Celebrating our present
On November 25th, 2023, the members of the Anglican Parish of Bay St. George, gathered together to celebrate the centennial of St. George’s Anglican Church in Robinsons, NL. Some 100 people gathered together in praise of God for the centenary, and shared a beautiful thanksgiving dinner together. The service was presided over by The Rt. Rev’d John Organ, the bishop of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland & Labrador Straits. Bishop Organ presided, preached, and celebrated the Holy Eucharist with those in attendance. The choir of St. Augustine’s Church from the Parish of Stephenville were present to lead the singing under the direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Porter, their choir director. The Rev’d Nicole Critch, The Rev’d Kay Osmond, The Rev’d Dawn Barrett, and The Rev’d Mary Rose Colbourne were present together with The Rev’d William Matchem of the United Church of Canada. Present also were lay leaders Mrs Helena Harvey, Mrs. Lavinia Curnew, Mrs. Ida Keeping-Chaffey, Mrs. Shirley Hulan, Mrs. Mary Hulan, Ms. Dianne MacDonald, and Mr. Wayne Morris. Mrs. Susan Hulan, Chair of the Anniversary Committee, Mrs. Muriel Chislett, our guest speaker, and Mrs. Kerry-Lynn Dolomount, the editor of St. George’s Celebrations’ Leaflet, were also present. Mrs. Sheila Coffin presented special flower arrangements for the altar and window.
In honour of our veterans of the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and all world conflicts, the presentation of the colours was made. The presentation of the colours was led by Corp. Ivan Gosse, Sergeant-at-Arms for the Royal Canadian Legion, along with flag bearers Mr. Wayne Morris, Mr. Jeffery Bartlett, and Mr. Lloyd Harnum. God Save the King and O Canada were sung. Prayers for the service gathering were said and a special anniversary hymn written by Canon George H. Earle, and led by St. Augustine’s Choir, was sung. Words of welcome were given by The Rev’d Norman Cutler, priest-in-charge of the Parish of Bay St. George. Greetings were brought forward by Mr. Scott Reid, MHA for St. George’s-Humber, and a message was also read by the MHA on behalf of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Andrew Furey. The Rev’d William Matchem brought greetings on behalf of the United Church of Canada, and Mr. Jeffrey Bartlett, the school principal, brought greetings on behalf of E.A. Butler School. The Rev’d E.A.Butler, for whom the school was named, was the first priest-in-charge (rector) of St. George’s Anglican Church from its inception in 1923 until 1948. Special thanks is extended to the makers of the bishop’s archway, Mr. Lloyd Harnum and Mrs. Joy Harnum, Mr. Norman Noseworthy, and Mr. Wayne Morris.
Also, a thank you is extended to the members of St. George’s vestry and the women of St. George’s Church, The Bay St. George local Service District Fire Department, and The Three Rivers Lions Club Dinner, caterers for a wonderfully delicious hot turkey dinner following the service.
Mr. Wayne Morris presented the Christian character of our patron saint and martyr, St. George. Bishop Organ then continued the Centenary Service with the St. Augustine Choir singing the hymn “We love the place O God.
Very notably, St. George’s Church is one of the finest examples of an 11th century flying buttress vaulted ceiling. These flying buttress rafters were designed in France in the 11th century and are a combination of Romanesque and Baroque architecture. The flying buttress vaulted ceiling, with no supporting beams, allows the congregation to sit in any pew in the nave and have a complete panoramic view of the chancel and sanctuary.
The Proclamation of the Word followed the processions with the readings from Revelation 21: 5-7, Psalm 126, Ephesians 6: 10-20, and the Gospel of Luke; “Take Up Thy Cross Daily and Follow Me.”
The St. Augustine Choir so eloquently sang the gradual anthem, “Bread and Fishes,” before Bishop Organ presented his reflection.
Our very dedicated and long-standing members of St. George’s Church, Mrs. Ethel Gale and Mrs. Maxine Meade, led the prayers of the people. The offertory hymn, “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven,” was sung while Dulcie Dollomount, Rowena Hicks, Ryan Butt, Brock Dollomount, and Sadie Dollomount, led by Mr. Todd Hulan and Mr. Norman Noseworthy, brought forward the offering. The prayer over the offering was prayed and Bishop Organ continued with Eucharistic Prayer number three.
Following the reception, the Marching off of the Colours occurred, and the last hymn, “The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended,” was sung. A beautiful dinner of hot turkey was had by all at the Lions Club.
Cherishing our past, creating our future
St. George’s Bay was named by the early French explorers in the 16th or 17th century, and very probably on the feast day of St. George, April 23rd. In 1701 the first resident member of the clergy was appointed under the auspices of the Church of England’s Bishop of London and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). The Anglican Parish of Bay St. George began in 1841; meanwhile, the Church of England records began to be documented. (This information is from research done by Bishop Peddle, former bishop of the Eastern Diocese of NL).
Bishop William White was the Bishop of the Diocese of Newfoundland on November 25th, 1923 when the then “new,” and second, St. George’s Anglican Church was opened. Our bishop of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland and Labrador 100 years later is The Rt. Rev’d John Organ.
The Rt. Rev’d W.G. Legge, Bishop of Western Newfoundland from 1968-1978 was a native son of Robinsons, and was confirmed (1925) and married (1941) at St. George’s Church.
