Meriam.

In 1993 – the Altar Book of the Book of Common Prayer was given in memory of my Aunt, Katie Victoria Meriam.

When Katie Meriam died she left in her will a memorial to St. Anne’s to be guided by Reverend Morley Pinkney in memory of my Uncle, Truman Wallace Meriam. Six small chairs were purchased as this memorial given by Katie Meriam. Truman Merium owned what’s now known as Warbler Woods.

My parents, Tib and Fred, donated two pews to St. Anne’s when the church was extended in 1939, but they didn’t provide a plaque.

Milton Keam, Anne’s husband had the Font restored and moved and given in memory of his brother, Capt. Stanley A Keam, who was killed in Italy in 1944.

I also want to mention, the lamp on the Lectern which was given by my friend, Dorothy Ledgley, in memory of her husband, Stuart Lorne Ledgley. This lamp was originally given to the Christ Church in Delaware but was rededicated for us at St. Anne’s when the church in Delaware closed.

Prie Dieu, Altar candles, Clavinova - December 10 - Fran C.

In the early 1980's, the light over the Pulpit was given by family and friends in Memory of my Father – Rev. Herb Webb. The reason that it hangs from the ceiling is that the Rector at the time did not wish for anything to be on the Pulpit that would obstruct his view of the Congregation, and vice versa.

During the next couple of years, my mother, Mary Webb, as a way to help her grieve her husband’s death, and with the help of family members, did the needle-point cover for the Kneeler on what was then called the Litany Desk. As the Litany is no longer or rarely said in the Nave where the Congregation sits, Rev. Rita Harrison moved the Desk and Kneeler into the Sanctuary as a “Prie Dieu” – in other words, a Prayer Desk (specifically, the one on the right side of the Sanctuary).

In 1999, Jean Genest, Convenor of the Chancel Guild at that time, recognized that Altar Candles had to be within a certain height range. When they got too low, what would one do with the remainder of the candles? Jean gave, in memory of her Mother, Mertel Henderson, a set of adaptors, or extenders, so that more of the candle could be burned and still be a respectable height. If you see the brass ring, then the extender is being used.

At the same time, Jean also gave the pair of brass followers to sit on top of the candles in order for the candles to burn more efficiently. In 2009, Jean had a liquid wax lighter attachment added to the Lighter/Snuffer. (The correct name is “Lucifer” — but that’s another story.) This was also in memory of her Mother, Mertel Henderson. A lighter or match is still required to light the wick, but the wick in the liquid wax holder is easier to install than the wick in the original place on the Snuffer stem.

Since 2009 — our Organists have had the pleasure of playing the Clavinova, a piano that can do everything musical and more. The Clavinova was given by Griff Moore and Family in memory of his daughter, Patricia Moore – most of us called her Pat. She was a very dedicated and faithful member of St. Anne’s Choir for over 25 years. And so, to those who gave Memorials, we continue to be thankful for their foresight to enhance our worship of God in His House.

Ambry, Hymn Boards, Light over organ - Nancy T.

The final in our series of memorials are the items given to, and in memory of, Canon Walter Mills and Thomas Hazeltine.

On June 14, 1998, Walter was presented with an ambry made by retirees Les Peterson and Art Woodhouse. The ambry, is used to store MillsWalterTabernacle2
our precious items; leftover wine, wafers, ashes and oils, all of which have been blessed in the past. The Ash Wednesday ashes that Val used on Ash Wednesday came from the ambry. The light, which was also given by those gentlemen, is on when there are precious items inside, ond off when there are no precious items.

The hymn boards, which Grace updates faithfully, so we can all follow the hymns, were made by Derek lreland and given in Walter's memory at Harvest Fest, October 11, 2009, by his Parish Family.


On a personal note, Walter came and visited me many years ago, when I was home with Chronic Fatigue and we had a nice visit on our deck. l'm not sure who told him I was sick but, when I  was better, I joined St. Anne's, and I was made to feel very comfortable, and I'm still here today.

The light over the organ was dedicated to Thomas Hazeltine's memory on November 10, 2002. Grace can you point out the light.


Thanks. And thanks to Keith who updates the website so we can refer to these memorial donations whenever we want.

Friday, 18 June 2021 01:53

Social Justice

Social Justice Concerns

  • The 175 trees by our 175th anniversary challenge
  • Indigenous People
  • Hunger
  • Human Trafficking

The treed environment around us - a new project for 2023 and beyond.

As part of our 170th anniversary year, St. Anne's has joined the Archbishop of Canterbury's Anglican Communion tree planting project.

We hope that over the next five years we will be able to point to 175 trees planted to commemorate our church community, its people and our 175th anniverary in 2028. Why not plant a tree on your property or fund a tree to be planted elsewhere? Just let the church office know of your efforts so that we can tally up the numbers and the impact we are having on our environment. Listed below are a few organizations that plant trees in our area and feel free to tell us of others:

1) ReForest London - $25 per tree to plant a tree in a London park. A tax receipt is provided.

2) Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation - $40 per tree to plant in a conservation area memorial forest. The tree can be donated in memory of a person and a certificate will be provided. There are no areas within the city but in the region, the closest being at the Conservation Area outside Delaware. A tax receipt is provided.

3) St. Clair Region Conservation Foundation - $50 per tree to plant in a conservation area memorial forest – The tree can be donated in memory of a person and a certificate will be provided. There are no areas within the city but in the region, the closest being at the Conservation Area in Strathroy. A tax receipt is provided.

4) Upper Thames River Conservation Authority - $50 per tree for the memorial forest program in London and a tree planted in memory of a person. There is also a Tree Power Program whereby the authority provides free trees to people to plant trees on their property in partnership with London Hydro. While there does not appear to be a minimum donation only donations of at least $20 gets a tax receipt.

Indigenous People

Territorial Land Acknowledgement
We want to acknowledge that the land we are gathered on today is First Nations’ territory, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron, and Wendat peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties. We also want to offer respect to our neighbouring Indigenous nations, including the Metis, Cree and Inuit amongst many others. Our necessities of life are here and our work today is possible because of the stewardship of the 7 generations who came before us.

