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Remembrance Day 2018
Far more than bricks and mortar – Vancouver church celebrates 90 years as a Memorial to Peace .
At the corner of 15th and Burrard lies a pretty stone church. It’s seen the thrills of brides walking down the centre red aisle, sparkly Christmases, celebrations of births, and been a place for those to weep and mourn for souls that have left this world. The city around it has changed much since the church’s birth 90 years ago, but the comfort and security that it brings to so many will hopefully last forever.
Canadian Memorial United Church was built with a sole purpose; to provide a Memorial to Peace. The Reverend Colonel George Fallis – a former war chaplain – made a commitment to the many Canadian soldiers who he saw die in battle during the Great War that he would create a substantial Peace Memorial in their honour. After criss crossing the country and fundraising, Fallis raised enough money and Canadian Memorial was built and its doors opened in 1928.
But it’s not merely the bricks and mortar that make up this memorial, everything inside is a testament to and connected to peace. The church holds the only other copies of the Books of Remembrance outside of Ottawa, and houses dozens of stunning stained glass windows created as their own memorials to peace.
Designed and created by the Robert McCausland studio out of Toronto each window contains two historical scenes from each province as well as the large and breathtaking All-Canada Window which displays even more historical depictions of Canada. The church also houses a 90 year old Casavant Frères pipe organ that was donated in honour of the American soldiers who died alongside their Canadian counterparts during WWI.
On November 11th Canadian Memorial United Church will hold its 90th Remembrance Day Service to honour and promote the peace that the church was built upon, and to celebrate it’s unique history here in Vancouver.
Music Minister Lonnie Delisle has been creating an original composition that will premiere during the Remembrance Day Service. When asked what audiences can expect Delisle says, “The composition is called ‘Peace Come Reign’. It’s slow, with a dynamic build. The song comes from a place of recognizing that peace can only happen if it first begins in each one of us and goes from there. Or, to put it another way, only a peaceful person can create a peaceful world. So, the prayer in the song is that peace would come and reign in me.”
Minister Beth Hayward who has been presiding over Canadian Memorial for over six years says, “We have a wonderful Day of Remembrance planned this year. Not only will we reflect collectively on the those that fought for our peace and freedom, we’ll also recognize the importance of our church as a tangible memorial to peace and its continued vision to enable people to live lives that exemplify peace.”
“This church has been a foundation in this community and in so many hearts for generations, (maybe you even learned to swim in the pool in our Memorial Hall), and together we get to celebrate this important milestone. People can take in our Remembrance Day Service, view our beautiful and thought-provoking windows, and then celebrate and reflect with a special concert by the Universal Gospel Choir. It’s going to be a very special day, one I’m sure Reverend Fallis would be proud of.”
All events take place November 11th at Canadian Memorial and all are free by donation.
EVENT AT A GLANCE
What: Remembrance Day at Canadian Memorial United Church
When: November 11, 2018
· 10:30am Commemorative Service with church choir and orchestra. Special Guest – Peace Advocate Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud. Melaney Gleeson Lyall (Point), her ancestors being the Musqueam people, will bring a welcome to the congregation.
· 12:30-1:45pm Open House. View the historic stained glass windows.
· 2:00pm Remembrance Day Concert by the Universal Gospel Choir. By donation.
Where: Canadian Memorial United Church, 1806 West 15th Avenue (at Burrard) Cost: Free by donation