The full story will appear in the December issue of Anglican Life.
A Celebration service, held at St. Mark’s Church, Shearstown/Butlerville, on October 4th, 2020 brought praise and glory to God, but also celebrated and honoured organist Violet (Saunders) Holmes in anniversary (to the day) of 50 years of service of bringing music to God’s House. Presentations of flowers, by vestry secretary, Della Parsons, and a certificate, by Fr. Paul Thoms, commemorated the event. A most special audio file message, sent by Arch Bishop Stewart Payne, was delivered over the microphone, bringing congratulations to Violet and salutations to Fr. Paul and the congregation of St. Mark’s. This was especially significant, since 50 years previously, he had been the rector of the parish and had issued the invitation for her to play in the church. The message, and once again hearing the voice from of our “Rev’d Payne” of long past years, warmed the hearts of all in attendance.
The leadership Violet provided, in bettering the worship to God through music, was exemplified in a myriad of ways over the 50 year period. She led the fund-raising efforts for the purchase of the first electric organ; was key in bringing the first piano; organized and directed both junior and senior choirs, along with the purchase of new robes to outfit all. The need for dressing space for two choirs and for the storage of robes led to the excavation of the church basement and construction of the church hall. She created and oversaw the delivery of a Christmas Carol Service that brought drama/costumes, scripture and a mixture of old-time and contemporary music together, and it would become a tradition and focal point of celebration in Christ’s coming. In commemoration of the building’s 100th anniversary and celebration service in 1998, Violet wrote an original song, aptly titled “One Hundredth Anniversary Song,” to relay the history. All this, while being lead organist for countless services, weddings, funerals and more. On behalf of Fr. Paul, and the St. Mark’s vestry, and congregation of Shearstown/ Butlerville, I offer congratulations and extreme gratitude for her dedication and service to the worship of God and Christ Jesus.