Orange Shirt Sunday Group Photo 2022Sept25

Our Creator
Our Creator who dwells in the sky world
Your name is sacred.
Bring us your kingdom and let your will be done on mother earth and in the sky world.
Give us today the harvest of your land.
Forgive us for what we have done wrong.
Forgive those who have done wrong to us.
Don’t let us be led into wrong doing.
But let us walk the good path with a good mind.
You are our everything and you are everywhere.
You are powerful and you dwell in glory.
Before, now and forever.

Photo: Orange Shirt Sunday - September 25, 2022

National Indigenous Day of Prayer -  June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous Ministries supports the Indigenous Peoples of Canada (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) spiritually, socially, economically and politically. We recognize that the purity of the land base provides for all our needs. As active participants in the life of the church, we strive for reconciliation with the Anglican Communion and work towards Indigenous self-determination.

More information on the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, their work and many other resources may be found at:

Navajo Beauty Way Prayer “Walk in Beauty” from the women of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland. Blessing led by the Rev. Canon Cornelia Eaton at Sheep Camp, Navajoland.

Prayers, an adaptation of the Great Thanksgiving. Led by Ms. Judith Moses and Mr. John Haugen, members of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Homily by the Rt. Rev. Chris Harper, Bishop of Saskatoon

The Strawberry Story, written by the late Canon Ginny Doctor, read by Donna Bomberry.

One particularly inportant resources is Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen lands, Strong Hearts. The purpose of this one hour long film is to respond to the calls to action by helping to provide education and insight into the racist foundations of many of our property and other laws still in existence to this day.

The Lenni Lenape Algonkian Iroquoian Council consists of representatives of the six First Nation parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Huron. The LAIC logo consists of traditional First Nation and Christian symbolism: an Eagle Feather (representing Truth, Power, Freedom, and Balance); a white Christian cross on a blue background; and at the four cardinal points, spots of the traditional colours representing the Four Directions. To learn more of their ongoing Vision and Mission, particularly in the light of the Calls to Action and recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, please visit:

Other resources:

In 2019, St. Anne's hosted a Blanket Exercise and were pleased to have 29 people join us for this event.


In 2021 St. Anne's began growing some fresh food for the local Byron Cares Food Bank. A greenhouse was supplied to the church by Business Cares London and the London Food Bank2021 Greenhouse inside Thanks to Green Horizon Sod Farms/Big Yellow Bags and Home Hardware Komoka for their donations to help us continue the greenhouse operation. We truly appreciate the people behind these organizations for caring enough about their neighbours to support this effort!

If you are needing some soil or mulch this year, why not consider one of our sponsors BigYellowBag. When you or any of your friends and neighbours purchase one of these products, and use our code ANNES24, St. Anne's will receive $10 for every bag purchased. Once your bag is empty, return it to the BigYellowBag unit stationed by our greenhouse and the church will receive an additional $5. You can find out more about BigYellowBag at or by calling 1-855-424-4224. The best part is that you can get what you need, and help St. Anne's to carry on its ministries.

Our community and parish volunteers spend time caring for our garden beds several times a week from May until the weather turns too cold for production to continue, weeding and watering as needed so the plants have good ventilation and moisture. You can also sign up for harvesting when the crops are ready to deliver to Byron Cares. New volunteers are most welcome to join us as we all do our small part to help feed our neighbours.

As we come to the beginning of our 2024 growing season, we will be expanding our use of the greenhouse and growing additional crops. A bit of an experiment this year, yet it is our hope it helps us increase our yield of fresh produce for our neighbours who use Byron Cares. Feel free to contact us if you wish to participate as we are always looking for fresh ideas and help!

This year we will be holding a Blessing of the Gardens and Open House on Sunday May 26th, from 10:30 am to 11:30 am to celebrate the beginning of another growing season. This Blessing will take place at the end of our regular 9:15 worship service. Refreshments and treats will be served as we hear a bit about our 2024 plans. All are welcome to attend our worship service or Open House and visitors will also enjoy special music by the ‘Uke ‘N Do It’ ukelele band.

We are expanding our operations to increase our yield and the variety of crops grown. Key to our work will be a more intentional focus on how we can incorporate green practices into growing our food. Composting, worm castings and providing shelter for beneficial insects will be part of our efforts. Although we have a small area to grow food, large pots recycled from a local nursery, potato cages and a new trellis will hopefully increase our offerings to Byron Cares. A Three Sisters planting of corn, beans and squash will also pay tribute to our Indigenous neighbours and those who farmed this land in past generations.

Do you have a garden space that could contribute to growing food for the Food Bank? Anyone with their own backyard or community garden can help – will you?

 St. Paul's Daily Bread Program, a registered charity, is an ecumenical social service provider supported by over 50 London and area churches of various denominations, a number of service and fraternal organizations and hundreds of caring individuals on a regular ongoing basis. The Daily Bread Program is available to anyone need in the community who is in need and is one of the few agencies in London that offers emergency financial assistance in crisis situations pertaining to shelter and/or utilities cut off as funds permit.

Human Trafficking 20190730CourageForFreedom

The Trap, created by the Ontario Government, simulates the realities of being targeted, recruited, and exploited by a sex trafficker. It is designed to be used as part of a discussion facilitated by an adult, helping you teach your kids about human trafficking in an interactive, impactful way.

Courage for Freedom is one organization working to increase awareness of this practice of human sex trafficking and its presence along the 400 series highways and have a Project Maple Leaf intitiave to spread the word -  Can you spread the word?

In 2019, 14 members of the congregation attended a public rally in July to learn more about what can be done to decrease human trafficking. It was both informational and inspiring.

Internationally, human trafficking, bonded labour and slavery are still very prevalent in some parts of the world. The International Justice Mission (IJM) - - partners with local authorities in 24 program offices in 14 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and police abuse of power against people who are poor. IJM is a global organization partnering with local justice systems to end violence against people living in poverty.

An article in Christianity Today about an IJM opearation to end slavery on Lake Volta.

