Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent and Christmas Activities at St. Catherine’s

Advent has arrived, and St. Catherine’s is preparing for a “Messy Christmas Pageant” to be presented on December 17 by the participants in Messy Church. The pageant is only one of many seasonal activities that St. Catherine’s has sponsored over the years during Advent and Christmas.

Apart from the pre-Christmas bazaar, perhaps the first seasonal activity was the children’s Christmas party. A few months after his arrival in 1911, St. Catherine’s first rector, H. Fane Edge, gave what the Coquitlam Star described as “a delightful little Christmas Party for the children of Coquitlam.” The event was held in the Municipal Hall. Mr. Edge sang three songs, which he illustrated with lantern views. Each child received a piece of iced cake and Christmas present. The following year, the Women’s Auxiliary (forerunner to the current ACW) sponsored a children’s Christmas party in the Agricultural Hall. The children received gifts purchased with funds raised from a social tea held at the home of Mrs. George Mouldy. Annual Christmas parties continued for several years, although they began to include only the children of the congregation rather than all local children.

My favourite memory of a seasonal activity at St. Catherine’s is the “Nativity Project”. This family activity began in Advent 1990 and continued for four years. Parents and children (and perhaps a few grandparents) gathered in the church hall to paint figures and create nativity scenes for their homes. In the first year there were 75 participants with each family painting figures of the Holy Family. The following years, new figures were added to the scene: shepherds one year and the three kings another year.
Members of the congregation have contributed crafts that brighten the sanctuary during Advent and Christmas. Leslie Hammond gave an angel wall hanging. Bernie Poitras presented hand-carved nativity figures, which he had made. Although the figures were given “on loan,” after ten years Mary and Joseph still appear in the church each Advent to be joined by the Baby Jesus and other Nativity figures on Christmas.

In the Christmas 2002 issue of the Courier the Wardens (Dale Riley, Tony Sauder and Jim Simpson) made the following observations: “What does the upcoming Christmas season mean to St. Catherine’s? Well, first it means we are still actively worshiping as an Anglican congregation in Port Coquitlam. Second, it also means we see a role for our Church in the community. This year, for the first time, Paul’s Place will provide a hot Christmas Dinner those in our community that may not have their own dinner. And when the meal is served our seniors and others in the parish and Trinity United will join them as a community, sharing a meal and the peace of the Christmas season together. And finally, we will be celebrating the Christmas Eve Eucharist with our neighbors St. John the Divine, Port Moody, not as guests but together as joint participants. Yes, we are still here, we have found a role for us in community outreach, and we are reaching out to our Anglican neighbors.”

This year St. Catherine’s continues its role in the community with old and newer traditions. The Nativity figures that used to appear annually at the church on McAllister are now on display at the Outlet in Leigh Square until the end of December. The church will hold its annual Senior’s Christmas lunch on December 20 and a community dinner on January 14. Of course, there will be services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and a "longest night" service on December 21. Details of the services are available at

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ann Blue Awarded the Order of the Diocese

Long-time St. Catherine's parishioner Ann Blue has been awarded the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster for "extraordinary service, leadership, wisdom and committed ministry to God’s mission in the world."  Ann is the current head of the Altar Guild. She sings in the church choir and has been writing a column for the St. Catherine's Courier for over 30 years.  Among her other contributions, Ann has served as a church warden and was one of the founders of the Paul's Place Soup Kitchen.  The award was presented at Christ Church Cathedral (Vancouver) on November 6.  On November 20, St. Catherine's Church members gathered at a potluck supper to celebrate with Ann. St. Catherine's salutes you, Ann, for a well-deserved honour.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Annual Church Bazaar - Nov. 26

On November 26, 2011, the St. Catherine’s Anglican Church Women (ACW) will hold their 102nd annual bazaar in partnership with the women of Trinity United Church. This long-standing tradition once helped to fund construction of the original St. Catherine’s Church building and continues to fund both the church and the ACW’s mission in the wider community.

One hundred years ago the annual bazaar made front page news in the Coquitlam Star (December 8, 1911) with this story:

“Easily the most successful sale of work which Coquitlam has yet seen was held in the Municipal Hall under the auspices of St. Catherine’s Church Ladies’ Society and the able direction of Rev. H. Fane Edge, who was as usual, the moving spirit of the day.

 “Crowds attended the bazaar which was so financially successful that at the end of the afternoon the tables were cleared of their goods and a hundred or so young men bemoaning lack of appetite for supper.

 “At times the crush was so great that the buyers surging around the stalls were pushed out into the street, and a rush for shelter from the pouring rain resulted in the room upstairs being requisitioned by the crowd for a social hall. Every one had to take their turn in this upstairs room eventually, except, of course, Mr. Frank Pambridge, who stuck so close to the stall where the most palatable eatables were displayed that he might have been glued there. His front position, so to speak, was several times hotly contested by others of the young men about town, but naturally nothing short of an ax could move Frank when some thing good to eat was within his reach.”