The first priest of St. George’s Church in 1923 was the Rev’d E.A. Butler. Over the last 100 years, there have been 25 members of the clergy who served in St. George’s Church; The Rev’d Norman Cutler is the current incumbent priest as of November 25th, 2023. We cannot forget the services of our dedicated lay readers and would like to acknowledge every lay reader including the late Mr. John Janes, Mrs. Mary Hulan, Mr. Simeon Priddle, and Ms. Dianne MacDonald.
St. George has been the patron of Robinsons Church for over 150 years; he is also the Patron Saint of England, the Scout movement, farmers, soldiers, and many more countries and organizations. In Newfoundland and Labrador, St. George’s Day is celebrated on the Monday closest to April 23rd each year. St. George’s Day commemorates the life of St. George, a Roman soldier and Christian martyr. He was a man of courage, devotion, leadership, and truthfulness. His most widely recognized symbol is St. George’s Cross: a red cross on a white background, often displayed on a flag, and used as England’s National Flag.
In cherishing our past there are several baptisms, confirmations, and marriages to recall in these 100 years as noted from the church records and by several of our church members.
Arthur S. Morris, infant son of George and Harriet Morris, was one of two babies baptized in 1923 in the new St. George’s Anglican Church. Arthur joined the navy and served as Able Seaman during WWII. He died in September of 2010, at the age of 88 years.
Gertrude Shears, infant daughter of Arthur and Georgina Shears was christened November 1923, and later was confirmed and married in St. George’s Church. At the age of 98 years Gertrude Gillam (nee Shears) died, and her life was celebrated at St. George’s Church, remembering her years of faithful dedicated service as a member and president of the ACW, and as a member and president of the Altar Guild.
On August 19th 1934, Amelia Mae Shears, infant daughter of Arthur and Georgina Shears, was baptized in St. George’s Church; she was later confirmed and married there as well. At the end of St. George’s centennial Annabella Madeline Colbourne was the most recent child to be baptized on September 10th, 2023. Annabella Madeline is the infant daughter of Patrick Colbourne and Gabrielle Gillam.
In cherishing our past we remember our confirmation candidates too. Young teenagers, dressed in their finest, were confirmed and received their first communion with Bishop White in St. George’s Church. Ethel Gale (nee McKay) was baptized by lay reader Silas Gillam on November 19th (1935), confirmed by Bishop Abraham on September 24th (1948), and married Darcey Gale in 1957 (all sacraments were celebrated in St. George’s Church). On July 22nd, 1967, Wayne Morris received the Rite of Confirmation with the Laying on of Hands by Archbishop Robert Seaborn. In May 2023, the Rt. Rev’d Bishop John Organ confirmed Ryan Butt, Austin Canning, Jacob Reid, Bella Dolomount, Emma Hulan, Alicia Quilty, and Krystal Legge the last confirmation service within the Centenary of St. George’s Anglican Church.
Throughout the Centenary of St. George’s Church there have been many marriage ceremonies including: James & Gertrude Gillam, 1937 Sydney & Albertha Morris, 1953; Joyce & Thomas Matchem, 1954; Elsie & Gerald Luther, 1954; Ethel & Darcey Gale, 1957; Allan & Muriel Chislett, 1960;
George & Sheila Coffin, 1963; Dale & Effie Gale August, 2023.
The last marriage ceremony of the Centenary year was Dale & Effie Gale.
Other memories to be shared at this time include the Christmas Pageant in 2009 with The Rev’d David Pearce; many flower services held annually with great attendance for each service; The Rev’d Terry Rose’s ordaination as a priest on November 1st, 2010 by The Rt. Rev’d Percy Coffin; Rev’d Rose presenting Ms. Dianne MacDonald with her lay reader’s license in March of 2013; November, 1998, when Ellis Hulan and Gertrude Gillam cut the 75th Anniversary Cake; the new St. George’s Church Hall opened in 2016; and in 1912, a branch of the CEWA was formed in Robinsons which later to become the ACW. St. George’s ACW supported the clergy, their families, the vestry, and all committees of the church especially with dinners, sales, and finances. The altar guild maintained and prepared the services for Holy Communion with fresh linens and decorated the altar with beautiful cut flowers.
There were many organists we remember as well. These were: Belle (Ryan) Legge; Dolly (Shears) Tilley; Edna (McKay) Alley; Maude (Windsor) Hulan; Joan (Butt) McKay; Gwendolyn (Suley) Noseworthy; Dawn (Butt) Morris; Doris (Alley) Roberts; Kaye (Kendall) Alley; Bob Atkins; Richard Legge; Erica (Quilty) Gillam; Mildred (Bourne) McKay (Mildred just had her 100th birthday); Joyce Prentice; Muriel (Hulan) Chislett; and Norman Cutler.
The Rev’d Isaac Butler (incumbent 1947-1955) was the first priest to live in the first rectory built in Robinsons. The rectory was always located in Sandy Point until then. Tragically, on the night of May 23rd, 2011, a fire destroyed the first rectory in Robinsons. The St. George’s Church was very near the rectory, and with the intensity of the fire, the church was also in jeopardy of catching fire. Thank you to the local service district fire department for quickly responding to contain the blaze, and ensure that the fire could not reach the church some 50 meters away. A new rectory was purchased in 2011 for clergy and their families.
On behalf of The Rt. Rev’d Bishop John Organ, The Rev’d Norman Cutler, the parish council of the Parish of Bay St. George, and the vestry of St. George’s Church, congratulations and good-will is extended on the Centennial of St. George’s Church.
November 25th, 1923 to November 25th, 2023