Wednesday, 09 December 2020 00:33

Stone by Stone Chapter 10


Researched and written by Shirley Geigen Miller

 Chapter X - Metamorphosis Continues

More on the 1940s

By the time of Rev. French’s departure in February, 1945, the members of St. Anne’s were well-practiced at taking responsibility for the functioning of the church. They had also learned to co-operate and negotiate with the other two churches in the three-point parish. A growth-spurt indeed.

Just as French had empowered church members to serve as leaders, parishioners could now empower each other to accept opportunities to serve.

To be sure, the priest would always be the spiritual/pastoral leader who would also act as adviser, listener, teacher, visionary, administrator or cheerleader, as required. Still, many parishioners now saw their own roles as being essential to the life of the faith community, as well.

In this spirit, St. Anne’s welcomed their next priest, the Rev. John William Donaldson into their midst on April 22, 1945. The son of a priest and a “seasoned” priest himself, Donaldson brought his own gifts and experiences to his ministry at Byron, Hyde Park and Lambeth.

Background1945 47 Rev Donaldson

John W. Donaldson was born in Halifax in 1907, grew up in Nova Scotia and graduated from Dalhousie University with a B.A. He earned a Licentiate in Theology (L.Th) from Wycliffe College in Toronto and was ordained deacon in 1934 by Bishop Warrell of Nova Scotia. Then he went to serve “Christ and His church” in the Peace River District of Alberta.

In April, 1935 he married Katherine Elizabeth Hessey at Spirit River and in May he was ordained priest at Peace River by Bishop Sovereign of Athabasca. Living near two rivers with inspiring names – Spirit and Peace – the couple spent over five years in the area with Donaldson serving the church as he intended.

In 1941 the Donaldsons travelled east to Ontario, entering the Diocese of Huron. At the bidding of Bishop Charles Seager, Rev. Donaldson ministered at Ailsa Craig (a three-point-parish), and then at Lucknow (a four-point-parish), before arriving at Byron, Hyde Park and Lambeth in April, 1945. The Donaldsons moved into the rectory at Hyde Park.

Population Growth

At this time, all three of the parish communities - Byron, Hyde Park and Lambeth - were experiencing rapid population increases. St. Anne’s was struggling to accommodate the needs of a “fast-growing” congregation.

Board of Management considered putting an addition on the West Wing to create more space for the Sunday School. But there was a snag. The Canadian government had imposed wartime restrictions on many construction materials which were needed by the military. Any materials available were expensive. The board put the plan on hold until restrictions were lifted and construction was “feasible”.

In this time period, Kae Hart resigned as Sunday School Superintendent. Milton Keam and J. R. Mitchell acted as superintendents from 1945 to 1948.

In May, 1945, when the board was informed that the primary Sunday School class had doubled in size, board members ordered “another table and benches.” (from board minutes)

A more realistic solution would be found later.

War Front News

Into the midst of this quandary came good news from the war front. On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Western Allies and to Russia on May 9. Both dates marked V-E Day, Victory in Europe. A relief in stressful times.

War in the Pacific Theatre, however, was to continue for another four months. The people of St. Anne’s, of course, had no idea when the war would be over. They turned to a more do-able project at the church. With so many factors beyond their control, there was one thing they COULD do – build a fence.

The Fence

For some time, the congregation had liked the idea of installing a new fence across the front of the church building. Iron and wood fencing were in short supply, therefore costly. A stone fence, however, was in the financial ballpark.

On Sunday, April 29, 1945, at a meeting of the congregation, the board presented a proposal for a stone fence. The members of St. Anne’s approved the proposal and urged the board to hire an architect and proceed.

Action was taken immediately. There were sketches by an architect, a detailed design by stonemason, Alfred Frank, and a fund for the stone fence was started by the Bible Class.

The adult Bible class, led by layreader W.P. Simpson, ran for several years in the 1940s.

Enthusiasm for the new stone fence seems to have touched most sectors of the congregation. Whether it was because of the fence itself or because the project gave parishioners a diversion from worldwide woes, we’ll never know.

However, in July, 1945, circumstances suddenly changed. From the first of the month, some restrictions on construction materials were lifted.

During a meeting of Board of Management on July, 10, parishioner George Cotton presented the wardens with a cheque for $500. toward the fence. He said that “more [money] would be given if needed” and “he and his wife wish the fence to be whatever the people wanted.” (from board minutes)

The end result from Cotton’s generous gift was – not a stone fence – but a wrought iron gate and fence with stone pillars. As Grace Bainard put it, the fence “makes a graceful and dignified entrance to the church.”

War Update

In early August, the United States took action against Japan, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The devastation caused by the bombs was huge. On Aug. 15, Japan announced its intention to surrender. The formal surrender took place on Sept 2, 1945, officially ending the Second Global War.

Between the date of Japan’s intention to surrender and the date of formal surrender Rev. Donaldson held a “peace service” at St. Anne’s on Aug. 19.

Meanwhile, some of the younger church members had already been thinking ahead. The Junior Auxiliary (JA) had presented the church with an Honour Roll listing the names of St. Anne’s members who did active service in the war.

The JA was a group of pre-teen girls affiliated with the Women’s Auxiliary (WA). Names on the Honour Roll were inscribed by Kae Hart and the Roll was placed in the church entrance.

Sunday School Accommodations

Then the congregation was ready to tackle a pressing issue – the overcrowded Sunday School.

Still expecting to build an addition on the parish room in the near future, church members looked for a temporary solution. It was found quickly. St. Anne’s was fortunate to obtain permission to use a classroom in the “old school” next door. The church could avail the classroom on Sunday mornings until an extension to the West Wing was possible.

Due to unforeseen circumstances that addition was never built. And temporary solutions for the Sunday School would be needed for more than 10 years. Nevertheless the issue of the overcrowded Sunday School WAS resolved. For the time being.

It was an era when circumstances and regulations were constantly changing. St. Anne’s successfully adapted to the needs of this chaotic time.

Through it all, the congregation faithfully maintained a Sunday School program for an ever-growing number of children. This required more teachers and helpers, more supplies, more planning and organization. At various times, classes were held in the church nave, the parish room, the old school, the church basement, and eventually the rectory, to meet the need.

In total, all these sites helped provide enough room to accommodate those who came to learn the Faith.


