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A blizzard could not keep people from gathering for a delicious turkey dinner at Cobblestones Café in celebration of the 85th Anniversary of the Parish of All Saints’, Drayton Valley. A trivia contest about the history of All Saints’ Anglican Church, which began in 1936 as a mission house in Drayton Valley, prompted laughter, visiting and catching up. The mission house was a space for nurses to administer first aid and pastoral care for the remote, isolated community 130 km from Edmonton. 

As a congregation we began planning the event for All Saints Day to remember the saints who have gone before us, while also hoping to rekindle a fire in the congregation, which dwindled to fewer than 20 people during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The planning committee invited present and past members of the congregation and clergy as well as dignitaries, and the general public was invited by way of the local press and the Synod Scene. The weekend program included an opportunity to visit the newly restored original church now located at the museum. 

Certificates commemorating the 85th Anniversary of All Saints’, Drayton Valley were presented to parish wardens Garth Blades and Miriam Roberts by Gerald Soroka MP for the Yellowhead Riding, and Mark Smith, MLA for the Devon/Drayton Valley Constituency.

After dinner the Rt. Rev. Stephen London, Bishop of Edmonton, spoke about the future of the Church. He began by saying the Kingdom of God moves forward. He asked us to imagine our Church in the next 85 years. While we can’t predict what church will be like, it is possible it will be shaped by a second reformation and social change. The goodness of Jesus and God are at the center of a humbler future church as people continue to follow a poor carpenter. Illuminated by gospel light, the Church will be a place of grace with forgiveness.  

Bishop Stephen presided at a celebration of Holy Eucharist on Sunday, November 5.  In remembrance of the saints who went before us, the favourite hymns of church members were played throughout the service, including “When the Saints’ go Marching in.” The hymn “Blest be the Tie That Binds” was requested by a 98-year-old parishioner residing in a retirement community.

All Saints’ lay readers Rita Stagman, Terry Drader and Larry Redford were commissioned by Bishop Stephen to carry on ministry in the parish.

Bishop Stephen began his sermon with the message that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Since we don’t know where the church is headed, it is vital we know our purpose. As disciples we should keep to the basics structured around the gospel. In Ephesians, a kingdom is a new way with Jesus, the Son of God. When we give our lives to Christ whose grace never fails, we are disciples, or saints. 

Our celebration finished with a light lunch and cake in the meeting hall of our church. Fellowship was enjoyed at tables covered in fabric tablecloths of gold tones and decorated with candles.  Submitted by Miriam Roberts, All Saints', Drayton Valley