I interviewed David & Eve Harries after an 8:00am service. David had just finished the announcements when I arrived in the breezeway. After he had carried some donated items to the parish hall and Eve helped me distribute 150th mugs, we sat down in the church and I asked them how long they’d been at All Saints.
David: “We came to All Saints in 1985.”
Eve: “We had been attending another local church that was not Anglican, but we needed more substance in our spiritual lives for ourselves and for our children Sarah & Geoffrey. Our plan was to try all the churches in the area. All Saints’ was walking distance from our home, so we came here first. Further looking was not needed. We loved the ‘old English’ service, and particularly the altar and the kneeling format for receiving communion. It was very obvious that we had found a church that gave us a sense of belonging and we were going to be very much at peace with it.”
David: “Rev. Rod Barlow was instrumental in making us and our children welcomed and connected in a relaxed and inviting manner.”
My next question was about lay ministry involvement.
Eve: “We been involved in a lot over the years. For me it’s been Chancel Guild, Chalice, and Worship. I started with the St. Margaret’s Guild when they first formed and the children became involved in youth group. I couldn’t pick a favourite. With each, it’s very much a feeling of being tied in, of being an active part of the service.”
David: “Initially I became a sidesperson, which I have continued to do at the 8am service. Eve and I are both 8am readers. Presently I am involved in the Men’s Breakfast and the Stewardship campaign.”
We talked some more about Stewardship and the Men’s Group and Eve’s involvement in the Anniversary Committee, then I asked Eve and David about their favourite time of year at All Saints.
Eve: “I think we’d say Easter, wouldn’t we? Though I feel terrible this year because we’ll be travelling and I’ll have to miss my Easter chancel duty.”
David: “Yes, Easter is always lovely at All Saints. Things come alive and we break out of winter.”
Eve: “And the church looks so beautiful. And of course, there was that first Easter service when we re-opened after the fire. Rev. Jeannie [Loughrey] had a 6:30am service and it was so touching and beautiful.”
David: “To see the completed restored church was remarkable. We also remember Christmas Eve services when we’d count the offering after all the services.”
Eve: “David was a Warden then.”
David: “We’d count down in the basement under the church and then we’d walk to the bank around midnight to deposit the collection.”
We’d been chatting in the front pew for a while, and the 10:00 o’clockers started to arrive. Then someone wanted to talk to David about the Men’s Group clothing drive, and some Chancel Guild members came by to hug Eve and wish her a good trip south and tease her about missing her Chancel duties at Easter. I took a picture and ended the interview so we could focus on the next service.
Later, when I reviewed my notes. I didn’t think I had enough personal reflection from David and Eve on their relationship with All Saints. But as it turned out, I did. Their experience of All Saints’ wasn’t about how the church made them feel or what membership did for them. It was very much about what they could do—and were doing—for the church. Later that night I got an email from Eve:
“I forgot to mention the Bazaar. I’m so passionate about it. This has always been a very rewarding time, with everyone coming together and working alongside each other.”
I was amazed that , with everything she and David do, she had taken the time to email one more thought. If I worried that I couldn’t sum up David and Eve’s understanding of what it is to be part of a church, her email certainly did — “everyone coming together and working alongside each other.”