In his rector’s report to the annual Vestry meeting, January 20, 1946, Rev. Donaldson remarked on how unforgettable the year 1945 had been. He urged parishioners to give “heartfelt gratitude to God for the great victory.”

He also introduced the Anglican Advance Appeal campaign. A donation to the appeal would be a thank-offering for the victorious ending of the war and would be used to support the church’s work throughout Canada.

There were now 53 families on the parish roll – a total of 192 souls. Average attendance at Sunday services had risen to 58.

During vestry, Thomas Sulston was recognized for his 35 years of untiring service as People’s Warden for St. Anne’s. Archie Kains presented him with a billfold and $50.

A year later Mr. Sulston was laid to rest in St. Anne’s Cemetery.

During the remainder of 1946 and 1947, St. Anne’s dealt with a number of issues simultaneously. They will follow, one at a time, for the sake of clarity.

The Sexton

William Handley was the church sexton, also known as custodian, from 1942 to 1955. He cleaned the church and parish room and saw that they were properly heated as needed. He tended the gas furnace. When the classroom in the old school was being used by the Sunday School, Handley cleaned that as well. In winter he kept the school’s coal furnace operating on Sunday mornings.

Besides all this, the sexton was responsible for maintaining the cemetery which included digging the graves. (from A History of St. Anne’s Anglican Cemetery)

In late 1946 or early 1947 “an unfortunate accident occurred when our sexton, Mr. Wm. Handley was badly burned while inspecting the gas furnace…The explosion caused considerable damage to the heating equipment. (from Grace Bainard)

Handley’s injuries were so severe, he required in-hospital care. This was long before OHIP was in effect.

On April 17, 1947, Board of Management received a letter from Handley about making a claim on Union Gas Company [for damages]. Board member A.R. Clinchy agreed to contact the gas company on Handley’s behalf. (Board Minutes)

A reply from Union Gas was read to the board on June 5. The company wrote that “they do not accept nor assume any responsibility” [for the incident]. (Board Minutes)

The board moved to “offer Handley payment of his doctors and hospital bills to the end of his stay in hospital” and to “inform him that neither the gas company nor the church accept responsibility.” (Minutes, June 5, 1947)

The church would later have the furnace repaired by Stacey & Co. Then on Sept 21, 1948, the board announced that $200 had been “paid by the insurance company for damage to the furnace.” (Minutes)

While St. Anne’s was dealing with issues involving the sexton and the furnace, they were also grappling with a bigger challenge.

A Crack in the Wall

W.P. Simpson was the first to publicly sound the alarm.

In September, 1946 he spoke of the large crack in the church’s northwest wall, a crack that was gradually increasing. He predicted “they would have to erect buttments at each corner to balance or else tear it all down.” (from Board of Management Minutes, Sept. 11, 1946)

Simpson’s warnings went unheeded for several months, until…. On Jan.31, 1947, Rev. Donaldson raised the matter of “repairs to the north end of the church,” (from Board Minutes)

THEN the action started. A committee was formed which, in turn, engaged Philip Johnson as architect to make an assessment of the north end and make recommendations.

Johnson was a parishioner, familiar with the building. His professional findings included: the church building was sagging and falling away from the windows, the ceiling could collapse, the foundation was inadequate and needed to be upgraded, and the northwest wall had to come down. (April, 1947). By September, Johnson added the “rotten state of the wood in the porchway” to the list.

Addressing Board of Management on Sept. 10, 1947, Philip Johnson, architect, stated: “If there was any idea of extending the church, now would be the time to do it. The approximate cost of adding 10 feet would be $3,500.” The contractor would be a Mr. McClure.” (Board Minutes)

After much discussion, the board agreed to put the matter to the congregation with the board recommending the 10-foot extension. (Minutes)

Four days later the congregation approved the addition.

Once again a major project was under way. The work would include rebuilding the whole north end of the church and porch, plus extending the church to the north by 10 feet.

Financing the Project

St. Anne’s launched a fundraising campaign the week of October 19, 1947. The goal was to raise $4,000 in one year.

Rev. Donaldson got the ball rolling. He prepared a mimeographed letter to send to current and former parishioners of St. Anne’s, explaining the reason for the campaign. The letter was endorsed by Archie Kains (Rector’s Warden) and A.B. Sabine (People’s Warden). A mailing committee of five church women readied and posted the letters.

Shortly thereafter – with work on the building already in progress – canvassers visited all members of the church. These dedicated canvassers answered questions on the building project and offered suggestions for making cash or pledge contributions.

Just three months later, the building committee reported the campaign results to date: $3,245.06 received and approximately $1,000 [in pledges] still to come in. (from Annual Vestry Minutes, Jan. 29, 1948).

The campaign had surpassed its target. This was a great blessing to St. Anne’s, especially as the full $4,200. was needed in the end. An extra $400. had been required for strapping the church with InsulBoard and $50. more went to a new porch roof.


With the nave out of bounds due to rebuilding, changes were made to keep the church functioning. Sunday services were held in the West Wing and a couple of Sunday School classes were moved to the church basement. Worshippers and children, at their appointed times, entered by the West Wing door.

Current parishioner Barbara Kightley remembers attending Sunday School in the church basement.

A Pile of Dirt

In June, 1946, the sexton requested the removal of a pile of dirt in the cemetery at the back of the church. The request was approved by Board of Management, but follow-through was delayed until running water could be installed in the West Wing. Water installation was completed in Sept. 1946. Then a bee was arranged for Oct. 7, when willing church members removed the pile of dirt and distributed it as needed in the cemetery.

Rectory Costs – Paying our Share

In January, 1947, the rector pointed out that Church of the Hosannas had been paying all the taxes on the rectory at Hyde Park for some years. He wondered why Hyde Park had “shouldered the expense entirely.” (from Board of Management minutes)

As a result, St. Anne’s board voted to pay one third of the taxes for the rectory. (from board minutes, March 5, 1947). This may sound like a reasonable response but it’s not the end of the story

Hosannas had been paying the insurance on the rectory for some time, as well, without any input from St. Anne’s or Trinity. The cost of insurance and taxes together was $50 a year. Negotiations by the three congregations were required.