Mark your calendars and plan to be part of the continuing tradition at the St. Catherine’s-Trinity Annual Bazaar on November 26.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Successful Wine and Cheese Fund-Raiser

St. Catherine's hosted a highly successful fund-raiser, the Wine and Cheese Social and Silent Auction, on September 24.  Thanks to all our sponsors:

Pacific Breeze Winery
6 - 320 Stewardson Way
New Westminster, BC

Matteo's Gelato
2615 Mary Hill Road
Port Coquitlam, BC

Port Coquitlam Bowl
2263 McAllister Avenue
Port Coquitlam, BC

Millington's Quality Butcher Shop
302B - 2748 Lougheed Highway
Port Coquitlam, BC

Me ‘n’ Eds Pizza Parlour
2233 McAllister Avenue
Port Coquitlam, BC

Pasta Polo Restaurant
2754 Barnet Highway
Coquitlam, BC

Sam’z Pub
2342 Elgin Avenue
Port Coquitlam, BC

PoCo Building Supplies
2650 Mary Hill Rd
Port Coquitlam, BC

Lotrell Catering
3 – 1850 Kingsway Avenue
Port Coquitlam, BC

Saint St. Grill
2514 St. Johns Street
Port Moody, BC

Dairy Queen
2550 Shaughnessy Street
Port Coquitlam, BC

Gaye Simms, Notary Public
105 - 2655 Mary Hill Road
Port Coquitlam, BC

Arlene Sturn, Independent Consultant
604 842 3537

Stylin’ Divas
604 461 1154

Europe Bakery & Delicatessen
2552 Shaughnessy Street
Port Coquitlam, BC

Kevin Wong
Piano Instructor

Please support our sponsors.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wine and Cheese Social

St. Catherine’s will host a wine and cheese social at the church hall on Saturday, September 24 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. There will be door prizes and a silent auction. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for St. Catherine’s community programs.

Tickets are $20 each and may be obtained by telephoning the church office (604-942-9812) or at the door. The ticket price includes appetizers, tea/coffee and dessert. Wine will be available for $4 per glass. Juice and/or pop will be $1.

This is an adult function – no minors, please.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our Vision: Partnership with Trinity United Church

The following vision statement developed from a joint meeting of the St. Catherine's and Trinity Councils:

We are a welcoming, inclusive and compassionate Christian centre, fulfilling God’s opportunity for spiritual growth in the community. We do this through:

a committed partnership of shared resources and management;

innovative ministries;

the practice of radical hospitality.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

From Palms to Passion

The Palm Sunday services on April 17 took the St. Catherine’s congregation on Christ’s journey from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem along a road strewn with palms to His Passion – betrayal by a friend, trial and crucifixion.  The service began with a procession that recalled the entry into Jerusalem complete with palm branches and donkeys and proceeded to a re-enactment of the betrayal, trial and crucifixion.  In the evening, a Seder supper recalled Christianity’s roots in Judaism – the Last Supper was a Seder – and showed how Christ revealed to his disciples that he was the One who had been awaited for over 1,000 years.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Outreach – Paul’s Place

From vegetable beef to vegetarian chili to mixed meat soup that incorporates the donation of the week, Paul’s Place serves a hot meal to the community of Port Coquitlam every Wednesday. Some come for warmth and physical nourishment or to extend a tight food budget. Others come from loneliness for the emotional nourishment of sharing a meal and conversation with others. Their reasons for coming aren’t important to the volunteers who keep Paul’s Place running; everyone is welcome.

Named in memory of Paul Warwick, whose vision led to St. Catherine’s establishing a monthly soup kitchen, Paul’s Place has been operating since January 2002.  Initially, volunteers had to lure homeless people from the bushes along the Coquitlam River to come to the church for a bowl of hot soup. From the handful of clients who shared the first monthly meals in 2002, participation has grown to an average of 125 people at the now-weekly soup kitchens. The number of volunteers has grown as well, with members of the Tzu Chi Foundation, an international Buddhist charitable organization, serving lunch twice a month.  St. Catherine’s volunteers have expanded their effort as well, preparing and serving lunch on the second, third and fifth Wednesday each month.

Other groups participate on special occasions. For the last two years, students from Heritage Woods Secondary School have prepared and served a full turkey dinner on one Wednesday in December.

Various community services are available along with Wednesday soup kitchen. Volunteers from Trinity United Church run a food bank for SHARE. Social workers take advantage of the opportunity to visit with their clients, and public health nurses provide a free clinic once a month. In addition, St. Catherine’s Wednesday Holy Communion service is available for those seeking spiritual nourishment.

Although the food is free, a donation box is available for anyone who wants to contribute. However, the donation box and sales of leftover soup defray only a fraction of the weekly costs. Donations from the wider community help to keep the soup kitchen running. SHARE routinely provides buns, pies and pastries, and EFCON Inc. frequently contributes ice cream.  In 2010, monetary donations came from businesses and community groups including Castle Park Elementary School, Sons of Norway, Trinity Men’s Group, Bank of Montreal – BMO Employees Foundation, EMT Management, Como Lake Garden Center and Heatherbrae and from several individuals.

Photograph: St. Catherine's volunteers in the kitchen