Winter sleigh rides were a common Christmas pastime at All Saints, with horse-drawn sleighs carrying 25 or so children at a time, north on Cochrane as far as Taunton and back again.
I’ve been thinking a lot about windows lately as I prepare the write ups and lead the children’s talks on some of our memorial windows. In January and February we celebrated the Town and Channen families for their contribution to the fabric of our church building and the life of our parish. In March we took a closer looker at the paired Betts windows. And so it will go throughout the anniversary year.
Someone remarked to me how the children will always remember the details of the windows that we have examined. It’s a nice thought, and I do like to imagine them in their own churches in the future or coming back to All Saints’ as adults and looking at a particular window and saying, “I know a story about that…”
I also think about the grown children of the former Incumbents who have visited us already this year and I imagine how it must be for them to return to the church where they spent many youthful years. Were there features of the church building that were comfortingly familiar to them or has it all changed too much? Are there spaces and places they would have liked to explore to bring back more memories? Do they find themselves reliving a memory of a Sunday School lesson, a certain hymn, or a church furnishing and saying, “I know a story about that…”?
We share these stories about the stained glass windows to inspire the present and future members of our parish. The messages found in the memorials of one generation are an invitation to the next, an invitation to focus on our mission, to look to the ways and spaces where God’s light gets in and to the places where we, as a church, can still dispel darkness.
There is still much to come in this sesquicentennial year. I am hopeful old friends, former members, newcomers, and seekers will peek in our windows – both real and digital – and that they will see something that speaks to them and inspires them with a sense of Spirit. And that in years ahead, we’ll all be saying, “I know a story about that…”
~ Arleane Ralph
With the warm glow of another successful annual Vestry meeting behind us here at All Saints’, there is no better topic to explore than what we actually mean by the term “Vestry.” Why exactly do we call our annual meetings a “Vestry?”
The term ‘vestry’ actually relates to the room where clergy put on their vestments prior to a church service. (Latin-speaking readers will, of course, recognize the root, vestire, meaning ‘to clothe.’) Also stored in the church vestry room would be valuable church linens, church communion items such as a chalice or paten, and other important items to be used during the church service. All Saints’ no longer has a formal “vestry room” but we do have smaller dry and wet sacristies (room names that certainly could be fodder for another article at another time!)
In the 19th century, when the church gained greater powers in local affairs, many decisions that needed to be made by the community at large (hiring a watchman, hiring constables or providing for the poor, etc.) were made by a group of appointed citizens led by the parish priest. Church vestries were known to be investing in fire pumps, weights for markets, whipping posts, stocks, and local burial grounds.
Where would local citizens meet? In many church buildings, the largest room not set aside for worship was likely the vestry. Over time, these meetings in the Vestry became less and less about the needs of the local municipality, though they continued to deal with the non-spiritual needs of the church community. Following the removal of all civil powers in 1894, the Vestry meeting slowly became the meeting as we know it today. It is the meeting where Anglicans consider the parochial needs of their parish. They discuss the cost of running and maintaining their building, they vote on issues of concern to their own parishes, and they elect wardens to represent their needs.
Though we’d be too large a group now to all meet in a parish vestry room, we continue to proudly use the term “Vestry” to describe the membership that conducts these meetings and to remind us of our pivotal role in community governance over the years.
~Bertie Weatherbottom, Notes & Queries Reporter for the 150th
All Saints' Anglican Church
300 Dundas Street West
For July & August:
Quiet and Contemplative
Classic Anglican Communion Service
(also joinable by Zoom)
See Upcoming Services for more information
Tuesdays to Thursdays:
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Tel: (905) 668-5101
All Saints’ is an LGBTQ2SIA+ affirming parish.