MISCOUCHE, P.E.I. – A new feature adorns the grounds of the St. John the Baptist Church, in the centre of Miscouche, for the Christmas season.
Earlier this year, community Councillor Robin Gillis was considering events that would serve to bring the community together during its 200th anniversary and hit upon the concept of a Christmas tree-lighting during the season. She and her husband, Cory, then led an effort that culminated recently with a lighting event that also served to memorialize or honour more than 375 community members and groups.
The honoured names were announced by Jessica Gillis at the Friday-night lighting ceremony.
With more than 100 citizens present to witness the lighting, Coun. Gillis said the event surpassed her expectations.
“I am excited and proud to have so many attend,” this ceremony, she said.
Miscouche Fire Department members set up the tree, and strung lighting on it and the nearby gazebo in preparation for the celebration.
Fire Chief Jason Woodbury noted that the success of the event demonstrates how the community is “rich by spirit.”
In addition to being a community event, it also raised funds towards the restoration of the church.
“Cory and Robin are on the property and finance committee for the parish,” and the event also became one of the celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the St. John the Baptist Church, noted pastor Fr. Greg Conway.
The tree lights were sold for $5 each, with the proceeds going to the church restoration fund in preparation for the World Acadian Congress in 2019.
The response to the idea reflects the commitment of the parishioners, Fr. Conway assessed, which has contributed to paying off the painting of the church, the parish house, and other minor repairs. However, he stressed that the event was more about getting together as a community than it was about the money.
Council chairman, Ivan Blanchard, congratulated the organizers for the event, suggesting that such efforts help make Miscouche “one of the best communities in P.E.I.”