Hence, wardens from Hosannas, St. Anne’s and Trinity met on May 20, 1947 to discuss rectory expenses. A motion was put forward that rectory costs be met on the same basis as the rector’s stipend. Archie Kains, from St. Anne’s, said he wanted to speak to his Board of Management before agreeing to the motion. (from meeting minutes). Archie’s uncertainty may have been because Byron’s share of the rector’s stipend was now 50 per cent. Hyde Park and Lambeth contributed 25 per cent each. It was no longer an even three-way split.

Nevertheless, after discussion, St. Anne’s board decided in July, “to pay our pro rata share of taxes, insurance, telephone and minor repairs” at the rectory. (from minutes)

Stipend changes

Precisely when the rector’s stipend arrangements were changed, is not clear. However, it is likely the stipend shares for the three-point parish were modified sometime between January 1944 and March 1945. Curiously, St. Anne’s Board of Management minutes for the relevant 14-month period are either missing or were not recorded. They are not located at the Diocesan archives nor have they been found at St. Anne’s. It seems highly unlikely that the board would stop meeting altogether for such a long stretch. They must have met “in camera” (i.e. in private).

After the 14- month hiatus, board minutes went on as usual and St. Anne’s 50 per cent share of the stipend was definitely in effect. The change occurred, therefore, during the latter months of Rev. French’s incumbency.

As to why the rector’s stipend payment was changed?

Archdeacon Tanya Phibbs explains: “The stipend arrangement would have been negotiated among the three parishes according to the time the rector spent ministering to each one.”

This is the same today for multi-point parishes. Churches that need or want more of the rector’s time, agree to pay a larger share, while those requiring less of the rector’s time pay a smaller share. Reasons for wanting more time can vary. It could relate to the number of members in the various churches. But not necessarily.

In Byron’s case in 1944-45, it may simply have been that St. Anne’s parishioners enjoyed getting to know their rector as a friend. What better way to do that, than to have more of his/her time?

The first thing that Byron, Hyde Park and Lambeth probably agreed upon was to negotiate in private and not to keep minutes. No surprise this time - records of these negotiation meetings from Trinity and Hosannas are not located in the Diocesan Archives, either. So all three kept that agreement!

The Rector – A Profile

Rev. John Donaldson seems to have been a mild-mannered priest with the strength and patience of God within him. He arrived into St. Anne’s during a chaotic time – in the world (due to World War 2), in the community of Byron (due to a population explosion), and in the church itself (where parishioners were dealing with changing realities). Through it all, Donaldson was a steadying presence as he focused on his purpose…. “For Christ and His Church.” (Donaldson’s slogan)

He was compassionate as was shown in his kindness toward the sexton, William Handley. Handley’s pay had started at 40 cents an hour in 1942, and was increased by small increments thereafter. At the annual Vestry meeting, January, 1947, Donaldson proposed that St. Anne’s supply Handley with a telephone. But “due to a shortage of phone equipment, the matter was put over to next year.” Handley did receive a raise that day, however, of $3, per quarter, making his annual income $108.75. (from vestry minutes)

Whether Handley ever received a telephone was not recorded. He may have. Or not. Perhaps he preferred the extra pay anyway. And maybe the rector’s gesture moved church members to respond kindly.

Donaldson was also a man of integrity. Later in January, he asked the Board of Management to ask the school board for a bill for the coal being used on winter Sunday mornings. To him, it was enough that the school board provided space for a Sunday School class. His intention was not to cause the school board extra expense.

Again, the result of his gesture was not recorded.

A major piece of Donaldson’s profile was the wholehearted support, help and advice he gave to the entire congregation, as they worked through the upheaval of church reconstruction and raised all the money required for the project. Whenever the rector himself was unsure about something, he visited the bishop (Seager) for advice.

Given the rector’s attributes, the members of St. Anne’s were dismayed when he made an unexpected announcement on Nov. 17, 1947.

Speaking to Board of Management, Donaldson said the bishop had asked him to undertake missionary work at Muncey. Stressing he could not ignore this challenge, he cited two factors in favor of him accepting the new post. (1.) ”The living conditions might be happier, at least as far as his wife was concerned,” and (2.) “the nature of the work as the bishop expressed it was quite a challenge.” (from board minutes.)

Reaction was swift. “Bebe McEwan expressed the regret we all felt at the thought of Mr. Donaldson leaving us and said how tremendously we should all miss him.” And “Archie Kains expressed regret and indignation that the bishop had seen fit to suggest Mr. Donaldson’s removal from us.” (minutes)

Two ways of expressing the pain of loss.

The rector “promised to see the bishop again and said he had no idea the people of St. Anne’s might want him to stay on.”

John Donaldson’s last Sunday services in the three-point parish took place on Jan. 4, 1948, after two-and-a-half years of ministry here. He also resigned as AYPA and SS secretary of West Middlesex, a position he held throughout 1947.

After serving at Muncey, Chippewa and Oneida for two years, he transferred to the Diocese of Arizona, in 1950. But Donaldson didn’t forget the people of Byron.

Prior to this church’s 100th anniversary (1953) he sent greetings to all at St. Anne’s from Morenci, Arizona. (from Grace Bainard)

Interim Priest

Following Rev. Donaldson’s departure, the three-point parish was pleased to receive the Rev. Sidney Semple as their interim priest. Semple was a pioneer in his field of work as an industrial chaplain. With the bishop’s blessing he served the workers of three major industries in London.

Using a pastoral ministry of listening, he sought to help, not convert, those who came to him for counsel. As a chaplain, he accepted all who asked for his services, regardless of church affiliation. (from London Free Press)

Semple put his regular work on hold to minister to Byron, Hyde Park and Lambeth for nearly eight months, until a permanent priest was confirmed. According to Grace Bainard, Rev. Sidney Semple “made many friends” at St. Anne’s.


Sunday, 28 June 2020 01:35

Stone by Stone Chapter 9


Researched and written by Shirley Geigen Miller

 Chapter IX - The Winds of Change


The Reverend Durnford’s official farewell marked not only the end of an era but also the beginning of significant changes for the parish life of St. Anne’s.

