Centennial Celebrations 1972

An account of a memorable day Sunday, August 6, 1972

THE PEOPLE

In the church and at the reception afterwards were representatives, clerical and lay, of the Roman Catholic parish of St-Raphael de Cap-à-l’Aigle, l’Eglise Evangelique de Port-au-Persil, the Murray Bay Protestant Church; members of a Montreal Jewish synagogue; the curé of St-Etienne de la Malbaie, members of the Cabot family who have owned the Mont Murray Seigneury since the beginning of this century; two granddaughters of the founder of St. Peter’s; an Anglican from South Africa linked to Cap-à-l’Aigle by Roman Catholic family ties and present for the first time; former summer residents returned because of memories and earlier associations; fourth and fifth generation descendants of summer people of the late 19th century; and many present members of the congregation which includes Anglicans, Presbyterians, and United Church people. The church was full. The total number present at services and reception was estimated, conservatively, at two hundred.

Participating were the following Clergy: Timothy John Matthews, 9th bishop of the Anglican Diocese Of Quebec; Stuart M. Martin, rector of St. Matthew’s, Hampstead, Diocese of Montreal, chaplain of St. Peter’s for August; M. l’Abbe Raymond Roberge, curé of St-Raphaël; Donald B. Mackay, a grandson of the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Cap-à-l’Aigle, minister of the Presbyterian Church of Saint David, Halifax, N.S.; Sydney F. Bancroft, a canon of the Diocese of Delaware of the Protestant Episcopal Church, USA, acting as chaplain to Bishop Matthews.

THE PLACES

The church building inside was as we know it green and gold hangings against its natural wood finish. The service fo1der with its green and gold design was distributed on the book rests, and added its gay note of colour. Mary Robb and Jessie Thomas had arranged f1owers on the window sills and organ as well as on the altar, combining white with orange and yellow picked up with the blue of cornflowers and repeating the colours in the window above the altar. The church never looked lovelier.

“Torwood”, the house built by the Archibald Campbells of Toronto in 1902 – descendants of the family were on hand in 1972 – was, by the gracious gesture of the present owners, the Malcolm Mackenzies of Montrea1, opened to St. Peter’s congregation and guests for a reception after the morning service. Throughout the day the weather was fine, but just threatening enough to keep us speculating. However, fitful sunshine prevailed during the reception, so that it could be held outdoors as planned.

By Monday morning, it was raining hard, and we knew afresh how lucky we had been on Sunday.

THE SPECIAL FEATURES

A congregation of twenty-five was present at 8.00 a.m. for the Eucharist, with Bishop Matthews as the celebrant assisted by the Rev. Stuart Martin. “Thanksgiving, with sacrifice” was an appropriate note to begin the day of celebration. It is to be noted that the present church building had been consecrated on the same date (Feast of the Transfiguration) just fifty years before.

Mattins with a special litany and prayers of thanksgiving at 11.00 o’clock was a happy service with familiar hymns, Mary Jane Mackay at the organ. It was a delight that so many of our French Canadian friends and neighbours were present and participating with us, contributing to an impressive volume of sound from a well-filled church. Donald Mackay read the first Lesson, Father Roberge, the second, the latter speaking in French.

The Bishop made warm reference to persons living and dead whom he had known intimately, who were identified with St. Peter’s. He called on Sydney Bancroft, his chaplain for the occasion, to read as the text for his sermon the Gospel of the day, the Feast of the Transfiguration in the Anglican calendar.

He then presented the disciples’ growth through’ the experience of the Transfiguration, from their early preoccupation with the prophets and the building of tabernacles to their perception of “no man save Jesus only”, and him as their friend and Saviour, free of the constraints of buildings and of old ways of thinking.

Gathering on the church lawn after the service, as the friendly custom is, people this time dispersed quickly to “Torwood”, where for two hours a cheerful hubbub of conversation and an easy meeting of everybody with everybody else went on over sherry, sandwiches and coffee.

S. Bancroft, S. Martin, M. Mackenzie, MJ Mackay, T. Matthews, M. Naylor, E. Kerry, J. Thomas, R. Roberge, D. Mackay

A spontaneous highlight was the singing of old French Canadian chansons by a small group of our guests, who encouraged us to “sing along” and added a special and appropriate touch.

Kathy Heughan, one of the young members of St. Peter’s, arranged a picnic on the Mackenzie’s beach for about a dozen of the very young. Since they were thus kept safe and happy, the older ones were that much freer to enjoy mingling with friends.

Throughout the preparations and the observances, the degree of cooperation, interest and involvement was high. A zest to express in some way our love for Cap-à-l’Aiqle and the goodwill and wholeness we know here, which, for many, centres in St. Peter’s and what it has stood for, found its outlet and culmination on Sunday, August 6th 1972.

Cap-à-l’Aigle, 12/9/72

MARY NAYLOR Chairman, Centennial Committee