100th Anniversary of Holy Trinity Church, Moose Jaw, SK

September 29, 2013

On September 29, 2013 we held a joyous celebration of 100 years as an Orthodox presence in Moose Jaw. In 1913, our parish was founded by a small group of immigrant people who wanted to worship as Orthodox Christians in their new home. One hundred years later, and after many, many changes, our church is still here, in the same location, worshiping God in the same Orthodox manner. Faces, cultures and languages have changed — but God’s faithfulness is just as evident now as it was 100 years ago. Our celebration was divided into three distinct parts. First, a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated, at which His Grace, Bishop Irenee, presided. Along with our parish priest, Father John Bingham, several other clergy concelebrated. These included Archpriest Rodion Luciuk (Yorkton, SK), Archpriest Andrew Piasta (Canora, SK), Priest Gregory Scratch, Dean of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, Father Dan Nenson (Regina, SK), Deacon Jesse Isaac and Subdeacon Tymofy Hawrysh (Edmonton, AB), and our own Subdeacons Andriy Pryadko, Nelson Reid and Brian Sanderson. Our little church was filled to capacity and the singing was full of joy.

After the service, many made their way to a local hall where displays had been prepared for viewing. An invitation was extended to the general public to come and reminisce with us, and it was heartening to see people browsing through the photo albums or exclaiming when they saw familiar faces in the larger displays. Many commented on how much they enjoyed themselves. At 3 p.m., the seats began to fill for the program and banquet. Fathers Spiridon Vandoros and Cosmin Sicoe joined us, traveling from Regina after services in their own parishes. A DVD was presented which covered many decades of parish history in just 20 minutes. One of the highlights of this DVD was a scene in which six long-time members of St. Anne’s Ladies Aid sat around a table and prayed the Trisagion in unison, obviously enjoying their time together. Parish president Susie Sanderson presented a short talk, referring to Scripture and the Liturgy to describe the faithfulness of God’s people through the parish’s history. We finished by enjoying a delicious catered meal — including cabbage rolls and perogies, trademarks of Holy Trinity’s Ladies Aid.

One hundred years of history is an awe-inspiring milestone for a Canadian parish. A very small group of immigrants, with little material possessions and a great deal of work to do as they settled in to a new climate and culture, planned and built a church on the Canadian prairie. By God’s grace, that church has continued to meet for worship ever since, making one feel very grateful. We heard stories about their hardships and endurance: their treks through winter cold bringing with them the firewood to heat the church; the loss of the original building to fire in the 1930s, and its rebuilding; the conflicts which led to divisions among them at times; the courage to change their language to English; the hundreds of hours of making perogies and cabbage rolls to sell so that the church could be paid for, and a hall built. And along with this was their deep fellowship and the abiding presence of God to sustain them.

After reflecting on the past, Holy Trinity is now pondering its future. Again, we see an influx of immigrants from eastern Europe and from Africa. Our parish looks much different than it did ten years ago, and we know that we must trust God to knit us together and to build us into a worthy expression of His Body in the days ahead. We are excited about this, and we ask for your prayers as we move into our second century!