Changes blew in with the person of John William French, an energetic 30-year-old theology student from Huron College. On April 12, 1942 – just one week after Durnford’s farewell – French officiated at the 11 o’clock service. He signed in as “student-in-charge” in the parish Preachers Book. Following the service, this plucky young man presided over a Special Vestry Meeting.

It was a time when St. Anne’s, Byron, was still part of a three-point parish along with Trinity Church, Lambeth, and Church of the Hosannas, Hyde Park. The vestry meeting was called due to a request from the Lambeth church for a change in their Sunday service time.

The faithful folk of Trinity Church had worshipped at three o’clock in the afternoon for nearly 80 years. They sought a morning service.

St. Anne’s members, being content with their 11 a.m. service, sympathized with Trinity in a guarded sort of way. Vestry passed a motion made by W. P. (Percy) Simpson, seconded by M. A. Sabine, “that the wardens be empowered to change the time of morning service, if necessary, to meet the requirements of the members of Trinity Church, Lambeth.” (from vestry minutes)

Grace Hertel suggested that St. Anne’s send a message to the Lambeth congregation “expressing our willingness to co-operate with them in every way possible.” (minutes)

The following Sunday Trinity got its morning service – at 9:30 a.m. St. Anne’s cruised along with 11 a.m. worship for another eight months. Hosanna’s Sunday service stayed at 7:30 p.m.

French’s able and friendly debut at St. Anne’s was the start of a multi-faceted growth spurt in the parish.


Born in Woking, Surrey, England, in June, 1911, John W. French received early schooling at the Church of England School in Whitley. While still young, he moved with his family to Canada, settling in Windsor, Ontario. Later he attended O’Neil business college, there. In 1934, he married Ena Evelyn Millican. Another move took French and his wife to Chicago where he attended McKinley Roosevelt University, graduating with a B.A, in 1941. He promptly applied for admission to theology studies at Huron College, London, and entered the three-year program in September.

These were uncertain times. French would be pastoring much sooner than he might have expected.

A New Reality

Effects of the Second World War had reached most sectors of Canadian life by then. The church, for example, was experiencing a severe shortage of clergy. Much like a worldwide pandemic, worldwide war compelled all of society to adapt and change to a new reality.

According to Rev. Canon Dr. Doug Leighton, an associate professor of history at Huron University College, “Many clergy volunteered for overseas service [during the war]. Finding interim priests for them was difficult enough. The human resources of the diocese were stretched to the limit.”

In appointing John French, a first-year theology student, to the three-point parish, the bishop [Charles Seager] would have taken into account that French was “mature” (age 30) and “stable” (married), Leighton pointed out.

The plan was for French to continue his theology studies while working part time in the parish communities. This, in turn, would require parishioners to take on more responsibilities in the churches.

The congregations must have agreed to oblige. They certainly pitched in.


French was ordained deacon by Bishop Seager on May 31, 1942. The next day, the Rev. French and his wife, Ena, moved into the rectory at Hyde Park. Hence the 1942-45 Reverend John William French“student-in-charge” became the “incumbent.” He was ordained to the priesthood on Sept.19,1943.

At St. Anne’s, French introduced changes and new appointments gradually and often step by step. One of his first appointments would have been that of a new Sunday School Superintendent. The position had been vacated by Rev. Durnford himself. French chose Kathleen (Kae) Hart for the job.

Kae was a lifelong member of St Anne’s who had been a Sunday School teacher for seven years. She enjoyed the children, particularly her class of mischievous boys. With her experience, dedication, enthusiasm and willingness to serve, Kae was the ideal choice. Indeed, the Sunday School flourished under her leadership.

Sunday School

In the early 1940s, Sunday School gathered at 10 a.m. before the morning church service. Since a separate parish hall had not yet been constructed, children and teachers met in the church and in the large West Wing parish room. This was also before church offices were installed in the area. There was enough space for several Sunday School classes in the parish room. Moveable room dividers were used to divide the children into age and gender groups for lessons and Bible Stories.

Sunday School enrolment in 1941 “was down to 18 pupils and two teachers,” Kae said. But growth soon picked up and spiked after the war ended, due in part to the baby boom.

“We always had an opening hymn,” Kae went on. Music was provided by the Sunday School organist playing on an old organ. Later, violins were added. Her Sunday School “staff,” as Kae called them, were all parishioners glad to come to church early to contribute to the Sunday School.

By 1953, St. Anne’s Sunday School had skyrocketed to 110 pupils, nine teachers and six other officers. Although this may be explained partly by the changing demographic, a great deal of credit must go the outstanding leadership of the Superintendent.

In her later years, when asked to describe what John French was like, Kae (Hart) Ellis replied: “He was redheaded, very nice, and a lot of fun.” With all the appointments that followed hers, the church was soon a-buzz with cheerful, albeit meaningful, activity.

First Board of Management

At the annual vestry meeting January 27, 1943, St. Anne’s formed a Board of Management for the first time. The rector named Frances Hart, Bebe McEwan and John Meriam to the board. Taking nominations from the floor, vestry elected Kate Chapman, Muriel Foyston and Archie Kains to be on the board as well. Board members would hold their positions for one year and would meet monthly starting in February.

Vestry also established a rectory committee of two, naming Grace Hertel and Anne Simpson to keep track of any needs or improvements required at the rectory. As for the wardens, French appointed W. P. Simpson to be rector’s warden and the long-serving people’s warden, Thomas Sulston, was reelected for another term. In March, the Board of Management decided to inaugurate the duplex envelope system for offerings. They ordered 20 boxes for the year and Frances Hart agreed to become envelope secretary.

Shifting Time

When the rector first shifted St. Anne’s Sunday service time from 11 to 11:30 a.m., he did so for a limited period – from Jan 3 to May 2, 1943. He then reinstated 11 a.m. worship for the warmer months.

But the subject of changing back to 11:30 was raised again in July while W. P. Simpson was presiding over a Board of Management meeting.

Simpson asked the board “if we were willing to change [our] service time to 11:30 to meet needs of Lambeth who felt [their] church attendance had dropped since they had had to revert to 9:30 services.

“The general feeling [of St. Anne’s board] was … that we, without much inconvenience, could have our service at 11:30 in place of 11. Majority in favour.” (from Board of Management minutes, July 18, 1943.)

