Shirley, Alan and Chris

“My parents, Shirley Gwendolin Rigler and Alan Austin Mann, both 23, married on December 19, 1953 at Canadian Memorial United Church.

Alan was part of the “Eleven-Sixty Club” or the “1160” Club at Canadian Memorial. Shirley soon joined in the fun at Canadian memorial. Though all the members from that time are in their late 80’s, they still call their group the “young people’s club”. Canadian Memorial had a very active youth group and they did a great many activities together in all seasons, from outdoor picnics, swimming, camping, church camps, to winter skating and bobsledding. They attended Bible studies and Sunday morning services, and learned how they could be a help to other. They all participated in the church life with enthusiasm.

On October 14, 1954, I was born and baptized by Rev. Gorwill and still have the Bible inscribed and given to me at that time.

For Shirley and Alan, being members of the United Church has always been important to them, and that connection began in the early 50s with so many uplifting and exciting opportunities at Canadian Memorial. It has been the bedrock of their lives. I am currently on the National United Church AFFIRM Council, and have a private practice as a Spiritual Director, trained at the Naramata Centre in the Pacific Jubilee Program. The whole family, 4 children and 9 grandchildren – have been immersed in the values of the United Church: social justice, faith, neighbourly support for others, stewardship, generosity and inclusivity.

During the early 80’s, Alan and Shirley were supportive of gay people and welcomed them in their lives and community. Many church members at the time were not yet as progressive and this was hard on them. So Shirley and Alan took a few years away from the United Church until Tim Stevenson was ordained and the doors of possibility for all LGBT+ people were opened.

Never doubt the power of a “young people’s group” at a local United Church for bringing like-minded folks together to participate in worthwhile activities and to contribute to community. Shirley and Alan have been part of United Churches for their whole lives, and this year both turn 88 and are still active in the UCC. Some of their favourite times were together at Canadian Memorial United Church, where they fell in love, married, and started a family.”