St. Anne’s once again received a short reprieve. The 11:30 a.m. service time did not come into effect until Oct. 3, 1943. From then on the later time (by 30 minutes) lasted to the end of French’s tenure, and beyond.

Rectory Matters

Meanwhile, the rectory committee had been hard at work, checking through the rectory and identifying what needed to be repaired or replaced. Cost of improvements would be about $1,000, the committee reported. This caught the attention of all three congregations.

On March 30, 1943, the wardens of St. Anne’s, Trinity and Hosannas held a special meeting regarding the condition of the rectory. They decided to have the rectory put in good condition immediately. Work would include installation of a water pressure system, a new cesspool, furnace (secondhand if available), insulation in the attic, screen doors and windows, hardwood floors and linoleum in the kitchen. These jobs were contracted out to ensure best possible results.

Money for the improvements was borrowed from the diocese. Payments on the loan were divided equally among the three churches.

“In October, 1943, a reception was held in the rectory at Hyde Park, and many came to call and admire the improvements. Ladies of the Guild assisted at the tea.” (from The Story of St. Anne’s by Grace Bainard)


Changes in church services themselves also occurred during French’s incumbency. From the time of his arrival at St. Anne’s until the time he was priested (Sept. 1943), French was not eligible to celebrate Holy Communion. To fill the need, other priests were called upon to offer Eucharist about once a month. Often Durnford, but there were others, who made it possible for the congregation to receive the sacrament on a regular basis.

It is not clear when an altar guild was initiated. However, it was noted in Board of Management minutes on May 10, 1943, that “The Altar Guild is now functioning and made the preparation for Easter Communion.” In 1943, Easter Day was April 25.

Added to Sunday worship were services of Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage and Burial. At a special service, W.P. Simpson was invested as a Lay Reader.

Wartime Concerns

During 1944, wartime concerns escalated in the parish. On June 6, Byron United Church and St. Anne’s Anglican held a combined “Invasion Service” at 8 p.m. The two denominations marked the original D-Day together with praise and prayer. The service took place at the United Church with Rev. L.C. Harvey and Rev. John French officiating. Subsequently, French introduced St. Anne’s to weeknight services of intercessions for the armed forces.

Just prior to this time, French had ended his study of theology at Huron College. His academic records show that he attended the college until May 19, 1944. He did not receive a theology degree from Huron.

Nevertheless, French continued to pour his time and energy into serving the three-point-parish. Reports at St. Anne’s next annual vestry meeting (January 29, 1945) disclosed that average church attendance had increased to 53 per Sunday and finances were in good shape with $418.70 left in the balance at the end of 1944. The women’s guild reported $451 receipts from fundraising efforts, and $331 disbursements with a balance of $120 plus a $50 victory bond, going forward. Sunday School attendance, of course, had risen as well. Not to be forgotten, the cemetery had been given a complete survey during this incumbency.


In February, 1945, French was granted a temporary leave of absence to become a chaplain in the Canadian Army. He conducted his last services in the three-point parish on Feb. 18. At a special gathering in the parish room, St. Anne’s bid him a fond farewell and presented him with a stole. French went overseas, was stationed in England, then in Germany after the war.

Upon his return to the Diocese of Huron in 1946, he was appointed to St. John’s Church, Tillsonburg and St. Stephen’s Church Culloden. The following year he transferred to the Episcopal Church Diocese of Michigan, where he continued to serve as a priest and was named a Canon there.

French did reappear, some years later, for a special occasion at St. Anne’s. On Oct. 5, 1956, he travelled to Byron from the U.S. to assist in the wedding service of Kathleen Hart and Nelson Ellis.

A grand and happy finale to his memorable connection with St. Anne’s.

Saturday, 28 March 2020 01:03


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Thank you for your support of our ministries in the Byron and beyond communities in which we strive to show God's love.



Saturday, 28 September 2019 00:28

Deacon's Bench

From the Deacon’s Bench
By Canon Ken

Time keeps moving on. On the fiftieth day after Easter, we celebrate Pentecost. This is a major festival day in the Church. This day is celebrated by the Orthodox, the Roman Catholics, the Lutherans and the Anglicans. The day to celebrate the gifting of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Although it doesn’t explicitly say it in the Acts of the Apostles, the church in Rome insists that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there at the time and also received the gift of the holy spirit.

We are told there was a mighty wind and flames of fire appeared on them. Those around heard them speaking many different languages. The liturgical colour of the day is red, as in the red of fire. In the northern hemispheres, it is a time when we are looking forward to summer, and the heat of summer. In the southern hemispheres, the red may be more likely to be reflected in red leaves such as on the autumn trees or poinsettias.

Jesus said he would send the Spirit to guide us. Pentecost is the time when the church celebrates the coming of that Spirit. But what happens then? The Spirit is here to guide us. We talk about the Spirit and celebrate it as part of the Trinity. But do we let it guide us? I don’t think the Spirit is like the image of a little angel sitting on our shoulders whispering in our ears. But I do think it is there to provide guidance. We may not always listen or may not always recognize it. The Spirit may speak to us in the words or actions of others. Maybe it is that nagging little thought when we are trying to make a decision. If trying to decide if it is the Spirit, maybe we need to reflect upon what it is saying. Does it incorporate actions that reflect the love of God and love of neighbour? If love isn’t part of it, then maybe it isn’t the Spirit.

As we celebrate the Spirit, and spend our summer days in God’s world, let us take the time to listen. If we listen closely enough perhaps we will hear the Spirit guiding us.


Friday, 13 September 2019 14:25

Our Story

St. Anne's is a lovely stone church built in 1853 by Robert Flint and our story is one that continues today. We hope this look into our past will give you an idea of the deep community roots on which the foundation of our church is built. If you have information to add to our story please use the Contact Us form to tell us your part of our ongoing story.

St. Anne's Anglican Church (Byron) celebrated 170 years of Serving God and our Neighbours in the Byron and London area on Sunday March 26, 2023 with our special Anniversary Service, now posted to our Facebook page.

An Anniversary Prayer for St Anne’s Byron - 1853 to 2023

Serving God and Our Neighbours

Giver of life, and source of all blessings, on this anniversary year we give thanks to you for this place
where we have come to praise your name, to ask your forgiveness to know your healing power, to hear your word and to be nourished by the body and blood of your Son.

Sustain us, O Lord, with your Holy Spirit, give us always an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works, as you guide, illuminate and bless us into all that is next. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer.

A celebration of the Art and Life of Kathleen Hart

The students of Byron Northview Public School have created an art mural to celebrate Kathleen's art and life. It will be displayed in the St. Anne's Parish Hall. An exhibit of a selection of Kathleen's art will be on display on Wednesday Mary 31, 2023 from 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm and on Sunday June 4, 2023 from 12 to 2:00 pm.
An article and photo of Kathleen are included on page 4 of the May 2023 edition of the Byron Villager.

A brief biogragraphy of Kathleen may be found at this McIntosh Gallery site including a 1948 newsreel of her painting. A very brief mention of Kathleen is also made on page 110 of Nancy Poole's 2017 book entitled The Art of London: 1830 - 1980. This link is to a copy of the book held at the Western University Library.

Three Lilies newsletter Sept. 2022 noting 170th anniversary events  pdf

Stone by Stone: A History of St. Anne's (Byron)

Chapter I - How the Church Began
Chapter II - Looking Back
Chapter IIII - Construction of St. Anne's
Chapter IV - The Mystery Years
Chapter V - Rejuvenation
Chapter VI - The Next Thirty-three Years
Chapter VII - The Durnford Era - Part A
Chapter VIII - The Durnford Era - Part B
Chapter IX - The Winds of Change
Chapter X - Metamorphosis Continues

Memorial items in the church - their stories - NEW

The Hunt Family - one of the area's early settlers

Life in Byron and St. Anne's - one parishioner's recollections

The history of our stained glass windows

The 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War 1 in November 2014, allowed us to gather more information on those in our community who served in that war, both at home and overseas. This information is stored in our church library as well as contained in this "Military Connections - WW1, WW2" file. If you know of someone or have relatives who were St. Anne's parishioners that served in World War I, whether in the military or helping the military or helping through some other way, please share those stories, biographies or photos with Keith Brooks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. So many contributed in so many ways. And for all of them and all they did....We will remember them.

Related Adobe pdf Downloads:
pdfRectors of St. Anne's     pdfWardens of St Annes

St. Anne's on the march (from May 1996 newsletter)
- Grace Kains Bainard

A pioneer Christian had on his mind
A place to worship, and this he did find
Right here where we're standing: the Lord was willing,
Five acres were bought costing eight pounds & some shillings.
Many hands gathered stones with a mason, a Scot,
And proud were the families as they viewed what they bought.
Twenty years later, it looked pretty feeble,
Having been used by strange devout people.
Some of our grandsires began to rebuild,
With hard earned money from the fields that they tilled.
A family named Hall who owned a saw-mill,
Their names long remembered, helped the coffers to fill.

St. Anne's was now ready for its name & consecration,
Isaac Hellmuth, Huron's Bishop, came for the celebration.
Three short term rectors did duties at Glanworth,
Ten miles with a horse going back and forth.
Our long term rector - for thirty-one years,
was always on duty; vacations bored him to tears!
On a certain Good Friday, just after the service
The church roof blew off, making everyone nervous.
A few weeks later this practical guy (rector)
Was staining the ceiling from scaffold on high.
The grand climax to Mr. D's tenure,
Came in thirty-seven, in the month of September.
During the year, the things we acquired
New sanctuary and pews, so badly required.
Six beautiful windows and the new west wing,
Memorial furnishings, we lacked not a thing!
Downstairs in wartime, we made lots of jam,
A friend overseas found a jar labelled, "Byron, St. Anne's"

The following rector, John French by name,
Got a management board, soon after he came.
The Hyde Park Rectory got a good sprucing up,
Duplex envelopes and an organ that needn't be pumped!

Our first lay reader, Percy Simpson by name,
A wrought iron gate and a fence of the same.
Our gas furnace blew up, but our sexton survived,
Near the same time, the Joselyns arrived.

In 1950, a Rectory was planned --
Arnold Stoner was the builder, but others gave a hand.
Annual smorgasbords raised some money:
Also seed fairs and a play that was funny.
The greatest idea came along next,
"To feed the hungry" was our text.
Ken Smith was the one who led the way -
The Western Fair booth then came to stay.
Soon after that came our new parish hall
And "Every Member canvass" involved us all.
Our membership was growing fast,
On a Sunday, 164 average - would it last?

Railings at our chancel steps --
Rev. Reg & Helen, in memory we kept.
Bob Mills arrived, and we spent some cash -
Five acres, two houses - it did seem quite rash.
A few years back, we had added ten feet
To the church, to the north made our entrance look neat!
After we built the Heritage room,
We gleefully felt we were in a great boom.
Morley Pinkney had come with plans for improvements,
An office, new cupboards, up-to-date equipments.
Coffers kept filled by generous donors,
Made us feel like we'd hit some homers.

Now we're thinking of those who need assistance,
To use our parish hall, we trust there's no resistance.
As our special senior turns the sod,
With junior helpers and the Grace of God.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 18:31


Wednesday, 04 September 2019 00:43

Worship Services

Please note that St. Anne's regular service time is 9:15 am.  There will be an 8:00 am Book of Common Prayer service on the first Sunday of of the month. 

Worship services are now being livestreamed on our Facebook page and also available afterward if you missed them. Please join us in person if you are able.

You may wish to listen or listen again to Bishop Nigel's sermon from our Remembrance Day Service held on November 5, 2023.

FORTH @ 4pm: Every fourth Sunday at 4pm

A 30 minute informal time of worship. Through the vehicles of scripture and song, we will spend some moments with one another entering in the readings and their message to us.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch as needed.

Yours in Christ,
Canon Val and the Wardens of St Anne's

Visit our Sermon Archive for previous recordings of several older sermons and services.

The Book of Alternative Services may be accessed in pdf format pdf for use during the services.Scripture readings for today may be found at:

London Deanery Church Services

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